Special Topics Spotlight: Psychology and Aging

Assumption College Undergraduate

Assumption College’s  PSY 186 Psychology of Aging explores the issues, special considerations, and methods of providing for an aging population and their effects on society as a whole.

The study of aging and the provision of clinical services for older adults is a specialized field within psychology called geropsychology.

Geropsychologists research the effects of the aging process on an individual’s mind. The American Psychological Association explains, that geropsychologists provide specialized healthcare to “help older persons and their families overcome problems, enhance well-being and achieve maximum potential during later life.”

Psychologists address the needs of older adults through research, assessment and treatment, as they work to diagnose mental illness, disease and changes in physiology. Some examples of psychology of aging topics include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Caregiving
  • The promotion of positive and brain-healthy habits
  • Insomnia
  • Coping and managing a chronic disease
  • And many more.

Psychologists also work in the public policy arena to ensure the voice of the aging population is heard before lawmakers and decision makers, whether in local government or in the nation’s Capital; others may work with organizations whose sole purpose is to advance the needs of older Americans.

Integrated Health Care, for example, is an initiative and approach to health care started by the American Psychological Association (APA) that works to connect all parts of an aging person’s health care team — nurses, physicians, specialists, nutritionists, trainers, etc., — to promote communication and collaboration, to form the most effective treatment and to lower risk of missing something crucial in a person’s health.

As Baby Boomers — one of the largest living generations in the nation — begin to age, now is a crucial time for the study of the mental, emotional, physical, even spiritual effects on members of this generation and society as a whole. This opens doors for new practices, great research, and even new fields.

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