The Elderly Kind of Blues

Seniors & Mental Health

Mental health is widely considered a new age concept, which is obscure to many members of the aging populations. Older generations ignored mental health issues and were more likely to address physical ailments. In regards to uncomfortable feelings, words such as “melancholy” were likely used to instead of “depression.” Older generations are more likely to express physical versus mental complaints. The avoidance of addressing mental health issues is linked to the extreme stigmatization of mental illness in previous decades. Unfortunately, the ongoing neglect of mental health problems becomes a habit transmitted to younger generations. Children of the aging populations often become caretakers and key advocates for their elder’s well-being, but find themselves covering all the basis of their parent’s health and well-being except mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than two million Americans above the age 65 suffer from some form of depression. The elderly population is one of the most vulnerable populations to developing depression due to the experience of significant losses related to death, physical ability, and independence. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in the United States, less than 5% of older adults living in the community show signs of depression, the percentage rises to over 13% among those who require home health care. Considering the extreme risk and vulnerability of the elderly population choosing home care that addresses the well-being of the whole person is essential. Holistic home-care is a new era approach to senior care that tailors care to enhance one’s social, emotional and physical well-being. Finding senior care that treats the whole person can be like searching for a needle in a haystack in major metropolitan areas such as Washington, DC.  This article will discuss the manifestation of depression among the elderly and the benefits of holistic care.Senior-Care-in-Washington-DC

Aging & Depression

It is common for people to experience depression at various points in their life in response to negative life events such as ended relationships, financial hardship, and interpersonal conflict. However, clinical depression manifest in mood and physical symptoms. Research shows that older adults are more likely to label their “down feelings” as pessimism or helplessness versus depression. Additionally, older versus young adults are less likely to endorse statements related to “feeling down” or “blue.” Older adults commonly display withdraw, less communication, increased sleeping, expressionlessness, and bodily neglect. In older adults, physical symptoms often accompany depression including, coronary heart disease, dementia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. Life events related to loss of loved ones and independence can exacerbate these symptoms. Unlike younger adults, older adults often lose their ability to engage in coping behaviors such as exercise, outings with friends, and travel to alleviate mental and physical symptoms. These circumstances leave older adults not only at greater risk of developing severe depression but little means to mitigate the suffering.

Senior Care & Depression

Nursing home residents and older adults with chronic illness are at greater risk of developing depression. This risk is due in large part to the lack of quality care available in nursing facilities with an unbalanced caregiver to resident ratios. This imbalance diminishes the amount of emotional, social, and physical support available to clients. Many nursing home facilities plan rigorously to design communities that cultivate social and physical well-being, only to find that a large percentage of residents don’t adequately utilize all that the facility has to offer. This underutilization is mainly due to physical and mental declines that limit their access and interest. Senior care facilities in major metropolitan cities such as Washington, DC find themselves overwhelmed and falling short of providing quality care as their mission statements often promise, due to understaffing and short-sighted approaches.

Holistic Care

Holistic care is a growing approach adopted by senior care providers in efforts to improve the quality of life of the aging population. Through this approach, caregivers are trained to assess and address the social, emotional, physical, and in some cases spiritual needs of the client.  Many nursing home facilities have begun to adopt the holistic approach to senior care. However, like any other service industry, quantity often reduces quality. Philia is a home-care agency that adopts the holistic approach to senior care offered only on a 1:1 basis to ensure quality. In addition to assisting with ADL’s, caregivers are trained to incorporate nutritional meal preparation, tailored exercise regimen, activity engagement, and emotional support. Each client’s care plan is designed to enhance their quality of life and well-being in oppose to maintain their present state of health. Holistically trained caregivers are trained to recognize the signs of depression specific to older adults and implement interventions that treat the physical, social, and emotional manifestations. The mind and body are interconnected, each impacting the other dynamically throughout one’s life. Quality senior care addresses both physical and psychological aspects of a person, recognizing that this is the key to total well-being.

Sources

Cavanaugh, J., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2014). Adult development and aging. Nelson Education.

Friedhoff, A. J., Ballenger, J., Bellack, A. S., Carpenter, W. T., Chui, H. C., Dobrof, R., & Merikangas, K. R. (1992). Diagnosis and treatment of depression in late life. JAMA268(8), 1018-1024.

Zarit, S. H., & Zarit, J. M. (2012). Mental disorders in older adults: Fundamentals of assessment and treatment. Guilford Press.

Spring Cleaning and Organization In The Washington DC Area

It’s that time of the year again to start thinking about spring cleaning, which likely means some serious decluttering, reorganization, scrubbing and polishing. Spring is the time that we all begin thinking about cleaning and organizing our homes. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that a good spring cleaning is a worthwhile exercise.

 

But did you know that it can also benefit your health and wellbeing? Below are some reasons why clearing out those closets and grabbing the polish can actually good for you. Let the cleaning commence!

