Depression in Seniors
Watch what happens at the next family members get together when a new mother places her baby in someone’s arms. The person is likely to shift instantly into baby mode: a sing-song, high-pitched voice, exaggerated facial expressions, and overly-simplified speech. Of course, this is quite normal and actually beneficial to an infant’s growing brain. Sadly though, it is also quite common to hear people talking to the elderly like babies too. This can be so harmful to the elderly, that there’s a word to describe it: elderspeak.
A recent research study by Susan Kemper, a professor specializing in gerontology at the University of Kansas, matched senior listeners with younger speakers. Even with the seniors’ instructions just to listen … Read More »
Distress. Embarrassment. Fear. If you’re concerned it might be dementia, the feelings surrounding a potential diagnosis can force you to keep your suspicions to yourself. An AARP survey peeled away some of the layers of emotion to find the reason – namely, worry over losing independence and becoming a burden to others.
While there is some truth to these worries, there are also some misconceptions fueling them. As an example, roughly 1/2 of the participants, who were adults age 40 and over, believe they’re likely to get dementia as they grow older. The truth is that just over 10% of older adults over age 65 are identified as having Alzheimer’s disease.
Because of this, it’s critical for … Read More »
If you find yourself handling all of the care responsibilities for an aging parent while your siblings distance themselves from offering help, you’re not alone. In fact, as many as one out of every two family caregivers are taking care of an aging loved one on their own, according to a recent report from AARP. What can you do when family members refuse to help with senior care?
There are several reasons why siblings may shy away from supporting you in the care you’re providing. We’ve compiled the most common, along with what you can do to remedy the situation.
They don’t realize there’s a need for help. It may very well be that from … Read More »
Parkinson’s fatigue affects as many as one in two people with the disease, but until recently, we haven’t fully understood just how debilitating this condition actually is. A study is providing us with the insight we need to comprehend the impact of Parkinson’s fatigue, and what we can do to help someone experiencing it. Led by Duke University’s Sneha Mantri, MD, the goal of the research was to gain firsthand patient insights to know how to better address this challenging condition.
Three distinct areas of fatigue were investigated in the study: physical, emotional, and cognitive. Participants were asked to describe their level of fatigue, and the terms they used were quite revealing, including feeling unmotivated, overwhelmed, isolated, lacking energy, and as if they were “walking through molasses.”
Parkinson’s fatigue … Read More »
In the past several years since COVID-19 became a household term, seniors, who are most vulnerable to severe complications from the virus, became more isolated in order to stay safe. And while we already were aware that there are health risks connected with loneliness and isolation, we’re now beginning to realize another serious concern: how isolation and Alzheimer’s progression are linked.
Since people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia may struggle to understand and follow safety precautions, like wearing face coverings, reporting symptoms, and social distancing, isolation for these individuals became especially critical. But while maintaining these seniors’ physical health was the top priority, it’s also important to pay attention to their emotional wellbeing, which can also be negatively impacted without sufficient … Read More »
Of the many and varied challenging behaviors someone with Alzheimer’s may experience and display, perhaps the most heartbreaking is uncontrollable screaming and/or crying. Seeing a person you love in an inconsolable state of mind, and being completely unsure how to help or to understand what’s causing these extreme emotions of Alzheimer’s, is both painful and frustrating. How can you help a loved one with dementia feel calmer?
To begin with, realize that crying and yelling in dementia can occur as the result of:
Delusions, delirium, or hallucinations
An uncomfortable environment
Or a number of other factors
For the short-term, try these strategies to help:
Stay calm yourself, speaking to the senior in a soft, soothing tone of voice.
Try to uncover what’s causing the outburst. Maintaining a … Read More »
Agitation in Alzheimer’s is one of the more difficult effects a senior may experience, and it can be incredibly hard for family members to manage. The key is in taking steps to handle agitation before it’s felt and expressed by the senior, which involves keeping track of what has brought about these feelings in the past, and creating a home environment in which those triggers are removed or minimized. These strategies can help:
Designate an area of retreat. When life begins to get stressful, having a specially created area for a senior loved one to go to de-stress can work wonders in restoring calm. This could be a separate room, or merely a comfortable corner with several soothing activities easily available, quiet music, a calming scent to … Read More »
We know that socialization is vitally important for our overall emotional (and even physical) wellbeing – but we also know that senior isolation and loneliness is an epidemic in America. With the hectic pace of life, it’s difficult for families and friends to provide the full measure of social interaction needed to keep loneliness at bay for older adults, who are often homebound or unable to get out as much as they’d like.
But the mother of invention truly is necessity, and the need for creative socialization solutions has sparked some interesting innovations:
The Chat Bench
Thanks to the police department in the southwest England town of Burnham-On-Sea, several benches now boast signage that boldly proclaims, “The Happy to Chat Bench: Sit Here if You Don’t Mind Someone Stopping to Say Hello.” And, stop they do! It’s a lovely … Read More »
Sharing what’s on our hearts with those we love is never more important than when someone is nearing the end of life. There are often unspoken sentiments and unresolved issues that, once verbalized, can bring peace and a deeper connection with our loved ones in their final days.
As Dr. Jessica Zitter, physician in critical and palliative care medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA explains, “Those are opportunities for people to take stock and say, ‘I want to be more intentional about how I want to relate to people in my life.’ Death should really be seen as the last opportunity that you have to make amends and clean things up before you’re in the next world, wherever that may be.”
Read More »
Think of a typical day in the life of a senior loved one. Hopefully it provides several positive and enriching experiences: enjoying breakfast, engaging in a fun hobby or interest, visiting with a friend or family member, watching a favorite TV show. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between positivity and purpose and meaning for seniors; and the need for a life rich with significance and purpose is starting to become more evident, particularly in the life of aging parents.
Viktor Frankl , world-renowned psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust, shares poignantly, “What matters is not the meaning in life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”
For people whose identity has been focused on a career and raising … Read More »