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

5 Ways Seniors Can Celebrate Their Furry Companions on National Dog Day

Senior Care in Rockville MD

You probably show love and appreciation to your furry companion every day, but now there is an official holiday dedicated to your pooch. Senior-Care-in-Rockville-MDAugust 26th is National Dog Day and is the time of year when the needs to be shown how much he is valued in your family.

These animals provide loyalty, companionship, and security to their owners. They can also positively affect the life of an elderly adult who lives alone by giving them something to care for and unconditional love. Seniors who live alone may not have the energy or ability to plan a celebration for their furry family member. Fortunately, with the help of a senior care provider and these ideas, your loved one will be able to show their dog just how valuable they really are.

  1. Buy new toys. Dogs can go through their toys very quickly, leaving them looking dingy and shredded. Not only do they lose the beauty they had when your loved one first purchased them, but they could potentially be harmful to the dog’s health. Encourage your elderly parent to replace the old, tattered toys with new, exciting ones.
  2. Host a party. Invite just a few of the dog’s friends over for a barbecue or picnic. This will allow the dog to socialize and get the undivided attention he deserves.
  3. Volunteer. If the senior is capable of doing so, they can volunteer at their local animal shelter. If lifting or bending over is difficult for them to do, the animal shelter may have other jobs that are more suitable for their physical abilities. Monetary donations are also appreciated.
  4. Prepare for emergencies. Dogs are really like family members, so it is important they are protected like one. Encourage your loved one to take pet first-aid courses to help their pooch during an emergency. Also, they should add the number to the veterinarian, after-hours veterinarian, and poison control.
  5. Spay or neuter the dog. If this has not been done yet, it is extremely important. Elders may be able to care for an older dog, but are not equipped to handle a litter of puppies. Getting the dog spayed or neutered will prevent this from happening.

Dogs bring so much joy into the lives of their owners and can also give seniors a purpose in life. They deserve to be celebrated every day, but encourage your loved one to try out these 5 ideas to celebrate National Dog Day.

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


Can Milk Really Reduce Falls in Seniors?

Senior Care in Rockville MD

Most people know how important dairy is for our teeth and bones, but did you know it could also reduce serious injuries due to a fall? A fall Senior-Care-in-Rockville-MDcan occur anywhere and often leads older adults to the emergency room due to hip fractures or other serious injuries. Older adults with serious injuries will need the help of a family member or senior care specialist who could provide assistance with the treatment of their wounds.

The calcium from milk will help strengthen the elder’s bone mass and make the bones less likely to fracture. Although milk itself can’t reduce falls, it can significantly lower their chances of breaking or fracturing a bone. According to a study, achieving serum levels greater than 25 mL will significantly reduce the elderly’s risk of falling or fracturing a bone.  Knowing more about dairy and how much it can help the bodies of seniors, especially those with osteoporosis, will have you filling up a glass of milk for you and your aging parent.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

As important as calcium is to strengthening the bone mass of older adults, a major nutrient in dairy that has been shown to help reduce falls is vitamin D. Vitamin D is used to help regulate calcium as it is transported into the cells of the muscles in order to help the muscles contract. The result is a boost in muscle function and strength. Without having their daily amount of vitamin D, seniors are at risk for osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.

Your loved one could get this nutrient by simply soaking up the sun outside, but this is not easy to do for seniors who are homebound. However, there are plenty of foods that contain vitamin D, such as:

  • Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Vitamin D-fortified milk
  • Shitake mushrooms

If these foods do not sound appetizing to your elderly parent, a vitamin D supplement can be taken. Encourage your loved one to discuss other ways your loved one can get enough of this nutrient with their doctor.

Vitamin D Sources

This vitamin is available in very few foods, but is important in order to strengthen bone and muscle mass, resulting in fewer fall-related injuries. Here are a few ways the elderly can get a sufficient amount of vitamin D each day:

  • Vitamin D-fortified foods. Since many foods are not naturally included in food, there are plenty of foods that are fortified with it. Fruit juice, milk, and breakfast cereal are just a few food choices that come with vitamin D-fortified options.
  • Sunlight. If possible, getting outside while the sun is shining is one of the easiest ways to get plenty of this vitamin. Sunlight does this by converting cholesterol into vitamin D in the body.
  • Supplement. A vitamin D supplement can be purchased through a prescription or over-the-counter. Elders need to talk to their doctor about how many mL of this nutrient they should be consuming each day.

Milk itself may not protect seniors against falls and fractures, but vitamin D will. Encourage your loved one to take care of their health and bones with this information.

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