Featured Caregiver: Elizabeth M.

What motivated you to become a Nanny?

Children and the lack of good quality care, is what motivated me to become a caregiver. I have a huge love for children especially birth to age 5. I really enjoy new things, to light up their eyes, and make them excited about the world. It’s fun to watch them explorer, learn, and adapt to their environment as they grow and change each day.

What do you enjoy about being a Nanny?

I enjoy helping to shape a child’s future by being their trusted adult while mom and dad are away. It’s so very important for a child’s growth and development to have a trusted adult by their side as they explore the changing world around them.

I love the look of excitement on a child’s face when they try something new, say a new word, or walk for the first time. Just as it’s the first time for them, it’s like the first time for me all over again, and I get the joy in knowing that I have helped them on their path to a love of learning. It also gives me joy that the parents also know that their child is well cared for and safe throughout the day. This gives them a better opportunity to concentrate of their jobs until they can come home to their little one. I know that having a trusted caregiver gives parents a little stress relief as their children are so precious to them.

Tell us an interesting or fun story that happened while you were providing child care.

Mimili is the little one I am currently caring for. One day her mom asked that I bring her down to the building museum to play in DC. Playing there works best for mom because she works for the Federal Government right across the street. This gives her the chance to come over on lunch and play with us.

On this trip, we also got to visit the moms job. Working for the Government I had to go through the metal detector, and be patted down. When the officer had me hold my arms out to the side to be searched my Mimili started to yell NO! NO! NO! She began squirming in her mom’s arms and fighting to get down. Both mom, the officer, and myself assured Mimili that I was okay. She wasn’t having it. The officer said to her mom it’s okay let her down and lets she what’s she’s going to do. Mimili got down ran to the officer and starts pushing his leg trying to get him away from me while she yells NO! NO! NO! He says she okay meaning me and she tries to bite him until he backs away from me. When he backs away, she runs and jumps in my arms and says Mine! Lol we all laughed so hard, and the officer says to me,” Looks like you have your own security guard.”

Ardith, Mimili’s mother was laughing so hard. She says I’m so glad she’s so attached to you. That made us all feel so good that she was so protective of me. J




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.

Philia’s Featured Caregiver: Kathleen Kousa

Philia’s Featured Caregiver: Kathleen Kousa

Q&A.     Tell us about where you come from and how that influenced who you are today.
I come from a large, supportive, loving family. My mother raised my brothers and I on her own for many years and did such an amazing job. She motivated me at a young age to babysit. She taught me that doing these small acts of kindness makes all the difference in a parents life. In High School I completed two Child Development classes, and loved everyone moment. After High School I attended Northern Virginia Community College to become a Certified Nurses Assistant. I was able to complete a year in an amazing nursing home and a few months in a clients home before I was blessed with my first beautiful son. I was able to stay home with my son for a year. For the next two years I was a housekeeper and Nanny for family and friends. Today I am a proud Mama of my two boys, five years old and 7 months old. I am currently studying more in Depth about Child Development. As I like to say, “Every child is unique and different in an awesome way, there is always something new to learn because there is no handbook to  raising a child.”

Q&A.      What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I love spending time with my sons. I birthed two and was blessed with two more. Having four boys is so much fun. We all love playing soccer, going to museums, finding new parks to explore, going on nature walks, on rainy days we have movie time, puzzles, forts in the living room and so much more. My spare consists of children and family, if you were to ask what I like to do when the children are fast asleep? I would say read up on the latest news, fold laundry while I watch my favorite shows, tidy up the house, and enjoy the quiet.

Q&A.      What motivated you to become a caregiver?
My mother and grandmother are my two motivators when it comes to being a caregiver. My grandmother’s knowledge over the years has made me the caregiver I am today. She grew up in a small town home with seven brothers and sisters, helped raised them and then had three of her own. Becoming a mother really helped me realize that at anytime there can be situation where a parent needs help that they can trust and rely on. I wanted to be that caregiver that anyone can rely on and trust that their children are safe with. I am proud to say that I have become that caregiver. I am so glad that I am able to help ease parents minds when stressful moments happen in life.

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

Recognizing Early Stage Alzheimer’s in the Washington DC area

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects each individual differently. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 80% of all new dementia diagnoses. Each stage of Alzheimer’s introduces symptoms that directly impacts the cognitive and functional abilities of the individual. In the early stage of the disease, symptoms are generally mild and may be difficult to notice. At this stage, the individual may functional independently with the ability to complete all of their own activities of daily living. However, they may begin experiencing frequent memory lapses or the inability to identify familiar words. Friends and family may notice the individual struggling with performing routine tasks or maintaining organization. During a medical examination, doctors may identify problems in memory or concentration.

