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Geriatric Life Transitions:
New Challenges for Older Adults

May 22, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 9:30 am


The geriatric population faces unique life transitions, each accompanied by wide-ranging biopsychosocial consequences. Certain life transitions—such as bereavement and retirement— can result in significant shifts in an individual’s financial status, social support structure, physical and mental health.  Each older adult may cope with life transitions differently, and in some cases such life events can result in positive changes in an individual’s life. However, such transitions are often fundamental stressors, which potentially can result in worsened mood and anxiety symptoms.  In the setting of an aging American population, with increased average life expectancies, it will become progressively more important for psychiatrists to understand the complexities of these life transitions.

In this workshop, we will explore common challenges faced by psychiatrists in the evaluation and management of older adults during life transitions. We will review the economic burden, and economic challenges, associated with geriatric life transitions. We will also discuss the course of grief and bereavement in the geriatric population, as well as management of complicated grief. Furthermore, we will discuss current challenges, and clinical tools, in working with patients through the retirement process.  During the workshop, we hope to foster a conversation about working with patients during such life transitions.


  • Understand the impact of geriatric life transitions on the mental health of older adults
  • Recognize the economic challenges faced by older adults as they manage significant life transitions, namely retirement and bereavement
  • Identify variations in the course of bereavement, as well as future directions in research and clinical work regarding grief in the geriatric population
  • Demonstrate understanding, and engage in a dialogue, regarding common clinical challenges and effective clinical approaches when working with older adults during life transitions


Chair: Nisha Mehta-Naik, M.D.

Presenter: Caitlin Snow, M.D.

Presenter: M. Katherine Shear, M.D.

Presenter: Robert Abrams, M.D.