Support the UCCS Aging Center
El Pomar Foundation Award for Excellence Finalist - Seniors Category 2007 & Health Care Category 2011 The Aging Center is a community-based non-profit mental health services facility administered by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), and is the primary practicum training site for the APA accredited clinical psychology Ph.D. program. It is currently one of the few geropsychology training clinics in the nation linking the academic standards of excellence and innovative clinical training with the practical needs of the community. The Aging Center provides comprehensive psychological and neuropsychological assessment and treatment services to individuals 55+ as well as their families, trains graduate students in clinical geropsychology and supports the study of psychological aging processes.
In the News
The mission of the Aging Center is to enhance the quality of life for older adults and their caregiver families through innovative mental health services, programs, and research.
- Sara Honn Qualls, Ph.D., ABPP, Director, (719) 255-8038, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brandon Gavett, Ph.D., ABPP, Neuropsychologist, (719) 255-8013, email@example.com
- Cassie Faulhaber, Psy.D., Staff Psychologist, (719) 255-8008, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Laura Engleman, M.A., Program Director, (719) 255-8009, email@example.com
- Leilani Feliciano, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, (719) 255-4174, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Magdalene Lim, Pys.D., Staff Psychologist, (719) 255-8012, email@example.com
- Dan Segal, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, (719) 255-8002, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Justin Lincoln, Psy.D., Staff Psychologist, (719) 255-8027, email@example.com
- Danielle Valentine, Assistant to the Director, (719) 255-8034, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nancy Taylor, Office Manager, (719) 255-8007, email@example.com
Several professors of psychology conduct research on mental health, cognitive functioning, and aging through the Gerontology Center at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Research conducted by these professors has been presented at national conferences and published in professional journals. The general goal of this research is to expand our knowledge of cognitive functioning and mental health among older adults, and how older adults can maintain their well-being.
In order for this research to be completed, older adults are needed to participate in research projects with UCCS. Your participation would help add to our knowledge of human aging, mental health, and ways to maintain older adults' well-being. Every research project has met the high standards of quality of an Institutional Review Board. Some projects involve payment to people who participate, and others are conducted on a volunteer basis. Please consider participating in a research study. If you would like to join our list of people willing to participate in research, please sign up online at www.uccs.edu/researchvolunteer/register.html or call us at 255-8002.
Below are UCCS faculty who conduct research through the Aging Center:
The Aging Center has multiple sources of program support. UCCS and Center revenue contribute to basic operating expenses. Generous support for our programs has been received from the following organizations:
- Bright Mountain Foundation
- Caring for Colorado Foundation
- Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities
- Colorado Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute
- Colorado Health Access Fund
- Colorado Health Foundation
- Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation
- Colorado Springs Utilities
- COPIC Medical Foundation
- Daniels Fund
- Denver Foundation
- Joseph H. Edmondson Foundation
- El Pomar Foundation
- Giddings Foundation
- Inasmuch Foundation
- Carl and Carrie Mae Joslyn Charitable Trust
- Kaiser Permanente
- Marson Foundation
- Luther T. McCauley Charitable Trust
- Myron Stratton Home Grants Program
- Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments: Area Agency on Aging
- Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF)
- Retirement Research Foundation
- The Ralston Family Foundation of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation
- Weiland Family Foundation of the PPCF
- Verizon Foundation
- Wal-Mart Foundation
The volunteer Community Development Committee (CDC) helps raise awareness of our programs and raise private donations from the Colorado Springs community.
Community Development Committee Members:
- Mary Osborne, Committee Chair
- Becky Medved
- Kristine Vaughn
- Rosalyn Ondler
- Becky Hurley
- Mary Spradlin
The Aging Center offers two types of cognitive assessments. During an evaluation, several cognitive abilities are assessed, including memory, attention, visual perception, and problem-solving. Through an evaluation, people can find out:
- If their memory and other cognitive abilities are normal for their age.
