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.


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

What Should You Look for in a Personal Alarm System for Your Elderly Loved One?

Caregiver in Potomac MD

There are so many different personal alarm systems out there that you might find yourself overwhelmed when you first start to look at them. Caregiver-in-Potomac-MDAs your loved one’s family caregiver, having an alarm that she can wear can give you an incredible amount of peace of mind. Here are some tips for what to look for in a personal alarm for your elderly loved one.

A Simple Setup

If the personal alarm system that you’re considering is complicated, your elderly loved one is not going to want to use it. In fact, she may even avoid using it completely, which defeats the purpose of finding one at all. There should be very few buttons and settings so that you and your elderly loved one can each make changes as necessary.

A Battery Backup

A personal alarm system that runs on electricity only is useful only if the power is on. Should a power outage hit, then suddenly your elderly loved one’s entire personal alarm system is not functional at all. That’s why you need to look for a battery backup built into the system. Not only should there be a battery backup, but the life on the battery should last for a long time without needing replacing or charging.

The System Should Be Comfortable

The next feature to watch for is that the system should be lightweight and comfortable. If the personal alarm system is difficult for your loved one to wear, she’s going to look for excuses not to wear it. You may find that she starts taking off the pendant or the wristband and leaving them in random locations. The easier they are to wear, the less likely they’ll be to irritate her.

Waterproof Is Versatile

Once you get past comfort, the next problem is that the devices used in the personal alarm system need to be waterproof. If they’re not, this gives your loved one an excuse and an opportunity to remove the pendant or the wristband and to forget to put them on again. And if she’s not wearing them, they’re definitely not going to help.

Cameras and Other Extras

Some systems have extras beyond a wearable alarm system for your loved one. Some have cameras that you can use to check on your elderly loved one even when you can’t be there. Others may include fall detection sensors. These use motion detectors to determine if your loved one has fallen and can’t press her alarm on her own.

Once you find a system that you and your loved one both like, give it a test run to ensure it’s the right fit.


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


4 Emotions You Might Feel as a Family Caregiver

Caregiver in Potomac MD

Being a family caregiver means that you’re likely going to experience a variety of emotions. Some of the most powerful emotions are also Caregiver-in-Potomac-MDones that you’re not likely to feel proud of. Here are some of the biggest and some ideas for coping.

Worry or Anxiety

It’s not unusual at all for you to find yourself worrying a lot or frequently feeling anxious when it comes to your elderly loved one. You might be worried about her health or about her being on her own while you have to be at work. You might also find yourself worrying that you’re not able to be the family caregiver that she needs for you to be. Worrying about the future is also common. You can’t exist in a constant state of worrying, however, so you have to let it go.


Guilt is another very powerful emotion that family caregivers are prone to experiencing. You might feel guilty for not being as adept at caregiving as you want to be or perhaps you feel guilty because you have to go to work every day. You might lose your patience now and again or you might have other obligations that take you away from caregiving. One way around this is to hire elderly care providers to be there when you can’t be.


Another problem comes in when your loved one and you haven’t always had the kind of relationship that you’ve wanted to have. Maybe you have unresolved anger from years ago or you’re resentful that you’re the one taking care of your loved one now.  You might have newer anger at your loved one, too. Maybe she didn’t take care of herself as well as you would have wished or you’re just angry, period. Anger is one emotion that you definitely need to work through so that you can be a good caregiver for your loved one.


There’s a lot of loss involved in caring for an elderly loved one. You might be grieving the person that your loved one used to be. You might even be grieving the life that you could have had if you weren’t a family caregiver. Dealing with your sadness and your grief can help you to move past it.

Make sure that you do everything that you can to take care of yourself, even if that means contacting a therapist or counselor to help you out.

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