Academic journal article Adultspan Journal

Counselors and Self-Care: A Broader View to Assist Midlife and Older Clients

Academic journal article Adultspan Journal

Counselors and Self-Care: A Broader View to Assist Midlife and Older Clients

Article excerpt

Insecurity. Fear. Hopelessness. Those words come to mind as I read the newspaper each and every morning for the past few months. I had hoped that by the time you were reading this in spring 2009, the financial framework of the United States would be strong and steady; however, for midlife and older adults, the fear that is overwhelming our world will perhaps still be strong, and we will be forever changed.

The security that was once assumed, whether financial of relational, is something we can no longer take for granted, and for many, that has had an impact on life satisfaction and possibly on positive mental health. Fear is something we all face from time to time, and often that fear concerns an issue over which we have some control and on which we can act. These last few months, however, have been illustrative of the kind of helplessness that can occur when the issue is not totally within our control, although the manifestations of that fear must be dealt with on a daily basis. Many older adults have found that what they thought was a fairly secure financial future is now at risk--and if their future is not at risk financially, then it is at risk in other ways. When adults experience a helpless feeling concerning their retirement of the well-being of their family, they can become depressed and sometimes make decisions that are not in their benefit. If someone is unable to maintain a job, suddenly losing benefits and life purpose, they are then at risk for feelings that will be more negative than positive, which then can cause a chain reaction of feelings of sadness, depression, anger, and hopelessness.

As counselors, we can assist at those times when adults feel that they have no control and that "all is lost." Although we cannot advise on financial issues, we can help bring a client back to reality and provide balance about what they do have as assets--nonfinancial assets--such as colleagues; family; career connections; a job, if they are still working; as well as health, if that is the case. …

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