I am open to counseling most anybody. I enjoy hearing people’s stories, and believe that I have the knowledge, empathy, and desire to learn what I can in order to help my clients work through their difficulties. My parents were from Texas and Tennessee, and I grew up around people telling stories, and being accepting of people of all backgrounds and ages.
My Dad served in World War II, so I am not, as they say, a spring chicken. I do not believe, however, that a therapist has to be “elderly” to counsel someone elderly. One of my aunts lived to be 93, and I remember her telling me that she looked very old, but she felt “16″ inside. She had feelings of loss–all her siblings and her husband were gone, and she was the oldest of four. She still had a sense of humor and had wishes and desires of things she wanted to do. And she had opinions about a lot of things. Unlike many grandparents in today’s world, she did not have to be responsible for her grandchildren, nor was she having any signs of dementia. She was, however, sad, and at times, very depressed.
Issues that the elderly might want to talk about are grief, loss, physical decline or disabilities or illnesses, over medicating, and yearnings for connections and unfulfilled dreams. Anxiety over current issues such as Medicare and financial loss and their future, and past traumas, could also be issues. In fact, most issues that affect others could also affect the elderly.
Sometimes a person just needs someone to talk to. Older people benefit from psychotherapy to the extent that most other people do. I have my clients talk to me about choices they have made and any limitations they think they may have. I have them review photographs of their lives, write in journals, do art therapy, read books, do sand tray, and discuss anything that is bothering them, including their relationships, worries, and what brings them joy.
Counseling the elderly might involve talking with their caregivers, if they have caregivers. Helping a person have a purpose in life for as long as possible is very important and helps them to deal with depression and irritability.
Talking and thinking and working through the problems is what I am about.