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PSY 180 - Psychology of Aging - Textbook


Psychology & Aging: Addressing Mental Health Needs in Older Adults

© 2019 by American Psychological Association. All rights reserved.

Basic Terms

  • psychology
  • geropsychology
  • mental health disorders
  • how do psychologists help the elderly?
  • policy recommendations for assisting the elderly
  • research
  • assessment
  • treatment
  • APA committee on the aging


(Learning Objectives, Key Points, and Basic Terms content by Professor Stacey Cooper is licensed under CC BY 4.0.)

Psychology and Aging: challenges and concerns

People 65 years of age and older are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. An increasing number of older adults are immigrants or members of ethnic or racial minority groups. More than 5 million older adults were below the poverty level or classified as “near
poor” in 2001.

Most older adults enjoy good mental health. However, it is anticipated that the number of older adults with mental and behavioral health problems will almost quadruple, from 4 million in 1970 to 15 million in 2030.

Addressing these problems and treating often overlooked mental health conditions results in decreased emotional suffering, improved physical health, lessened disability, and a better quality of life for older adults and their families.

What Is Psychology?

"Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Psychology is unique in that it is both a service-oriented health care profession and a field of scientific research. Hence, the roles of the psychologist are many—researcher, educator, licensed health care provider, and policy advocate.Psychologists are highly trained professionals—their education involves a median of 7 years of education and training beyond an undergraduate degree."

What Is Geropsychology?

"Geropsychology is a field within psychology devoted to the study of aging and the provision of clinical services for older adults. As researchers, geropsychologists expand knowledge of the normal aging process and design and test psychological interventions that address problems that commonly arise as people age. As health care practitioners, psychologists help older persons and their families overcome problems, enhance well-being, and achieve maximum potential during later life."