Change can be hard for all of us, but consider for a moment the depth of change experienced in aging. The elderly encounter changes in health, in self-identity, in their roles and responsibilities and relationships with others. Loss of friends and loved ones becomes more common, along with loss of physical ability and sometimes mental acuity.
One of the best ways to adapt to change is through counseling; yet sadly, senior psychotherapy is disproportionately underutilized. In fact, as few as 3% of licensed psychotherapists have received specialized training in geriatric counseling. There are three main myths surrounding counseling for the elderly that our Phoenix home health agency wants to debunk in order to help more families consider seeking psychological care for the seniors they love:
Myth #1: The elderly are too “set in their ways” to benefit from counseling.
Some of the many beautiful qualities that develop as we age include increased wisdom, maturity, character, and authenticity. While some older adults may exhibit some measure of stubbornness, it’s often a defense mechanism, indicating an underlying issue that should be addressed. A professional counselor can help the senior gently peel away the layers of pain and loss to uncover the root of the problem and provide effective coping skills.
Myth #2: Because the elderly are nearing the end of life, senior psychotherapy isn’t worth the time invested.
The truth is, none of us know how many days we have left to live – and yet we all should have the opportunity to live each of those days to the fullest. Every older adult has a rich history, a story to tell, and struggles that have either been overcome or are continuing to hinder their ability to experience the inner peace and joy they deserve; and senior psychotherapy is a great way to help the elderly come to an acceptance of their past and to set and achieve future goals.
Myth #3: The difficulties experienced by some older adults are insurmountable – and counseling won’t help.
Even with debilitating, chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, a trusted, professional psychotherapist can meet the senior in his or her own reality, providing comfort, reduced feelings of isolation, and ability-appropriate mechanisms to achieve a higher quality of life.
At Nightingale Homecare, we believe in a holistic, whole-person approach to care that addresses both the physical and emotional needs of seniors. Our experienced Phoenix respite care team is on hand to help families find the resources they need, including senior psychotherapy care, in addition to our full range of in-home services such as:
- Skilled nursing care:
- Wound care
- Blood draws
- IV services
- Tube feedings
- And more
- Personal care:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Light housekeeping
- Medication reminders
- And more
- In-home therapy:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Nutrition counseling
- And more
- Highly specialized dementia care
- And many others