Older adult mental health: Teaching senior-level baccalaureate nursing students what they need to know

J Gerontol Nurs. 2010 Jul;36(7):44-53. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20100528-99. Epub 2010 Jul 8.


Within the older adult population, certain idiosyncratic aspects of mental illness add to the challenges of helping clients manage these disorders. Older adults are more likely than younger populations to experience physiologically based comorbidities, a dynamic that further strains coping capacities. Barriers to the provision of comprehensive mental health nursing care for older adults include myths and stigmas about aging and mental health. Nurse educators are challenged to move students toward a more positive, empirically based approach to the care of older adults' mental health. In this article, background information supporting the importance of working to improve students' knowledge of and attitudes toward mental illness in older adults is provided. Specific teaching strategies in the areas of older adult mental health, dementia, and delirium are discussed. Resources to support the incorporation of these strategies into nursing curricula are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delirium / diagnosis
  • Delirium / nursing
  • Delirium / therapy
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / nursing
  • Dementia / therapy
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate
  • Geriatric Nursing / education*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / nursing*
  • Teaching / methods*
  • United States