Aging and ACBS: A Scientist/Practitioner Journey

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Susan M. McCurry, Ph.D.

Date Recorded: 
June 16, 2016

Presented at ACBS World Conference 14, Seattle, Washington, USA

The numbers of individuals living into old age is growing exponentially worldwide, and at the same time there is a tremendous geriatric workforce shortage. The problem is further exacerbated when considering the care needs of persons with dementia, despite the fact that nearly half of all individuals over the age of 80 develop symptoms of cognitive decline, and many of these are economically and socially marginalized. This talk describes how psychological and behavioral interventions for older adults across the cognitive continuum have changed in the past 25 years, and explores how the ACBS community may be uniquely poised to lead a revolution in geriatric and dementia mental health care. Contextual behavioral science also provides the tools for examining societal attitudes towards aging and cognitive decline, and for shaping our communities towards policies that promote economic equality, social respect, and empathy for older persons experiencing changes in cognitive function.