Behavioral Health Issues in Older Adults for Paraprofessionals

Behavioral Health Issues in Older Adults for Paraprofessionals 

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.


Hours: 1.50


Certificates provided by accrediting body (0 Match)

Course Details

Course Code: REL-HHS-0-BHIOAPP-V2
Hours: 1.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 11/30/2023
Learning Objectives:
Explain the interactions between normal aging, physical illness, and behavioral health.
Recognize the symptoms of common behavioral health disorders in older adults.
Detail how you can work effectively with others in the client's formal and informal support networks to improve services.
Describe ways that you can provide support to improve the behavioral health functioning of older adults.

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

Instructor: Robin Gault-Winton, MSW
Robin Gault-Winton received her undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University in Psychology and her Masters degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She has put these degrees to use as a therapist, trainer, curriculum developer, instructional designer, and performance improvement director. Her current position is Director of Learning Solution at Castle Worldwide. Her areas of professional interest include gerontology, mental health, e-learning development, and organizational consultation. In her personal life, she lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two daughters, two cats and a dog. Disclosure: Robin Gault-Winton, MSW has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Diana Joy, MA, LPC
Diana Joy is a clinician and professor of psychology. She received her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Northern Colorado in 1986, graduating summa cum laude. She is licensed in Oregon and Colorado as a Professional Counselor. Diana served as the older adult expert for Colorado Mental Health Services. She offers professional development and consultation, in addition to her clinical practice, and teaches online. Her commitment to improving access to evidence-based behavioral health services led her to study eBehavioral Health Services and she offers this service through her private practice. She is located in Corvallis, Oregon with her husband, her therapy dog Thurmond, and of course, two cats. Disclosure: Diana Joy, MA, LPC has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Lisa Furst, LMSW
Lisa Furst, LMSW, MPH is Director of Public Education for the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC). She develops and implements public education programming that provides information about mental illnesses and their treatment to professionals, paraprofessionals, and the general public. In her role as the Director of Education for the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York, a project of MHA-NYC, Ms. Furst creates public education and training/technical assistance programs to educate professionals and the general public about the mental health needs of older adults. She is a co-author of “Depressed Older Adults, Education and Screening” (Springer Publishing Company), a guidebook to help aging and social service professionals establish a model of mental health education and depression screening in community-based aging service programs. She is a graduate of the Hunter College School of Social Work and is a licensed social worker in New York State. Disclosure: Lisa Furst, LMSW has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Entry level Direct Care Workers; Entry level Direct Support Professionals; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.