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Home / Advice / News / Psychotherapy for older people - it’s never too late to start seeing a therapist

Psychotherapy for older people - it’s never too late to start seeing a therapist

By: Agapi Kapeloni

Updated: 05 November 2020

Psychotherapy for older people - it’s never too late to start seeing a therapist

Psychotherapy for older people - it’s never too late to start seeing a therapist.


We are living longer due to technological and medical advances. In fact, older people account for 703 million in the world and it is expected that in Ireland a quarter of our population will be over 65 years old by 2041.

As we find ourselves living longer it is to be expected that we will, in our later years (as in earlier years) encounter life events and changes which may shake our resilience and confidence. Therapy can be a source of support for older people, just as it is for younger generations. Even so, the statistics show that far fewer older people seek psychotherapy compared to members of younger ages.

Older people, like their younger counterparts, experience mental health difficulties such as low mood, stress, depression, addiction, and relationship issues. Older people may also ‘carry’ distress from a much earlier time of their lives – a distress which they have been unable to do anything about due to lack of resources or due to historically negative attitudes towards therapy.

In addition to the mental health challenges typically experienced by all ages, older people may be challenged by the added experience of getting older. And of course, some of the issues faced by older people can be typically issues only or more frequently faced by older people alone, such as dementia, physical impairment due to ageing or disease, chronic pain, retirement, or widowhood.

Older people may also experience challenges of a social nature such as ageism, challenges to living independently (and the related fear of dependency). Many older people also become carers for loved ones with poorer health than their own – and have to carry this responsibility at a time in their lives when they find it increasingly challenging.

Last but not least, older people tend to be more preoccupied by ‘end of life’ issues and associated fears such as fear of dying, fear of losing loved ones, and the related potential for isolation/loneliness that such losses entail, and the consequential potential for depression that presents.

The mental health of older people is typically considered to be at a higher risk than younger people due, for example, to the natural process of ageing, as well as long-term diseases which are more prevalent within the older population such as diabetes, heart conditions, or high blood pressure.

The recent pandemic has become an additional reason for older people to ‘reach out’ for therapy. With the emergence of Covid-19, older people may experience higher levels of fear and anxiety due to the threat the virus poses for them. In addition, older people have found themselves having to isolate (‘cocoon’) in order to protect themselves from a potentially deadly virus.

How can we manage the fear of loss of health or even death while isolating, when under normal circumstances we would be encouraged to connect with people and share our fears in order to overcome them? Many have resorted to making online contact with others, and despite the fact that such contact is remote, it has been found to be quite helpful during these difficult times.

Unfortunately, even when it comes to using technology, some older adults are at a disadvantage to younger generations in this regard. Not all older members of our society are computer literate and for many the only available means of tele-communication remains the telephone.

Do you or a loved one identify with a mental health issue or any of the issues presenting with ageing?
Are you reluctant to open up to family members or children and grandchildren because you do not want to worry them?
Are you trying to make sense of current issues or earlier ones from the past but realise you are unable to continue to do so alone?  
Are you older and caring for an older member of your family and finding yourself challenged by that caring role? 
Are you older and affected by (or vulnerable to) the current Covid-19 pandemic?

These are some of the pertinent questions which older people may find themselves asking at this time, and they are by no means alone in this; many younger people face similar challenges. If any of the above questions resonate with you, or if you have any concerns about your mental health why don’t you take the first step and get in touch with the office at MyMind? You will be given the information and the help you need to book an appointment with a therapist and even though face-to-face therapy may not be an option for you now, you will be able to have sessions over the phone or via the internet, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

Should you make an appointment, your therapist will make contact with you on the day and time of your appointment. S/he is professionally trained to listen to you without judgement, support you as you try to make sense of what is going on and help you learn how to make any (if any) needed changes. Also, the relationship with your therapist is confidential, just as it is with your doctor.

Psychotherapy has been found to be helpful for any age. It is never too late to start. Talking to a therapist can help support you in ageing more healthily and happily.



Ann Maher Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Mindfulness , Person-Centred Therapy

Works with: Individual Session

Specialities: Anxiety , Bereavement / Loss , Fertility , Isolation / Loneliness , Self-Esteem , Stress , Trauma

Next avaialble appointment: 10:00 02 October 2023

Stephanie Obiefuna Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Person-Centred Therapy , Psychodynamic Therapy

Works with: Individual Session

Specialities: Work Issues, Work/Life balance , Stress , Self-Esteem , Self Care , Relationship issues , Personal Development , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , Isolation / Loneliness , Eating Disorder / Body Image , Depression , Addiction , Anger , Anxiety , Trauma , Bereavement / Loss

Next avaialble appointment: 8:00 02 October 2023

Laura McDermott Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Mindfulness , Person-Centred Therapy , Psychodynamic Therapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Gestalt Therapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy , Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Works with: Individual Session , Couples

Specialities: Anger , Anxiety , Depression , Domestic Violence / Abuse , Isolation / Loneliness , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , Personal Development , Relationship issues , Self Care , Self-Esteem , Sexuality (LGBTQIA+) , Stress , Suicidal Ideation / Self Harm , Trauma , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 12:00 02 October 2023


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