Putting the Gold Back in the Golden Years

  • Dawn M. Birk
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


There are many terms for individuals in the upper age bracket of society. These include “old,” “aged,” and “elderly,” to mention a few. There are also the descriptors “young old” and “old old” that are used to further describe and classify the over-65 population. Generally speaking, none of these terms are considered flattering (Birkedahl, 1991; Daugs, 1987). Those who might meet the criteria for classification into one of these categories frequently seek other ways of describing themselves, such as “seniors” or “senior citizens.” They may also refer to themselves as simply “retirees” and remind themselves that these are the “golden years.” The rejection of certain terms used to describe individuals in the upper age bracket suggests that these terms are viewed as unpleasant, distasteful, or even derogatory. While some cultures and societies view aging adults in terms of “wise” or “venerable,” many individuals continue to associate aging only with negative concepts such as loss, deterioration, and dependence (Daugs, 1987; Foner, 1986; Janicki & Wisniewski, 1985). This may be due, in part, to the belief that aging leads to decrements in the quality of life and brings only decreased functioning, without the possibility of improvement in any area. This belief of pervasive loss needs modification if one is to make a therapeutic impact on the aging population. Leaning how to impact people 65 years and over is vital at this time, since it is predicted that by 2030 approximately 20.7% of the US population will be in this age group (Birkedahl, 1991, p. viii). In order to make therapeutic changes, aging individuals must be provided with the hope and information needed in order to continue to grow, change, maintain, and improve the condition and quality of later life.


Life Satisfaction Nursing Home Resident American Psychological Association Housing Satisfaction Mandatory Retirement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baker, F. M. (1984). Group psychotherapy with patients over 55: An adult development approach. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17, 79–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bakes, M. M., & Zerbe, M. B. (1976). Independence training in nursing home residents. The Gerontologist, 16(5), 428–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berg, S., & Melin, E. (1975). Hypnotic susceptibility in old age: Some data from residential homes for old people. International Journal of Clinical Experimental Hypnosis, 23(30), 184–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birk, D. M. (1989). Locus of control and related factors in the elderly: A review. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  5. Birk, D. M., & Johnson, C. (1992). Assessing nurses’ acceptability of treatment of nursing home residents. Poster presentation at the American Psychological Association Centennial Convention, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  6. Birkedahl, N. (1991). Older and wiser. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.Google Scholar
  7. Birren, J., Woods, A., & Williams, M. V. (1980). Behavioral slowing with age: Causes, organization, and consequences. In L. Poon (Ed.), Aging in the 1980s (pp. 137–155). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  8. Blum, J. E., & Tross, S. (1980). Psychodynamic treatment of the elderly: A review of issues in theory and practice. In C. Eisdofer (Ed.), Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics (pp. 204–237). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Booth, T. (1986). Institutional regimes and induced dependency in homes for the aged. Gerontologist, 26,(4), 418–423.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Botwinick, J. (1978). Aging and behavior. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Burgio, K. L., & Engel, B. T. (1987). Urinary incontinence: Behavioral assessment and treatment. In L. L. Carstensen & B. A. Edelstein (Eds.), Handbook of clinical gerontology (pp. 2–49). New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Byrd, M. (1983). Letting the inmates run the asylum: The effects of control and choice on the institutional lives of older adults. Activities, Adaptation and Aging, 3(3), 3–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carp, F. (1985). Relevance of personality traits to adjustment in group living situations. Journal of Gerontology, 40(5), 544–551.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clum, G. A., Scott, L., & Burnside, J. (1979). Information and locus of control as factors in the outcome of surgery. Psychological Reports, 45, 867–873.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen, M., Tell, E., & Wallack, S. (1986). Client-related risk factors of nursing home entry among elderly adults. Journal of Gerontology, 41(6), 785–792.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cooper, C., & Shepard, A. (1973). Reaction time and the aging process. In L. W. Poon (Ed.), Aging in the 1980s (pp. 119–129). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  17. Daugs, R. (1987). The golden years. New York: Golden Apple.Google Scholar
  18. Drobnies, B. E. (1984). Comparison of the locus of control expectancies of two groups of two groups of older adults in relation to participation in higher education. Dissertation Abstracts, 46, 1956–A.Google Scholar
  19. Emery, G. (1981). Cognitive therapy with the elderly. In G. Emery, S. D. Hollon, & R. C. Bedrosian (Eds.), New directions in cognitive therapy (pp. 84–98). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  20. Finkel, S. I. (1991). Group psychotherapy in later life. In W. Myers (Ed.), New techniques in the psychotherapy of older patients (pp. 223–240). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  21. Fisher, J. E., & Carstensen, L. L. (1990). Behavior management of the dementias. Clinical Psychology Review, 10, 611–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fisher, K. (1988). Locus of control theory from formula to future. The APA Monitor, 19(10), 14–15.Google Scholar
