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

Seasonal Activities

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Go veggie/fruit hunting on Sunday’s at Dupont Circle’s FRESHFARM Market. You can pick from 30 farmers offering items which include fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, fish and baked goods. Explore your taste buds by tasting different samples. Market hours are 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. April through December and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. January through March.


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

Fall Recipes

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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake:Home-Care-in-Bethesda-MD

The Ingredients

  • 6-8 graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 16 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of salt and lemon zest
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of cloves, ginger, and nutmeg
  • 9-inch springform pan

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 F, get out your springform pan, and a deep baking pan your springform fits in.

Crumb up the graham crackers by blitzing in the blender or tossing them in a baggie and pounding them until all your frustrations have melted away. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the room temperature butter and then press into the bottom of the spring form pan creating a nice, crumbly crust.

In a mixing bowl, add the room temperature cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs, and whip with a hand held blender until smooth. Now add the dash of salt and lemon zest and let sit while you make the pumpkin filling.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, and dashes of cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

Now pour half of the cheesecake filling into the springform pan. Dollop that with about three-fourths of the pumpkin mixture, and then ladle the rest of the cheesecake batter on top. Drop the last bits of the pumpkin over the top of the cheesecake and then swirl and marble by pulling a toothpick forward and back and side to side a couple of times.

By now your oven should be ready, so place the springform pan in the deep baking dish and heat up about 4 cups of water until just about boiling.

Place the deep baking dish holding your cheesecake into the oven and then pour the hot water around the outside of the springform pan into the deep baking dish just until about 1-inch of the bottom of the pan is full. The hot water helps bake the cheesecake evenly – there’s a fancy-schmancy name for it, but that doesn’t really matter (bain marie).

Set your kitchen timer for 60-minutes and walk away.

When your timer dings, remove the cheesecake from the oven (leave the pan with the water in there – don’t try to take it out all together – big, hot mess potential!!!) and let your cheesecake rest for at least 30-minutes.

Yes, I know it’s hard to wait, but you don’t want your cheesecake to fall apart. It’s still setting up even though it’s out of the oven.

Run a knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake to help it release from the springform pan, open her up and pop in the fridge for an hour before slicing.



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Glaze:

For cupcakes:

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk (soy, almond, or rice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For glaze:

  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch ground cinnamon (optional)



  1. To make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together oil, sugar, nondairy milk, and vanilla. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently whisk flour mixture until well combined. Fold in pumpkin, but do not overstir or the batter will become gummy. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill liners two-thirds full. Bake for 24-26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.
  4. To make icing: Whisk together rice syrup, margarine, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a fork, drizzle icing atop completely cooled cupcakes.


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

Recipes, Arts and Crafts for Fall

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Halloween Recipe

With a small, sharp paring knife, cut a lengthwise wedge from the skin side of each apple quarter, leaving the peel around the wedge for lips. If desired, rub the cut portions of the apple quarters with lemon juice to prevent browning. Poke 5 or 6 slivered almonds into the top and bottom of the cut-out area to make snaggly teeth.


Easy Pumpkin Craft

Just take a regular plate and trace it onto a piece of cardboard (old cereal boxes work great!) or use a margarine/ice cream container lid.

You can easily make a mask, by leaving off the template eyes and cutting holes.  Attach (glue and tape) a popsicle stick or unsharpened pencil to the bottom for the child to hold it to their face.  This is what we have done here.   Cutting the eyes out is an adult’s job!


it all depends on what option you use…  You’ll will need


paper plate (whatever size)
cardboard cut into a circle OR
margarine or ice cream container lid

orange paint,
orange construction paper OR
orange tissue paper

Paint your paper plate orange
glue orange construction/tissue paper onto it (rip 1 inch (ish) squares of construction/tissue paper and glue them on with a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 regular children’s white glue.  This is sort of like mod podging)
Let dry.
Glue on face (paper mouth and nose).
Paper stem and leaves. (leaves can be handprints cut from green paper)
Paper circle cut round and round to make a squiggly vine.
Cut out triangular eyeholes.
Tape on a craft stick handle.

