Helping you become all that you are capable of becoming!



Overview of Mental Health Needs of Older Adults

A Short Manual from ITTI


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2008 published a book entitled: Retool for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce. In that book IOM addressed caring for the growing elderly population and the challenges they posed to the physical and mental health communities. They included the reality of geriatric syndromes such as falls and malnutrition which often lead to acute health care problems. They also addressed the fact that many older adults also suffer from a range of cognitive impairments that can impact their ability to perform as active participants in their own care. They also demonstrated the older adults have complex medical and mental conditions because they suffer from a range of ailments, including chronic conditions such as hypertension and congestive heart failure, which require ongoing care and active management from multiple providers simultaneously (IOM, 2008).

IOM presented other projections of percentage of elderly with Chronic conditions:

  1. Pain Related: The proportion of older adults with self-reported, doctor-diagnosed arthritis will have risen from 34 percent in 2005 to 48 percent in 2050 (Fontaine et al., 2007).
  2. Diabetes Health Conditions: The prevalence of diabetes among older adults will have risen from 5 million in 2005 to 10.6 million in 2025 and to 16.8 million in 2050 (Boyle, et al., 2001).
  3. Diminished Health and Mental Health functioning: 7.7 million people will have Alzheimer’s disease in 2030, up from 4.9 million in 2007 (Alzheimer’s Association, 2007)
  4. Limitations in Activities of Daily Living (ADL): 26 million of the 75 million older adults in 2040 will have limitations in at least on ADL, 16 million will have on ADL limitation and 3 million will be institutionalized (Waidmann & Liu, 2000).

IOM concluded in their 2008 review of the geriatric training needs in the health field that each specialty which works with the aged must have specific competencies which enhance the well-being of seniors (IOM, 2008). Specifically, the Council on Social Work Education surveyed social workers about the competencies that geriatric social workers and other types of social workers need in order to care for older patients effectively (Rosen et al. 2000). The most significant competencies identified which mental health therapists need to gain training in were:

  • Knowledge of the physical, social, and psychological changes of aging
  • Knowledge of the diversity of attitudes about aging
  • Use of case management skills to get access to needed resources
  • Collaboration with other health professionals
  • Identification of one’s own biases towards aging
  • Respect of diverse cultural and ethnic needs of the aging population (Rosen et al., 2000).

Loneliness and health implications for the elderly

Loneliness presents a profound public health threat akin to smoking and obesity, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy warned in an advisory issued Tuesday May 2, 2023 that aims to rally Americans to spend more time with each other in an increasingly divided and digital society.

The risk of premature death posed by social disconnection is similar to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than obesity and physical inactivity, according to a review of research on social connection. And socially connected people live longer.

Loneliness can lead to chronic stress, which in turn causes inflammation that damages tissues and blood vessels and is associated with chronic conditions, experts say. Isolation and frayed social connections could make it harder to maintain or develop healthy habits such as exercise and good nutrition.

Murthy said half of U.S. adults experience loneliness, which has consequences for mental and physical health, including a greater risk of depression, anxiety — and, perhaps more surprisingly, heart disease, stroke and dementia.

The threat of Loneliness can prove deadly

The risk of premature death posed by social disconnection is similar to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than obesity and physical inactivity, according to a review of research on social connection. And socially connected people live longer.

Loneliness can lead to chronic stress, which in turn causes inflammation that damages tissues and blood vessels and is associated with chronic conditions, experts say. Isolation and frayed social connections could make it harder to maintain or develop healthy habits such as exercise and good nutrition.

Research shows loneliness and isolation are most prevalent in people who are in poor health, struggling financially or living alone. Strikingly, older adults have the highest rates of social isolation, but young adults are almost twice as likely to report feeling lonely as senior citizens do.

Probably the most effective way to reduce loneliness is to take more care of the people in our lives. Therapists working with Aging Seniors need to put caring for people front and center so that our fragile elderly citizens will feel less lonely but also they will be more moral, more justice-minded and healthier (Murthy, 2023).

