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Problem-Solving Therapy for Primary Care has been demonstrated as an efficacious intervention to improve mood and cognitive functioning in elderly depressed patients (Alexopoulous et al., 2003; Arean et al., 2008, 2010). When compared with other treatment modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic approaches, depressed older adults who were treated with PST-PC reported fewer depressive symptoms and improved functioning at 12 months and up to 24 months follow-up (Arean et al., 2008).
The reasons why some older adults are vulnerable and susceptible to making poor decisions have been examined thoroughly through neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms, and research on applied contexts has been important to understanding day-to-day decisions (Hess et al., 2015).
Much of the current research on aging and decision making in applied domains has focused on the implication of decisions in various contexts such as medical decision-making (Leventhal et al., 2015), health-related decisions (Liu et al., 2015), and consumer decision-making (Carpenter and Yoon, 2015).
In particular, the frontal lobe hypothesis of cognitive aging posits that cognitive abilities dependent on the frontal regions of the brain would experience a disproportionate age-related decline, whereas other functioning independent of the frontal lobes will remain relatively intact (West, 1996). Effects of age, sex, and neuropsychological performance on financial decision-making.
This theory has gained support from multiple neuroscience disciplines, including neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, and functional neuroimaging (see review by, Reuter-Lorenz et al., 2016).
These findings demonstrated that a four-session problem-solving therapy can reinforce aspects of executive functioning (that may have declined as a part of healthy aging), thereby enhancing complex decision-making in healthy older adults. Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions.
The ability of older adults to make sound decisions regarding retirement, allocation of resources, living arrangements, health insurance, and medical procedures has a profound effect on the well-being of the individual as well as society, cumulatively. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether decision-making performance in older adults can be enhanced by a psychoeducational intervention. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00783 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Tranel, D., Benton, A., and Olson, K. A 10-year longitudinal study of cognitive changes in elderly persons. Twenty cognitively and emotionally intact persons aged 65 years and older were recruited and randomized into two conditions: psychoeducational condition [Problem-Solving Therapy for Primary Care (PST-PC)] and no-treatment Control group. Participants in the psychoeducational condition each received four 45-min sessions of PST-PC across a 2-week period. New perspectives for motivating better decisions in older adults. The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) was administered as the outcome measure to the treatment group, while participants in the Control group completed the IGT without intervention. CD001431.pub5 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Strough, J., de Bruine, W. Yet, research efforts examining interventions to enhance older adults decision-making abilities are lacking. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-411469-2.00013-3 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Shivapour, S. Deficits in decision-making may be a function of weaknesses in executive functioning. It was hypothesized that decision-making performance among healthy community-dwelling older adults would improve for those in the PST-PC condition when compared to participants in the no-treatment Control condition. Randomized controlled trial of problem-solving treatment, antidepressant medication, and combined treatment for major depression in primary care. Participants were included in the study if they were heathy, community-dwelling, aged 65 years and older, and cognitively and emotionally intact, and were excluded from the study if they had any major underlying medical conditions (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, and movement disorder). Lockenhoff (New York, NY: Academic Press), 309–329. Elderly depressed patients receiving PST-PC treatments have exhibited reduction of symptoms, endorsed higher response rate to treatment, and greater remission rate when compared with those receiving a person-centered psychotherapy treatment approach (Arean et al., 2010). Randomised controlled trial comparing problem solving treatment with amitryptyline and placebo for major depression in primary care. Among depressed elderly patients with impairments in aspects of executive functioning, those receiving PST-PC treatments (versus supportive counseling) demonstrated greater improvement in generating alternative solutions and decision-making skills, in addition to reduced depressive symptoms and improved functioning (Alexopoulous et al., 2003).