- If a memory problem is present, what might be causing it. For example, it could be symptoms of depression or anxiety, a medical problem, Alzheimer's disease, or other causes.
- If a recent stroke, head injury, or other medical problem is affecting one's cognitive abilities.
- One's ability to continue employment, manage finances, complete important legal activities, and/or other instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
- How to assist individuals and families with long-term planning when memory problems are significant.
- How other professionals and agencies can offer appropriate services and assist in developing a care plan.
The two types of cognitive assessments offered:
- Neuropsychological evaluation: This involves a thorough evaluation involving a 45-60 minute interview, 1-4 hours of memory and cognitive testing, an interview with someone who knows the client well, and a review of available external records. This thorough evaluation can assess whether a cognitive problem is present and what is likely causing it. It also provides a comprehensive baseline to be used for comparisons with follow-up screens or other evaluations. The client receives a detailed report for their records, which can be given to other professionals (such as physicians and attorneys) of their choosing. Clients can either pay for student-provided services on a sliding scale, ranging from $250-$700, depending on household income/assets, or see a licensed psychologist, who can accept some insurances on a limited basis. All student services are supervised by licensed clinical psychologists. Neuropsychological Evaluation flyer (pdf)
Neuropsychological Assessment Referral Form (form pdf)
- Memory Clinic: This is a 45-60 minute brief evaluation of cognitive functioning. From this evaluation, clients can find out if their cognitive abilities seem normal for their age, if clear impairment is present, or if further evaluation is needed. The Memory Screens can be useful for establishing a baseline and used for comparisons with follow-up screens or other evaluations. Less information is provided on what might be causing any problems that are found. A two-page written summary of the results is provided to the client and reviewed with a licensed psychologist and student clinician shortly after testing is completed. Clients pay on a sliding fee scale, with fees ranging from $5 to $150 depending on income level. Memory Clinic flyer (pdf)
Aging Families and Caregiver Program
Aging Families and Caregiver Program at the Aging Center offers services that assist family and friends of older adults who are experiencing difficulties. Often friends and family members become aware of changes in the circumstances or behavior of an older person and are not sure what to do. Counselors at the Aging Center are available to assist with:
- Caregiver stress
- Elderly person's safety & functioning
- Memory testing
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Caregiver survival
- Strategies for handling elderly family members
- Effects of normal & abnormal aging
Counseling, Support & Psychotherapy
- Reducing caregiver burden & burnout
- Enhancing skill & confidence in caring
- Engaging family to work together
- Balancing your roles
- Involving other disciplines
- Linking to community resources
Types of Services Offered in the Caregiver Program
- Caregiver individual therapy
- Eight week Coping with Caregiving Class
Services offered in the Caregiver Program are partially funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging, although donations are accepted. This program operates in association with the Family Caregiver Support Center at the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging.
Licensed psychologists and student clinicians offer individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy for psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, adjustment to illness, loss or other life stress, family conflicts. Psychological evaluations are provided for treatment planning and diagnostic purposes. Clients can either pay for student-provided services on a sliding scale, ranging from $5-$75, depending on household income/assets, or see a licensed psychologist, who can accept some insurances on a limited basis. All student services are supervised by licensed psychologists. Psychotherapy flyer (pdf)
Clinicians in the Community
The UCCS Aging Center partners with other senior agencies through a comprehensive range of programs. Their shared goal is to improve the quality of care and quality of life through coordinated services.