Up to 40% of older adults feel lonely reports Dr Amit Shah, Geriatrician, Mayo Clinic in Arizona (2024). He goes on to say that loneliness can occur in all age groups, but people over age 60 have been shown to have higher incidences of both loneliness and social isolation. Some people can be surrounded by a crowd but still feel lonely because Dr Shah says that they are not experiencing good connections. Social isolation measures how people interact with each other and genuinely connect. It has been shown in his Mayo Clinic practice that there are health risks associated with loneliness including depression, anxiety and increased risk of suicide, premature death, dementia, strokes, heart attacks and other chronic health risks. Dr Shah emphasizes that health risks of lack of social can be just as high as the health risks of obesity, smoking, physical inactivity or excessive alcohol consumption (Office of Surgeon General, 2023)

A Model Program for Wellness Enhancement that Lessened Loneliness for Older Adults

What this program conducted in Independent Living Facilities accomplished:

• A team of counselors developed a wellness coaching program that was distinctive due to its use of a novel underlying wellness framework, structured curriculum, and incorporation of group coaching.

• The program resulted in positive changes to resident health satisfaction, physical quality of life (QOL), psychological QOL, loneliness, relatedness, competence, and sense of purpose.

• Benefits related to psychological QOL and loneliness were still present at 1-month follow-up.

Applications of study findings

• Wellness coaching may be an effective strategy to expand wellness offerings provided to older adults residing in independent living communities.

• Staff members of the facilities who received a standardized wellness coaching curriculum were well-received as coaches, which may provide independent living communities with a convenient and cost-effective approach to providing wellness coaching. (Fullen, et al., 2023).

Impact of Ageism

Ageism is defined as discrimination against older people because of negative and inaccurate stereotypes—and it’s so ingrained in our culture that we often don’t even notice. Most organizations now have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) departments to tackle issues such as racism and gender bias. Even in those departments, age bias is seldom on the radar. It is clear, however, that ageism has a host of negative effects, for people’s physical and mental well-being and society as a whole. What’s more, the negative stereotypes that fuel ageism often get aging all wrong (Weir, 2023).

Ageism is a stubborn prejudice. People of all ages show bias against older adults, though the way they express it changes over the life span. Among younger people, the preference for other young adults is more explicit. In older adults, that preference becomes more implicit (Chopin & Giasson, 2017). The attitudes that underlie age bias are often rooted in falsehoods. While it is true that the risk of some chronic diseases and dementia increases with age, most older adults maintain quite good health and cognitive functioning.

There is a substantial body of research indicating that age stereotypes influence older adults’ health and well-being. For instance, older adults’ perceptions of aging are associated with memory performance, hearing decline, developing Alzheimer’s symptoms, and dying from respiratory or cardiovascular illnesses. In fact, research has found that even after controlling for age, gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness, and functional health, older adults with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging (Fullen, 2018).

The Dangers of Myths about Older Adults

APA (2023) identified the following Myths and Facts about older adults:

Myth: Dementia is an inevitable part of aging. Fact: Most older adults are cognitively intact.

Myth: Older adults have higher rates of mental illness than younger adults, especially depression. Fact: Older adults tend to have lower rates of depression than younger adults.

Myth: Older adults are a homogeneous group. Fact: The aging population is a highly heterogeneous group.

Myth: Most older adults are frail and ill. Fact: Most older adults have good functional health.

Myth: Older adults have no interest in sex or intimacy. Fact: Most older adults have meaningful interpersonal and sexual relationships.

Myth: Older adults are inflexible and stubborn. Fact: Most older adults have the same personality traits as at a younger age (American Psychological Association, 2023).

It is important when working with aging seniors that therapist do not get caught in going down the dangerous path of agists’ beliefs in the myths about older adults and thus not taking their mental health issues seriously. This is just an unfortunate example of how agism interferes in getting aging seniors the mental health needs they have.

