Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Maria Catena Ausilia QUATTROPANI

Expected Learning Outcomes

Course intends to prepare future psychologists to face challenges posed by lengthening of life and the demographic trend of the Italian population, focusing on the neurocognitive, emotional and affective-relational changes of old age, the dynamics linked to physiological aging and psychological and related interventions to support active longevity and successful aging. Will be examined impact of chronic pathologies and psychological risk or protective factors on aging trajectories and on neuropsychological, affective and functional performance in the "fragile" elderly through multifunctional evaluation and intervention. The objective is to provide methodological and practical tools for clinical management in identifying indicators of psychological fragility that can affect the well-being of the elderly person. Course also includes the acquisition of the main quantitative and qualitative methods to early identification of signs of cognitive deterioration and development of evidence-based intervention projects.

At the end of the course the student will obtain the knowledge necessary to operate in the field of clinical psychology of aging and  skills relating to specific assessments and interventions. Students gained knowledge relating to the different topics covered by the lessons and understand the connection between theoretical approaches, research results, evaluation tools and planning of interventions for older people and their care-givers. Students will acquire the skills to intervene with specific psychological-clinical tools to promote active aging and make use of specific prevention, diagnosis and intervention in different care contexts.

Course Structure

Lectures and in-depth workshop.

Required Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of general psychology, developmental psychology, psychobiology.

Attendance of Lessons

Recommended, not mandatory.

Detailed Course Content

Course aims to present a review of the most recent psychological perspectives on aging, quality of life and psychological well-being in the elderly. Making use of the most recent international research on neurocognitive, emotional and social changes in aging, course will focus on interventions to support active longevity and successful aging. Furthermore, theoretical and methodological topics related to the evaluation and management of the particular frailties of old age and the onset of neurodegenerative pathologies in the various forms of functional and cognitive decline will be addressed. Finally, we will delve into the most innovative biopsychosocial approaches that promote an optimal quality of life and maximum psychological well-being even in people with dementia and their caregivers.

Textbook Information

Linda ClareRobert T. Woods (Eds.), Handbook of the Clinical Psychology of Ageing, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Theories of aging#1
2Biopsychosocial factors#1
3Skills and role of the aging psychologist#1
4Changes in old age (cognitive, neural, sensorial)#1
5Longevity, prevention and active aging#1
6Emotions, relationships and resilience in aging#1
7Evaluation and management of the frail elderly#1
8Clinical models of dementia (cognitive and non-cognitive disorders, assessment and early diagnosis, support for diagnosis, caregiver management)#1
9Communication with demented patients#1
10Tools for informal caregivers and formal operators#1
11Psychosocial model of care and interventions#1
12Bio-psycho-social multifactorial approach#1
13Analysis of the person's functioning. Individualized projects in clinical practice#1
14Methods of relating to the person with dementiaarticles provided by teacher
15The Validation methodarticles provided by teacher
16Caregiver stress managementarticles provided by teacher

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Evaluation consist in oral interview. It will be an individual exchange with the teacher to verify  path taken. It is required to master the discipline, to grasp the interdependent links between different topics, to demonstrate the ability in organize technical knowledge according to specific objectives.

The evaluation criteria are based on:

- acquisition of the main concepts and theoretical approaches of clinical health psychology;

- clarity of presentation;

- competence in use of specialist vocabulary

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Skills of the aging psychologist

Theories of aging

Contexts and lifestyles crucial for successful aging

What changes in the abilities of the elderly?/Sensory changes in elderly people/Cognitive changes in old age/Neural changes in old age

Longevity, prevention, cognitive training and their effectiveness

Life Long Learning

Protective factors against dementia

Emotions, relationships and resilience in aging

Aging and loneliness/ Mourning and dying

Fragility, change and illness/ Frailty and cognitive abilities/ Multidimensional assessment of frailty in older people

Management of the frail elderly person

The influence of covid-19 on the frailty of the elderly population

Cognitive and non-cognitive disorders in dementia

Evaluation of dementia in older people

Early diagnosis

Communication and relationship with the person with dementia

Psychosocial model of care and interventions

Stress management in caregivers