Why would I do anything different at this stage of my life?
Many people are finding that they are living longer but not happier. Establishing goals and continuing to grow and develop are part of the process for experiencing joy and happiness.
Changes in relationships, health, everyday routines can be both liberating and challenging.
We are experienced in supporting older adults with a range of difficulties, including:
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Grief and bereavement
Depression is often a common concern for seniors. It is an age where we consider what we have or have not achieved in our lives, where we grapple with retirement, or the death of a partner or friends. This can affect our sleeping patterns and our socialising with others. We can become more reclusive, drink more and exercise poorly.
Treatment is quite supportive and successful. Approaches may include a new way of life planning, creating different perspectives on loss and change, and building new disciplines for activity.
Chronic anxiety is sometimes a feature for seniors. Things that were easy become more complex and normal activities can appear more threatening. Loneliness can be overwhelming.
Stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, and normally these feelings subside once the stressful situation has passed. Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t pass, making it hard for a person to cope with daily life. So while we all feel anxious from time to time, for a person experiencing anxiety these feelings cannot be easily controlled.
It’s often a combination of factors that can lead to a person developing anxiety. Common contributing factors include: ongoing stressful events (e.g., job stress, family and relationship problems); physical health problems; family history of anxiety/mental health issues; substance use; and personality factors.
Some common anxiety symptoms include:
- Inability to stop worrying
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Feeling easily tired
- Difficulties concentrating
- Irritable and easily frustrated
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety-related physical symptoms (e.g., racing heart, increase in body temperature, tightening of the chest, feelings of nausea)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as major stress, sexual assault, warfare, or other threats on a person’s life. It is a frightening and serious condition that affects the person and their loved ones.
Symptoms may include:
- Disturbing recurring flashbacks
- Avoidance or numbing of memories of the event
- Over- sensitivity to many situations
- Persistent feelings of anger, anxiety and hypervigilance
These symptoms may continue long after the occurrence of a traumatic event.
Mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) are often effective in addressing the reactions to the trauma and assisting in developing coping behaviours to combat the anxiety.
Many people assert that you don’t need as much sleep when you are older but if lack of sleep is an unwanted regular pattern then it can become a serious issue.
Insomnia, or trouble sleeping, is a disorder of sleep where you have difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep as long as desired. Poor sleep patterns can lead to irritability, lowered effectiveness and stress. Sleep deprivation has a major impact on performance generally. Grouchy people are even grouchier.
Insomnia can be caused by normal life stressors and worries, some medical conditions, pain and mental disorders.
Counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy assist in reducing anxiety and contributing factors to establishing more effective sleep patterns. Simple techniques can lead to effective management and changed habits.
Grief and bereavement
Grief is often associated with being older. There are more losses and transitions with retirement, death of a partner or friends and loneliness. Letting go of much that was treasured is hard.
Symptoms may include feeling sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable or numb.
Counselling and therapy provide support and focus on resolving and overcoming the reactions to the loss. Strategies for coping and developing resources to regain control are developed.
Pain arising from injury and various medical illnesses can be very debilitating. Common headaches can be very limiting and various illnesses include recurring pain as a normal side effect.
The use of counselling, mindfulness, CBT, and hypnosis are effective therapies in assisting the person better manage both chronic and transient pain.
Therapy helps people with pain to understand the relationship between one’s physiology (e.g., pain and muscle tension), thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. A main goal in treatment is to encourage helpful thought patterns, targeting a behavioural activation of healthy behaviours such as regular exercise and pacing. Lifestyle changes are also developed to improve sleep patterns and to develop better coping skills for pain and other stressors using various techniques like relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and biofeedback.