According to a study done by Goncalves surveying 679 students from 10 countries on five continents (2009), there is not a lot of interest among students in working with people who are older. "This seems to be a pervasive phenomenon, reaching students from psychology, medicine, nursing, and social work" (p. 203). Closer to home, an article in The New York Times, states the number of Americans 65 and older will double by 2050 (Williams, Timothy, 2014, May 6, p. A17). This means, just in the United States, this population is about to increase from 40 million to 80 million in the next 30 years. These older adults will be facing normal transitions and unexpected difficulties. The need for counselors to help them and the inevitable ethical challenges and legal issues will increase.
Definition of People Who Are Older
The classification called "people who are older" can begin as early as age sixty. For example, Christine Moll, professor of counselor education at Canisius University in Buffalo, N.Y. calls people between the ages of 60 and 70 the "new aged" (Meyers, L. l., 2015, p. 34). Today’s “new aged" may enjoy increased physical activity and more opportunities for social and community support. These benefits can contribute to improved mental health and longer lifespans. Today, people who are 60 often have 15 or 20 productive years remaining in life, 10 years more than in 1950 (Shigley, D., 2011).
Common Problems Faced by People Who Are Older
Common areas of concern for people who are older are ageism, keeping their jobs, transitioning to part-time work, retirement with lower income, or even beginning a second career. On one hand, you may have encore careerists, li...
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...ng with aging adults is not all doom and gloom. Surveys and research have found that life satisfaction and happiness increase for many people as they approach their 60s. Older adults also possess more life experience and in many instances have accumulated more wisdom and confidence that contribute to greater overall well-being" (Meyers, 2015, p. 33). Martin Levin, the encore careerist still practicing law at age 92, is just one example of “a valuable person who is contributing to society” (Shigley, D., 2011, p. 71).
Finally, gerontological training is important at every level from volunteering as a youth, through undergraduate college programs, graduate college programs, continuing education, and advanced specialization. "The needs and issues of the elderly of today may differ from those of tomorrow" (Stickle, F., & Onedera, J. D., 2006, p. 250), and a gerontological
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