12. The role of Psychogeriatrics in Healthy Living and Active Ageing

Enrico MOLINARI a,b, Chiara SPATOLA a,b, Giada PIETRABISSA a,b, Francesco PAGNINI a, Gianluca CASTELNUOVO  a,b

a Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy

b Psychology Research Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Italy

Abstract. A healthy and active life is a key issue for elderly citizens, above all when psychological complications such as depression and anxiety disorders, late delusion or loneliness can be observed. Moreover, medical pathologies in elderly patients often have a multi-factorial etiology and many psychopathological dimensions and psychosocial risk factors are underestimated. From the perspective of clinical health psychology, psychogeriatrics could play an important role in promoting active ageing and a healthy lifestyle in elderly persons through tailored clinical approaches based on specific research and advanced professional training in this area. More research is needed in order to study which determinants affect the process of an active and functional ageing. Possible research ageing areas are: 1) evaluation of psychosocial risk-protective factors related to the individual's biography and personality. 2) Evaluation of enrichment programs and clinical protocols focused on the management of different topics such as health system areas, behavioral areas, social and physical environment areas, psychological factors and economic determinants. The goal of Psychogeriatrics endeavors to develop and evaluate interventions designed to stimulate improvement in friendship, self-esteem and subjective well-being, as well as to reduce loneliness among older citizens. 3) Evaluation of self-management programs in chronic disease conditions (such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse and tobacco smoking), that could enhance risk factors for health in elderly citizens. Typical key elements of self-management, such as decision making, problem solving, motivation, self-efficacy, resource utilization, and citizen's empowerment have to be studied.

Keywords. Psychogeriatrics, Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Active Ageing, Healthy Living, Self-management Programs