Researchers and activists are drawing on science to reframe attitudes toward aging. In 2020, APA adopted a new Resolution on Ageism (PDF, 127KB) that recognizes age as a risk factor for discrimination, encourages more emphasis on aging in psychology training, and advances a more productive public narrative about the benefits of longer life spans. The question is, what can we do as individuals and also as a society to promote more positive aging?

Ageist attitudes can take multiple forms, sometimes discreet and often without intentional malice. Even persons with severe dementia respond with behavioral resistance when spoken to in an infantilizing way. There are many inaccurate stereotypes of older adults that can contribute to negative biases and affect the delivery of psychological services. For example, stereotypes include the views that

(a) with age inevitably comes dementia;

(b) older adults have high rates of mental illness, particularly depression;

(c) older adults are inefficient in the workplace;

(d) most older adults are frail and ill;

(e) older adults are socially isolated;

(f) older adults have no interest in sex or intimacy; and

(g) older adults are inflexible and stubborn.

These stereotypes are not accurate, since research has found that the vast majority of older adults are cognitively intact, have lower rates of depression than younger persons, are adaptive and in good functional health, and have meaningful interpersonal and sexual relationships. In fact, many older adults adapt successfully to life transitions and continue to evidence personal and interpersonal growth. Older adults themselves can also harbor negative age stereotypes, and these negative age stereotypes have been found to predict an array of adverse outcomes such as worse physical performance, worse memory performance, and reduced survival. Subgroups of older adults may hold culturally consistent beliefs about aging processes that are different from mainstream biomedical and Western conceptions of aging. It is helpful for therapists to take into account these differences when addressing an individual’s specific needs.

Negative stereotypes can become self-fulfilling prophecies and adversely affect health care providers’ attitudes and behaviors toward older adult clients. For example, stereotypes can lead health care providers to misdiagnose disorders, inappropriately lower their expectations for the improvement of older adult clients (so-called “therapeutic nihilism”; and delay preventive actions and treatment. Providers may also misattribute older adults’ report of treatable depressive symptoms (e.g., lethargy, decreased appetite, anhedonia) to aspects of normative aging. Some therapists unfamiliar with facts about aging may assume that older adults are too old to change or are less likely than younger adults to benefit from psychosocial therapies.

What may seem like discriminatory behavior by some health providers toward older adults may be more a function of lack of familiarity with aging issues than discrimination based solely on age. For example, many therapists still believe that with aging, those with schizophrenia do not show symptom improvement. However, research on older adults with schizophrenia reveals that positive symptoms of schizophrenia do abate with age. Therapists may also benefit from considering their own responses to working with older adults. Some health professionals may avoid serving older adults because such work evokes discomfort related to their own aging or relationships with parents or other older family members.

Additionally, working with older adults can increase professionals’ awareness of their own mortality, raise fears about their own future aging processes, and/or highlight discomfort discussing issues of death and dying. As well, it is not uncommon for therapists to take a paternalistic role with older adult patients who manifest significant functional limitations, even if the limitations are unrelated to their abilities to benefit from interventions.

Paternalistic attitudes and behavior can potentially compromise the therapeutic relationship, affect cognitive and physical performance, and reinforce dependency. Seemingly positive stereotypes about older adults (e.g., that they are “cute,” “childlike,” or “grandparentlike”) are often overlooked in discussions of age-related biases. However, they can also adversely affect assessment of, therapeutic processes with, and clinical outcomes with older adults. Therapists are encouraged to develop more realistic perceptions of the capabilities and strengths as well as vulnerabilities of this segment of the population. To reduce biases that can impede their work with older adults, it is important for therapists to examine their attitudes toward aging and older adults and (since some biases may constitute “blind spots”) to seek consultation from colleagues or others, preferably those experienced in working with older adults.

It is imperative that therapists who work with aging adults be aware of the impact of ageism and work to correct any faulty thinking that comes out in their work with this population.

Pew Research Center’s Statistics on rate of disabilities in older Americans

Older Americans are significantly more likely than younger adult to have a disability: 46% Percentage of Americans ages 75 and older who report having a disability. That compares with 24% of adults ages 65 to 74, 12% of adults ages 35 to 64, and 8% of adults younger than 35.

