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

Glaucoma and Your Aging Parent

Elder Care in Chevy Chase MD

Glaucoma is a condition cause by an increase in pressure within the eyeball that, if left untreated, can lead to blindness.  It is damage to Elder-Care-in-Chevy-Chase-MDthe optic nerve that ultimately leads to progressive, irreversible loss of vision.  There are several types of glaucoma. Open-angle Glaucoma is the most common and results in slow, painless loss of peripheral vision. According to, it is estimated that “over 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it.” It is the second leading cause of blindness, surpassed only by macular degeneration.


As previously mentioned, glaucoma is, in most cases, painless and shows no early signs making it difficult to detect. The best way to ensure eye health for your parent is to set up appointments with their ophthalmologist every year. Diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of glaucoma are risk factors that may warrant additional monitoring. Glaucoma eventually leads to loss of peripheral vision—commonly the first symptom. By this stage of the disease, physical damage has already affected the eyesight. Medication can, however, halt its progression, preventing blindness.  Acute glaucoma, or pressure that rises abruptly, can have the following symptoms: headache, eye pain, nausea, and seeing halos around lights.  Any of these symptoms warrant immediate medical care.


The treatment for glaucoma consists of prescription eye drops and, possibly, surgery. Eye drops reduce the pressure in the eye by reducing the build-up of fluid. Some people are sensitive to these drops which can lead to red eyes and irritation. They may interact with current prescription medications. Be sure you discuss all medications your parent is taking with their primary health care provider before starting treatment. If your loved one has difficulty administering the eye drop, there are devices that can help make it easier.  It’s important that these drops are taken both timely and in the correct dose. Elder care providers are available to remind your loved one when it’s time to take their medications as well as assist them with the daily activities of living, including preparing meals, which may become an issue if sight becomes compromised. Surgery for glaucoma is designed to open up the canal, allowing additional fluid to escape and decreasing intraocular pressure. This is usually geared for those who do not respond to the eye drops.


The best prevention is scheduling regular visits to the eye doctor. Some researchers suggest omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C found in fatty fish and citrus fruits, to name a few, can help maintain eye health, but further studies are required.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Chevy Chase, MD, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.




The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group, Arch Ophthalmol. 2004; Prevent Blindness America;


Can a Senior in a Wheelchair Still Enjoy Vacation?

Elder Care in Chevy Chase MD

Going on vacation is a favorite activity for many families. If you are a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is now in a wheelchair, Elder-Care-in-Chevy-Chase-MDhowever, you may worry that your loved one will not be able to enjoy the vacation as much. Fortunately, this is not the case. With proper preparation and approach, seniors in wheelchairs are more than capable of making memories and having fun while spending quality time with their families while on vacation.


Use these tips to help you ensure that your parent enjoys vacation even while in a wheelchair:

  • Ensure comfort. If your parent is new to being in a wheelchair or has never been in one for long periods of time, make sure that they are comfortable. Visit with a medical supply professional to discuss their particular needs and select the chair that is best for them. You can also improve comfort with additional features such as a seat cushion or back support. Consider the comfort needs of your vacation destination, such as heavily air conditioned buildings. Since your parent will not be walking they may get cold more easily. A light jacket or a blanket can be comforting in this situation.
  • Plan accessibility. When choosing hotels, make sure that you specify that you will have a senior in a wheelchair. Most hotels have specific accessible rooms designed to make use easier and more comfortable for those in wheelchairs. This can include a walk-in shower, more open floorplan, lower sink, and more, as well as location on the first floor in many situations.
  • Consider activities. When choosing your activities for your vacation, consider your parent’s actual capabilities. Simply because they are in a wheelchair does not mean that they are not able to participate in any activities with the rest of your family. You might find that there are many things that they can do by transferring out of their chair or by using alternative entrances or approaches. For example, if you are traveling to a theme park your parent might still enjoy calm rides such as boat rides, but may need to transfer out of the wheelchair to do so. Research the activities that you choose and determine if they are an option for your parent or if you will need to find alternatives.
  • Let them be a part of the planning. Let your parent be a part of the planning process so that they do not feel that they are an inconvenience to the rest of the family. You will likely find that they have good ideas for things that the family can do together, and may even suggest that they would like some relaxing time on their own so that you can plan for more active experiences while they visit a spa, relax on the beach, or just rest at the hotel.


An elder care provider can be extremely helpful in this situation. While you are planning your vacation, considering hiring such a provider to come along with you on your adventure. This elderly home care services provider can be available to manage your parent’s mobility assistance and ensure that their other needs are properly fulfilled while you focus on the other members of your family. This enables you to feel confident your loved one is properly cared for and safe, healthy, and comfortable, while you care for your children and enjoy yourself on your trip.


If you or an aging loved one are considering ELDER CARE IN CHEVY CHASE, MD, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.