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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77902 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Health Problems of Older Americans - An Introduction for Victim Counselors
Author(s): J H Stein
Corporate Author: National Council of Senior Citizens
Criminal Justice and the Elderly Program
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 50
Sponsoring Agency: National Council of Senior Citizens
Washington, DC 20005
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 78-DF-AX-0132
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This overview of the psychological attributes and problems of older Americans is intended to assist counselors working with elderly victims of crime to understand tendencies which differentiate the elderly victim from others.
Abstract: Elderly victims tend to be more frightened from having been victimized, yet they often appear to handle the experience more calmly than younger victims. With younger victims, the counselor deals only with the crime and the victim; with the elderly, the factor of age can act like a filter between the violation and the violated, influencing the events that follow. To adjust properly to that added influence, the victim counselor should understand some of the emotional characteristics of the elderly. This work is based on the writings of several individuals who are prominent in geropsychiatry, covers a wide range of issues, and emphasizes the number of parallels between the experience of becoming a crime victim and of becoming older in America. The sense of loss appears to be the dominant theme in the psychology of older people. This loss may be further characterized as a time of lost status and self esteem, often because of retirement; of lost loved ones; and of lost powers over the mind and body. The mental health status of the elderly can be divided into life crisis reactions, functional disturbances, and organic disorders. Most of the problems which the elderly present to mental health professionals involve the social environment. Six syndromes may be identified which are frequently exhibited by the elderly: anxiety, situational disturbances, depression, hypochondriasis, paranoid reactions, and alcoholism. An emergency counseling approach is used for situational stresses, while the treatment of other syndromes features reality orientation and sensory training.
Index Term(s): Counselors; Crisis intervention; Elderly victims; Fear of crime; Mental health services; Older Adults (65+); Psychological victimization effects; Victim counseling; Victim services
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