Common challenges in the Early-Stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Difficulties with planning or organization
  • Difficulties with recalling the right word or name for familiar objects
  • Difficulties with performing social or work tasks
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Frequently losing or misplacing valuable objects
  • Difficulties with retaining new information
  • Difficulty following storylines
  • Deteriorating sense of direction

Once medical examinations are completed and an Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is received, it’s important to optimize the safety and quality of life of the individual. Family, friends, and the care team should provide the individual with support and empathy while preparing for upcoming challenges ahead. Conversations regarding advance directives and preferred future plans of care should take place with the individual, to ensure that their wishes are upheld when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Take the time to carefully plan for comprehensive and holistic care which meets the entire needs of the individual– it’s the best way to honor their life and legacy.







Tips for Providing Anti-Aging Care

Anti-aging is a new era phenomenon that is has become a central topic of discussion as it relates to aging populations. However, considering the culmination of factors that contribute to aging including stress, poor diet and sedentary lifestyles this topic can be relevant to people

Tips for Providing Anti-Aging Care

in Washington DC

  • Incorporate more plant-based foods into a client’s dietary plan. Review a vegetable chart and learn about the client’s favorite veggies and create new recipes to incorporate them in meals.
    In cases a person is completely aversive to fruits/vegetables learn delicious smoothie recipes that make them seem more appetizing.
  • Educate seniors on ways nutrients from vegetables work in the body and reverse aging.
    Create fun exercises tailored to the person’s unique ability and interest. Don’t push clients into “overdoing it”.
  • Engage or encourage clients in activities that are distressing (i.e. nature walks, meditation, deep breathing, yoga).
  • Incorporate humor into your work with clients. Find funny jokes online and create a “joke of the day” tradition.
  • Provide clients a space to ventilate and talk about their difficulties/frustration.

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Philia Family,

Philia’s main purpose is supporting families by caring for aging parents and younger children.family_cares

Thanksgiving is truly a holiday that focuses on the family. People travel from far and wide to be with their family members. Family members who they may disagree with, may even dislike, but who are always loved. For this reason, we at Philia, think of Thanksgiving as Philia’s holiday. We close the administrative office on the Friday after Thanksgiving and pay our workers holiday pay. This is to encourage time spent with family – for both yours and our caregivers families.

Thanksgiving is also a time where we give thanks and express our gratitude. We are grateful to you, our clients, for entrusting us with your family members. We know it is a privilege not to be taken lightly. We are also grateful for our caregivers. Our caregivers work from their heart every day, caring for members of someone else’s family and take great pride in the work they do.


Thank You!! 

from the Philia Office Staffimg_5793


from left: Our mascot dog, Diesel, Kristina, Beth, Kira and from Nichole who is missing from the photo.

Practicing Mindfulness While You Care for Your Elderly Loved One

Elder Care in Fairfax VA

One of the side effects of today’s busy world is that we’re all stressed out. If you’re caring for an elderly loved one, you’re even more Elder-Care-in-Fairfax-VAsusceptible to stress, though. Practicing mindfulness is one way that you can help yourself to let go of stress that can hold you back.

Mindfulness Defined

Mindfulness is one of those terms that you might have heard, but maybe aren’t sure exactly what it means. Being mindful means that everything that you’re doing is something that you’re present with in that moment. Instead of multi-tasking, you’re right there, paying particular attention to what and who you’re with. Mindfulness involves setting aside autopilot reactions and really thinking about what you’re doing. It’s difficult to practice mindfulness, particularly in this day and age of having multiple tasks keeping you hopping.

Reasons You Should Practice Mindfulness with Your Loved One

When you’re practicing mindfulness, you’re able to react positively in even difficult situation. You’re also able to enjoy every bit of the time that you’re spending with your loved one. You won’t look back later and wish that you’d spent quality time with your loved one instead of running around trying to do everything all at once. You’re also less likely to be overly emotional when it comes to your loved one and her unique situations.

Easy Steps for Embracing Mindfulness

When you’re first attempting to incorporate mindfulness into your day, it will feel difficult. One easy way to start is to be aware of your breathing. Focus on breathing slowly and evenly until that becomes second nature. Any time that you feel yourself tensing up or starting to lose focus, return to your slow, even breathing. When you’re involved in an activity, concentrate on that activity only. If you find yourself multi-tasking, ask yourself which is the most important task at the moment and focus on it.

As you’re beginning to practice mindfulness, ask your loved one’s elder care providers for tips about incorporating mindfulness activities into your day.


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