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 applies a 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 outcome. 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 allows students to reflect on changes in their practice in regards to developmental crises related to the very old.


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 older person living with depression
Week 2 Depression & suicide: Whats different for the very old?
Week 3 Psychoses - The lived experience of older people
Week 4 Anxiety and anxiety disorders: What's different for older people?
Week 5 Dementia and delirium
Week 6 Improving outcomes for older people living with depression
Week 7 Improving outcomes for older people living with psychoses
Week 8 Living with substance and medication use and abuse
Week 9 Living with dementia: Reducing concerning behaviours
Week 10 Working with people with dementia and mental health conditions
Week 11 Ethical dilemmas for different stakeholders
Week 12 Capacity, power, advocacy and getting older: Assessment and impacts
Week 13 Polypharmacy & pain
Week 14 Living in aged care facilities: The mental health implications
Week 15 The big questions - Loss, grief and end of life