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 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 Family Caregivers are in Need of Forgiveness

Caregiver in Fairfax VACaregiver-in-Fairfax-VA

Were you rebellious as a teenager? Constantly keeping your poor mom and dad up at all hours of the night, concerned over who you were with and what you were doing? Did some of this behavior carry on well into your adult years? Now that your parent has gotten older and is now the one in need of care, you may have strong feelings of guilt over how you treated them throughout the years. One way you may be trying to make up for it is through caregiving.

If your elderly loved one has gone through a serious health problem and survived, these moments may open your eyes to just how much you wished you had been a better son or daughter. To help you get in the good graces of your parent and other family members, here are some tips to changing the way you are perceived.

  • Be timely. If you are known for frequently being late to events or family gatherings, this may be what the elder is expecting from you. Prove yourself by being on time to all doctor appointments or to the elder’s house. If you promise to be somewhere or pick the elder up for an appointment, it is important that you stick with it.
  • Apologize. Just because you have taken on the role as primary caregiver does not mean the elder fully forgives you yet. Make some time to have an honest discussion with your loved one and apologize to them for your bad behavior and attitude in the past. No matter how long ago it was, they will appreciate the gesture.
  • Have honorable reasons for caregiving. Are you caregiving just to get forgiven by your parent? Then you are doing it for all of the wrong reasons. You should want to care for your loved one because they need it and it is the right thing to do, not because you will get on their good side. By wanting to be the caregiver because the elder needs you, they will be able to tell just how sincere you are in your apology.

 

Forgiveness is not something that can always be easily given. It has to be earned, and these three tips will help you do just that. However, if you do not have the time to care for your loved one, an elderly care provider can take over this role. Even though someone else will be completing all of the caregiving tasks, you can still make frequent visits to the senior’s home, where you both can reminisce over the good memories you have shared.

 

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

 

Source:

http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2015/family-members-forgiveness-caregiving-jacobs.html?intcmp=Outbrain&obref=obinsite