Elderly people face many challenges – both physical and psychological. However, the psychological needs of older people are often overlooked as attention is focused on the physical challenges of coping with the essential activities of daily living. In many ways this is understandable – especially in looking after elderly people who are particularly frail or physically incapacitated. Nevertheless, the psychological needs of elderly people are real and important. Like everyone else, older people need to talk about their feelings as they cope with changes in their lives – including their emotional reactions to the physical problems of increasing frailty.
A therapeutic approach to the care of an elderly person includes a recognition of the importance of these psychological needs and a sincere desire to assist older people to cope with the difficulties they face in life. Even a very elderly and frail person might possess unrecognised inner reserves of emotional strength and determination. A caring helper can help to identify and nurture these reserves.
This chapter discusses counselling and interviewing of older people. The theme of the chapter is that carers should cherish the opportunity to relate with older people and to share their wealth of experience and wisdom. Caring helpers who take the time and trouble to establish genuine rapport with older people usually find that the experience is enjoyable, interesting, and personally rewarding.
- challenges faced by older people
- some common ageist myths
- strategies and techniques
- challenges for carers
- things not to do.