  23. Foner, A. (1986). Aging and old age. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  24. Gallagher, D. (1981). Behavioral group therapy with elderly depressives: An experimental study. In D. Upper & S. M. Ross (Eds.), Behavioral Group Therapy (pp. 187–224). Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gallagher, D., & Thompson, L. W. (1981). Depression in the elderly: A behavioral treatment manual. Los Angeles: University of Southern California Press.Google Scholar
  26. George, L. (1980). Role transitions in later life. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  27. Gerber, K. E. (1976). An analysis of satisfaction with later life in a diverse group of elderly individuals. Dissertation Abstracts, 38, 5046–B.Google Scholar
  28. Golander, H. (1987). Under the guise of passivity. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 13(2), 26–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Golant, S. (1984). A place to grow old: The meaning of environment in old age. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Harris, S. (Program Creator) P. J. Witt, & T. Thomas, Executive Producers). (1991). The golden girls [film]. Junger/Witt/Harris Production.Google Scholar
  31. Holt, J. (1991). Hypnotherapy and older adults. In W. Myers (Ed.), New techniques in the psychotherapy of older patients (pp. 171–180). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  32. Hoyer, L., Matteson, M., & Siegler, I. C. (1982). Locus of control and long-term care. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 1, 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hoyer, W. J. Labouvie, G. V., & Baltes, P. B. (1973). Modification of response speed deficits and intellectual performance in the elderly. Human Development, 16, 233–242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hughes, J. H. (1976). Attitudes toward life and death as affected by confrontation with deal, the environment, and personal locus of control. Dissertation Abstracts, 38, 5047–B.Google Scholar
  35. Hunter, K. I., Linn, M. W., & Harris, R. (1982). Characteristics of high and low self-esteem in the elderly. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 14(2), 117–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hussian, R. (1981). Geriatric psychology: A behavioral perspective. New York: Nostrand Reinhold.Google Scholar
  37. Hussian, R. (1985). Responsive care: Behavioral interventions ivith elderly persons. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  38. Hussian, R. (1987). Wandering and disorientation. In L. L. Carstensen & B. A. Edelstein (Eds.), Handbook of clinical gerontology (pp. 184–192). New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  39. Hutchison, W., Carstensen, L., & Silverman, T. (1983). Generalized effects of increasing personal control of residents in a nursing facility. International Journal of Behavioral Geriatrics, 1(4), 21–32.Google Scholar
  40. Janicki, M. P., & Wisniewski, H. M. (1985). Aging and developmental disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks.Google Scholar
  41. Johnson, E. S., & Williamson, J. B. (1980). Growing old: The social problems of aging. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  42. Kazdin, A. E. (1980). Acceptability of alternative treatments for deviant child behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13, 259–273.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kimmel, D., Price, K., & Walker, J. (1978). Retirement choice and retirement satisfaction. Journal of Gerontology, 33, 575–585.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lachman, M. E. (1981). Personality and intelligence in old age: Fluid and crystallized abilities in relation to two-year change in locus of control and perceived intellectual efficacy. Dissertation Abstracts, 43, 1635–B.Google Scholar
  45. Lazarus, L. W. (1984). Clinical approaches to psychotherapy with the elderly. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  46. Leszcz, M. (1990). Towards an integrated model of group psychotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 40(4), 379–399.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Linn, M. W., & Hunter, K. (1979). Perception of age in the elderly. Journal of Gerontology, 34(1), 46–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Loo, R. (1979). Locus of control scores: A critical note. Psychological Reports, 44, 1117–1118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lundervold, D. A., & Jackson, T. (1992). Use of applied behavior analysis in treating nursing home residents. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 43,(2), 171–173.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Mace, N. L., & Rabins, P. V. (1991). The 36-hour day (rev. ed.). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Mancini, J. A. (1981). Effects of health and income on control orientation and life satisfaction among aged public housing residents. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 72(3), 215–220.Google Scholar
  52. Mark, L. C. (1983). Locus of desired control and patient role. The Journal of Social Psychology, 116, 169–276.Google Scholar
  53. Masters, W H., & Johnson, V. E. (1970). Human sexual inadequacy. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  54. Myers, W. (Ed.). (1991). New techniques in the psychotherapy of older patients. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  55. National Council on the Aging (1981). Aging in the eighties: America in transition. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  56. O’Brien, G. E. (1981). Locus of control, previous occupation, and satisfaction with retirement. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 3(3), 305–318.Google Scholar
