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Mental Health and the Elderly
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC

Summary
 Normal aging is a gradual process that ushers in some physical decline, such as decreased sensory abilities (e.g., vision and hearing) and decreased pulmonary and immune function
 Decline in cognitive capacity with aging is partly preventable
 Older persons display flexibility in behavior and attitudes and the ability to grow intellectually and emotionally
 Losses with aging include Social status, self-esteem, physical capacities, death of friends and loved ones
 Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorders in older adults
 There are many causes of cognitive impairment besides Alzheimers.
 Mild cognitive impairment is not unusual and generally does not meet accepted criteria for Alzheimers Schizophrenia in Late Life
 Focus on the person's strengths and how they can remain as independent as possible
 Encourage quality sleep, daily routines and proper nutrition
 Cognitive behavioral and problem solving therapies have both been found to be effective.
 Older persons clear medication from their system more slowly and are more susceptible to side effects of many medications.
 Day treatment/drop in centers are available throughout the country for respite care as well as to facilitate interaction and allow caregivers to work
 Caregivers often have their own emotional, financial and social needs that need to be addressed when caring for a parent or spouse.

Video by Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes on integrative behavioral health approaches including counseling techniques and skills for improving mental health and reducing mental illness.

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