The most common types of disabilities in the U.S. involve difficulties with walking, independent living or cognition: 30% Percentage of adults ages 75 and older who have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs—a much higher rate than other age groups. People in this age group are also much more likely than other age groups to have disabilities related to hearing (20.9%), independent living (22.4%), cognition (12.2%), and vision (8.7%) (Pew Research Center, 2023).

Impact of Pain on the Elderly

Some people think that pain is natural with aging. Others may believe that older people are “just complaining” if they are not clear in explaining the cause or nature of their pain. Both of these views are wrong. Having pain is very common in older adults, but it is never normal. There is almost always a real problem behind pain (HeathinAging.Org, 2022).

Arthritis is said to be the most common cause of pain in people over the age of 65. Nerve damage, shingles, problems with circulation, certain bowel diseases, and cancer are other common reasons for pain in older people. Pain can lead to other problems such as losing the ability to move around and do everyday activities. The sufferer may have trouble sleeping, experience "bad moods," or develop a poor self-image. In addition, people with pain often become anxious or depressed. They may be at greater risk for falls, weight loss, poor concentration, and difficulties with relationships (HeathinAging.Org, 2022).

Mental Health therapists need to know that there are a number of ways to control pain without medicines.  Often these strategies alone will relieve pain and the use of pain medicine may not be needed. Examples of non-medication interventions which Mental Health therapist can use with treating pain are:

  • Relaxation therapy such as using Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (, 2023)
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis

Impact of Loses Experienced by Aging Seniors

In (2023) the losses experienced by Aging Seniors over their lifetimes were identified and it is important that therapists working with the elderly screen in their therapy sessions to identify the losses experienced by their elderly clients such as:

  • Having an “abnormal” childhood Loss involved: Loss of the childlike experiences due to the need to grow up too soon, taking on an adult role prematurely.
  • Being unable to make it better in a new family Loss involved: Loss of the expectation or desire for things to be better in the new nuclear family than they were in their own family of origin; since trans-generational destructive patterns re-emerge.
  • Living in an ”abnormal” or “dysfunctional” family Loss involved: Inability to achieve their fantasy or the dream expectation of “normal” family life while in their family of origin.
  • Having an unhappy, nonproductive marriage Loss involved: Loss of the expectation of a happy, “normal” marriage when they confront the realities of the present  or past marriage.
  • Having other than “normal” healthy children Loss involved: Loss of the expectation of having children who are going to be better off than they were. When their children have ill health, a developmental disability, or have emotional or behavior problems, they grieve even more.
  • Death of a spouse or child Loss involved: Loss of the loved one who was going to help them make their life better
  • Death of a parent Loss involved: Losing the chance to make it right and get close to parent. Continued feelings of neglect, hurt, of not being “good enough” to get parent's attention, recognition, approval.
  • Divorce Loss involved: Loss of the “ideal” marriage that was going to make things better. Loss of the idea of and hope for a lifelong partner.
  • Financial troubles Loss involved: Loss of self-respect. Belief that one should provide financial security for self, spouse, and family is shattered.
  • Loss of job, failure of private business or failure in school Loss involved: Loss of trust in self and others. Belief that one should provide a source of financial security or high-grade point average for family is shattered.
  • Realization that stressful families of origin influence their current behavior Loss involved: Loss of comfort in memories of the past. Thoughts of the past become colored with the realities of delusion and denial present in families of origin.
  • Confrontation of addictive behavior in their lives (e.g., alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, shopping, sex) Loss involved: Loss of ability to hide behind the denial and delusion that things in their lives were “normal.” Destructive patterns become clear 
  • Entering a treatment or rehabilitation program Loss involved: Loss of privacy, loss of being able to continue with non-confronted denial, repression, or delusional behavior.
  • A family member enters a treatment program and responds well to the program Loss involved: Loss of expectation of problem behavior of person as being “normal” or characteristic of the person; loss of predictability of the person's behavior. Realization that “family secrets” are out in the light to others as a result of the family member’s recovery process.
  • Occurrence of natural disaster or accident Loss involved: Loss of property, health, and security in things, people, or life.
  • Physical or mental illness in family Loss involved: Loss of expectation of natural course of events for self and others. Family life turned upside down.
  • Lack of recognition for accomplishments on the job, at school or in the community Loss involved: Loss of belief in their own self-worth and loss of incentive to continue trying. Reinforcement of the feeling that no matter what they do, it is not “good enough ”
  • Realizing their loss of productivity on the job as they grow older Loss involved: Loss of self-worth and meaning based on the belief that their worth is built solely upon what they do on the job or for others.
  • Older children move out of the house Loss involved: The “empty nest” is a sign of their no longer being needed, and they lose the “meaning” gained for themselves by rearing their children.
  • Retirement Loss involved: Loss of self-worth and meaning of life based on their “work” which was their sole identity.
  • Being personally moved into a Residential Treatment Center for either Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Unit or Nursing Home Loss Involved:  Loss of independence and often personal identity due to being labeled as needing 24 hour care away from one’s personal home and/or family.

