Geriatric counseling, also known as gerontological counseling, helps individuals and families with the unique challenges that relate to the aging process.
This process is not always easy and there are times when an outside individual is needed to help iron out the many unique facets associated with this life transition. Geriatric counselors often assist the elderly with issues that are separate from, but accompany, the aging process. Some examples of things that many need help with are: interpersonal discord, financial concerns, memory loss, physical or mental changes, change in independence and end of life planning.
There are different approaches that can be used with the geriatric population; however, narrative therapy has been found to be the best as it helps generate different characteristics of memory, developmental tasks, needs, and psychosocial stages of development for an older adult. This approach also makes it easier to address the end of life phases for a client. For instance, providing emotional and spiritual comfort in a way that the client is used to would be explored during the therapeutic process and can be implemented weeks or months prior to ensure the most comfortable environment for the client.
Aging is a natural process that may present challenges for some individuals and their families. Although many older adults look forward to moving from middle age into their later years, it may be difficult for others to adjust. Therapy 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. Therapy can help older adults face their fears of death, if they have such fears, and deal with grief as friends and family members pass on. Geriatric counseling can also assist family members who may be caretakers of their elderly relatives, as it can assist them in dealing with their emotions, communication issues—which may be especially helpful if an elder has some form of dementia—and community resources.