Statistics and Tips


  • Individuals aged 65 and older currently constitute 16.2% of the US Population. However, this group is growing and is expected to constitute 20% of the population by 2030.
  • Show older adults respect, and give them as much autonomy as possible, regardless of mental status or the issues involved. When communicating with older adults:
    • Give full attention to the individual
    • Talk to rather than about the person
    • Use respectful language (not elderspeak), but don’t be overly sweet
    • Treat the person as an adult
    • Take the individual’s concerns seriously
  • Presume competence in older adult clients unless the contrary is obvious.
  • Involve older adults in decisions as much as possible. If there are cognitive limitations, it may be necessary to use legally recognized individuals to assist with decision making.
  • Recognize that it is important to help individuals who are alone establish support systems in the community.
  • Help the older adult develop a sense of fulfillment in life by discussing the positive aspects of their experiences. Success can be defined as having done one’s best or having met and survived challenges.



The above was adapted from the following:

Sue, D. W. & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice. (6th edition). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

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