“Optimize Aging’s Behavioral Health Webinar Series” Spring 2022

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Date(s) - 03/07/2022 - 05/16/2022
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm


All webinars are 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM.  Please note webinars are in Eastern Standard Time

Registration opens November 1, 2021.

In 2003, the IOM (Institute of Medicines) Report – Health Professions: A Bridge to Quality warned us that “the nation faces an impending healthcare crisis as the number of older patients with more complex health needs increasingly outpaces the number of healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills to adequately care for them.”  Furthering the problem is increasing risk of behavioral health problems in our aging population.  Unfortunately, due to stigma, complicated co-morbidities and inadequate training for professionals on behavioral health issues few older adults get adequate treatment.  Optimize Aging is working to address this problem through educating professionals and the community at large on “aging and behavioral health issues.”  The “Behavioral Health Webinar Series” seeks to address this lack of education for professionals by providing specific webinars to common psychiatric presentations in older adults  We will be utilizing “case discussions” to provide “real life” problem solving opportunities. This web-based program will be offered 2 times a year as an series.  Each 2 ½ hour webinar will address a behavioral health topic. You can choose to participate in the entire webinar series or choose 3 specific topics.  The series topics and schedule is list below.

Overall Objective:

At the conclusion of this webinar series community professionals will work across systems to enable older adults to remain active members of their communities. The training will emphasize current knowledge about aging and behavioral health issues.  Skills will enable community-based teams of health professionals to prevent, assess, and treat and address aging issues of community-dwelling older adults and at-risk spouses/caregivers.


Week # 1  March 7, 2022  – “Behavioral Health Issues in Older Adults”

Behavioral health issues in the older adult are involved and complicated.  This webinar is an overview  of behavioral health issues specific to late life; depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, delirium and dementia. Assessment of the clinical symptoms and needed differentiation will be reviewed.  Specific assessment and behavioral treatment interventions will be emphasized.


  • Discuss the behavioral manifestations of psychiatric disease specific to later life.
  • Describe the “behavioral” symptoms of the individual suffering from depression, anxiety, delirium and the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia.
  • Describe the prevalence of substance use disorders in older adults including opioid use disorders.
  • Critique common screening instruments and treatment approaches for older adults with depression, dementia and substance use disorders.
  • Critique the medical limitations in treating the “neuropsychiatric” symptoms of dementia.
  • Identify the common interventions that may be used with individuals who are having behavior problems including communication skills, behavioral management and psychosocial interventions.
  • Discuss evidenced-based practices for behavioral health issues in older adults.


1:00 – 1:15 PM Review of Behavioral Health Issues specific to late life – Under identified and Undertreated

1:15 – 2:00 PM  Behavioral Health Issues in Older Adults – Depression and Anxiety

  • Assessment Scales
  • Implications for suicide in older adults
  • Interventions

2:00 – 2:30 PM Substance Use Disorders in Older Adults

  • Demographics and Generational Differences
  • Illicit Drugs and Medication Misuse
  • Alcohol
  • Assessment and Interventions

2:30 – 3:00 Behavioral Health Issues in Older Adults – Delirium

  • Assessment
  • Interventions

3:00 – 3:15 Neuropsychiatric or Psychological and Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia

  • Assessment
  • Interventions
    • Limitations of Medical Interventions
    • Psychosocial and Behavioral Interventions

3:15 – 3:30 Conclusions and Evaluations


Week # 2 –  March 14, 2022 – “Depression, Anxiety and Suicide in Older Adults: Assessment and Intervention”

Description:  Depression, anxiety and suicide are common issues of older adults.  This presentation will discuss the incidence as well as the common characteristics of depression specific to late life.  Assessment of the clinical symptoms, needed differentiation and assessments scales will be presented.  The review of treatment options as well as complications such as substance abuse and suicide will be reviewed. An overview of barriers to service provision for older adults will be emphasized


  • Discuss the difference and commonalities between depression and anxiety in late life.
  • Predict the risk of suicide specific to older white males.
  • Discuss assessment and interventions for older adults with depression and anxiety in older adults
  • Critique evidence-based practices for suicide prevention.


