What nursing home residents talk about in psychotherapy

Have you ever wondered what nursing home residents discuss with their shrinks behind closed doors? Here I solve the mystery, revealing the types of conversations I’ve had with residents over the years.

· Feelings about leaving home and being ill.

· Issues around loss of control and being dependent on other people, with a focus on gaining control over what they can.

· Ways to work with the staff to get their needs met.

· Roommates, and how to cope with them.

· The reaction of family members to their placement and illness, including ways to help adult children understand that Mom or Dad can’t be there for them in the same way because Mom or Dad is sick and needs help themselves, and ways to help adult children understand that just because Mom or Dad is sick, it doesn’t mean they can’t go off campus every once in a while.

· Issues around dying, including concerns about the afterlife and worries about how the family will get along without them.

· Ways of making the most of the time they have left, including getting more involved in nursing home activities and the life of the nursing home community.

· Their lives, choices, accomplishments, and regrets.

· Stuff that interests them that they don’t get to talk about with anyone else, just to be their regular selves again instead of being a patient.

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