Neuropsychological Assessment and Management of Older Adults with Multiple Somatic Symptoms

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Older adults frequently present with somatic concerns that need to be ­evaluated with a clear understanding of their history and context. While it is tempting to dismiss physical complaints as normal consequences of the aging process, such symptoms warrant the neuropsychologist’s attention. This chapter reviews definitions, clinical presentations, assessment strategies, provision of feedback, consultation with colleagues, and treatment approaches that can be used with older adults. Rather than succumbing to therapeutic nihilism, neuropsychologists are encouraged to look into an increasingly broader range of intervention techniques that may benefit their older patients and assist their referral sources. Finally, a number of clinical “pearls” are offered to assist those in working with older patients that present with significant somatoform concerns.