1:00 – 1:45PM   Depression in Older Adults

  • Recognition/ Age-specific symptoms
  • Assessment
  • Behavioral Interventions
  • Medical Interventions

1:45 – 2:30    Anxiety in Older Adults

  • Recognition/ Age-specific symptoms
  • Assessment
  • Behavioral Interventions
  • Medical Interventions

2:30 – 3:15 Suicide in Older Adults

  • Who is at Risk
  • Interventions
  • Evidenced-based practices

3:15 – 3:30 PM Conclusion and evaluations


Week # 3 –  April 4. 2022 – “Differentiating Depression, Dementia, and Delirium: Assessment and Intervention”

Description: The issues of delirium, depression and dementia in the older adult are involved and complicated.  This presentation will discuss the incidence as well as the common characteristics of each.   Assessment of the clinical symptoms, needed differentiation and assessments scales will be presented.  The multidisciplinary needs of older adults will be emphasized.


  • Identify the signs and symptoms of the most common psychiatric disorders in older adults: Delirium, Depression and Dementia.
  • Demonstrate the needed assessment of older adults who present with “behavioral” symptomatology.
  • Utilize assessment scales that may be used for differentiating each disorder.
  • Describe the importance of good medical care, psychiatric intervention and psychosocial interventions when providing care to older adults.
  • Discuss the multidisciplinary needs of older adults.


1:00 – 1:30    Differentiating Depression, Delirium Dementia

  • Symptoms of Depression
  • Assessment
  • Interventions

1:30 -2:00    Differentiating Depression, Delirium Dementia

  • Symptoms of Delirium
  • Assessment
  • Interventions

2:00 – 2:30   Differentiating Depression, Delirium Dementia

  • Symptoms of Dementia
  • Assessment
  • Interventions

2:30 – 3:15 Always THINK medical first!

  • Start low and go slow!
  • Ongoing assessment and intervention
  • Need for a Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

3:15 – 3:30  – Conclusion and evaluations


Week # 4 –  April 18,2022 – “Substance Use Disorders:  Issues for Older Adults”


Substance abuse and medication misuse is becoming a major health concern as the “baby boomers” enter the age of retirement.  This webinar will compare the current generation and the baby boomers’ use of alcohol, illicit drugs and other medications.  The difficulty in recognizing substance use/ abuse disorders in older adults will be discussed.


  • Articulate the current incidence and prevalence of older adults with substance use disorders
  • Describe shy substance abuse issues specific to aged are hidden and complex
  • Identify the changes to the DSM 5 in regards to Substance Use Disorders
  • Explain the issues Opioid use among older adults
  • Compare assessment and interventions specific for older adults
  • Identify prevention strategies for older adults at risk for substance use disorders.


1:00 – 1:45 PM    Substance Use Disorders in Older Adults– the Problem

  • Demographics
  • Generational Differences
  • Diagnostic Criteria

1:45 – 2:30 – Substance Abuse:

  • Illicit drugs
  • Medication Misuse
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Types of Substance Use
    • At “risk”
    • Early Onset
    • Late Onset

2:30 – 3:15 PM Assessment/ Older Adult Specific Treatment

3:15 – 3:30 PM Conclusions and Evaluations


Week # 5 –  May 2,2022 – “Understanding Hoarding Behaviors”

Description: Hoarding behaviors have become a fascination to many, unfortunately hoarding is a social, mental health and overall concern.  Individuals who hoard have sentimental attachment to the things they collect. They have difficulty discarding belongings due to the emotional attachment and belief they may need the items at some other point in their life. This program will discuss hoarding as a disease, as well as hoarding behaviors, demographics, assessment and treatment. Understanding the complexity of treatment for individuals who have “hoarding” behaviors will be discussed.  The need for development of “hoarding task forces” will be discusses emphasizing a cross system collaborative approach.


  • Compare hoarding as a mental health and social issue
  • Explain “hoarding” in the DSM 5
  • Demonstrate the complexity of treatment for individuals who have “hoarding” behaviors
  • Discuss the importance of cross system collaborative approaches when working with individuals with “hoarding” behaviors
  • Analyze the needs of a community-based “hoarding task force”


1:00 – 1:45 PM Understanding Hoarding Behaviors

  • Demographics
  • Characteristics
  • Current research
  • DSM 5 diagnosis

1:45 – 2:15 PM Assessment

  • Saving Inventory-Revised tool (Frost)
  • Clutter Image Rating Scale (Frost)
  • HOMES Assessment (Bratiotis)

