The Elderly and Understanding Difficult Behaviors. Chinita Manbeck , LMSW. Introduction.
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Unaddressed depression in the older adult is too often assumed to be an untreatable form of dementia. Memory loss is not a normal part of aging.
The excessive collection and retention of things or animals. An excessive attachment to items collected and the inability to part with them. Stems from the inability to make decisions or fear of loss.
Elderly with dementia and Schizophrenia 700,000 to 1.4 million of them are hoarders.
Older adults hoard for the following reasons:
Screening for drug abuse in the elderly can be complicated. Symptoms can be masked by normal or perceived signs of aging, the elderly may deny symptoms of abuse, and may be unaware of their misuse. The elderly do not fit the typical drug abuser profile or stereotype and therefore awareness and services for this population are lacking.
Treatment may include psychopharmacology, cognitive behavior therapy, reminiscence therapy, behavior therapy, education, and increased social support.
Cognitive therapy is an effective, directive, time-limited approach to helping people change their irrational thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs. Cognitive therapy and medications have been more effective than either treatment alone. Cognitive theory suggests that disorders arise from a negative view of the world and from automatic and negative thinking patterns (e.g., the future is bleak, the world is bleak, and the self is worthless).
Reminiscence therapy is the process of recalling personal experiences from an individual’s past. The theory behind RT is that an individual’s function is improved by decreasing demands on impaired cognitive abilities; it is a way to affirm who they are, what they’ve accomplished in their lives, and a chance to relive happy times. For those who suffer with dementia, depression or anxiety it is a way to talk easily about things they do remember.
Behavioral therapy is a treatment that helps change potentially self-destructing behaviors, also called behavioral modification. This type of therapy is utilized to replace bad habits with good ones and helps individuals cope with difficult situations; most often used to treat anxiety disorders. Most behaviorally oriented therapists believe that the current environment is most important in affecting the person’s present behavior, while early life experiences and emotional/psychological conflicts are less important.
Behavior therapy is generally intended to improve the individual’s self-control by expanding coping skills, abilities, and independence.
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