Counseling for Older Adults
Many older adults experience intense loneliness and hopelessness.
Life is Precious at All Ages, and Should Be Lived to Its Fullest.
In an ideal world, we would all spend the latter season of our lives in good health--vacationing, enjoying favorite pastimes, and spending more time with family and friends. But due to circumstances beyond our control, we know that this isn't likely to be everyone's reality. Older adults often become physically or cognitively challenged, finding it increasingly difficult to function day-to-day. And those who lose their independence (ability to drive, live alone safely, etc.) may experience intense loneliness and hopelessness.
Issues that older adults commonly face include: reduced income, loss of siblings/friends, caring for an ill spouse, chronic disease/ pain, unresolved problems or trauma, and coming to terms with mortality.
What Are the Signs that Something is Wrong?
Sadness and anxiety are normal human emotions. But symptoms that never seem to resolve--or in fact, worsen--could indicate depression, anxiety or both. Here is a partial list of the tell-tale signs:
Depression or Anxiety:
Insomnia, or sleeping too much
Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless or on edge
Aches, muscle tension, or gastrointestinal pain that cannot be clearly explained
Dread, panic, racing heart
Unable to control worry or fear
Anger, aggressiveness, irritability
Sadness, hopelessness, and frequent crying
Unusual or self-destructive behavior
It's important to realize that suffering from clinical depression or anxiety disorders is not a normal part of aging. Although it can be linked with diabetes and heart disease, depression, as well as anxiety, can be successfully treated, allowing older adults to fully enjoy their lives.
How Does Counseling Help?
Working with a therapist allows older adults to explore the causes of their emotional pain, and gain perspective, understanding, and solutions. A therapist can also help them to learn:
Ways to manage their stress and emotions in healthy ways.
How to manage/overcome depression, anxiety, grief, panic, etc.,
To overcome cognitive impairment that is caused by emotional distress.
To discover new resources for living a gratifying life.
If you recognize symptoms in yourself or someone you know, seek help. Life is a precious gift, and can be lived optimally even under adverse circumstances.