Integrated Mental Health Services with Primary Care
This collaboration with Peak Vista Community Health Clinics integrates behavioral health and primary care at Peak Vista's Senior Health Clinics. In conjunction with their primary care visit, patients can receive on-site services from Aging Center clinicians. Depression and anxiety screening is routinely available to all Peak Vista patients. A brief computerized memory screen is offered for early detection of cognitive impairment. Therapy groups for older adults coping with chronic illnesses, including diabetes, are also available at the Peak Vista Senior Health Clinics. (719) 329-7100
Rocky Mountain Health Care Services (RMHCS): PACE and BrainCare
In December 2008, Rocky Mountain Health Care Services opened the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in El Paso County to ensure maximum independence and quality of life for older adults in our community. PACE utilizes a prevention methodology where the participants are regularly assessed by the interdisciplinary team (IDT) who works together to promote the health of each individual. The physician, nurse practitioners, nurses, occupational therapist, physical therapist, recreational therapist, dietician, social workers and licensed counselors, in collaboration with the participant and family members, develop the treatment plan designed to meet the medical and “daily life” needs of each participant. The IDT coordinates services based on need and logic in a timely manner, ensuring that the various professions involved in the participant’s care are all working in the same direction with the same goal in mind.
UCCS and Rocky Mountain PACE have been working collaboratively to provide integrated medical and mental health services to Rocky Mountain PACE patients since summer 2009. Our clinicians joined this team to provide counseling, depression/anxiety screening, memory screening, and group and individual psychotherapy coordinated with other medical and social services available at PACE. The Aging Center also is assisting with assessments and program development in RMHCS’s BrainCare program.
Rocky Mountain PACE (719) 314-2327
Training Opportunities at the Aging Center
The Aging Center is a university affiliated nonprofit mental health services facility administered by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). It is currently one of the few psychology training clinics that addresses practicum and predoctoral internship training requirements in geropsychology. Clinical training is intensive and comprehensive, and experience is gained in all core service centers and in community integrated care settings. Advanced proficiency is achieved in integrated health care services, neuropsychological assessment, and psychotherapy skills.
The Aging Center offers a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical psychology with a specialty in geropsychology. Applications should be submitted at APPA CAS. The deadline is December 31, 2016. Unique experience is gained in integrated healthcare, caregiver and family services, and optionally, neuropsychological theory and assessment. Program support from numerous funders including Colorado Health Foundation, Caring for Colorado, and the Daniels Fund, among others, is gratefully acknowledged. Background checks are required for all students providing services at the Aging Center.
The Memory and Cognitive Assessment Clinic
The UCCS Memory Clinic offers thorough screening for individuals interested in obtaining a baseline of their cognitive functioning. A short, standard battery of tests is administered in 45-60 minutes and followed up with a summary report that is reviewed with a licensed psychologist and student clinician. The 15- to 30-minute review session allows for questions to be addressed and lifestyle factors that can impact cognitive health to be discussed in a supportive format.
Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations are conducted to help determine the etiology and functional implications of cognitive disturbances. Each evaluation requires approximately 6-10 hours of interviewing, testing, scoring, interpretation, and report writing time. In addition, feedback sessions are offered to individuals and families. Clinical findings are translated into practical language to aid mental health and medical professionals and family caregivers in making decisions about treatment and care. Referrals originate from a variety of sources including physicians, nursing homes, Silver Key Senior Services, Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging, attorneys, probate court, and Adult Protective Services. The evaluations help identify difficulties in independent functioning that compromise safety and well-being, support behavioral health workers in treatment planning, and assist the courts in determining decision-making capacity. Psychological evaluations are also conducted to provide information on individual personality dynamics, presence of major mental illness, differential diagnosis, and treatment plan recommendations.
The Aging Family and Caregiver Services Program
This collaborative program with the Area Agency on Aging focuses on assessing and treating the factors contributing to distressed caregiver families and assists with referrals for other supportive services within the community. Primary services, all available at no cost to clients, include comprehensive caregiver assessments and up to eight problem-solving-oriented psychotherapy sessions to help implement caregiver treatment plans. In addition, the program offers consultation and resource information for the caregiver(s) and a psychoeducational support group. Educational seminars and community presentations to increase public awareness are also offered through this service.
