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.

Winter Events in DC, VA, and MD Areas

Senior Care in Potomac MD

The National Christmas Tree and the Pageant of Peace
Lighting ceremony – December 1, 2016, 5 p.m. Ellipse near the White House. Visit the National Christmas Tree through Jan. 1.Senior-Care-in-Potomac-MD


Candlelight Tours in the Washington, DC Area
Enjoy the festive holiday decor of historic homes by candlelight tour, complete with seasonal music, storytelling and holiday treats.


ICE! – Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort
Through January 1, 2017. The award-winning holiday attraction is a winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 BLOCKS of ice hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans.


Six Flags America – Holiday in the Park
Through January 2, 2017. Upper Marlboro, MD. The amusement park offers a holiday celebration featuring millions of glittering lights, holiday entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa’s Village, and many popular rides.


Washington DC Area Christmas Light Displays
Celebrate the holiday season with a drive or a stroll through one of the Washington, DC area’s spectacle of lights at a local park or along the water in Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia.


Holidays at National Harbor
Enjoy nightly light shows, a weekend holiday market, ICE at the Gaylord and more.

Downtown DC Holiday Market
November 25-December 23, 2016. Sidewalk on F Street between 7th and 9th in front of the National Portrait Gallery. Enjoy a unique seasonal shopping marketplace of downtown Washington DC including gift items by more than 180 exhibitors.


Christmas in Old Town Alexandria
The holiday season in Old Town Alexandria is magical with historic streets decorated brightly for the holidays, entertainers on street corners, colorful shop windows and lots of fun activities.


Christmas at Mount Vernon
Through January 6, 2016. Learn about the Christmas traditions of George Washington and his family, meet historic characters and tour the Mount Vernon Estate by candlelight.


Through December 9, 2016. Potomac, MD. The ​free one-of-a-kind art extravaganza features a wide variety of paintings, sculpture, photography, music, theater, poetry, dance and workshops.


Georgetown GLOW
December 2, 2016 – January 1, 2017. Georgetown, Washington DC. One of the city’s most treasured communities will host a festive holiday light exhibit.


Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show
December 3-4, 2016. Washington Convention Center. Attend a consumer event focusing on food and entertaining with more than 150 exhibitors including specialty food companies, caterers, party planners, personal chefs, kitchen planners and appliance manufacturers.


Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend
December 2-3, 2016. The holiday parade and family-friendly activities are a traditional favorite of the Alexandria community.


Manassas Christmas Parade
December 3, 2016. Old Town Manassas, VA celebrates the holiday season with a parade including floats, local celebrities, live performances, marching bands, animated characters, giant balloons and more.


Smithsonian Holiday Festival 
December 3-4, 2016. 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Washington DC. Get in the holiday spirit with free festive musical performances, book signings, crafts, special foods and more. Complimentary gift-wrapping will be available at the National Museum of American History. The free Circulator bus will transport visitors to the other festivities around the National Mall.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
December 3, 2016. See a variety of entertainment and performances, a live ice sculpting presentation and a visit from Santa Claus.

Antietam Illumination
December 3, 2016. Sharpsburg, MD. Take a free driving tour along the national battlefield and see 23,110 luminaries lit in honor of those killed, wounded or missing during the Battle of Antietam.


Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
December 3, 2016. See dozens of festively decorated boats light up the sky along the Potomac River.


Middleburg Hunt and Christmas Parade
December 3, 2016. Middleburg, VA. Enjoy a unique holiday event in Virginia’s horse country.


Logan Circle Holiday House Tour
December 4, 2016.  Logan Circle, Washington DC. Get an inside view of a variety of homes in the historic neighborhood.


Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 6, 2016, 5:00 p.m. West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Listen to holiday music by a section of The United States Marine Band (The President’s Own), and carols sung by the Congressional Chorus.

Pearl Harbor Day at the World War II Memorial
December 7, 2016, 1:52 p.m.  World War II Memorial, Washington DC. As part of the commemoration, nearly twenty Pearl Harbor Survivors and other World War II veterans will lay wreaths at the Freedom Wall in remembrance of the more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during World War II.


Winternational Celebration
December 7, 2016, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Atrium, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington DC.  The free event celebrates the holiday traditions from a global perspective with an international bazaar featuring cultural performances, embassy exhibitors and artisans, gingerbread cookie decorating, and a sampling of global food.


The Living Christmas Tree
December 9-11, 2016. Riverdale Baptist Church, 1177 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro, MD. This unique annual performance features a 30-foot-tall steel structure that holds an 80-person choir. The family-friendly show inspires the celebration of Christmas through musical performances and dramatic scenes.


Washington Nationals Winterfest
December 10-11, 2016. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC. Show your team spirit and get ready for the upcoming season at a fun-filled baseball festival with select Nationals players, coaches and team personnel.


