As health and human service paraprofessionals assisting older adults, it is important for you to recognize the behavioral health problems that arise most often in older adulthood. The Center for Disease Control’s 2013 publication, The State of Mental Health and Aging in America, estimates that 20% of people 55 and older experience a behavioral health problem that causes suffering. Unrecognized and untreated, these older adults will experience more disability and lower quality of life. The current workforce is challenged by the need to provide for the behavioral and other health needs of our increasing population of older adults as the Baby Boomers age and the lifespan gets longer. Your role as a paraprofessional is becoming even more central to meeting the needs of older adults. This course is designed to increase your ability to distinguish between normal aging and behavioral health problems, and to further your understanding of what you can do as part of the care team to provide support and promote recovery.
Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: The Interaction of Physical and Behavioral Health A. Clarence is Having a Bad Day B. Normal Changes of Aging C. Chronic Conditions D. Diabetes and Blood Sugar E. How you can help: F. Chronic Lung Diseases G. How you can help: H. Heart Disease I. Persistent, Chronic Pain J. How you can help: K. Let’s Review L. Section Summary Section 3: Common Behavioral Health Problems Among Older Adults A. Depressive Disorders B. How you can help: C. Anxiety Disorders D. Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms E. Panic Attacks F. How you can help: G. Problematic Substance Use H. Risks of Alcohol Use in Older Adults I. How you can help: J. Neurocognitive Disorders K. Delirium L. How you can help: M. Dementia N. How you can help: O. Suicide P. How you can help: Q. Treatments for Behavioral Health Disorders R. Let’s Review S. Section Summary Section 4: Improving Behavioral Health for Older Adults A. Ageism, Stigma, and Stereotypes B. Chronic Medical Conditions C. Behavioral Health-Promoting Actions D. Environments that Support Behavioral Health E. Working Effectively with the Support Network F. Let’s Review G. Section Summary Section 5: Conclusion A. Summary B. Course Contributors C. Resources D. References E. Congratulations! F. Exam
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