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

Are You Waiting to Seek Help until You’re Desperate?

Home Care in Rockville MD

Whether it’s hiring home care providers or even just asking someone to stay with your loved one so you can go to an appointment, you mightHome-Care-in-Rockville-MDbe having a difficult time asking for the help that you need. Some family caregivers only ask for help when their situation is truly dire.

You’re Already at the End of Your Rope

When you’re desperate, then you’re already at the end of your limits. By that point, if you don’t get the help that you need so badly, it can actually be a dangerous situation. Waiting this long puts you in a loop where every situation can potentially become a limit-testing experience and that’s no way to go through your caregiving journey.

You Can’t Do Everything

Too many family caregivers try to convince themselves that they can do everything on their own without needing any additional help. The truth is, though, that you just can’t do that. Think about other situations in your life, whether those involve raising children or even just getting through a project at work. Are there any situations in which you’ve had to and been able to do every single aspect totally on your own? Probably not and that isn’t the case with caregiving, either.

Start Saying “Yes” More Often

If your default answer is “No, thank you” you need to practice saying yes more often when people offer assistance. Most people don’t offer help just to pretend to be nice. They’re offering because they genuinely want to be of assistance to you and to your elderly loved one. Start taking them up on their offers of help. You’ll find that as you learn how to accept their help, it becomes easier over time.

Begin with Small Steps

When you’re just learning to ask for help, you’re probably not going to be able to ask for what you really need right out of the gate. So start small and ask for smaller favors first. Ask a friend or family member if they can pick up something that you forgot at the store or to pick up a prescription for your loved one. As these become more comfortable, you can start to ask for larger favors.

As you become more comfortable accepting help, it gets easier to ask for what you and your elderly loved one need as you need it.

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


Nursing Assistants Week

Home Care in Rockville MD

As your parent ages in place they will rely on you to ensure that they get the care, support, and assistance that they need to handle their Home-Care-in-Rockville-MDneeds on a daily basis. While you are able to handle some of those needs, you are going to have a network of people who you trust to help you fulfill these goals for your parent. This network includes people you think of immediately such as their elder care provider, their primary doctor, and their specialists, but it is important to remember that there are many others who provide assistance and care as well.

June 12 through 18 is Nursing Assistants Week. This is the ideal opportunity for you to show your appreciation for all of the hard work that these care professionals put in to making sure that your parent’s stay in the hospital or treatment center is as beneficial, comfortable, and healthy as possible.

Nursing assistants are a valuable part of your parent’s care team. If your parent experience an illness or injury that requires time in a treatment center or hospital, a nursing assistant will be the person who will help your parent attend to their activities of daily living according to their needs. This can be eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring, or other tasks. By helping your parent to handle these needs this nursing assistant ensures that your parent is comfortable and healthy, giving them the best chances of getting the most benefit from the care that they are there to receive. Especially for those who are in one of these centers for an extended period, a nursing assistant is an integral part of their care and recovery.

Try these ideas for showing your appreciation during Nursing Assistants Week:

  • Write a thank you letter.  Take some time to write an actual letter to the nursing assistants at the hospital or treatment center where your parent has spent time. An email may seem efficient, but having a tangible letter written by hand is much more meaningful. They can also put their letter on display to remind themselves of how much they mean to their patients.
  • Pay a visit. If your parent spent a considerable amount of time in a treatment center or hospital it is likely that they developed a special relationship with some of their nursing assistants. Encourage them to go to the center with their elder care provider to visit with these professionals. It will make the assistants happy to see how well your parent is doing, and will give your parent the opportunity to express their thanks themselves.
  • Send a gift. Like the medical professionals and other care professionals in your parent’s care network, nursing assistants serve long hours and work very hard. They often work overtime and push themselves to their limits to make sure that their patients get the care and support that they need. Sending a gift of cookies, brownies, muffins, fruit, or other goodies is a wonderful way to thank them and encourage them to take a little bit of time out for themselves.

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