On this episode of the PTSD Bytes podcast, host Dr. Colleen Becket-Davenport talks about older adults (age 65 and over) utilizing psychological well being apps with Dr. Christine Gould, scientific psychologist on the Geriatric Analysis Schooling and Medical Heart at VA Palo Alto Well being Care System.
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Psychological well being considerations in older adults
Older adults (age 65+) are likely to expertise decrease charges of psychological well being problems, reminiscent of PTSD or melancholy. Nevertheless, as we age, psychological well being considerations might look totally different from these of youthful adults. Even when we would not have all of the signs of PTSD or melancholy, we might have some signs that intervene with our high quality of life.
For instance, older adults might not report emotions of being on excessive alert or feeling unhappy, however do report issues with sleep, low urge for food, and points with reminiscence or focus. Persistent medical situations and modifications in our our bodies as we age may have an effect on what PTSD or melancholy can appear to be, or what we fear about.
The charges of demise by suicide are highest amongst older white males. This may be as a consequence of psychological well being considerations, but in addition power ache, issues with sleep and different points. It’s necessary for all of us to concentrate to psychological well being considerations in older adults so we might assist detect and stop suicide.
Accessing psychological well being therapy
Older adults could also be much less prone to search psychological well being providers and extra prone to share psychological well being considerations with their main care supplier. This will result in being prescribed drugs as an alternative of being referred to a therapist or different psychological well being skilled. Mobility difficulties, transportation points and residing in rural areas can also restrict entry to clinic appointments.
Expertise and psychological well being
Expertise might help shut the gaps in entry to psychological well being providers for older adults. Telehealth appointments, smartphone apps, tablets and computer systems with webcams can allow older adults to obtain psychological well being providers from the consolation of residence.
Gould ceaselessly recommends two free VA cellular apps to older adults. Mindfulness Coach features a coaching program that walks you thru studying about mindfulness via readings and practising workouts. PTSD Coach can be utilized by older adults with or with out PTSD—the app suggests instruments to deal with stress that’s bothering you proper now, even should you don’t have a PTSD analysis.
Should you’re uncomfortable utilizing new know-how, take into consideration what issues most to you after which work via any limitations. For instance, do you need to use apps to remain linked with household? Or do you need to discover ways to use your laptop to attend telehealth appointments?
Keep in mind that you’ve efficiently discovered new applied sciences all through your life, reminiscent of ATMs or cordless telephones, and may be taught extra. Expertise these days tends to be extra forgiving than it was and has easy-to-use undo features like a again arrow. A buddy or member of the family can present help, and handouts and easy written directions may also assist.
For any older grownup who would love assist with know-how, there are lots of obtainable assets. VA has some easy guides to assist individuals be taught in regards to the fundamentals of smartphones or tablets, and step-by-step guides for Mindfulness Coach and PTSD Coach.
There are additionally movies that show the right way to use the totally different VA psychological well being apps. Senior facilities and libraries might provide tech help drop-in hours or lessons. And a program referred to as Assist at Hand has free movies to assist individuals study digital literacy, reminiscent of the right way to keep secure on-line, and the right way to create and handle passwords.
With help and assets, you possibly can be taught to make use of new know-how to assist your psychological well being at any age.
In case you are a Veteran who’s experiencing a disaster or supporting a liked one who’s, dial 988 then press 1 for rapid help, or chat on-line at VeteransCrisisLine.internet/chat.