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

February is National Bird Feeding Month!

Elder Care in Silver Spring MD

Bird feeding is a favored pastime stretching back to ancient times. A peaceful, easy hobby that almost anyone can enjoy, it’s the perfect type of outdoor activity for elders and their caregivers. Celebrate this February during National Bird Feeding Month with these fun and simple Elder-Care-in-Silver-Spring-MDactivities!


Homemade Bird Feeders

Pinecone Feeder

One of the easiest and most memorable of these is the pinecone feeder. This is made by tying a string around a pinecone, coating it in peanut butter or vegetable shortening, rolling it in bird seed, then hanging it from a tree outside. That’s all there is to it!

Cookie Cutter Feeder

Another simple homemade feeder is the Cookie Cutter Feeder. All you need for this one is two packets of plain gelatin, water, 2 cups birdseed, wax paper, straws, and, of course, cookie cutters! The gelatin should be mixed with the water and stirred in a pot over heat until simmering and fully dissolved. (Depending on the mobility of your senior this part might best be done by a family caregiver.) Next the gelatin can be poured over the birdseed in a mixing bowl and mixed together completely.

After mixing, place the wax paper over a cookie sheet, then spread out the gelatin and seed mixture and press it down tightly, making sure it’s as smoothed out as possible. Next, press in your cookie cutters, but don’t take them out just yet. Press in the straws where you want to punch out the hole for a ribbon or sting hanger, but also leave them pressed in. Let the whole thing dry overnight before removing the cutters and straws. Finally your feeders are ready to hang up!

Hummingbird Feeding Tips

As time goes on, we’ve discovered newer, better ways to feed our wild feathered friends. One of these new techniques is for fans of hummingbirds. For those who don’t know, hummingbirds prefer sugary nectar over seeds. Traditional hummingbird feeders were usually filled with some sweetened water that was occasionally dyed red. However, the bird experts at the Audubon Society have come up with some new tips for the ideal hummingbird feeding experience.

  • Hummingbird nectar should be made with ¼ cup refined white sugar, 1 cup boiling water, and absolutely ZERO dyes.
  • Refined white sugar is key. Organic or raw sugars contain too much iron and honey encourages growth of dangerous fungi.
  • Contrary to old beliefs, red dye does nothing to attract the birds and can actually be a chemical hazard.


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



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Getting Creative for Gingerbread House Day

Elder Care in Silver Spring MD

There are some things that come to mind immediately when many people think of the holidays. One is the smell of gingerbread and crafting Elder-Care-in-Silver-Spring-MDcreative, festive gingerbread houses. December 12 is Gingerbread House Day. As a family caregiver, this is a fantastic opportunity for you to spend quality time with your aging parent, getting creative, making memories, and creating gingerbread houses that you will be proud to display throughout the holiday season. This is not only a chance to bond with your senior, but it also allows you to pursue care goals including stimulating their mind and strengthening their memory skills.


Use these tips to help you get creative for Gingerbread House Day:

  • Try a kit. Baking all of the pieces for your gingerbread house might be tradition and can be a fun adventure, but it can also be time-consuming, frustrating, and overwhelming, particularly for a senior who is coping with challenges and limitations. Simplify the process and get to the fun of decorating faster with a gingerbread house kit. These cover a range from simple structures that you embellish with your own supplies, to complete versions that have everything that you need to finish your project.
  • Have a healthy snack on hand. Being around all of that icing and candy can be tempting, but you do not want your parent, or your children, constantly dipping into your construction supplies. A few bites here and there is fine, but overloading on sugar is bad for their teeth, their weight, and their energy levels, and can complicate a variety of health problems. Curb their temptation by having healthy snacks available and encouraging them to take breaks to munch while decorating.
  • Be flexible. You might want to be able to recreate that perfect gingerbread house on the front of the home magazine, but it is probably not going to happen. Being too focused on having a perfect result can take away from the fun and joy of this event with your aging parent, so make an effort to be flexible. Relax and have fun with the experience. However the house turns out it will be a personalized, special expression of your loved ones, and that is what really matters.


Starting elderly care for your aging parent can be a fantastic way to enhance their holiday season and their quality of life moving forward into the new year. An elderly home care services provider can step in to fill any care gaps that might arise when your schedule gets busy or you have limitations that keep you from being able to handle your parent’s needs in the way that they need and deserve. They can also help your parent to handle their holiday preparations and engage in holiday celebrations as much as is right for them while also ensuring that they stay safe, healthy, and comfortable. As a family caregiver this can give you peace of mind knowing that you can get done what you need to get done and enjoy your holiday season without worrying that your parent is not getting what they need or is disconnected from the celebrations. When it comes to festive and creative holiday celebrations, such as making a gingerbread house, this care provider can not only act as companionship to do these activities with as a means of entertainment and mental stimulation, but can also provide assistance and support to help them engage in the activity safely and successfully.


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