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Psychological Assessment and Therapy with Older Adults: What to Expect in a First Session

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Psychological Assessment and Therapy with Older Adults: What to Expect in a First Session

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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When Caregivers Have Chronic Medical Illness of Their Own with Dr. Kandi Schmidt

 

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As a society, we have so many unrealistic expectations for caregivers. As much as you hate to admit it, you may have even caught yourself thinking I can't believe that she moved her father into a nursing home, or I would never have made THAT decision.

 

We have so many judgments about the way caregivers "should" go about providing care. This, in turn, makes caregivers less likely to ask for help and more likely to shoulder the demands of caregiving all on their own.  This leaves caregivers feeling invisible and as if their needs are less important than everyone else's. Can you relate?

 

What if the caregiver has chronic and life threatening illnesses of their own? How does this change the caregiving dynamic?

 

To help answer this question, I invited my dear friend, Dr. Kandi Schmidt on the podcast to share her wisdom about this complex situation of caring for an older loved one when you yourself have...

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5 Facts You Should Know About Dementia Caregiving

caregiving dementia podcast Aug 18, 2020

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I hear from caregivers pretty regularly that"nobody really understands how hard caring for a loved one with dementia is!"

So, I decided to share some facts about dementia caregivers in the hopes that it will provide some understanding and support for the dementia caregiver's journey!

 

 

If you're caring for somebody with dementia, I see you and I value what you're doing. Please, please, please take care of yourself because we know that depression and anxiety and stress and strain will not only affect your, your sense of self and well-being, it will affect your health.

 

 At the end of this episode (and at the bottom of this page), I share some resources for self-care. So, read (or listen) until the end!

 

Here's a peak inside the episode:

  • [01:35] Fact #1: 48% of all caregivers (of any condition) provide care for a loved one with dementia.
  • [02:13] Fact #2: The majority of people living with dementia live with a...
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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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COVID-19 Health Disparities among African American and Latinx Seniors - with Dr. Monique Williams

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With COVID rates on the rise, and African American and Latinx folks 2-3 times more likely to have COVID than White Americans, I wanted to bring an expert on the podcast today to share a little bit about why this health disparity exists and what we can do to reduce this disparity and strengthen our community in the midst of it all.

 

Before we get started, I want to acknowledge that COVID is lasting longer than many of us anticipated. If you're an older adult, or caring for an older adult during COVID, download the free COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults. It'll help you weather this storm.

Here’s a look inside my interview with Dr. Monique Williams:

  • [05:04] Dr. Williams describes her person-centered approach to practicing medicine in outpatient primary care with older adults.
  • [09:55] For most of us, our life's passion is not realized until after Kindergarten, but this was not the case for Dr. Williams. Dr....
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Is Dementia a Normal Part of Aging?

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You’ve heard people say “she’s doing great! She’s old, but she’s all there!” or “he’s 90 and still so sharp!

 

These statements about older adults make the assumption that with aging comes serious cognitive problems, like dementia! But, these ideas are actually not supported by science and in fact, are a myth.

 

In today’s episode, I answer the question...

 

Is Dementia a Normal Part of Aging?

 
Here's a peak in side the episode:

  • [02:28] If dementia is not a normal part of aging, what exactly is dementia?
  • [05:00] Dementia is an umbrella term. Underneath the umbrella are a variety of dementia disorders, like Alzheimer's disease and many others.
  • [08:12] In the early stages, dementia can be hard to diagnose. Learn more about how dementia gets diagnosed here.
  • [09:37] Now that you know that dementia is not a normal part of aging. How...
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7 Benefits of Early Diagnosis of Dementia

 

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Witnessing memory problems in your loved one can be really scary. You may wonder what's causing the memory problems and you might find yourself fearing the worst.
 
Over the past 17 years working with older adults and their families, I've seen many individuals and families put off getting an evaluation when there are memory concerns for three common reasons:
 
  1. You might see memory problems and think, "well, my loved one is aging, it's normal to have memory problems." (Hear me when I say that there are some minor changes that happen in the brain with age, but significant memory loss and dementia are NOT normal aspects of aging.)
  2. There is a lot of uncertainty, fear, and grief that happens when we're diagnosed with a serious, chronic, and terminal illness, which dementia is. As a result, you may want to avoid that pain by NOT pursuing an evaluation for a dementia diagnosis.
  3. I often hear people say, "...
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5 Next Steps if You're Noticing Signs of Memory Loss

 

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Last week, I talked about the 10 "must know" memory loss warning signs. If you missed that episode, listen to this one, then go back and watch that one. Today I'm going to share the 5 steps to take if you're worried that your loved one has memory loss.

 

Memory loss and memory problems that get in the way of daily life are NOT a normal part of aging. So, please take your concerns seriously by learning more about the 10 must know memory loss warning signs and which steps to take when you're concerned.

 

Here's a peak inside the episode:

  • [02:17] Next Step #1:  Write down your observations of memory loss incidents. Download the 10 must know memory loss warning signs checklist that I include in my memory loss guide and use it to help you keep track of your observations.
  • [04:09] Next Step #2: The second step if you're noticing signs of memory loss, is to pay attention to the timeline. Write down...
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Know the 10 Memory Loss Warning Signs

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It's normal for an older adult to forget where they put their keys, look all over their glasses then realize they're wearing them or have trouble remembering someone's name. But there comes a time when memory loss can be really scary and concerning.

 

In today's episode of the Psychology of Aging Podcast, I share 10 Memory Loss Warning Signs to let you know that you might want to start the conversation with your loved one about memory loss and make an appointment with their doctor for further evaluation. 

 

Let me start by saying that there are common changes in the brain that come with age and growing older. And then there are changes with the brain that are not common and are more concerning.


I'll discuss the difference between normal changes in the brain that happen with age versus when to be concerned about memory loss. I'll also review the 10 memory loss warning signs to be looking out for with the older adults in...

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