Counseling Older Adult Clients


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Issues to consider when working with the geriatric population.

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  • Counseling Older Adult Clients

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