Aging Center staff psychologists and student clinicians offer individual, couples/marital, family, and group psychotherapy for older adults experiencing psychological disorders including depression and anxiety, adjustment to illness and loss or other life stress, and family conflicts. Supervision is conducted weekly, usually in individual meetings with the student or in small groups. Supervisors support a wide variety of psychotherapeutic approaches including psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family systems therapy. The Aging Center uses the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) to classify and diagnose psychological problems. Psychological evaluations (including the MMPI-2, MCMI-III, PAI, PAS, TAT, BDS-II, BAS-II, Incomplete Sentence Blank, and diagnostic interviews) can be administered through this service center and the Clinicians in the Community service center.
Clinicians in the Community
A comprehensive range of programs links clinicians at the Aging Center with senior-focused agencies whose shared goal is to improve the quality of care and quality of life for older adults through coordinated services.
Peak Vista Community Health Centers – Integrated Primary Care Practice
In August 2005 the Aging Center initiated an integrated behavioral health and primary care program at Peak Vista Community Health Centers, developed by Aging Center staff and Dr. Brian DeSantis, Vice President of Peak Vista Behavioral Health and an expert in the integrated care model. The program increases access to mental health care for older adults by providing immediate follow-up when screening indicates a need for further evaluation. Primary care providers also have the opportunity to consult with an on-site geropsychologist and advanced clinical student to assist with complicated differential diagnoses. This integrated program affords graduate student clinicians the chance to participate in a progressive approach to behavioral health care that is reaching a greater number of older adults who might not otherwise be able to access needed services.
Rocky Mountain Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
In June 2009 the Aging Center partnered with the Rocky Mountain Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to launch a multidisciplinary training rotation. The primary purpose of PACE is to enable frail individuals, often elderly, to continue to function independently for as long as they can do so safely and with the fewest restrictions needed to maintain quality of life. Clients can attend programming Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for all five days if warranted. Services from physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nutritional consultants, case managers, and counseling/psychology professionals are provided to PACE participants.
Student clinicians provide individual and group psychotherapy and operate as behavioral health consultants on the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) that meets every morning. In addition to enhancing basic clinical skills (psychotherapy and assessment), student clinicians learn fundamental consulting skills, gain awareness of and participate in the multifaceted operations of the integrated team approach to wellness care, and develop proficiency in understanding interagency systems dynamics.
Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care (PPHPC)
Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care (PPHPC) offers the opportunity to work with clients and families who are coping with end-of-life issues. Clinicians provide individual, couples, and/or family therapy to assist people who are in the process of dying, those who are battling a terminal illness, and people who are grieving the loss or expected loss of their loved one. Clients are seen at PPHPC or in their homes. Work with death and dying presents unique challenges that can lead to significant growth, both personally and professionally. In addition to providing psychotherapy, clinicians are called upon as consultants by social workers and medical staff, as referral specialists knowledgeable about community resources, and as psychologists-in-training who can provide in-services to PPHPC staff. Students develop skills in rapid assessment of complex cases and clinical interventions effective with death and dying, caregiver burden, and differential diagnosis (e.g., cognitive decline and physical/medical symptoms), working autonomously and as part of an interdisciplinary group (IDG).
To learn more about training at the Aging Center, contact Sara Honn Qualls, Ph.D., ABPP via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (719) 255-8038.
Life After 50 Student Articles
- "Television Viewing by Older Adults"
- "Mindfulness Meditation: where to get started"
- "Care Conversations: Not An Easy Topic"
- "I'm not a Caregiver...Am I?"
- "What Factors Protect Against Memory loss?"
- "Is Yoga Right for Me?"
- "The Benefits of Pets"
- "A serious talk about a serious topic"
- "Taking to someone with a hearing impairment"
- "Aging well with laughter"
- "Why wellbeing at 50+ means getting a good night's sleep"
- "Early music lessons may provide long-lasting benefits to our brains"
- Dial 211 to call Adult Resources for Care and Help (ARCH) for assistance in locating disabled adults & senior community resources
- Alzheimer's Association
- Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the World's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.
