Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

Art & Alzheimer's: Dementia Awareness Through Photography with Gina Martin

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Art & Alzheimer's: Dementia Awareness Through Photography with Gina Martin

Is Cannabis Use Safe for Older Adults? Interview with Dr. Peter Grinspoon

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Cannabis use, marijuana, and medical marijuana is becoming more and more acceptable and popular among older adults. 

 

In fact, millions of people are finding it useful for chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia, colitis, and a wide variety of medical conditions. This is not, however, without controversy or side effects.

 

I've even heard dementia caregivers giving CBD to their loved ones living with dementia to help manage insomnia and agitation.

 

Admittedly, I am naive when it comes to cannabis use for any age group, and especially for older adults. Not to mention cannabis use with dementia disorders.

 

For answers to some of my burning questions and to help deepen our understanding of cannabis use in older adults, I invited Dr. Peter Grinspoon on the podcast to share with us the pros and cons of cannabis use in older adults, the risks and benefits, and even cannabis use with older adults with...

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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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Combat Ageism and Become an Older Person in Training - with Ashton Applewhite

 

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Since COVID started, I have received several emails from people who care about older adults expressing concern for them. Like, a college professor who reached out to me to express concern that her father, who is a physician, made the decision to leave retirement to return to work in a medical clinic during COVID. She shared with me that she was appalled and went so far as to call his medical practice and complain.

 

There have been countless ageist expressions since the coronavirus started. And the problem with ageism, even well-meaning ageism, is that it has the effect of harming older adults rather than helping them. 

 

The APA Committee on Aging (APA CONA) defines ageism as “stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups based on their age.  It can include prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical...

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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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Enhancing Care for LGTBQ Seniors with SAGE's Tim Johnston, PhD

 

 

 

Get ready for the confetti because it's Pride!!

How do Pride and the Psychology of Aging fit together? Well, let me tell you, there are an estimated more than 3 million LGBTQ folks over 50 living in the US. This number is expected to more than double to 7 million by 2030. Okay, but here's the thing. These are just estimates the numbers are probably higher, but they're estimates because the US Census hasn't captured how many LGBTQ folks actually live in America. Boo.

 

Why is this so important?

In a matter of one month, two older men (one in his 70s and the other in his 80s, each married to women) revealed to me that they were bisexual. They wished to spend time in therapy learning more about themselves, their sexuality, and sexual identity. One of my clients had such little access to information about sexual identity over his lifetime that he takes notes during our sessions.

 

And guess what?! This is not entirely unusual. There are nearly twice as...

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The Toll of Racism on African American Seniors and Tips for Care

blog diversity older adults Jun 10, 2020

With the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, there has been an important spotlight on racial injustice in this country and the toll that these injustices have taken on Black lives.

As a Geropsychologist working in Atlanta, a City in Georgia known for its history of slavery and Civil Rights, many of the African American seniors I work with have experienced indentured servitude, sharecropping, Jim Crow, no voting rights, and segregation (to name only a few). These experiences, coupled with modern-day atrocities and racial injustices, result in cumulative race-related stressors that have a profoundly negatively impact their physical and mental health.

Some of the more striking examples of physical health disparities being related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and more recently, COVID. 
  • Cardiovascular Disease: African Americans have two to three times the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with Whites at any...
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Dementia Rates Highest for African Americans: Tips for Equitable Care - with Dr. Vonetta Dotson

 

 

 

 

Dementia is one of the most important, but often overlooked, health care issues related to older African Americans.

 

In fact, research shows that African Americans are two to three times more likely to develop a dementia disorder (compared to European Americans) and at the same time are less likely to be diagnosed early in the disease process and provided with adequate treatment.

 

The burning question is "WHY?!!".

 

Luckily there are experts, like Dr. Vonetta Dotson, Neuropsychologist, who can help us understand why this is happening and what we can do about it.

 

In this week's interview, Dr. Dotson shares biological, genetic, and social factors that increase the risk for dementia. She also shares what you can do to ensure that your loved ones are getting the best, most equitable and comprehensive health care. AND, she shares tips for keeping your own brain healthy!

 

So, take some time to listen to the podcast now!

 

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Why I Do Antiracist Work & Why You Should, Too

 

 

My heart is heavy this week with all that has been highlighted related to racial injustice and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor…. and the millions of other lives over the centuries taken by racist acts.

 

This week, I talk about why I do antiracist work and why you should, too. 

Racism is associated with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other serious conditions like, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. The stress caused by racism can contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other physical diseases, including dementia.

 

Here's a peak inside the episode:

  • I share surprising statistics on disparities in health and health care due to racism. If the statistics on disparities related to maternal mortality rates for African American women don't compel you to be anti-racist, you may need to check your pulse.
  • There is a mental health toll to having experienced racism as an African American...
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The Best Treatment for Sleep Problems in Elderly Adults - with Dr. Daniel Wachtel

 

 

 

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...

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COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

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