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Counseling Older Adult Clients

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Issues to consider when working with the geriatric population.

Issues to consider when working with the geriatric population.

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  • 1. COUNSELING OLDER ADULT CLIENTS Megan Rockwood July 8 th , 2008
  • 2. WHY THIS POPULATION?
    • In the past 10 years, the 85+ age group has increased by 38%
    • 35 million people in the United States 65+
    • Population is expected to grow for many years
  • 3. AGEISM
    • Negative attitudes toward the process of aging or toward older adults
    • Women more likely to be viewed negatively
    • Contributor to low self-esteem
    • Mental health professionals also hold this bias (Weiss, 2005)
  • 4. PHYSICAL HEALTH
    • Women more likely to need assistance than men
    • One-fourth of adults 65-74 suffer hearing impairment, 2 of 5 at 75+
      • Normal aging
    • Average person 65+ takes 5 medications a day
    • Only 5% of those 65+ live in nursing homes
  • 5. DISCUSSION QUESTION
    • How could you make an older adult feel more comfortable in your office?
  • 6. MENTAL HEALTH
    • In reality, older adults have rates of affective disorders lower than that of younger adults
      • Anxiety rates are the same
    • 5-10% of individuals 65+ have mild to moderate dementia, 15-20% at 75+
    • Some cognitive decline is normal aging and may not be progressive even if severe
    • Mini-Mental State Examination
  • 7. FAMILY MEMBERS
    • Often don’t understand that persons with dementia may not retain what they are told
    • Some may believe the behavior is willful
    • Some assume responsibility for the dementia
    • May exert patronizing stance
  • 8. ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT
    • Over two million older Americans are victims of psychological or physical abuse and neglect
      • Only 20% of actual estimated cases
      • Most occurs in family home
    • Circumstances associated with abuse or neglect
      • Pattern and history of violence
      • Stress and life adjustment
      • Financial burdens
      • Overcrowded quarters
      • Marital stress
  • 9. SUBSTANCE ABUSE
    • Estimated 17% of adults 60+ abuse alcohol or prescription medication
    • Drug interactions may mimic psychological or organic conditions
    • Approximately 30% start drinking after age 60 due to depression or negative life changes
  • 10. DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
    • Rates of depression increases for males with age but decreases for women
      • For men, depression is associated with physical decline (vascular disease, ED, and decreased Testosterone)
      • For women, financial loss
    • Suicides of those 65+ represented 19% of all suicides in 1997
      • Men 7x more likely
      • Caucasian at greater risk
    • Aging does NOT increase the risk of depression
  • 11. SEXUALITY IN OLD AGE
    • Sexual interest and activity carry well into 80s and 90s for many
    • Emotional and physical stressors can produce problems in sexual functioning
    • Men more sexually active than women
  • 12. DISCUSSION QUESTION
    • How would you address sex with an older client?