Mental health care for seniors is a hot topic today, and with good reason. According to CDC, less than 5% of adults aged 65 and over had received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional.
But what does this mean for therapists? How can you improve mental health care for seniors in your practice? Here are some of the ways in which you can do so. Longevity Live Paid Content.
Use Technology to Make Therapy Accessible
Technology can make therapy more accessible, convenient, affordable, and effective. For example, you can use it to offer online counseling, an excellent option for seniors living in rural areas where access to mental health professionals may be limited.
Online counseling also makes it possible to work with counselors who aren’t physically located nearby. You can find a therapist who specializes in your particular needs or concerns without driving an hour or more from home to see them.
As technology advances with wearable devices that track heart rate, blood pressure, and other physiological indicators of stress levels, therapists have become increasingly interested. It’s about how these data could inform treatment approaches for seniors who suffer from anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
Make Sure Therapy Is a Safe and Comfortable Place for Seniors
You can do many things to ensure your office is a comfortable and safe place for seniors. First, make sure the office is well-lit, clean, and neat. It will help set a positive tone. Next, avoid loud colors and patterns, as they may be too overwhelming for some people. Use soft colors like blues or greens that are calming to the eye and don’t create an uncomfortable feeling in the patient’s mind.
When it comes to furniture, several things should be considered, like does it look sturdy enough? Does it feel comfortable? Can you sit on it long enough without getting tired or experiencing pain?
Be Aware of Cultural Issues That May Affect Seniors
Your clients’ cultural backgrounds and gender may affect how comfortable they talk about mental health issues. Just as there are many religions, languages, and cultures, there are other ways of thinking about mental illness.
Seniors who grew up in a more reserved culture may also be uncomfortable discussing personal matters with therapists of the opposite gender, especially if they believe that doing so would dishonor their elders. In some Asian countries, for example, therapists are often consulted by members of their extended family rather than directly by the person with mental health issues.
Educate Families About Treatment Options So They Can Offer Support
According to PAHO, elders with mental health disorders are expected to double by 2030. As a therapist, it’s important to educate families about the treatment options available to their loved ones.
The goal here is to help seniors find the proper treatment and encourage family members to become active participants in their loved one’s mental health care journey.
When family members understand more about what’s happening inside their senior’s head and body, they can offer more tangible support. It might mean helping your senior set goals for therapy or reminding them why they are working so hard at staying well. It might also mean helping your senior get better at communicating with others.
Be Sure Your Practice Management Software Is Optimized
As an aging population becomes a more significant part of the patient base, therapists need to be sure that their behavioral health practice management software is optimized for their patients’ needs. Seniors are a growing demographic and have many unique needs.
Seniors often struggle with staying organized and keeping track of everything related to their healthcare needs, like keeping track of appointments, making sure they’re taking medications correctly, understanding how much insurance will cover, and submitting claims on time.
Practice management software can help therapists monitor their patient’s progress better and send them timely reminders for follow-up appointments.
Therapy for Seniors Can Be a Great Tool for Seniors’ Overall Health Care
Therapy can be an excellent tool for seniors. It’s a way for them to manage their mental health and deal with any issues. It can also improve the overall quality of life, which means that if you see a therapist regularly, there’s a good chance you’ll live longer and feel better every day.
Therapy can help seniors with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Suppose they suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease. In that case, therapy might also help those conditions improve or even prevent them from worsening by teaching them how to care for themselves better.
In conclusion, seniors are a growing demographic in the United States. It has led to increased research into the mental health of older adults and how we can improve treatment for this ever-increasing group. As we’ve seen, many mental health disorders are often overlooked in senior care facilities because they are not always considered a priority concern relative to other medical conditions such as dementia or stroke.
According to the National Council on Aging, 18% of elders over 65 commit suicide. You must address these issues, so seniors can live well into their golden years without experiencing undue stress or anxiety that could lead to depression or even suicide if left untreated.