In the Washington, D.C area, many residents lead busy schedules that prevent them from routine spring cleaning as other responsibilities become prioritized in the “to-do-list”. Spring Cleaning can increase productivity. Making the effort to declutter and organize your home or office can save you tons of time looking for or replacing lost items in the future. Organization makes you more productive, while the cleaning process itself can increase energy levels. We all need to learn to let go. If you haven’t used something since the last spring clean, it might be time to say goodbye. Cleaning can be a great way for Senior Care professionals to get clients active and engaged.

Spring cleaning is also healthy. Many elderly individuals struggle with allergies but already take a slew of medications leaving little room for allergy medication. A good spring clean can help you avoid allergy symptoms and lower Asthma attacks. Removing allergens from the home can make you feel healthier, especially at a time when allergies are rife. You want to try to get those hard to reach places too where dust build up. Make sure though to ask for help moving big pieces of furniture or climbing up ladders when going for those hard-to-reach spots.

 

Spring cleaning can make you happy. Taking the time to thoroughly clean and maintain a tidy home makes people happier, studies have shown. The act of cleaning provides a sense of satisfaction, which in turn can put you in a good mood. Also, putting on some of your favorite music while cleaning can make it even more fun!

Spring cleaning can help to reduce stress. Cleaning and organizing your personal spaces lets you enjoy a tidier and more organized environment and this can relieve stress. Levels of stress can also be reduced during the act itself as cleaning is considered to be therapeutic. But make sure to always be realistic. If it’s all getting too much, take a break. It’s not a race after all.

 

Lastly, Spring leaning can help you to focus. Those who make a point of clearing out the clutter once in a while are able to free up the brain for more essential decision-making, according to a study carried out by the founder of America’s Anxiety Disorder Center. A thorough clean helps to clear your mind of things that need to be done around the house and makes it easier to focus on other more important things. You should concentrate though on one room at a time to make sure you get the job done properly

Spring Activities

Spring Activities

Spring is an exciting and beautiful time of year that allows everyone to break out of winter hibernation mode. During this time of year, all things become new, and we are surrounded by growth. The blossoming flowers and tree leaves wake up our senses and remind us that we have entered a new phase.  We earn back daylight hours that allow us to start basking in the sunshine. The longer daylight hours increase our vitamin D exposure, which plays a significant role in boosting our moods. As change is making headway all around us, we are reminded of some ways we can switch up our routine and take advantage of all spring has to offer.

Indoor Fun

Although our calendar’s alert us that spring is here, the weather does not always cooperate with our spring endeavors. Nevertheless, the spring party must go on. Indoor spring activities are a great way to have fun getting into the spring spirit without allowing unpredictable weather “rain on your parade.” Additionally, indoor activities may be more ideal for parents and kids that suffer from seasonal allergies. Indoor activities are a great way to encourage children to let the creative parts of their brains flow. Moreover, it provides a contained environment for kids to explore scientific concepts related to nature. Spring break is the best time for parents to catch up with children and spend quality time creating fun projects together.

Outdoor Fun

Outdoor activities that involve exploration of nature can be significantly beneficial to children’s learning and development. A study from Pediatric Medicine suggests that outdoor play provides opportunities for problem-solving, creating thinking and decision making. The outdoor environment provides a sensory-rich experience for children. Through activities outdoors, children can experience scientific theory come alive before their eyes. Unfortunately, in major metropolitan cities such as Washington, D.C, nannies and caregivers may feel limited by the vast concrete jungle surroundings as they hunt for green-rich environments for children to work off high energy. However, it is crucial that children have exposure to nature rich environments. This type of environment can be particularly fruitful for children with ADHD. Moreover, nature has a therapeutic influence on children with behavioral problems. The American Institute of Research for the California Department of Education found that at-risk youth gained positive self-esteem, better relationships with peers, increased attentiveness and willingness to learn from an outdoor camp-like education program. Springtime is the best time to assist kids with combining fun and learning to enrich their development and well-being. Nannies and caregivers in Washington are privileged to have accessibility to a number of beautiful parks that can allow children to explore diverse outdoor activities. Rock Creek Park is one of the largest parks in the district with a 0.9-mile trail. Throughout the park you may come across beautiful streams and mini-waterfalls, coupled with soothing sounds of nature.

 Indoor Spring Activity Ideas

  • Use recycled supplies in the house to create paper crowns. Teach children about the importance of recycling and waste.
  • Turn flowers different colors using colorful dye. Teach children about the anatomy of flowers and nutrient absorption.
  • Build a tent/teepee
  • Use nature to create art. Teach children about an artist that tried to capture nature in their artwork (i.e. Claudia Monet).
  • Create fun stories with pictures that tell a story about an unusual plant in nature. Teach children about the life cycle of a plant and its unique.

Outdoor Spring Activity Ideas

  • Feed ducks at a local pond.
  • Create a bird feeder for your home
  • Fly kites at a local park. Teach children about the four forces of flight.
  • Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt. Incorporate colors and numbers to teach children to find corresponding objects.
  • Create a visual list of items in nature (i.e. acorns, pine, maple seed, flowers, and leaves). Encourage children to explore nature and find each item and glue it to the corresponding visual.
  • Start planting a vegetable garden. Teach children about responsibility, cause and effect and weather.

