The Elderly & Their Families

 

 

Aging is a natural process, but that does not mean it will not present challenges - both for the aging person and for their family. Older adults may have great difficulty:

  • -transitioning to retirement

  • -facing their mortality

  • -dealing with frailty or medical conditions

  • -adjusting to the deaths of friends, peers, and partners

  • -avoiding isolation in the wake of many such deaths

  • -finding enjoyable, meaningful activities, 

  • -taking care of their own basic needs

  • -stress from caring for aging parent

 

Telehealth can help older adults who may have difficulty with the transitions of aging to manage their emotions, find new sources of enjoyment and meaning, and find new support systems. It can help people face their fears of death, if they have such fears (and who doesn’t?) and deal with grief over the passings of friends and family.

 The concept of providing services to individuals in their homes is by no means a novel one

 

Service providers in the home have ranged from the visiting nurses, physical therapists, home health aids to social workers. However, there seem to be little emphasis placed on much needed services of providing on going in-home psychotherapeutic interventions to individuals 65 and older. Implicit in the rapid growth of individuals 65 and older is the growing number of individuals who would require on going psychotherapeutic services to address issues surrounding aging, loss of autonomous functioning, relationships with children and bereavement issues just to mention a few .

 

The Benefits of in-home, face-to-face video therapy:

 

Bringing psychotherapeutic interventions into the homes of seniors via live, real time, video connection can be beneficial on many levels. The service in the home would minimize the stigma associated with “attending the clinic.” The service would be brought to the senior’s home thus reducing feeling of anxiety and shame which may accompany treatment for mental health issues. The feelings of anxiety and shame is quite prevalent in those individuals who have not had a history of receiving mental health services and find themselves being recipients or a candidate for the services in late life.

 

The feasibility of leaving one's home as a result of declining physical health is also a justification for using Access to Therapy online services to the homes of seniors. Since seniors may experience some type of physical aliment, the likelihood of commuting to a clinic or office setting can become difficult. Obtaining transportation for seniors can present a challenge. This dilemma is (contrary to popular belief) not specific to rural dwellers. Seniors who reside in large cities and metropolitan areas also grapple with not only obtaining transportation, but the reliability of the service provided. Inclement and extreme weather conditions also make it less than possible for seniors to leave the comforts of their homes to seek any type of counseling services. Bringing the service into the homes of seniors would address the problem of commuting to a facility to receive clinical treatment. Individuals whose physical health has been compromised would welcome the online visit by the psychotherapist. The provision of psychotherapeutic intervention in this particular instance would enhance the continuum of care.

Online video services in the home can definitely minimize feelings of isolation, these feelings are prevalent with the home bound elderly who spend many hours confined to their home. Research indicates that elders who receive mental health services can achieve a higher quality of life, while reducing depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Reducing mental

illness can improve an elder's health and may lengthen the duration of independent living. 

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 It can also assist family members who may be caretaking their elder relatives – assist them in dealing with their emotions, communication issues (especially likely if an elder has some form of dementia), and community resources. Possible diagnoses associated with aging might be the various forms of dementia (although these are technically medical, not strictly psychological disorders), and in some cases depression or anxiety.