The stages of aging for Baby Boomers

(Adapted from, 2018)

First Stage. Independence.

In the first stage, they are generally self-reliant and sufficient. They still have the ability to manage simple health problems, chronic ailments and disabilities. They can rely on Their own capabilities and do not need help from loved ones.

This is the right time for Baby Boomers to “assess their place and community” to know whether they will be reliable and supportive to them once the aging process takes a toll on them. In their years of independence, they should already be looking out closely for their health and the kind of care they may eventually need in the future. Where would they live the rest of their lives? They need to consider options such as long-term care, assisted living, or an affordable nursing home. They need to plan their our finances to cover their future. They need to put effort in preparing documents like will and testament or a power of attorney. They need to find ways to self-advocate.

Second Stage. Interdependence

This is the stage in Baby Boomers’ older adult lives when they are in need of help with basic tasks such as cleaning, doing house chores and other menial tasks. The importance of interdependence is important. This stage may be difficult but nowadays, there are increasingly more options coming up as more and more boomers are finding themselves in the same predicament. Usually, hiring caregivers and domestic helpers may be an option. Group homes and communes are also convenient. Looking for independent living facilities and homes that have strict security, clean rooms, decent meals, laundry services and cleaning service is also highly recommended.

Third Stage. Dependence.

This stage is when Baby Boomers are in dire need of others to help them with basic daily living activities such as dressing, preparing meals, bathing, grooming, driving, cleaning, shopping and even walking. Boomers can consider continuing-care retirement community in the stage of dependence. These kinds of facilities offer different living arrangements for different people needing care in all stages of their lives.

Fourth Stage. Crisis Management.

This is the stage where Baby Boomers may be in need of greater care and they may find themselves gravely dependent on health professionals and medical institutions to provide their medical necessities. For older adults who already have chronic ailments early in life or those with a family disposition to certain ailments related to aging, preparing for a crisis in the last stages of their life should be planned well. They must be prepared financially for this, most especially if they are living alone. Cognitive impairments may debilitate them in making decisions for themselves once the crisis starts.

Fifth Stage. Institutional Care.

The last stage is when Baby Boomers may be in need of extensive medical and personal care. This type of care may be provided by a nursing home or a hospice. Before this period, it is best that they have already prepared a “Durable Medical Power of Attorney” that will make legal decisions about their medical care needs. This will be especially helpful when they may be incapable of communicating or understanding what’s happening around them. The Durable Medical Power of Attorney will make a trusted person (preferably someone they chose) be in charge of overseeing their medical care and make proper health care decisions for them. It includes making decisions on their tests, medications, hydration, nourishment, doctors, hospitals, surgery and rehabilitation facilities they need. (, 2018)

The most common mental health issues for people over 50

Depression. Risk factors include chronic physical illness and/or pain, diminishing physical functioning, grief and loss, and medications.

