Episode 208 - Dr. Nancy Kusmaul and Lisa Kendall: Impacts of Trauma in Later Life

Monday, January 30, 2017, 7:45:29 AM

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In this episode, our guests Dr. Nancy Kusmaul and Lisa Kendall discuss the possible impacts of traumatic experiences as people transition into older adulthood. They describe specific applications of a trauma perspective with elders and what helping professionals might observe in their clients to warrant further assessment. Dr. Kusmaul and Ms. Kendall highlight the distinctive opportunities and manifestations for re-traumatization with the older adult population, and the trauma-informed care implications for organizations and caregivers serving older adults.

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Average Rating: 5stars  refreshing perspective for end-of-life care, Sunday, February 11, 2018

By Badiah :

Dr. Nancy and Lisa Kendall have a progressive stance to Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development by changing the way our society views "old people." Instead of focusing on a physical or medical model of care, "elderhood" widens the scope of spirituality in this stage of development. Elders are encouraged to embrace healing and growth and to share their lifelong wisdom/ The expectation is that caregivers implement trauma-informed care that now only recognizes behaviors that surface as a result of past traumas, but also works to help individuals resolve those traumas. Thus, the elder person can "make peace" with the pst and within themselves.

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Average Rating: 5stars  always a time for change and growth , Monday, February 05, 2018

By Shanda :

The subject of this podcast is so important and yet this is the first time I have seen the specific topic of how people in the later stages of life are affected by trauma. The speakers describe ‘elder-hood’ as a stage of development separate from adulthood with its own set of tasks and developmental stages to be worked through. People who have experienced trauma may need help and supports to make peace and work through the tasks of this distinct life stage. The speakers also mention that there can be a time delay from experiencing a traumatic event and experiencing symptoms. People can keep symptoms at bay when they are very busy and involved with many things. As they get older and things start to slow down, they may start to experience symptoms from earlier trauma. Caregivers involved with the day to day care of elders do not typically have a lot of support built into their jobs. The speakers mention that these caregivers can also come to their job after experiencing their own unrelated trauma and this is bound to have an impact on both parties. Working towards a trauma informed system of care for elders would help to increase the level of care elders receive as well as support for those involved with day to day care tasks. Healing and growth can be supported by focusing on an individual’s strengths and skills they’ve used over time to help them survive. Allowing time for elders and workers/staff to build a relationship is also mentioned as important to create a trauma informed system. Asking about early experiences in a non-stigmatizing way so elders will feel safe answering and talking about their experiences. Using the phrase “painful memories” can be a low keep way to ask and allow people to talk about past experiences. Family members and staff need to keep in mind that the person in front of them has lived a full life and likely has had many experiences that they may be unaware of.

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Average Rating: 5stars  the importance of trauma informed practice with older adults, Sunday, January 21, 2018

By Gina :

Thank you for sharing your views on trauma and the elderly. I found the subject matter of this podcast to be so very important. Given the continued rapid growth in the number of older adults in our society, social workers and other care providers should become educated and remain mindful of the issues raised in the podcast. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like discussions on elderhood typically receive nearly as much attention as they should.

I truly appreciate the reference to “elder” as someone with special gifts and the ability to teach us. What was once a group that was revered, often now seems cast aside. I also feel that the discussion regarding a declining ability to cope due to a dwindling of all types of resources is a point well taken and one that I will try to keep in mind. Also, I feel that the point regarding the potential for delayed reaction to trauma is important for those working with older adults to be mindful of. The issue of retraumatizing an older adult who may be in a very vulnerable position should probably be near the top of the list of topics to discuss with caregivers.

I am hopeful that education in trauma informed care for the elder population and routinely creating work environments with a focus on safety for elderly clients and staff will expand and become standard practice. Increasing a focus on self- care for providers appears to be a win- win situation. Providers have an outlet for what can be a very stressful job, and clients benefit from working with providers who are feeling better and able to pass that renewed positive energy on toward work with their clients. Developing trusting and collaborative relationships with older adults and working toward building on their strengths presents a much more positive outlook for day to day living. It also seems to benefit the caregiver as well by shifting the focus from the negative to a more positive approach.

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Average Rating: 5stars  renewed interest, Sunday, February 05, 2017

By Sara :

A variety of points that were made during this discussion were thought evoking. One of the first points being that elder hood should be viewed as the individual having a broad range of knowledge to share. I found this to be a wonderful way to view later life because it is often viewed as the end. Elders have experienced a wide variety of situations, so they can share their methods of coping and knowledge gained. This mindset puts the elder in a position of power when they often feel they are losing control.
This relates to a point that was made later in the discussion regarding elder hood as a time of growth and healing. I found this perspective to be refreshing because I believe healing can occur at every age. Social workers can assist elders in their healing while focusing on the strengths of the individual. I am a firm believer that attitude is everything, meaning if we have a positive outlook on life then the quality of our life will be better.
This podcast gave me further confirmation that I chose the right field to practice in. Social work is a way of life and attending the University at Buffalo has provided me with priceless tools to assist clients to the best of my ability. I believe taking a trauma informed approach to healing is brilliant and should be used universally. This podcast has furthered my interest in the trauma informed approach and ways in which trauma impacts individuals.

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Average Rating: 5stars  self care, Saturday, February 04, 2017

By Catherine :

I really appreciated this podcast. It was very informative and talking about a population that I feel is sometimes forgotten about. As a future social worker and working in a nursing home right now, I see the toll that this work takes on people. Not just the social workers that work there but the CNAs and families as well, who might not be aware of how important self care really is. It is critical that one takes time for themselves, so that they are able to take care of someone else and give their 100%. I also think that the CNAs should be aware of trauma informed care and the different models that are out there to care for people in elderhood. You never know someone's story when you look at them so it is important to know to say "what happened to you?" and not "what's wrong with you?" It is also important to recognize that people can be traumatized at every age and that issues can be equally as important for the eldery as they are with someone who is younger. I would suggest this podcast to anyone who is interested in working with the elderly because it is super informative as well as an easy listen.

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Average Rating: 5stars  elderhood, Wednesday, February 01, 2017

By Brianna :

This is a great podcast to bring awareness to social work professionals and care providers, especially whom may work or want to work with individuals in their elderhood. Understanding a Life Span Approach that Kusmaul and Kendall mentioned would be beneficial for practitioners to integrate with a Trauma Informed Perspective. Knowing that while working with individuals in their elderhood, past trauma may not have been dealt with or talked about until the present moment in their lives, and to be aware of that to avoid retraumatization can save someone from wanting to avoid care from any other provider. It was mentioned that elderhood is a time of growth and a great time for healing so that when their time on earth does come to an end, they have a sense of closure. I really like that approach to dealing with trauma because so many people look at their elders as being so fragile almost so that it translates into a mental fragility concept and that is really far from most cases from what I heard. It is critical that providers and practitioners are mindful when working with the elderly because the challenge of aging may bring up past challenges, also mentioned. Always using a Strengths Based Perspective can give individuals the tools for coping, no matter what age. I appreciate the advice on working with elders and learning about the person directed movement that is going on within nursing homes. I agree it is my job as a future licensed social worker to educate and bring awareness to people on trauma and trauma informed care along with the education and awareness that not all healing comes from medical solutions but can come from more simpler things. Thank you for the knowledge!

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.