2:15 – 2:45  Intervention

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Developing Skills

2:45 – 3:15 Developing Hoarding Task Forces

3:15 – 3:30 – Conclusion and evaluations


Week # 6 – May 16,2022 – “What It Means to Grow Old:  ‘Normal’ Changes that Accompany Aging”


As our neighborhoods and communities deal with a rapidly aging population we need to be encouraging more individuals to take personal responsibility for their health.    Education, outreach and prevention approaches are now of the utmost importance for all disciplines.  This program, “What it Means to Grow Old” will discuss “normal” age-related changes, both physical and “cognitive” as well as address some of the most common illnesses experienced with age.   Prevention and healthy approaches to aging will be emphasized


  • Identify the demographics and effects of an “aging population”.
  • Describe the emotional and physical challenges of growing older.
  • Compare the difference between “normal” age-related change and the impact of chronic illness.
  • Identify the physical changes associated with aging that can place the older adult at high risk for cognitive and behavioral health issues.


1:00 – 1:30 PM The Experience of Aging

  • Epidemiology/ Universality
  • Adaptation and Integration

1:30 – 2:15 PM “Normal” Age-Related Physical Changes

  • Neurological
    • Sensory Changes
    • Muscular/Skeletal Changes
    • Cardiovascular Changes
    • Pulmonary Changes
    • Gastrointestinal Changes
    • Urinary System Changes
    • Integumentary (Skin) System Changes

2:15 – 2:45 PM Cognitive Changes with Aging

2:45 – 3:15 PM The Interactive Effects of Aging, Disease and Abuse

3:15 – 3:30 PM – Conclusion and evaluations


The cost for the entire series is $275.00. Contact hours are being offered for an additional $50 to social workers, professional counselors and marriage and family therapists for the FULL WEBINAR SERIES ONLY.

NACCM and PA DHS PCH administrators may take a choice of three (3) webinars for the cost of $135.00 with the additional contact hour fee of $50.


Social Workers, Marriage and Family Counselors and Professional Counselors – Continuing Education Credit has been approved by PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Counselors and Professional Counselors for 15 Continuing Education hours.

National Academy of Certified Care Managers:  Application has been approved by the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM) for 15  continuing education contact hours.

Pennsylvania Personal Care Home Administrators: The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has approved 15 contact hours for Personal Care Home Administrators/ ALR Administrators for this webinar series.


ALL educational programs will be taught by Linda Shumaker, RN, GERO-BC, MA

Ms. Shumaker is a gerontological certified registered nurse who is a private consultant as well as currently in clinical practice in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.  She has previous served as Outreach Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition.  In 2005, as founding Executive Director of the Coalition, she advocated for funding and received over $325,000 to outreach and educate older adults regarding behavioral health issues.  She introduced policies to encourage the Mental Health and Aging’s “systems” of care to work cooperatively to serve older adults with behavioral health issues.  Ms. Shumaker also served as the Executive Director of Prevent Suicide PA, a statewide nonprofit to support those affected by suicide, provide education, awareness and understanding by collaborating the community to prevent suicide and reduce the stigma associated with suicide. Ms. Shumaker spearheaded Pennsylvania’s Older Adult Suicide Prevention Plan, one of the first in the country, as well as advocating and obtaining a Mental Health Bulletin ensuring that adults with dementia and secondary psychiatric symptoms have access to mental health treatment.  Ms. Shumaker also has worked at the Central Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.  Ms. Shumaker has extensive clinical experience working in community mental health, geriatric assessment teams and in long-term care.   In addition, she has been an instructor of psychiatry at the Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine, co-chair and founding member of the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Aging Coalition.  She has served as a member of the Older Adult Committee of Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Planning Council and a member of the Long-Term Care Subcommittee of the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee. Ms. Shumaker has also served on the Ethics Committee of Temple University’s Protective Service Institute. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania State Alzheimer’s Association and the Advisory Board for the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  Ms. Shumaker’s “special interests” include ethical and social policy issues in relation to the care of the elderly with behavioral health problems.


Grievance Policy

Optimize Aging, LLC seeks to ensure equitable treatment of very person and to make every attempt to resolve grievances in a fair manner.  Please submit a written grievance to:  Linda Shumaker, optimizeaging@gmail.com. Grievance would receive, to the best of our ability, corrective action in order to prevent further problems.

For any needed special accommodations, please contact Linda Shumaker at optimizeaging@gmail.com