Posted: October 27th, 2022

Wendy Lewis 1

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Write a paper of 500-words, in which you evaluate your opinions and beliefs regarding older adults and address the following:

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  • Describe stereotypes about the elderly that are prevalent in society, and how those stereotypes affect your personal beliefs concerning the elderly.
  • Describe the physical and cognitive issues involved in aging.
  • Discuss the mental health treatment issues involved in working with the aging client. Include end-of-life considerations in your discussion.

Running Head: COUNSELOR AWARENESS 1

COUNSELOR AWARENESS 2

Grand Canyon University

CNL 530

Andravus Stenson

February 5, 2021

Myths about the Elderly

Indeed, several myths have been put forth regarding the elderly and the aging process. This paper espouses on five stereotypes labeled against the elderly and how they affect my personal beliefs about the elderly. To begin with, a trending myth has been that the elderly are not interested in their environment and the outside world. Secondly, it has been stereotyped that the elderly are not interested in close relationships either. Thirdly, it is believed that the elderly makes very little contributions to the society. Fourthly, it is an old age belief that physical and mental deterioration are impossible to avoid as one ages. Lastly, people believe that old people cannot make good and well thought out decisions regarding important issues (Snyder & Miene , 2010). Well, there are several other myths and stereotypical beliefs concerning the elderly, but I chose to dwell on these common five; perhaps, relating to my experience and the experiences of elderly people I have known. In my opinion, the stereotypes are misplaced and untrue. It denigrates a natural process of life. I feel it makes people dread aging and labels the elderly as outcasts and useless people in the society, which is false and misguided. I believe the elderly are important part of the society in imparting wisdom to the younger generations gained from years of experience, observation, and education.

A number of physical and cognitive changes occur with old age. Firstly, the heart loses its reserve capacity and becomes more susceptible to disease. Moreover, the brain shrinks and the nerve responses slow down. The elderly develops hearing and visual problems due to changes in neurosensory systems. Additionally, the frequency and intensity of sexual experience declines as one ages although most old people are sexually active. The physical changes could be a result of the aging process or the lifestyle they adopt as they age. In terms of cognitive changes in old age, elderly people have frequent memory losses. In particular, they cannot easily recall recently learned concept or specific events that occurred in the past. Moreover, the speed of processing information declines with old age. It is attributed to the slowing down effect on the functioning of the central nervous system. The ability to perform activities of daily living that are instrumental in nature declines with age. Noteworthy, the ability to solve interpersonal problems does not change. Further, the elderly adopts crystallized intelligence from a wealth of experience, observation, and intuition (Borson, 2010 ).

There are a number of issues concerning mental health treatment involved in working with the elderly. To begin with, the elderly have a tendency to abuse drugs they are taking. Wada (2012), observes that rarely do the elderly question drugs they are given. An elderly person will most likely take any drug they are given by their doctor. In extreme cases they may suffer from toxicity in case of an overdose. On the flip side, compliance issues due to fading memory may lead to under treatment of their mental health problem (Wada , 2012). The elderly are prone to suffer from chronic illness such as cancer, diabetes et cetera. Most suffer from immense chronic pain. In end of life care, hospice would suffice. Palliative, spiritual, and emotional cares are key in treating the elderly (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2013).

References

Borson, S. (2010 ). Cognition, Aging and Disabilities: Conceptual Issues. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 21(2), 375–382. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2010.01.001.

Snyder , M., & Miene , P. (2010). Stereotyping of the elderly: a functional approach. The British Journal of Social Pyschology, 33 ( 1), 63-82.

Rathus, S., Nevid, J., & Fichner-Rathus, L. (2013). Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Wada , H. ( 2012). Problems and strategies in the treatment of mental disorders in elderly patients with physical illness. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics, 37(11), 885-8.

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