Lynchburg is in the front of the line of local healthcare providers in offering ways to improve care for seniors with mental illnesses such as dementia. A senior psychiatric program was opened Friday in the former pediatric wing at Virginia Baptist Hospital. In the last 10 years Central Virginia’s senior population has increased by 23 percent. The new 12-bed unit allows providers to focus entirely on issues unique to the aging brain with inpatient care for those age 60 and above in crisis situations. Experts say less than 50 geriatric psychiatrists currently are trained annually. In the entire country, only 12 to 15 programs regularly produce Board Certified Geriatric Psychiatrists.