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Written by: Shiori Lange, LCSW
American writer Mark Twain once said “Age is an issue of mind
over matter. If you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter.” Living a life you want
to live where you are not affected by the concept of your “age” or the number
suggests, and have dreams and hopes, whether large or small… I’m sure many hope
to live that kind of meaningful time and live through life.
Now, while age may just be about your perception and seems
like it’s something you can overcome. However, according to law of nature, our
bodies do decline in strength and the need for seeking various support along
with aging is something everyone has to go through in this aging society today.
Just looking at the state of California, it is estimated that by 2030, there
will be over 1 million older adults who need some type of caregiving assistance
(Public Policy Institute of California, 2019). Regarding caregiving, geriatric healthcare
professionals and elder care professionals have been focusing more on “Psychosocial
needs” in older adults. Let’s look at what this means, which is just as
important as our physiological/biological needs.
To say it simply, this is a psychological, social factors that are necessary to maintain a healthy body and mind. Maybe some may not understand what this means when combined with aging without specific examples. In order for us to safely live in the environment you have long lived in and continue to do so, let us look at what these needs are, and the support system we have today.
I personally have an opportunity to provide services to many
older adults and their family members on a daily basis. The first thing we as
geriatric licensed clinical social worker conducts is to understand and analyze
the situation that the patient is going through. Then, we assist patient/family
members to set care goals based on psychosocial assessments, and create a care-plan
to meet these goals. We then support to fill in the gap between the goals and
the current situation.
There are various factors, but simply put, the following are
some psychosocial matters you may want to check in order to live a fulfilling life
Are there any in this list that you have a concern? Geriatric
clinical social workers provide clinical psychological counseling to those who
may have mental health issues or searching for ways to face stressors. Those
who do not have anyone to rely on, or those who have family members that are
far away to provide support, we provide ways for individuals to expand their
support system in order for their lives to be safer and meaningful. We also
provide care consultation and explain social services available for those who
may be facing financial issues due to low income, or feel worried about living
Most people seek consultation from
specialists at the time when crisis occurs. In current times, medical field has
pushed forward with promoting preventative care, and you often hear how to
“prevent” some medical issues, but in the psychosocial field, especially in
mental health area, there is much more work to do surrounding “preventative”
care that can be done. Instead of waiting until the last minute and to just do
what the specialist tells you because you don’t have the capacity to think what
you want to do, the most important thing is for your wishes to be prioritized
whatever step you are at. If possible, I recommend seeking periodic appointment
with a specialist to understand the mental health and brain health, as well as
your current situation, and start talking about care plans early in your
There are many geriatric
specializations, and many people may not know where to start or who to seek
help from. If you have a good relation with your primary care physician, you
can ask your primary care physician or the nurse. If they believe that you would
benefit from psychosocial help, they will often refer you to a hospital,
insurance company, medical group, or local social service agency social
workers/case workers. If mental health is the main issue, you can seek help
from Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist, or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor that has
license in the state of California to receive clinical psychological
counseling. The specialist can provide counseling for older adults and their
family members to help your own mental health, strengthen support system,
support creating an environment so you and your loved one can have a healthy
environment whether it is dementia related or caregiving related issues.
Finally, Mark Twain also said this “Let us
endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be
About the Author: Shiori Lange, LCSW
Lange was born and raised in Saga, Japan. She came to the U.S in 1999 to attend
University in Tucson, AZ where she obtained her Bachelor of Family Studies and
Human Development degree. She moved to Long Beach, CA in 2011 and obtained her
Master of Social Work degree from California State University, Long Beach. In
the past, she provided geriatric care consultation, case management and mental
health counseling. She also facilitated various kinds of support groups and
served as a MSW/BSW student Field Education Supervisor through NPO and Public
Agency. Currently, she works full-time as a Geriatric Medical Social Worker at
a Health Care Center in Seal Beach providing psychosocial care (Post Acute
Care, Supportive/Behavioral Health Care, Palliative Care) for individuals and
families. In 2018, she opened her private practice office in Long Beach. She
works during weekends to provide behavioral health psychotherapy and geriatric
care consultation. Shiori specializes in Older adults, Family, Caregiving, Dementia,
Mental Health, Grief and Mindfulness.
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