Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT

Facts About Aging and Alcohol: Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Older Adults & How to Help

 

 

Many older adults decide to stop drinking as they get older (YAY!).

There's an ageist idea circling around society, however,  that suggests that "older adults can't change". This idea is not only false, it's incredibly harmful to older adults who may just believe this erroneous statement and never get the help they need when it comes to substance use disorders and other mental health conditions.

Some researchers and mental health and aging groups talk about the invisibility of alcohol use among older adults, explaining that even though the number of older adults with alcohol problems is on the rise, alcohol use disorders are too often unrecognized and untreated. Some reasons for this have to do with symptoms of problematic drinking often masquerading as other health conditions in older adults like diabetes, dementia, and depression.

To complicate matters, many older adults don't seek professional help for what they often consider a "private matter" and...

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Living and Aging Well with HIV: The Need for Better Mental Health Care with Mark Brennan-Ing

 

 

More than half of the people in the US living with HIV are 50 years old and older. With the use of antiretroviral medications, people who were diagnosed with HIV decades ago have been able to live well into older adulthood.  This is great news. 

 

Sadly, stigma due to age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status contributes to poor mental health and physical health. 

 

In this interview, Dr. Mark Brennan-Ing, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College, the City University of New York is on the Psychology of Aging podcast sharing important information about:

  • HIV among people aged 50 and over
  • The social, cultural, and medical reasons that adults 55 and older live with HIV longer before getting a diagnosis
  • Reasons why people living with HIV might be experience depression at 5 times that of the general population
  • What we can do to help meet the medical and...
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Older Adults Caring for Adult Children with Autism with Lois Shingler

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Over 75% of adults with developmental disabilities live at home with family. There is a growing population of aging caregivers of adults with developmental disabilities, in part due to increased lifespan and extensive waiting lists for residential services (The Arc Autism Now).  

 

In honor of World Autism Day, today's podcast episode focuses on older adults who are caring for adult children with autism or other Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDDs).

 

In this interview, Lois Shingler, an attorney and co-founder of Peter and Paul’s Place shares her experience of being 70 years old while caring for Paul, her 45 year old son with Autism. She also provides several tips for other aging parents caring for their adult children with IDDs. Here's a peek inside the episode: 

  • [10:45] Lois describes her experience of entering older adulthood while caring for Paul, her 45...
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Lower Caregiver Stress with Proven Resilience Strategies - with William Haley, PhD

 

 

 

We have a narrative in society that says that caregivers have more depression and stress, spend their caregiving years suffering, only to lead to premature death. Our guest today shares a more balanced and factual narrative about caregivers.

Yes, many caregivers do indeed have increased rates of stress and depression. Research shows, however, that caregivers are remarkably resilient and actually DO NOT have a reduced lifespan as a result of caregiving.

Our guest today, Dr. William Haley, Professor of Aging Studies, reveals how caregiving actually affects caregivers and shares several resilience strategies you can use (starting today) to bolster your resilience and lower your stress. Listen until the end for all the great tips and strategies.

 

Here's a peak inside my interview with Dr. William Haley:

  • [04:02] Dr. Haley shares his story: Where he's from and what inspired him to study aging and caregiving.
  • [8:23]  Learn about a stress and coping model...
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Expert Tips for Finding Senior Living with a Mental Health Condition

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When he was in his late 80s, Candy Cohn's father unintentionally stopped taking medication for a long-standing bipolar disorder and experienced a significant mental health crisis requiring hospitalization and intensive treatment. It was following this episode that Candy knew that she needed to help her older parents find a senior living community that would provide more continuity and medication management and offer opportunities for a better quality of life than they were getting at home. But, where to start?

 

I have witnessed many older adults living with significant mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, at times struggle to find senior living communities.

 

There are some mental health conditions that are expected in assisted living environments, like depression and anxiety, which often occur with dementia and medical conditions. In fact, one in three residents takes a medication for a...

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Older Adults and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: 5 Proven Strategies

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When we think of older adults during COVID, images of older adults living in long-term care communities sheltering in place with hands pressed against windows trying to connect with loved ones circle in our heads.

2020 was a year of incredible hardship and pain for many people and especially for many older adults and their families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults have the greatest risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if they’re diagnosed with COVID-19. This has been one of the most heartbreaking fall outs of the pandemic. 
 

(Images retrieved on 1/5/21 from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html)


We also know that many older families living with dementia or other significant illness during COVID-19 have been hit especially hard with closures of adult day...

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HIV, Mental Health, and Older Adults: Must Know Statistics

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In honor of world AIDS day on 12/1, I am devoting today’s episode to HIV and Aging. And, yes. HIV is an important topic when it comes to aging. An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2018. 

 

More than half of the adults living in the US with HIV are 50 years old and older.

 

With the use of antiretroviral medications, people who were diagnosed with HIV decades ago have been able to live well into older adulthood.

 

1 out of 6 people who are newly diagnosed with HIV are 50 and older

 

 

 

CDC also tells us some important factors that particularly affect older adults when it comes to HIV:

  • Older adults and their providers are less likely to discuss sexual or drug use behaviors. Health care providers may not ask patients aged 50 and older about these issues or test them for HIV. Also, older people may not consider themselves to be at risk for HIV, may be...
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Psychological Assessment and Therapy with Older Adults: What to Expect in a First Session

 

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A couple of weeks ago, I got together (over Zoom, of course) with my dear friend, Psychologist, Dr. Quiera Lige. She shared with me that she had an older family member who would benefit from therapy, but that this family member had not known any other people in their generation to go to to therapy and didn't know what to expect. She suggested that I create a podcast episode about what therapy actually looks like when you go to therapy as an older adult.

 

For older adults, there is a lot of stigma surrounding what it means to need mental health care and as a result, older adults do not tend to seek out therapy when they need it.

 

Older adults continue to experience mental health concerns as they age. Studies show that when older adults do engage in mental health care, the vast majority of the time they get better.

If we can help older adults who are struggling with depression, anxiety, insomnia, grief, compounded...

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Older Adults and Suicide: What You Can Do to Help

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In honor of Suicide Prevention Week, I'm devoting today's podcast episode to older adults and suicide. More specifically, what puts older adults at risk for suicide and how you can help.

 

You may be surprised to hear that older White men over 85 are at the greatest risk and have the highest rates of suicide - more than any other age group.

 

But, here’s the thing, older adults are too often left out of conversations when it comes to simple things like assessing for depression, assessing for suicide, and then connecting older adults to the appropriate mental health care. As a result, most older adults with mental health concerns are treated in primary care settings, rather than mental health settings.

 

Here's where you come in. In today's episode, I share facts about older adults and suicide, including what increases risk for suicide in older adults, and several strategies for helping older adults at risk...

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My 94 Year Old Mom Has Depression. Where Do We Go From Here?

I recently received a letter from a listener of my podcast: "Dear Dr. Koepp, My mom has recently become depressed. She's 94 and lives alone. My family and I aren't sure what we should be doing (if anything). Where should we go from here?"

 

I have tremendous respect for this listener for reaching out to learn more about depression in older adulthood.

 

Let me start by saying that depression is NOT a normal part of aging, but 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.

This is why it is so important to learn about depression and have tools and resources to help older adults to get treated for depression if and when they need it.

 

What are the rates of depression in older adults?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1% to 5% of people 65 and older living in the...

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COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

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