Anxiety disorders. Traumatic events, social isolation, medical issues, financial concerns and/or impaired memory can increase anxiety in older adults.

Dementia. Age, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, sedentary lifestyle, head injury, and alcohol abuse are all factors in the development of dementia. After 65, the likelihood of developing some form of dementia increases every five years and by age 85, more than 50 percent of people are affected.

Substance abuse or misuse. According to the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 14 to 20 percent of seniors have one or more mental health conditions resulting from misuse or abuse of medications, alcohol or other substances (WorkHealthLife, 2019).

Caregiving. There’s another factor affecting the mental health of many Boomers: caregiving. Because of advances in medicine and better living conditions, people are living longer and more and more Boomers find themselves caring for elderly parents, often in their 90s. Boomers may think they can do it all, even as they enter their senior years, but a lifetime of doing so is putting their physical and certainly mental health at risk (WorkHealthLife, 2019).

Adjustment to losses. Areas of concern for Baby Boomers include everything from retirement transition clear through to the end of life. One of the central issues that the elderly must cope with is loss. Most people get their first experience with death as children. However, people deal with death much more frequently in their senior years. Particularly difficult are the losses of spouse and lifelong friends. Other losses aging Baby Boomers face are physical: impairments in hearing, vision, or mobility and worsening of overall health. If they live long enough, many individuals also deal with the loss of independence and, to some degree, dignity (Careers in Psychology, 2019).

Impact of Caregiving their family members for adults over 65

There were six risk factors identified for caregivers of older homebound adults with dementia. They are:

1. Stress: caring for a person with dementia is considered stressful by the caregivers

2. Difficult and challenging: meaning it is difficult for the caregivers to see the people they care declining and not being able to stop it or working with people who are child-like when they themselves have had their own children grow and leave their care

3. Demanding: This work can be demanding and multiple demands of these aging adults can be overwhelming

4. Frustration: People with dementia display frustrating emotions which cannot be tempered or addressed such as anger, denial and lack of rational thinking

5. Lack of social support: This is especially a problem for caregivers who are family members of the older adult with dementia because they experience a lack of support from their other family members to pitch in when they need help

6. Negative feelings: Sadness and anger are major negative emotions expressed by family caregivers (Bekher & Avery, 2018).

Social exclusion of informal caregivers of older adults with dementia or severe mental health disorders negatively impacts the quality of their lives and as a result they need clinical intervention to help strengthen their commitment to care for their family members (Greenwood, Mezey & Smith, 2018).

It is imperative that mental health professionals let caretakers know that they are available to support and guide them as they cope with the harsh realities of this reality.


American Psychological Association. (2020). APA resolution on ageism. Retrieved at:

American Psychological Association (2023). Working with older adults: What mental health providers should know. Retrieved at:

Bekher, A.K. & Avery, J.S. (2018). Resilience from the perspectives of caregivers ofpersons with dementia. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 32, 19-23.

Boyle, J.P., Honeycutt, A.A., Narayan, K.M.V., Hoerger, T.J., Geiss, L.S., Chen, H. & Thompson, T.J. (2001). Projection of diabetes burden through 2050: Impact of changing demography and disease prevalence in the U.S. Diabetes Care 24(11): 1936-1940.

Careers in Psychology (2019). Employment outlook & career guidance for geriatric counselors. Retrieved at:

Chopik, W.J. & Giasson, H.L. (2017). Age difference in explicit and implicit age attitudes across the life span. The Gerontologist, 57(2): S269-S177, (2023). Grief work with aging seniors. Retrieved at: (2023). Introduction to MBSR. Retrieved at:

Fontaine, K., Haaz, S. & Heo, M. (2007). Projected prevalence of US adults with self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, 2005-2050. Clinical Rheumatology 26(5):772-774.

