Improving the Mental Health of Very Old People

Improving the Mental Health of Very Old People

Graduate Certificate
Semester 2 - Older unit

The number of people living to very old age is increasing exponentially. Improving the Mental Health of Very Old People applied to person-centred recovery-oriented focus for working with people who are moving into very old age. It investigates the challenges in recognising and supporting the potential for very old people to contribute to society, as well as the concept of recovery in the presence of cognitive decline or severely impaired health. It evaluates key aspects of person-centred care, its practicalities in everyday practice and its effectiveness in improving clinical outcomes. Students will be adapting assessment, care planning, management and interventions to meet the needs of very old people, as well ad deepening their knowledge of very old age, grief, ethico-legal issues, dementia and behavioural and psychological changes that may occur in the presence of dementia. This unit also prepares students for the responsibility of completing a report related to Guardianship proceedings.


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge about normal development, mental illness and distress, and recovery with focus on the very old, and the impact, use and management of current therapies and interventions.
  • Analyse the biopsychosocial situation of an individual and their personal ecology, including assessment and identification of any relevant factors including all forms of diversity and for prevalent mental health illnesses.
  • Formulate age appropriate biopsychosocial management and care plans using evidence-based therapies and interventions in collaboration with all key stakeholders who interact with the consumer.
  • Proactively consider and develop responses to improve outcomes for very old people with mental ill health through mental health promotion, policy, and legal or clinical practice including collaborative strategies with both other professionals, very old people and important peoples' within very old peoples' lives.

Weekly Schedule
Week 1 The impact and implications of living at a very old age
Week 2 Challenges for the very old living with mental ill health
Week 3 Living in aged care facilities: the mental health implications
Week 4 Capacity, power, advocacy and getting older: assessment and impacts
Week 5 Ethical dilemmas for different stakeholders
Week 6 Dementia and delirium
Week 7 Living with dementia: reducing concerning behaviours
Week 8 Working with people with dementia and mental illness
Week 9 Depression and suicide: What's different for the very old?
Week 10 Anxiety and anxiety Disorders: What's different for older people?
Week 11 Pain and medication management for mental health and mental ill-health
Week 12 Adapting therapies and interventions for very old people
Week 13 Sexuality: considerations and choice
Week 14 The big questions: loss and grief, and end of life
Week 15 What should 2030 look like?