Leesburg Holiday Parade and Festival
December 10, 2016, 6 p.m. Catch your Christmas spirit and bring the whole family to see Santa and his friends parade down King Street, through the heart of historic Leesburg.

Santarchy DC
December 10, 2016. A fun, quirky holiday event that is held in major cities around the world! Hundreds of Santas visit major sites around Washington DC and spread their holiday cheer.


Russian Winter Festival 
December 10-11, 2016, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hillwood Museum, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Celebrate the holiday season in traditional Russian style! Enjoy music, jokes, and fortunetelling by winsome characters.


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

Seniors Can Live Independently at Home with These Tips

Senior Care in Potomac MD

If given the option, most older adults would prefer to live at home as long as they can. However, some are not healthy enough to maintainSenior-Care-in-Potomac-MD this type of independence and will require caregivers to help with their daily responsibilities. Elders do not have the strong bone structure and balance they once had, putting them at risk for falling and breaking a hip.

Most people move at a slower pace as they age and finds it difficult to climb stairs, walk, or maneuver past clutter that is left in hallways and other popular walking areas in their home. If your loved one insists on living at home, there are some ways this can be possible with the help of a senior care provider. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Fix loose rugs. Loose rugs can easily cause the elder to trip, resulting in an injury. You can fix the problem by either taping these rugs to the floor or removing them from the home completely.
  • Wear non-slip, flat soled shoes. The types of shoes your aging parent wears can make a huge difference in how safe your loved one is in their home. Flat shoes with rubber soles are the best option for older adults.
  • Remove all unnecessary items. Is there anything that could be blocking your loved one’s path at their home? If the answer is yes, it is time to reorganize the home and move anything that could cause a problem when the elder is walking.
  • Brighten the lights. Dim lighting will make it easy for the elder to trip or bump into walls and furniture. To prevent this from happening, add brighter light bulbs throughout the home, but especially at the top and bottom of staircases and in hallways.
  • Keep all  important items on high, easy-to-reach tables. If your loved one has hearing aids, glasses, or other items they frequently use, place them on a table that will not require them to bend down.
  • Switch the elder’s room. If the elder’s bedroom is currently upstairs, transfer it to a downstairs bedroom if possible. This will eliminate their need to go upstairs. However, make sure this room is in close proximity to a bathroom.
  • Install grab bars. Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in the home because the floors can become very slippery, especially after a shower or bath. Installing grab bars could prevent your loved one from falling by giving them something to hold onto. Slip-resistant mats could also reduce their risk of slipping in the bathroom.

With these tips and the help of a caregiver, your loved one will be able to safely live in their home for years to come.

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



Seniors and Television – How much is too Much?

Senior Care in Potomac MD

Research has shown that adults aged 65 and over spend 3 times more hours watching television than do younger adults.  While this statisticSenior-Care-Potomac-MD may seem surprising, seniors who are retired and no longer have a job to do each day and those who have no children at home may find that they have much more time in the day to spend watching T.V.  Watching T.V. is not a harmful activity and it can provide seniors with entertainment, educational information, as well as knowledge of news and current events.  However, is it possible for seniors to watch too much T.V.?


Consequences of Watching Too Much T.V.

Adults over the age of 65 spend about 25% of their waking hours watching T.V.  Watching T.V. is a passive and sedentary activity and excessive T.V. viewing can lead to an increased risk for dementia, loneliness, obesity and/or type 2 diabetes, and poor cardiovascular and bone health.  Watching T.V. itself is not necessarily what leads to these health conditions, but the fact is that people who watch an excessive amount of T.V. spend less time doing the things that could help them improve their health.  Despite the fact that watching T.V. may not always make seniors feel good, it is often hard for seniors to stop or limit their T.V. time.  This is because it is easy for seniors to believe that they have nothing else to do and nothing else to contribute, a way of thinking that can also cause lower self-esteem and a lower sense of self-worth.  However, that belief couldn’t be any further than the truth!


Alternatives to Watching T.V.

For seniors who feel that they are “trapped” or that they are unable to do other things besides watching T.V. shows, the truth is that there are many activities that all seniors can enjoy that are healthier alternatives to watching T.V.  Here are just a few suggestions:

•   Exercising is recommended for all seniors who are physically able.  Exercise boosts the mood and keeps the body healthy as it can help seniors manage chronic medical conditions.

•   Reading provides entertainment just as T.V. does, but it is more mentally stimulating.  While reading, seniors must visualize, think about the words, and follow the plot more closely – a workout for the brain!

•   Volunteering is a great way for seniors to get involved in helping their community.  Through volunteering, seniors will be able to see that they still have much to contribute to society.


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