  57. O’Bryant, S., & Wolf, S. (1983). Explanations of housing satisfaction of older homeowners and renters. Research on Aging, 5(2), 217–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Parker, E. (1984). Housing for the elderly. Chicago: Institute of Real Estate Management.Google Scholar
  59. Pinkston, E. M., & Linsk, N. L. (1984). Care of elderly: A family approach. New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  60. Poon, L. W. (1980). Aging in the 1980s. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Prudic, J., & Sackeim, H.A. (1990). Refractory depression and ECT. In S. P. Roose & A. H. Glassman (Eds.), Treatment Strategies for Refractory Depression (pp. 109–128). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  62. Reid, D. W., Haas, G., & Hawkings, D. (1977). Locus of desired control and positive self-concept of the elderly. Journal of Gerontology, 12(4), 441–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Riddick, C. C. (1985). Health, aquariums, and the noninstitutionalized elderly. Pets and the Family, 1, 163–173.Google Scholar
  64. Riley, M. W., & Bond, K. (1983). Beyond ageism: Postponing the onset of disability. In M. W. Riley, B. B. Hess, & K. Bond (Eds.), Aging in Society: Selected Reviews of Recent Research (pp. 39–52). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  65. Rodin, J. (1986). Aging and health: Effects of the sense of control. Science, 233, 1271–1276.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rodin, J., & Langer, E. (1977). Long-term effects of a control-relevant intervention with the institutionalized aged. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(12), 897–902.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rush, A. J., & Watkins, J. T. (1981). Group vs. individual cognitive therapy: A pilot study. Cognitive Therapy Research, 5, 95–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Salthouse, T. A., & Somberg, B. L. (1982). Isolating the age deficit in speeded performance. Journal of Gerontology, 37(1), 59–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schultz, R. (1976). Effects of control and predictability on the physical and psychological well-being of the institutionalized aged. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33(3), 563–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schultz, R., & Hanusa, H. (1978). Long-term effects of control and predictability-enhancing interventions: Findings and ethical issues. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(11), 1194–1201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sheppard, H. (1976). Work and retirement. In R. Binstock & E. Shanas (Eds.), Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences (pp. 132–169). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.Google Scholar
  72. Silberschatz, G., & Curtis, J. (1991). Time-limited psychodynamic therapy with older adults. In W. Myers (Ed.), New techniques in the psychotherapy of older patients, (pp. 95–109). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  73. Skinner, B. F., & Vaughan, M. E. (1983). Enjoy old age. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  74. Spiegel, H., & Speigel, D. (1978). Trance and treatment: Clinical uses of hypnosis. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  75. Stock, L. Z., & Milan, M. A. (1993). Improving dietary practices of elderly individuals: The power of prompting, feedback, and social reinforcement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26(3), 379–387.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Thompson, L. W., Wagner, B., & Zeiss, A. (1989). Cognitive—behavioral therapy with early Alzheimer’s patients: An exploratory view of the utility of this approach. (DHHS Publication No. ADM-89-1569). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  77. Thompson, L. W., Gantz, F., Florsheim, M., DelMaestro, S., Rodman, J., Gallagher-Thompson, D., & Bryan, H. (1991). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for affective disorders in the elderly. In W. Myers (Ed.), New techniques in the psychotherapy of older patients (pp. 3–20). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  78. Tiffany, P. G., Tiffany, D. W., Camp, C. J., & Dey, K. A. (1984). Relationship between experienced control and domiciles of elderly persons. Psychological Reports, 54, 731–736.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wallston, K. A. (1983). Expectancies about control over health: Relationship to desire for control of health care. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9(3), 377–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Ward, R. A. (1984). The aging experience: An introduction to social gerontology. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  81. Wechsler, D. (1974). Wechsler adult intelligence scales-revised (manual). New York: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  82. Wolfensberger, W. (1972). The principle of normalization in human services. New York: National Institute of Mental Health.Google Scholar
  83. Yankura, J., & Dryden, W. (1990). Doing RET: Albert Ellis in action. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  84. Yesavage, J. A., & Karasu, T. B. (1983). Psychotherapy with elderly patients. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 36, 41–55.Google Scholar
  85. Ziegler, M., & Reid, D. W. (1983). Correlates of changes in desired control scores and in life satisfaction among elderly persons. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 16(2), 135–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn M. Birk
    • 1
  1. 1.Eastern Montana Community Mental Health CenterMiles CityUSA

Personalised recommendations