Aging and the problems that it brings are an area that requires special skills and a special person.  We are committed to helping to improve the quality of life for all of our clients and we are pleased to announce a staff expansion to help us do that for this growing area of our population. We want to welcome Mary Brodland to our South Hills Pittsburgh PA-based practice. Mary is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides services for adults over the age of 60 for many types of difficult situations they may face.  A great way to get a feel for the type of person that Mary is is to watch her interview with me on Coffee with a Counselor.

Aging is not for the faint of heart

As we age, we may be faced with many life transitions such as retirement, downsizing, and parenting grandchildren. These transitions cause us to review our lives; we wonder if we have lived a fulfilling life and left a legacy we deem satisfying. This may lead us to search for closure for things left undone or question whether we made good decisions for ourselves and our families.

Often times we are faced with chronic health problems that can affect mood or lead to depression, which can worsen physical pain or create new aches and pains in the body.

agingDifferent life stressors such as a change in income or health may leave us wondering if we have saved enough money or are healthy enough to live independently. Many older adults are faced with varying degrees of grief or loss. This grief or loss can include the death of loved ones, friends, or pets. It can be a loss of independence, loss of job by choice or by force due to health concerns, or any number of unfortunate life events. Sometimes the loss of health and independence means that we must rely more heavily on our children, grandchildren or spouses. This can put an undesirable amount of stress and responsibility on caregivers and can eventually lead to caregiver burnout.

It is very important not to allow the stress of all these changes to become overwhelming. No matter our age we have the ability to lead a fulfilling life if we are given the proper resources and support. Mary understands how these life transitions can be stressful for older adults and can provide numerous types of therapeutic interventions for adults over the age of 60.
In cases of dementia, early or further progressed, it may be helpful to offer validation theory or life enrichment treatment. Validation theory, for those with dementia, is the best way to reach and interact with someone in any stage of the disease as it strives to create positive, comforting interactions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other approaches

Mary uses Cognitive therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Theory to help treat older adults struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, and life transitions. Mary often finds it helpful to add creative therapies such as art and music to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Other treatment modalities can be used depending on the individual patient. These may be Motivational Interviewing, Brief Psychodynamic Therapy, Experiential Therapy, or Solution Focused therapy. These same interventions may be successful in also treating caregivers who may be experiencing caregiver burden or caregiver stress. Sometimes it may be useful to teach families and their loved one about the therapeutic processes used and why a specific process is being used. This is called Psychoeducation and can help normalize the process of aging for all those involved.

If you or a loved one is beginning to become concerned about life transitions or showing signs of depression or anxiety due to aging, health concerns, or loss, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Mary Brodland, LCSW. Mary strives to treat all with the respect and dignity they deserve as they enter the next chapter of their lives.


* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.