Cut/draw your own pieces on construction paper and glue them on
Draw/paint the mouth and nose with black marker or paint (see photo).


Spooky Spider Handprint Craft

It is a spider made of the children’s hand prints (from black tempera paint).

Optional:  wiggly eyes

dip both hands in black paint and print them fingers away from each other and heals of the hand touching.
When dry, cut out and slightly bend the fingerprints to make legs.
Poke a pin through the center and thread a string through taping it to the underside of the spider.
add wiggly eyes  if desired.
You’re done!  You can hang from anywhere!


Witch Box for Halloween

It turns out really cute just with paper though — the directions assume you’ll be doing it just with paper.

small empty box (use kleenex boxes and/or shoe boxes)
construction paper
Optional:  thin cardboard (empty cereal boxes work well).
Optional:  large wiggly eyes

Wrap the empty box up with construction paper (or gift wrap) in an appropriate color (black or green would work) or you could paint it with acrylic or poster paint.
Cut a slit in the top of the box large enough to fit typical Halloween treats (small chocolate bars, suckers, etc).
NOTE:  You could also just cut the entire top off the box or use a no-top box like a shoe box.
Optional:  Glue the templates to pieces of thin cardboard and let dry.
Cut out the template pieces.
Print the child’s name on the large pumpkin (template 1).
Glue pieces together:
Head shape (template 1) should go on shoulders (template 2)
Glue the hat behind the head
Glue the eyes, nose and mouth (template 1) on the head
Glue the bow (template 2) under the chin
Glue the whole body onto the back of the box, facing over the top (so it looks like he’s sitting behind the box, holding it…  See picture at the top of this page if you don’t understand).
Glue the pumpkin (template 1) onto the front of the box
Glue the hands (template 2) to the front of the box, overlapping the pumpkin slightly.

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



Arts and crafts Projects for Back To School

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Paper Plate Apple Craft
This adorable apple craft uses a paper plate to make a project suitable for a nutrition, back to school, Johnny Appleseed, or letter A theme or just for fun.

paper plate
red and green paint
black paint or black marker

Optional:  You can substitute real apple seeds for the painted ones.


Cut leaf shapes off of opposite sides of the plate.
Paint the leaf shapes green and set aside to dry.
Paint the edges (top and bottom) of the plate red.
Paint or draw seed shapes onto the center of the plate.

Glue real apple seeds into the center of the plate.
Let all the pieces dry.
Glue the leaf shapes to the top of the plate to make your apple!

Terra Cotta Pot Apple Container
Use this pot to hold candies, erasers or any other goodies you like.  Makes a great gift for teachers!

Materials for the Apple Container:
1 terra cotta pot (any size)
I made a fairly small container (4″ pot)
big enough to hold candies, but small enough to fit on a desk
1 terra cotta saucer (a size smaller than the pot)
It should be just large enough to fit on top of the pot.
paint brushes or sponge brush
green leaves (clipped off old silk flowers) OR green fun foam OR green construction paper
raffia or ribbon.
tacky craft glue or low temp glue gun (tacky glue is easily used by children)

Instructions for the Apple Container:
Paint the terra cotta pot red.  You can just paint the outside or you can do the inside too (we just did the outside).
Let dry (if using acrylic paints, the paint will be dry before you’re ready for the next step with the pot).
Paint the bottom of the saucer the same color red.  Again, you can paint the whole thing red if you prefer.
Paint a black square onto the front of the pot (to look like a chalkboard).  You can use low tack masking tape to tape off the area you’ll be painting if you want to be really exact, or you can do it free hand.
Use tacky glue to attach the two leaves to the center of the bottom of the saucer
Tie the raffia or ribbon into a bow and glue that on top of the leaves.
Use a small paintbrush to paint school messages onto the chalkboard.  Some suggestions are ABC’s, 123’s, I Love School, stick figures, the teacher’s name, the child’s name or a picture of an apple.  (Depending on what you decide to put on your chalkboard, younger children may need help with this step).
Fill with candies, paper clips, push pins small erasers to give as gifts to children and place on desk (or give to the teacher as a gift).


