4 Therapy Approaches to Help Older Adults Manage Their Health

Many older adults live with chronic health conditions. Cognitive training may help older adults develop cognitive skills that they can use to manage their health more independently. Being able to manage personal health can provide older adults a sense of improved control of their lives. The Healthy Ageing Model incorporates 4 therapy approaches that therapists can use to help their older adult clients manage their health. In this blog post, we discuss these 4 therapy approaches.

Goal-Driven Approach

Using a goal-driven approach, a client would tell the therapist what they would like to work on. The therapist would work with the client to ensure that their goals are realistics, individualized, and achievable. For health management, goals set by the client may not directly be health-related, but often have connections to the management of an individual’s health. An example of a goal-driven approach to therapy would be a client working on self-efficacy skills. The therapist would work with the client to build self-efficacy skills, which can translate into a client feeling comfortable asking their work or school for necessary accommodations.

Health Professional Coaching

In this approach, a therapist would use motivational interviewing to help their client identify what goals they wish to achieve and what behaviors that their client must change. This approach is similar to what a counselor or personal trainer would do, in that it relies on having the client identify what will cause their desired change. The therapist acts as a support and guide helping the client explore their desire for change and what changes they need to make to achieve their goals. An example of this would be a therapist working with a client who wishes to lose weight, and having the client describe their eating habits while the therapist works with the client to understand the effective and ineffective components of their eating behaviors. 

Client Centered Approach

This approach relies on the therapist actively listening to the client as they describe their needs, pains, health history, perspective, and support system. The therapist must approach the client in a non-judgmental manner and help the client feel comfortable sharing their thoughts freely. This is a key component of the Healthy Ageing Model, as many older adults have difficulty expressing their needs to others. By listening to your client, you can help your client build trust and establish a relationship with you. This trust is necessary for your client to achieve their goals, as any undisclosed pains or concerns can hinder therapeutic communication and progress. 

Personal Health System Approach

In this approach, the therapist and client work together to identify the  relationships, activities, practices, and beliefs that bring value and meaning to the client and that assist them in moving toward their goals. For example, a client may want to feel more connected to their community and improve their cardiac health. The therapist may help the client identify activities that the client likes, resources that the client can access, and ways the client can achieve their health goals while meeting other needs, such as regular social interaction. The therapist also works with the client to identify the resources and support system present, and how the client can utilize the resources and their support system to manage their health and achieve their personal health goals.

What do these 4 Approaches within the Healthy Ageing Model mean for my Work with my Client?

In this approach, the therapist and client work together to identify the  relationships, activities, practices, and beliefs that bring value and meaning to the client and that assist

them in moving toward their goals. For example, a client may want to feel more connected to their community and improve their cardiac health. The therapist may help the client identify activities that the client likes, resources that the client can access, and ways the client can achieve their health goals while meeting other needs, such as regular social interaction. The therapist also works with the client to identify the resources and support system present, and how the client can utilize the resources and their support system to manage their health and achieve their personal health goals.

How can HappyNeuron Pro help with Developing Skills that my Older Adult Clients can use to Manage their Health?

HappyNeuron Pro can be used as a way to help your older adult clients practice important cognitive skills, such as working memory capacity and processing speed to be able to retain information shared in a doctor’s office and adhere to a medication regimen. Using HappyNeuron Pro’s digital cognitive therapy exercises, older adults can build the foundational blocks of these complex cognitive skills that can translate to real-world situations. Therapists can connect the activities performed on HappyNeuron Pro to a client’s daily life by providing them with bridging questions and activities that can help the client connect their practice of cognitive skills in a digital space to their behavior in the real-world. 

Source

Potempa, K. M., Butterworth, S. W., Flaherty-Robb, M. K., & Gaynor, W. L. (2010). The healthy ageing model: Health behaviour change for older adults. Collegian, 17(2), 51-55.

Dustin Luchmee
Dustin Luchmee

Dustin is HappyNeuron Pro's Product Specialist. With research experience in stroke, Dustin learned how a stroke can change someone's life. He also learned how different kinds of therapists can work together to help a person get better. He is passionate about neuro-rehabilitation and finding the active ingredients for effective therapy.

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