Lonely at 70: How Geriatric Counselling Can Help Manage Old Age Troubles
Your Crutch During Tough Times.
As individuals age, they often encounter unique challenges that can impact their mental well-being. Geriatric counselling, also known as elderly counselling or senior therapy, is a specialized form of therapy designed to address the emotional, psychological, and social needs of older adults.
In this article, we will explore the concept of geriatric counselling, understand when it is appropriate to seek such support, delve into the process of geriatric counselling, and highlight the numerous benefits it offers to ageing individuals.
What is Geriatric Counselling?
Geriatric counselling focuses on providing emotional support and guidance to ageing adults who may be facing a range of issues related to their later years. It is a therapeutic approach tailored to meet the unique needs of older adults, taking into account their life experiences, cultural backgrounds, and physical health. Geriatric counsellors are trained professionals who possess the expertise to assist elderly individuals in navigating the challenges associated with ageing.
When Should Someone Seek Geriatric Counselling?
It is crucial to recognize when geriatric counselling can be beneficial for an individual. Here are a few scenarios where seeking geriatric counselling is recommended:
a) Grief and Loss: Aging often comes with the loss of loved ones, friends, or significant life changes. Geriatric counselling can provide support in processing grief, managing emotions, and finding healthy ways to cope.
Statistical data shows that around 30% of older adults experience significant symptoms of grief after the loss of a spouse or close family member (Source: National Institute on Aging).
Mrs Johnson, a 72-year-old widow, sought geriatric counselling at Holistic Living after the passing of her husband. Through counselling sessions, she was able to express her emotions, find comfort in a supportive environment, and gradually move forward in life instead of feeling stuck.
b) Loneliness and Social Isolation: Many older adults experience feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which can have detrimental effects on their mental health. Geriatric counselling aims to address these feelings by helping individuals build social connections, explore community resources, and develop strategies to combat isolation. Group therapy sessions can also provide a supportive environment for individuals to connect with peers facing similar challenges.
c) Adjusting to Retirement: Retirement can bring about feelings of uncertainty, loss of identity, and a sense of purpose. Geriatric counselling can help individuals navigate this transitional period, explore new interests, and establish a fulfilling lifestyle in their retirement years.
Take the real-life example of Gagan. He is a 68-year-old retiree, who experienced a loss of purpose and a decline in self-esteem following retirement. With the help of geriatric counselling, he was able to identify new hobbies, engage in volunteer work, and regain a sense of fulfilment and purpose.
d) Cognitive Decline and Memory Issues: Geriatric counselling can support individuals experiencing cognitive decline or memory-related issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Counsellors employ specialized techniques like reminiscence therapy, which involves recalling positive memories, to promote cognitive stimulation, maintain a sense of identity, and improve overall well-being.
e) Existential Concerns: Aging often leads individuals to contemplate existential questions about the meaning and purpose of life. Geriatric counselling offers a space for individuals to explore these concerns, find personal fulfilment, and cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose in their later years.
f) Chronic Illness or Disability: Geriatric counselling can be instrumental in supporting older adults who are living with chronic illnesses or disabilities. It provides a safe space to express emotions, learn coping strategies, and enhance overall well-being.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15% of adults over the age of 60 live with a mental health disorder, with depression being the most prevalent condition.
Studies indicate that geriatric counselling can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and improve overall quality of life in older adults living with chronic illnesses (Source: Journal of Aging and Health).
What Happens in Geriatric Counselling?
The process of Geriatric counselling is tailored according to the specific needs of the individuals. Here are some common components involved in Geriatric counselling:
a) Assessment and Evaluation: The geriatric counsellor conducts an initial assessment to understand the individual’s concerns, background, and goals. This assessment may include medical history, mental health screenings, and discussions about social support systems.
b) Individualized Treatment Plan: Based on the assessment, the geriatric counsellor collaborates with the individual to develop a tailored treatment plan. This plan may incorporate various therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), supportive counselling, or reminiscence therapy.
c) Therapeutic Interventions: Geriatric counselling sessions may include one-on-one therapy, group therapy, or family therapy, depending on the needs of the individual. Sessions aim to address specific issues, promote emotional well-being, enhance coping skills, and foster resilience.
d) Support and Education: Geriatric counsellors often provide educational resources and support to individuals and their families. This can involve providing information on community resources, teaching coping strategies, and facilitating communication within families.
The Benefits of Geriatric Counselling
Old age is a sensitive period that comes with an end number of issues. It is a time when they need additional attention, care and love. Sadly, in the fast-paced world, they are often neglected, and their mental being is not prioritized enough.
This is where an experienced counsellor can intervene and provide support and guidance to the ageing individuals. Here are a few ways geriatric counselling can be helpful:
a) Emotional Support: It provides a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to express their emotions, fears, and concerns.
b) Coping Strategies: Counselling equips individuals with effective coping strategies to manage life’s challenges and maintain emotional well-being.
c) Improved Relationships: Counselling can help individuals navigate family dynamics, enhance communication, and foster healthier relationships with loved ones.
d) Increased Self-Awareness: Through counselling, older adults can gain a deeper understanding of their own thoughts, emotions, and values, leading to personal growth and self-acceptance.
e) Enhanced Quality of Life: Therapy for older adults contributes to an improved overall quality of life by promoting mental well-being, resilience, and a sense of purpose.
Geriatric counselling plays a vital role in addressing the emotional needs of older adults and promoting their mental well-being. By seeking timely support from trained professionals, aging individuals can navigate life’s challenges, enhance their coping skills, and enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying later life. It is important to recognize the value of geriatric counselling and ensure that the elderly population has access to this specialized form of therapy.
Do you know someone who would benefit from Therapy? Then Call/WhatsApp us today to connect with certified and trusted therapists. Old age is a critical time period and helping someone through it can be life-changing for them.