How Psychologists Address the Needs of Older Adults—
Some Examples Research Psychologists are at the forefront of research on questions related to health and aging. Why are most older adults successful in adapting to the stressors of late life, while others become suicidal? Why do most older adults remain mentally sharp, while others have memory problems? Research on the aging brain provides clues to the risks and protective factors for mental disorders across the life span. Assessment Given the often-complex mental and physical health problems of older adults, health care providers and families often turn to psychologists because of their skills in psychological and neuropsychological assessment. Psychologists are also the leading scientists responsible for the development of diagnostic tools. Psychologists have the necessary expertise to assess and differentiate between disorders such as dementia, depression, anxiety, delirium, adjustment reactions, side effects from medications, or combinations of these problems. The legal profession looks to psychologists to help determine whether older adults have the capacity to manage their own affairs.