Counseling Boomers and Seniors

Clinical Update January 2014

By Zur Institute

View a complete list of Clinical Updates.

One size doesn’t fit all–different generations have different values, issues, and different counseling needs. Boomers refuse to be old and still insist on changing the world. Instead of winding down and consolidating, a sizeable number of boomers are seeking new challenges by pursuing new careers and new avocations. Many seniors are seeking love and companionship online and many are working long past “retirement age.”

Did you know:
    • Of the forty million Americans who used online dating in the last year, one in seven was over 55.


  • Seniors seeking new challenges and lifestyle changes often seek guidance because our youth-oriented culture can prompt them to question whether they are being foolish.
  • Sexologist Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D. found that even people with health problems such as cancer and late stage diabetes can have gratifying sex and romance.
  • Zilbergeld found that many people over fifty said sex was “better than ever.”
  • Cancer patients generally see themselves as having a physical illness and may resist seeing themselves as depressed or anxious. Starting the dialogue with stress management skills can be a useful opening for counseling.
  • There are an estimated 72,000 centenarians (people 100+ years old) in the US and the number is projected to double in seven years (2020). They include people who are still running businesses, practicing medicine and law, teaching and conducting research in universities, flying airplanes, and competing in a wide variety of sports.
  • Ofer Zur, Ph.D. says Americans’ fear of death often encourages meaningless consuming and addictive behaviors.
  • Geriatric psychiatrist Mac Agronin, MD, says even patients with severe short-term memory loss can benefit from therapy.