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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?