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A Fitting Denouement: Understanding and Meeting the Psychological Needs of Older Adults

  • 28 Jun 2019
  • 5:15 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Home of Winifred Lender, 40 Alston Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93108


Registration is closed

Santa Barbara County Psychological Association

Continuing Education Salon

A Fitting Denouement: Understanding and Meeting the Psychological Needs of Older Adults

Friday, June 28, 2019, 5:15-7:00 p.m.

Betsy Bates Freed, PsyD

1.5 hours


In just 10 years, the last Baby Boomer will turn 65 and for the first time in American history, older adults will outnumber children in the U.S. One in 5 U.S. residents will be collecting Social Security, embarking on retirement, and facing the rewards and the considerable challenges of spending an average 14-18 years in a life stage rarely reached in their grandparents’ time. Yet the Institute of Medicine (2012) has concluded that the mental health workforce is unequipped, unprepared and understaffed to handle the special needs of the vast “vulnerable and underserved” population. This workshop will focus on how psychologists can be aware and attuned to the developmental, physical, social, and existential issues common in older adults, including the young old (65-75), middle old (75-85) and the burgeoning population of the oldest old (85+). Manifestation of common mental health diagnoses (especially anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD) in older adults, as well as an overview and practical diagnostic clues to diagnoses specific to older patients (especially dementia and delirium) will be reviewed. Challenges of key comorbidities, polypharmacy, and practical issues of aging will be underscored. Psychologists will be challenged to consider adjustments to their offices, therapeutic style, and billing to accommodate older adults, and will learn how core orientations (cognitive-behavioral, narrative, family systems, psychodynamic, existential) can be applied to the unique needs of this population. Finally, psychologists will learn key legal and ethical issues pertinent to psychological care of older adults.

Timed Outline:

5:15-5:30pm – Greet, sign in, and socialize

5:30-5:35pm – Introduction of speaker and opening remarks

5:35-6:45pm – Presentation of topic (following the above description and objectives)

6:45-7:00pm – Q&A/evaluations

Goals and Objectives:

Attendees will be able to:

  1. Recognize demographic issues related to the aging of America and extrapolate how these changes may apply to unmet psychological needs of older adults in their community and in their practice.   

  2. Define and analyze the “cohort” generational experiences and impacts of shared life events on the psychological outlook of today’s older adults and the populations entering developmental stages associated with the decades of aging from 65-85 and beyond.

  3. Describe the ways in which common psychiatric conditions are manifested in older adults and extrapolate how core therapeutic features of various psychological orientations can be adjusted and adapted to be efficacious for this population.

  4. Identify key diagnostic features of early dementia and delirium and formulate ways in which psychologists can support patients and family members in coping with these diagnoses, balancing safety with the need for autonomy, identity enhancement, and preservation of life’s purpose and joy.

  5. Summarize key physical and practical challenges unique to aging and develop a strategy aimed at helping older adults to negotiate these potential barriers to a meaningful life through enhancing office and communication access, coordinating multidisciplinary care, encouraging meaningful life review and legacy building, and supporting and being present for existential exploration at the end of life.

  6. Incorporate ethical and legal principles associated with psychological support of older adults and their families, drawing on APA Guidelines and laws of the State of California.    


American Psychological Association. (2014). Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Older Adults. American Psychologist, 69(1), 34-65. doi:10.1037/A0035063

Atiq, R. (2006). Common Themes and Issues in Geriatric Psychotherapy. Psychiatry3(6), 53–56. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.antioch.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2007-02349-009&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Committee on the Mental Health Workforce for Geriatric Populations; Board on Health Care Services; Institute of Medicine; Eden J, Maslow K, Le M, et al., editors. (2012). Committee on the Mental Health Workforce for Geriatric Populations; Board on Health Care Services; Institute of Medicine; The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands? Washington DC: National Academies Press.

Conejero, I., Olié, E., Courtet, P., & Calati, R. (2018). Suicide in older adults: current perspectives. Clinical interventions in aging13, 691–699. doi:10.2147/CIA.S130670

Hinrichsen, G. A., Emery-Tiburcio, E. E., Gooblar, J., & Molinari, V. A. (2018). Building foundational knowledge competencies in professional geropsychology: Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs (CoPGTP) recommendations. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 25(2), n/a. doi:10.1111/CPSP.12236

Novotney, A. (2018). Working with older adults: The aging of the population is creating unprecedented opportunities and responsibilities for psychologists, but drawing them into the geropsychology field remains a challenge. Monitor on Psychology, 49:11, 60-66.

Reynolds, K., Pietrzak, R. H., El-Gabalawy, R., Mackenzie, C. S., & Sareen, J. (2015). Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in U.S. older adults: findings from a nationally representative survey. World psychiatry: Official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA)14(1), 74–81. doi:10.1002/wps.20193

Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Bastian B, Arias E. Deaths: Final data for 2016. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 67 no 5. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.

CPA is co-sponsoring with Santa Barbara County Psychological Association (SBCPA).The California Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  CPA co-sponsored credit is also accepted by the Board of Registered Nursing and the Board of Behavioral Sciences for their licensees. CPA maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.

Important Notice:Those who attend the workshop and complete the CPA evaluation form will receive (1.5) continuing education credits. Please note that APA CE rules require that we give credit only to those who attend the entire workshop. Those arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time or leaving before the workshop is completed will not receive CE credits.

This salon will be held at 40 Alston Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.

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