Download My FREE COVID-19 WELLNESS GUIDE for Older Adults

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

Why I Do Anti-Racist Work & You Should, Too

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Why I Do Anti-Racist Work & You Should, Too

The Best Treatment for Sleep Problems in Elderly Adults

 

 

 

You may be surprised to hear that the best sleep aid for older adults with insomnia is not a medication. It's a type of psychotherapy, called CBT-I for Insomnia, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

 

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders experienced by older adults. Insomnia essentially means that a person has trouble falling or staying asleep, or experiences non-restorative sleep. This, of course, can lead to issues during the day like cognitive problems and mood and emotional issues.

 

Did you know that as many as 50% of older adults complain about difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? And in fact, older adults (people 65 and older) are more likely to experience insomnia than younger or middle aged adults.

 

But here's the thing... Sleep problems in elderly adults are treatable. In as little as one to ten (1-10 sessions) of CBT-I, older adults sleep better!

 

Today's guest, Dr. Daniel Wachtel is a...

Continue Reading...

Expert Tips for Helping Suicidal Older Adults

 

 

 

Suicide is an important topic when it comes to older adults. Here's why.

 

White men over 85 have the highest rate of suicide in the country (more than any other age group). Does this come as a surprise to you?

 

It's also important to know that suicide attempts in older adults are more likely to result in death than younger adults due to the following reasons:

  • Older adults plan more carefully and use more lethal means
  • Older adults are less likely to be discovered and rescued
  • Less likely to recover from a failed attempt

 

And here's where you come in!  In today's episode, I share exactly what to say and do to help the older adults in your life who may be suicidal

 

A quick but important disclaimer as we get started:

I will be talking about suicide and suicide prevention and in doing this I'm going to be sharing a story that was published in the New York times in December 2019. I know that suicide is a very sensitive topic and...

Continue Reading...

Older Adults and Depression: What to Know and How to Help (Ep #008)

 
 
 

 
 
I recently received a letter from a listener:

"Dear Dr. Koepp, My mom has recently become depressed. She's 94 and lives alone. She's seen her internist and is on 10 milligrams of Lexapro. My family and I aren't sure what we should be doing (if anything). Where should we go from here?"

 

In today's episode of the Psychology of Aging Podcast, I talk about older adults and depression. I share what you need to know and how you can help.

And here's why this is so important.

Depression is the most prevalent mental health condition among older adults.

Unfortunately, depression in late life often goes undetected and untreated largely due to the false belief that with age comes depression.

 

Here's a peak inside the episode:

  • [03:46] Many families don't know where to start when it comes to their older loved ones and depression. I share where to begin when you notice signs of depression.
  • [06:04] Depression is not a normal part of aging. So,...
Continue Reading...

Grief and Loss During COVID (Part 2): Forced to Grieve Without a Funeral - Ep #006

 

 

 

 

Lauren Dykovitz was sitting vigil by her mom's bedside while she was on hospice with end stage Alzheimer's Disease during COVID. Lauren would imagine people lining up out the door at her mom's funeral and her biggest fear was that her mom would die during COVID and wouldn't get the funeral she and her family had dreamed of ... she was right.

 

I've created this two-part series on grief to give public affirmation and acknowledgement that there are many of you out there who are grieving. Today's podcast is my way of honoring you and your loved ones. And to make sure that nobody is alone with grief and bereavement during COVID. 

 
In today's podcast to help us understand grief during COVID, I have the privilege of interviewing Lauren Dykovitz. If you've been following me for a while, you'll remember that I interviewed Lauren for my Caring for Aging Parents Show on January 15, 2020. Lauren's mom sadly passed away at the beginning of April due...

Continue Reading...

Grief and Loss During COVID (Part 1): Anticipatory Grief and Ambiguous Loss - Ep #005

 

 

 

 

Has your older loved one been in the hospital since the Coronavirus Pandemic and not allowed to have family by their side to comfort and advocate for them? 

 

This experience is incredibly upsetting for families... because in times of suffering and illness, it's healthy to reach to others for closeness. In fact, being physically close with our loved ones when we're sick actually provides comfort and helps us to heal.

 

This is a cruel irony indeed. On one hand, physical comfort is healing and protective... and on the other hand, with COVID, physical closeness can cause us harm. Social distancing while our loved ones are sick, has taken away one of our healthiest coping and soothing strategies.