Fullen, M. C. (2018). Ageism and the Counseling Profession: Causes, Consequences, and Methods for Counteraction. The Professional Counselor (8)2, 104-114 doi:10.15241/mcf.8.2.104

Fullen, M.C. , Smith, J.L., Clarke, P.B., Westcott, J.B., McCoy, R. & Tomlin, C.C. (2023). Holistic wellness coaching for older adults: Preliminary evidence for a novel wellness intervention in senior living communities. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 42(3), 427–437.

Greenwood, N. & Smith, S. (2016). The oldest carers: A narrative review and synthesisof carers aged over 75 years. Maturitas, 94, 161-172. {2022).Retrieved at:

Institute of Medicine (2008). Retooling for an aging America: Building the health care workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Office of the Surgeon General. (2023), Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing effects of Social Connection and Community at: 

Pew Research Center (2023). 8 facts about Americans with disabilities. Retrieved at:

Rosen, A.L., Zlotnick, J.L., Curl, A.L., & Green, R.G. (2000). CSWE/SAGE.SW national competencies survey and report. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education. (2018). The baby boomer generation. Retrieved at:  

Shah, A. (2024). Is there a connection between loneliness and health. Rochester Post Bulletin, Jan 7, 2024, p.16.

Waidmann, T.A. & Liu, K. (2000). Disability trends among elderly persons and implications for the future. Journal of Gerontology 55(5):5296-5307.

Weir, K. (2023). Ageism is one of the last socially acceptable prejudices. Psychologists are working to change that. Monitor on Psychology 54(2):36 Retrieved at:

WorkHealthLife. (2019). Baby boomers and mental health. Morneau Shepell Ltd. Retrieved at:


Where Can You Get More Information on 

Working with Aging Adults?

Go to ITTI’s Website and Enroll in its 18 module CEU course:

Counseling Aging Seniors



Counseling Aging Seniors (CAS), 18 CE Hours

ITTI is an approved NBCC continuing education provider. ACEP # 6674

  • DATE: Register at any time
  • DELIVERY METHOD: 18 Modules, Self-Paced Online
  • CE HOURS: 18
  • COURSE FEE: $219. All course material is provided.
  • INSTRUCTOR: James J Messina, Ph.D., NCC, CCMHC, DMHS-T

COMPLETION DOCUMENT: After successfully finishing the course, you will receive a completion document indicating 18 CE hours earned.


  • This course is built around 18 modules. Each module is presented as a narrated PowerPoint.
  • At the end of each module participants are expected to pass a quiz with a minimum grade of 80% in order to advance to the next module.
  • Participants must complete the modules in the order they are presented. Completion documentation will be provided after the 18th module.


The purpose of this comprehensive course is to teach participants how to work effectively with Aging Seniors, to learn about Medicare, and to become advocates for this expanding population as mental health providers in most mental health situations.

This eighteen-module online training will cover the following topics:

  • Module 1. Counseling Aging Seniors Introduction
  • Module 2. Typical Mental Health Conditions of Aging Seniors
  • Module 3. Aging Seniors and SUDS
  • Module 4. Evidence Based Treatments for Aging Seniors
  • Module 5. Use of MBSR with Aging Seniors
  • Module 6. ESBT-Motivational Interviewing with Aging Seniors
  • Module 7. Dealing with Alzheimer’s when Working with Aging Seniors
  • Module 8. Helping Aging Seniors Deal with Grief
  • Module 9. Reminiscence Therapy with Aging Seniors
  • Module 10. Retirement for Aging Seniors
  • Module 11. Wellness Program for Aging Seniors
  • Module 12. Dealing with COVID-19 with Aging Seniors
  • Module 13. Medicare Coverage for Mental Health Services Provided to Aging Seniors
  • Module 14. Logistics of Paperwork when Dealing with Medicare
  • Module 15. Assessments required by Medicare in getting an Aging Senior approved for Mental Health Services
  • Module 16. Three Obstacles to Overcome Aging Seniors in Counseling Aging Seniors
  • Module 17. A 12 Step Approach to Counseling Aging Seniors
  • Module 18. Advocating for Aging Seniors a Priority for Mental Health Providers