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Does age matter? How to work therapeutically with older people

Does age matter to make talking therapies efficient? Nowadays professional therapists know that the answer is “NO, age doesn’t matter!”. However negative stereotypes on the elderly are still powerful, they make these persons look more weak than they actually are. On the contrary, thanks to our dynamic nature, we have the power to change and improve our well-being during our later years too.
In my personal experience, I have been observing positive changes in older people since I started to work as a clinical psychologist in a nursing home and day centre. There, improvements were due to several aspects such as the friendly environment, social activities, professional help and support with regard to the whole person (body and mind). And what about facing the psychological issues remaining in the same environment? These days, many older people want to keep their independence and to live on their own. In the case they need therapeutic help they have the same right as everyone else to ask for it and therapists, like myself, have to be ready to welcome their requests. All of us, professionals, caregivers and family members included, have to believe in their personal capability for change. Of course, their potential is different in comparison to young adults, but every stage in our life has its characteristics: if we know these characteristics, we can work successfully. In fact, thanks to my volunteering experience for Age UK Stockport, I have been working with older adults in their homes and I have seen their improvements and, ultimately, how they are able to change through a therapeutic relationship. For the above reasons I have decided to run a one-day workshop at the Manchester Gestalt Centre. I will introduce some aspects of ageing and working therapeutically with older adults. I will also present a clinical case and give some space for experiential work and discussion. You can find out more about the workshop at the following link:
Working with older people can be very challenging, interesting and enriching. Many aspects have to be taken in consideration, especially if we choose the option of a home-based service.

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