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

Elderly Care Tips: Helping Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease Live for the Moment

Elderly Care Bethesda MD

Elderly Care Bethesda MDIf Alzheimer’s disease is part of your elder care journey with your aging parents, it is likely that the past and the future are on your mind a lot of the time. You are constantly thinking about the past in terms of the people who your parents used to be, the memories that they no longer have, and the things that they will no longer be able to do. You are also thinking about the future in terms of how you are going to adjust your care approach to make sure that you are addressing their continuously changing needs in order to keep them safely, healthy, and happy as they progress through their disease, and what your life is going to be like when your elderly care journey with them comes to an end.
Reminiscing about the past and planning for the future are important parts of being a compassionate and effective caregiver for seniors who are coping with Alzheimer’s disease, but in order to get the most benefits from your care journey with your seniors and give yourself and them the highest quality of life, it is important to live for the moment, and encourage them to do the same.

Use these tips to help your aging parents with Alzheimer’s disease live for the moment while you put yourself in the same mindset:

• Do not think about the end. This does not mean to live in denial and pretend that your parents are immortal, but it does mean not always thinking about the end of your journey with them and what life is going to be like then. If you are always thinking about this end you are not allowing yourself to enjoy all of the wonderful moments that you can have with them now. Instead, focus on the time that you have together and make the most of it while still making sure that you are well prepared for their end of life transition so that you know what decisions to make when the time comes.
• Listen to the stories. It can absolutely get frustrating and a little tiresome to hear your parents tell you the same stories over and over, but resist the urge to stop them when they launch into that story again. This is their moment, and a moment that they do not think that they are repeating. Allow them the fun of telling you that story, and enjoy receiving it. Appreciate any opportunities you have to give your loved ones joy and to connect with them, even if it is happening multiple times in the same day.
• Preserve memories. This moment will become yesterday before you know it, so make sure you do everything you can to preserve those moments. Saving these memories will allow you to treasure them well into the future. You can even bring them out in a few weeks or a few months and share them with your loved ones so that you can enjoy them together again.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Bethesda, MD, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.


The Best Dog Breeds for Elderly Adults

Elderly Care in Bethesda MD

For elderly adults living at home alone, pets can provide great companionship.  Owning a dog can help seniors stay more active, happier, andELDERLY-CARE-BETHESDA-MD
have a better quality of life.  Dogs provide friendship, love, and affection, and they can help elderly adults fight feelings of loneliness and isolation.  However, adopting a dog can be a big decision, especially for seniors.  They may feel more comfortable adopting a senior dog who has already been trained and has a little less energy than a puppy.  But, is breed a factor?  It can be!  Certain breeds, due to their temperament and personalities, can make better pets for seniors.  Read on for a list of great dog breeds for elderly adults.


Pugs can be great companions for seniors.  Their small size makes them easy to walk and carry around the house.  They also have a short coat which doesn’t require too much grooming.  Pugs are also the perfect size for cuddling up in their owner’s lap!


Poodles are a very popular breed for good reason.  They are very easy to train and they tend to stay clean.  If allergies are a concern, poodles do not shed much and it is easy to keep them well-groomed.


Like the pug, the maltese is a small breed that is the perfect size for cuddling.  The maltese has long hair, but shedding can be kept to a minimum if they get regular haircuts.

Boston Terriers

Boston terriers are very friendly and they can make great companions for elderly adults.  They are relatively small so they can be easily walked and will fit perfectly in a smaller home.  Boston terriers also do not require too much grooming.

King Charles Spaniels

King Charles Spaniels are cute, affectionate, and they make great lap dogs.  They thrive on spending time with their owners and are quite friendly.  They also have a history of being the pets of kings and queens!

Remember, every dog has a unique personality, no matter the breed.  If adopting a dog from a shelter, elderly adults should ask questions about the dogs past and temperament to make sure that they are adopting a pet that is perfect for them and their lifestyle.


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