Spring Recipe

 Apple-Raisin Baked Oatmeal Recipe

♣    3 cups of old fashioned oats

♣    ½ cup packed brown sugar

♣    1-½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon

♣    ½ teaspoons of salt

♣    ½ teaspoons of ground nutmeg

♣    2 eggs

♣    2 cups fat-free milk

♣    1 medium apple, chopped

♣    1/3 cup raisins

♣    1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. Whisk eggs and milk; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in apple, raisins and walnuts.
  2. Transfer to 8-in square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, and a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve with additional milk if desired.

When an Elder’s Forgetfulness is More Than Age-Related Memory Loss

Caregiver in Bethesda MD

A little forgetfulness is completely normal for older adults. However, if this memory loss is disrupting their daily life, then there may be a Caregiver-in-Bethesda-MDbigger problem to worry about. The body goes through many changes as it ages and one of these changes is the shape of the brain. This can cause minor memory lapses to occur. But there is a difference between normal aging memory loss and dementia or other cognitive disorders.

If you are concerned over the memory of your loved one, their caregivers or family members should be aware of what is normal and what behavior is alarming.

Normal Memory Loss

If your aging parent exhibits any of these memory problems, it is most likely a normal part of aging.

  • Occasionally forgets where they place items, like car keys or glasses
  • Having trouble remembering the names of acquaintances or calling someone by a different name
  • Occasionally forgetting an appointment or the reason they walked into a room
  • Easily becoming distracted, being unable to recall what they just read, or forgetting parts of a recent conversation
  • Difficulty communicating information that is on the “tip of their tongue”

Although the senior will become forgetful every once in a while, their memory loss will not disrupt their daily activities. This will allow them to continue living independently.

Alarming Memory Loss

If your loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, contact their doctor as soon as possible.

  • Trouble performing simple tasks, such as paying bills, cleaning, and getting dressed
  • Unable to remember certain instances from the past
  • Frequently getting lost in family places, causing the elder to become confused or disoriented
  • Unable to follow directions
  • Frequently having problems using the correct words in a conversation or forgetting what words they would like to use
  • Difficulty making choices, poor judgement calls, or behaving in socially inappropriate ways

Memory Loss That Can be Treated

Your loved one’s memory loss may be the symptom of another health problem that can be treated. If the elder has any of these health problems, their memory loss may be reversible with proper treatment.

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Depression
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Dehydration
  • Alcoholism
  • Side effects of certain medications

If your loved one’s forgetfulness is worrisome for you, discuss it with their doctor to see if it is a normal part of aging or if there is a more severe medical condition at play.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Bethesda, MD, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

 

Source:  http://www.helpguide.org/articles/memory/age-related-memory-loss.htm

How to Ask for Help as a Family Caregiver

Caregiver in Bethesda MD

If you’re a family caregiver you might spend a good bit of time wondering if friends and family are ever going to make good on those offers of Caregiver-in-Bethesda-MDhelp that they’ve extended before. The problem is, they may think that you don’t really need or want their help. Worse yet, they may not understand what help you really need.

 

Draw Up a List of Caregiving Needs

Sit down when it’s a quiet time so that you can think and list out all the areas and tasks where you need more help. You might need help with:

  • Housekeeping tasks
  • Household repairs
  • Errands
  • Time away from your loved one
  • Driving your loved one to and from appointments

You might have a very short list of items you need help with or the list might be much longer. Neither is wrong and it all comes down to what you’re willing to accept help with from others. While you’re making lists, draw up another list of the people who have either offered to help you in the past or who you know can help you with some of these tasks.

 

Schedule One-on-one Time with People Who Might Help

Now it’s time to contact the people who you’re going to ask for help and ask to sit down with them one-on-one. You might want to meet in a neutral location, like a coffee shop, or you might want them to meet you at home. Wherever you’ll feel comfortable and able to talk is a good location.

 

Ask for Specific Help with a Defined Task

Once you have your meeting scheduled and it’s time to talk, be very specific when you ask for help. Instead of saying, “I was wondering if you could help out with our elderly loved one a little more,” try saying, “I need help keeping up with the laundry and the vacuuming for our elderly loved one. Can you help me with that?” By being specific, you let people know exactly what you need help doing. When you ask for generic help, people are often willing but then they don’t know how to help you and then you end up feeling frustrated.

 

Set Up a Time to Review Your Needs

Your needs and your loved one’s needs may change over time. For example, once you have all the household repairs done, you may not need any more for a while. Perhaps the person helping you with that set of tasks is willing to take over lawn care for you now that the teenager who did the mowing is off to college. Life brings changes, so reviewing your needs periodically can help you to keep up with those changes.

By asking for help the right way, you can ensure that you actually receive it.

If you or an aging loved one are considering CAREGIVER SERVICES IN BETHESDA, MD, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.