- AspenPointe (formerly Pikes Peak Mental Health Center)
- AspenPointe offers behavioral health services, counseling services, career services, substance abuse treatment, employment, education, housing, jail diversion/reintegration and care management.
- Colorado Springs Senior Center
- The Colorado Springs Senior Center offers a variety of classes, noon meals, dances and numerous other activities for seniors (individuals 55 and over).
- Mental Health and Aging Advocacy Project
- The Mental Health and Aging Web site will assist older adults, their families and caregivers in obtaining mental health services specific to the needs of older adults.
- Older Americans Act (National Council on Aging's web site)
- The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a non-profit service and advocacy organization for improving the lives of older adults. This link to it's web site will take you to the text of the Older Americans Act along with the Act's funding, changes to the original Act, it's purpose, etc. The Older Americans Act provides federal funding for services that support the health and independence of seniors like meals, caregiver support, transportation and more.
- Peak Vista Community Health Centers
- Peak Vista Community Health Centers are non-profits dedicated to medical, dental and behavioral health services for people of all ages. They provide primary care services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured working families (as well as others with access barriers) within the Pikes Peak Region.
- Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging
- Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging serves as the Area Agency on Aging for El Paso, Park and Teller counties and provides programs and services for older adults and their caregivers. They publish the yearly Senior Information Directory (the "Yellow Book").
- Silver Key Senior Services
- Silver Key serves thousands of seniors in the greater Colorado Springs area. Silver Key advocates for senior empowerment and offer a variety of services (transportation, nutrition, care management) to seniors to maintain independence, safety and quality of life.
- Yellow Book
- Senior Information and Assistance Directory (searchable) provided by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments for El Paso, Park & Teller counties.
- American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
- The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry is a membership association of nearly 2,000 geriatric psychiatrists and other health care professionals in the United States, Canada, and abroad, dedicated to the mental well-being of older adults.
- American Psychological Association, Division 20 (Adult Dev. & Aging)
- The Division on Adult Development and Aging (Division 20) of the American Psychological Association strives to advance the study of psychological development and change throughout the adult years. For psychologists who provide services to older adults, conduct research on adult development and aging, or are interested in learning more about or teaching life span development and aging.
- American Psychological Association, Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology)
- Division 40 of the American Psychological Association, the Division of Clinical Neuropsychology, is a scientific and professional organization of psychologists interested in the study of brain-behavior relationships, and the clinical application of that knowledge to human problems.
- National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
- A technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and support offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender older adults.
- Neuropsychological Evaluation Referral Form
- Clear and specific referral questions are essential if a neuropsychological evaluation is to be effective and answer the questions of concern. Often reports of evaluations are less than useful because the questions needing answered were not clearly defined or communicated. This form was developed by the Colorado Springs Gero Consortium to improve communication between those seeking an evaluation and those performing the evaluation of an older adult who may be demonstrating signs of cognitive impairment. The form is the result of a collaborative effort by lawyers, a neuropsychologist, psychologist, social worker, and a judge. Use of this form will help ensure that the evaluator has all the information necessary for an effective neuropsychological evaluation of an older adult and that the final evaluation report provides useful answers to relevant questions regarding functional abilities, optimum living environment, and legal competencies.
- New Online Resource on Assistive Technology for Persons with Dementia
- AT Dementia is a new online information resource on assistive technology for people with dementia and their caregivers. The website, developed by Trent Dementia Services Development Center (UK), includes perspectives on assistive technology's benefits and limitations, its ethical use, and current research and new technologies in development. It also includes information on how to obtain assistive technology and a searchable product database.
- Office on Aging
- The Office on Aging is a coordination point for APA activities pertaining to aging and geropsychology (the field within psychology devoted to older adult issues).
- Service and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE)
- SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources for LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations, largely through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.