Decorated Poster Binders
It’s very easy to make your child a theme binder using a variety of methods.  I find you end up with a higher quality binder that’s less expensive than some of the fancy ones you can buy.

good binder that has a clear plastic slip cover — whatever color you prefer.  These can be purchased at Wallmart or your local office supply store.
Color printer
your choice of one of the color posters from the site

Short but sweet:

Print the poster.

Slip it in the front cover.

Change it when you get bored — or for different holidays, seasons, etc.


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

Philia’s Parents Night Out!

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Philia held its first Parent’s Night Out last Friday. It was a huge success!!  The theme was “School’s Out” and the kids decorated baseball caps that they got to take home, drew pictures, ate pizza and popcorn and watched “SandBox”, a classic kids’ movie about a pick-up neighborhood baseball team.  The kids were having so much fun that dancing broke out and they showed us their favorite dance moves.  Parent’s Night Out is hosted by Philia’s Child Care Specialist, Kristina, a former Fairfax County Special Ed Teacher and her husband, Sean, an Arlington Middle School Science Teacher.


Have your kids join us for the next Parent’s Night Out!!!  It will be held on Friday, August 26th from 5:30-9:30 at Philia, with the them “Under The Sea”.  Your children are sure to have a blast while you get some alone time with your partner.

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

Mother’s Day Craft Ideas

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Listed below are a few Mother’s Day craft ideas:

  • Mothers Day Cards – From simple hand painted cards to cards with a variety of add ons, these are one of the simplest yet most expressive gifts of all!
  • Mothers Day Scrapbook – These are the perfect solution for a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift idea. One can use pictures, thoughts in the form of words, poems, letters, messages and also present the scrapbook with as much ornamentation as possible.
  • Mothers Day Collage – A collage is a photo story book. The size and scale of the collage though depends on your resources and the extent of effort you are willing to put in this Mother’s Day craft idea.

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



Enjoying Time Outside with a Senior with Limited Mobility

Home Care in Bethesda MD

Integrating plenty of activity into your home care routine with your loved one is an important part of supporting his mental, emotional, and Home-Care-in-Bethesda-MDphysical health. If he is suffering from limited mobility, however, getting outside to enjoy the fresh air and warmth of the new spring season can be challenging. Your parent might have difficulty actually getting out of the house, or may have trouble moving around outside confidently. This can make him hesitant to even try to enjoy this time out of the home. Finding ways to help your parent feel more confident getting outside can allow you to enhance your home care journey with outdoor adventures and experiences. This will add interest to your routine, trigger memories, and improve his overall quality of life.


Use these tips to help you enjoy time outside with a senior who is dealing with limited mobility:

  • Make the idea appealing. A senior who has not gone out of the home is some time may be hesitant to go out. Take some time to make the idea of heading out of the house more appealing. Open up the windows so that he can feel the fresh air and the warmth of the sun. Consider adding a window box with flowers for a pop of beauty and to draw the attention of birds and other animals.
  • Clean up the lawn. Before you go outside, explore the lawn to find potential hazards. Remove debris, leaves, and rocks that could pose a tripping hazard. Consider adding pavers that will make a smooth path that is easier to walk across than the grass. Telling your parent that the lawn is prepared for him can help him to feel more confident about his ability to enjoy the space.
  • Enhance the lawn. Find ways that you can make spending time in the lawn more enjoyable. While you might want to eventually progress to going to other outdoor locations such as parks, getting started right in his own lawn can make your parent feel better about taking this first step. A patio, comfortable furniture, or even a hammock can make the lawn somewhere where your parent will want to spend more time.
  • Use mobility aids. Even if your parent does not usually use mobility aids when he is at home, encourage him to use them when he goes outside. Physical limitations can be more challenging when on the uneven terrain of the outdoors. A walker or cane can help your parent to feel more confident getting outside. If he does not feel comfortable with this, suggest having him sit in his wheelchair and bringing him out to sit on the patio or the front porch. This will still let him enjoy the fresh air and sun but without the physical strain.
  • Get some help. If you are planning an outdoor activity that you want your parent to enjoy, an in home health care services provider can be an exceptional help. This care provider can offer support and assistance throughout the activity so that your parent is kept safe and comfortable while participating as much as possible.


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