Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Learning Experience with Ellen (Conversation / Chat) in Mental Illness and Elderly Counseling @ Capella

Ellen: This course has been very educational. The three areas I gained the most knowledge or awareness in is in understanding the different psychiatric disorders, cognitive disorders and the importance of housing and the health care professional role in helping older adults live as independent as possible. As older adults are living longer and the number of people age 100 and older s also growing (Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland), I have learned that their needs and concerns are unique and special as they age. Some common psychiatric disorders older adults have to deal with is depressive disorder and Manic –Depressive Illness. Depressive Disorder occurs when the existence of depressed mood lasts longer than two weeks. Many older adults are dealing with depression it is the most common mental disorder afflicting up to 205 of people 65 years and older What I have learned is the devastating impact of depression. Depression can cause anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and personality disorders (Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland, 1998). Because depression can lead to so many other conditions it is important to understand its symptoms and take immediate action to help the older adult.

Tony: I have learned so much as well Ellen, but before I enumerate them, let me pick the topic that impact me most was through discussion and research on cultural diverse population because it is what matters I suppose as we all grow older: How (belief), Why (religion), Where (ethnic) and When (health & age) - that encompass how we age and now, the counselor has to unravel those to get deeper into the person's overall psycho-social wellness.

Ellen: Before this course I did not fully understand many of the cognitive diseases that are associated with older adults and how wide spread they are becoming as the number of people living longer increases. I now have a better understanding of mental disorders and changes in nomenclature. It is estimated that up to five million Americans suffer from some form of cognitive decline (Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland, 1998). There are three main cognitive impairments that explain organic brain disorder which are Delirium, Dementia, and Dementia of the Alzheimer Type. Delirium is a change in a person’s consciousness and it can be treated. Dementia effects short and long term memory and is irreversible. Alzheimer type Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 4 million people in the United States. One fact I found interesting is that people do not die from the disease but from other natural causes or lack of self awareness which may cause lack of personal that causes infections form hygiene. In the United States there may be as many as seven to nine million victims of Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2025 (Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland, 1998).

Tony: Speaking of mental illness, I have learned from the discussion and readings on Mental Status Exam showed me how even the 75 and above can still be mentally active and so it is not about being old but having those type of illness you mentioned and the complications of medication (discussion on Medication Factors)

Ellen: That is true, with the increasing population of older adults and the increase in diseases associated with older adults, healthy aging is one main issue I became more aware of throughout this course. Old age can be emotionally healthy and satisfying time of life with little physical and mental impairment (Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland, 1998).

Tony: Another area that corrected me, gave me strength and wisdom is how we stereotyped our elderly: reverse childhood process, they are weak & smelly (someone commented that in the discussion and my son happen to said that too - that week to my 78 year old mom), setting their ways, economic burden, etc – are all precarious typecast for them. They are smart (portrayed in Driving Miss Daisy) and can be very useful for the society. Ellen, do you have any stereotype for those who are “further up the ladder” to heaven.

Ellen: I like how you described our elderly (touching a little about diversity and religion). Yes, there are many stereotypes that are associated with old age, but there are many older adults who are enjoying life and making healthy lifestyle choices. During this course I realized more that age is a number and you are as young as you feel. According to Butler, Lewis, & Sunderland, (1998), during middle age 40 – 65 there is an increase in awareness of aging and changes in life patterns like children grow up, parents grow old and new social and personal roles are assumed. Because I am in the early phase of middle age, taking this course has been an enlightening experience for me. I knew making positive life choices was important but I have a better understanding of those choices after taking this course. As older adults make healthy lifestyle choices many diseases can b prevented like stroke, diabetes, or heart disease. This course has improved my professional identity and has brought an awareness of older adults and their issues and challenges. Tony, do you have further things to discuss?

Tony: Yes Ellen, the discussion process is actually seeing the diverse experience of our class. What I have researched on enormous amount of information on the Internet is clarified further by some of the response (nice and critical) of the class. The Interview is actually more challenging for me because of my recent move from Connecticut to California last month but I managed to transfer and revise my new subject in my new small town here in Lemoore, CA. Also, how we manage our wellness as counselor is critical (Discussion on Intern Orientation and Drop out Rate) that I have learned to really pay attention to how I counsel and work with other counselors and not just focus on my client / patient / military personnel. Overall I enjoyed this class.

Butler, R., Lewis, M., & Sunderland T. (1998). Aging and Mental Health. Austin, TX: Pro Ed Publishing.

Last edited on: December 9, 2008 10:34 AM
Post a Comment

Featured Post

Blog Archive