 

Here are just a couple of statements I've heard from the people I work with. Can you relate?

 

"My aging parent needs me. They're not going to have anybody there to advocate for them in the hospital."

 

"I've been married 60 years!...

Continue Reading...

Mental Wellness Tips for Older Adults During COVID-19 (Ep #002)

 

 LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Episode #002

 


 

With social distancing in full effect, older adults are encouraged to maintain their distance from others.  But this can have a major impact on your quality of life.

It's essential that during the COVID-19 pandemic that older adults stay physically safe and mentally well. Research shows that older adults who engage in meaningful and productive activities live longer, experience a better mood, and maintain a sense of purpose in their life.

To promote wellness for older adults, I have created a wellness guide to help older adults stay physically safe and mentally well during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

1. Stay connected with friends and family

Social distancing is important in maintaining your physical health and well-being in the time of COVID-19. And this is an important public health recommendation that we all need to follow.

The downside of social distancing, however, is that it increases the risk for...

Continue Reading...

Welcome to the Psychology of Aging Podcast (Ep #001)

 

Welcome to the first episode of...

The Psychology of Aging Podcast!

(Episode #001)

 


 

 
 
Did you know that people over 65 make up the fastest growing age group in the United States?
 
In fact, every day between 2011 and 2030, 10,000 people in the US will turn 65. Every DAY for 19 years, 10,000 people turn 65! Think about this for a minute.
 
The other day, my neighbor and I were talking, he told me, “today is my 65th birthday!” And my first thought was “wow, there are 9,999 other people celebrating their 65th birthday today, too!” So, to the 10,000 people turning 65 today, I say, “Happy Birthday! I hope this is the best year yet!”
 
Most people 65 and older will tell you that they don't feel old. The baby boom generation (people born between 1946-1964) are on average the healthiest and most active generation to begin reaching older adulthood. So, it makes sense that they are not happy with being...
Continue Reading...

Support Resources for Caregivers

 

If you’re caring for an older adult and you’ve had to change your routine in the last few weeks with senior centers, doctors' offices, and adult day programs closing due to COVID-19, you might find yourself experiencing more caregiver stress and burnout.

 

Last week, I met with a caregiver who was teleworking from home and whose husband with dementia was unexpectedly home at the same time. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, his home health aide would come to his home 3 days a week and he would attend an adult day program 5 days a week. These resources would help his wife (the caregiver) to continue to work and have a break from caregiving, so that she wouldn't have to give up her whole life in exchange for caregiving. But, since the Coronavirus Pandemic has started, his adult day program has closed, and his home health aide has been sick. As a result, the caregiver is experiencing lots of stress and overwhelm trying to figure out how to work and caregive...

Continue Reading...

Scared During COVID-19? Look for the Good!

 

With cities across the nation facing lock-down and Coronavirus rates increasing, people are experiencing higher rates of fear and anxiety.

To add to the tension, we've been separated from our broader support networks due to social distancing, like places of worship, senior centers, and adult day programs.

And don't even get me started on economic concerns. Last week my recently retired friend told me that she emailed her former employer asking for work opportunities due to concerns about how the drop in the stock market is affecting her retirement planning.

This is a scary and uncertain time for us all.

When we're scared and uncertain, it can help to spend a little time "looking for the good".

I'm devoting this week's blog to a few of the good things happening in society that warm my heart and remind me of the connection that I have to the greater good in humanity - see this as looking for the good in the greater good.

 

5 *Good* Things That Are Helping Me To Find...

Continue Reading...

Social Distancing Doesn't Have to Mean Social Isolation for Older Adults

With the Coronavirus affecting adults over 60 at greater levels than other age groups, many older adults are electing to “self-isolate” or are actually on “lock down” at long-term care or skilled nursing communities. 

 

Social distancing and protecting the most “at risk” populations (i.e., adults 60 and older) is the current recommendation. And, I will do everything in my power to follow this guideline. 

 

The downside of social distancing, however,  is that it increases loneliness and isolation among a group of folks who are already at risk of social isolation- older adults, and more specifically older adults with chronic illness. 

 

What is the risk of social isolation?

There is a well established body of research linking social isolation and loneliness to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, dementia, and even death. 

...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5
Close

Download My Free

COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

You'll get tips for staying mentally and physically well during the Coronavirus Pandemic.