Psychological Services for Older Adults

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What is "Geropsychology"?

"Geropsychology" is the psychological assessment and treatment of people over the age of 60, and their caregivers. These psychological services, when needed, are an important component of quality health care. The older adult may have long-term mental health problems, or may struggle with ongoing life concerns. The challenges some experience with advancing age, including multiple losses, illness and disability, and/or loneliness, can add to these ongoing difficulties. Alternately, older people may experience psychological problems, including emotional, behavioral, or thinking difficulties, for the first time, as a result of these same later-life stresses. A geropsychologist is trained to understand these later-life challenges, accurately diagnose mental health problems, and develop beneficial, realistic treatment plans.

Services Provided

Individual Psychotherapy helps the older adult and/or his or her caregiver(s) to cope with the stresses of advancing age, as well as to manage or eliminate symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or non-reality based thinking. Caregivers of older patients with dementias and other chronic illnesses may benefit from stress-management counseling. (Dr. Spayd is not currently accepting new referrals for psychotherapy, but can assist individuals in locating a local psychotherapist who specializes in working with older adults.)

Diagnostic Assessment identifies if any specific mental health diagnoses are part of the individual's concerns. This assessment can greatly assist in the development of treatment plans, including psychological services and/or medication management by the older adult's physician.

Psychological Testing of cognitive (thinking) abilities, called "neuropsychological testing" can help diagnose if any physical problems, including dementia or delirium, are contributing to the older adult's emotional or behavioral difficulties. Neuro-psychological testing can help determine the individual's functional abilities to perform various daily tasks independently, or what level or type of assistance is necessary to maintain his or her safety. This testing is also used to determine an older adult's "decisional capacity," necessary for guardianship proceedings.

Behavioral Consultation assists those caring for older adults who exhibit behavioral problems, including verbal or physical aggression and wandering. Caregivers are taught to manage these behaviors while preserving the older adult's dignity and most independent functioning possible.

Nursing Home Consultation allows for provision of any of these services in a nursing home setting, thereby minimizing disruption of the resident and allowing direct evaluation of their
living environment. 
(Dr. Spayd is not currently accepting new nursing home consultation cases, but can assist individuals in locating a local psychologist who specializes in such work.)


Dr. Spayd is currently an authorized Medicare, Security Blue, and UPMC for Life provider. Insurance provider contracts are subject to change, so please call the office for the most up-to-date information. The services for patients described above are covered by these plans, when medically indicated. Please ask to discuss any billing questions you may have, prior to or at your first session.


Inservices on a variety of topics in geriatric mental health are available, specifically geared for presentation to older adults, caregivers, or professionals. Please ask for a detailed listing.

Older adults can click here to take a short test to see if they are experiencing significant symptoms of depression.