Counseling Aged Populations

Counseling Aged Populations
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  • 0:01 Late Adulthood
  • 1:01 General Concerns
  • 2:19 Elderly Concerns
  • 4:37 Aged Stereotypes
  • 5:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Older adults are the same as everyone else in some ways, and very different in other ways. In this lesson, we'll take a look at how the unique and general challenges of late adulthood impact counseling sessions.

Late Adulthood

Kathy is a counselor, and she's really excited to get started at her new job. But she's also a little nervous. She has been hired to work primarily with elderly clients, and she's not sure if she should treat them like other patients or if there's something special about working with older adults.

Late adulthood is the time of life after age 65. The percentage of the population in late adulthood has increased from 12.4% of the population in 2000, and is predicted to be 19% by 2030. This increase in aging can be due to medical advances and healthier lifestyles.

Like Kathy, many people wonder if older adults are like other adults. The truth is, they are like any other population; they have certain things in common with the general population, and they also have certain needs that are often specific for them. Let's look at some of what Kathy will see in her counseling practice.

General Concerns

As we mentioned, people in late adulthood have some concerns that are similar to the concerns of the general population. For example, when Kathy counsels adults in their thirties, forties, and fifties, she often finds that they are struggling with issues like divorce, depression, and anxiety.

These are common issues in late adulthood, as well. Divorce used to be more common among younger adults, those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. But as the practice has become more socially accepted, older adults are also going through divorce.

In general, change is a major part of late adulthood. Whether that's divorce, retirement, or some other type of change, older adults are often dealing with new experiences and life changes. This is true, too, of other times in life. In early adulthood, people are often transitioning from their parents' care to being on their own. In middle adulthood, people might become parents for the first time.

No matter what the change is, or the time in life that it occurs, large life changes can lead to emotional concerns, like depression or anxiety. These are common in all stages of life, including late adulthood. Kathy will want to be prepared to help her clients through the changes going on in their lives.

Elderly Concerns

Despite the fact that many older adults share some concerns with the general population, there are some things that tend to be more common in late adulthood.

For example, many older adults have financial concerns. Since they are often retired, and may be unable to work, they are on a fixed income, and might struggle to make ends meet. Healthcare costs might add to the financial troubles that older adults face.

Financial issues can lead to many other issues, as well. Malnutrition, healthcare problems, depression, and anxiety are just some of the many concerns that face people who are in poverty. Kathy will want to be on the lookout for issues like these, and she should be ready to help people deal with the problems that can spring from not having enough money.

Another issue that is more common in late adulthood is that of widowhood. As people age, they are more likely to lose a spouse, which can lead to depression and other emotional issues. And while widowhood can happen to both men and women, it often hits women harder because they are more likely to live longer than men. Not only that, some women have centered their identity on their family. When the children have moved on and their mate is gone, some older women can experience a crisis of personality, where they wonder who they are.

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