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.

5 Reasons Your Loved One Might Not Be Getting Enough Nutrition from Her Food

Senior Care in Bethesda MDSenior-Care-in-Bethesda-MD

If you’ve started to notice that your elderly loved one doesn’t seem to be eating regularly or she doesn’t seem to be eating as healthily as she used to, there could be a variety of different reasons.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications can cause your loved one to not feel as hungry as she might have been otherwise, which can make it difficult for her to eat enough to stay nourished. Some medications also can make it difficult for your loved one’s body to retain some nutrients from her food. Be sure to talk with your loved one’s doctor if you suspect that medications could be causing a problem so that he can look into the issue more deeply.

Lack of Desire to Shop and Cook

Your loved one may not feel like shopping for food and cooking it, which can cause her to turn to convenience foods or, worse still, stop eating much at all. One option is to help her with her shopping and cooking yourself. This is a great way for you to be as informed as possible about what your loved one is eating. Another option is to hire senior care providers who can help your loved one shop and cook for her.

Trouble Swallowing or Chewing

Some health conditions can cause problems swallowing, making eating a chore that your loved one may opt to avoid. Dental issues can also cause your loved one enough pain that she doesn’t eat the way that she should. To help avoid these issues, work with your loved one’s doctor and dentist both. They can help you to spot potential issues.

Reduced Senses of Taste or Smell

As your loved one grows older, her senses of both smell and taste can diminish, which leads to a reduced desire to eat. Some health conditions and medications can also contribute to reduced senses, which can exacerbate the problem even further. Trying healthy flavor enhancers, such as spices, can help to improve this situation.

General Health Conditions

All sorts of health conditions can cause problems for your loved one when it comes to eating, too. Your loved one may not emotionally feel much like eating or she might have other issues that lead to her lack of desire for eating much.

Work with your loved one’s doctor to figure out why she’s not getting as many nutrients as she should. From there you can establish a plan to solve the problem.

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

Information to Give a Respite Senior Care Provider before Leaving on Vacation

Senior Care in Bethesda MD

Respite senior care can be one of the most valuable resources that you can utilize during your care journey with your aging parent. With this Senior-Care-in-Bethesda-MDtype of care a senior home care services provider steps in to provide the level of care, support, and assistance needed to keep them safe and healthy when you are not available to be with them. Whether it is just for a few hours or for a period of several days or even a week or more, respite care is the ideal way that you can do the things that you want and need to do in your life outside of your care efforts while still feeling confident that your parent is getting everything that they need as they age in place.

One of the times when this is particularly helpful is when you want to go on vacation with your partner and children. Just because your elderly parent has challenges and limitations that keep them from being able to participate in travel with your family does not mean that you should have to give up the trips that you enjoy together. Respite care allows you to go on your trip and still know that your loved one is in good hands while you are away.

In order for you to make the most out of your experience with a respite senior care provider, it is important that you take the time to give them as much information as you can. This information should provide this care provider with what they need to give your loved one the care that is right for them.


Some of the information that you should give to a respite senior care provider before you leave on vacation includes:

  • Allergies. If your parent has any kind of allergies, it is important that the senior care provider is aware of these allergies and how to avoid them. This can be an allergy to food, medications, animals, or topical substances. Even if they are minor allergies, letting the care provider know will enable them to troubleshoot any issues that might arise with your loved one.
  • Schedule. Routine can be extremely important to elderly adults, and keeping up with this routine can make all the difference to an aging adult who is under the care of a respite provider. Keeping up with this routine will help your loved one to feel more in control and feel more comfortable in the care that they receive. Write down a sample schedule for a normal day, as well as a calendar for the entire time that you will be gone so that the care provider knows exactly what to do while you are away.
  • Emergency information. While you would like to believe that nothing bad could happen while you are on vacation with your family, it is important to prepare just in case. Ensuring that the respite care provider has all of the information that they need to handle a fall, injury, illness, or other issue will give you peace of mind that even if there is an issue while you are gone, the care provider can manage the situation until you are able to get back. This information should include contact information for their medical team, a list of diagnoses that they currently have, and a list of medications that they are currently taking.


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