Options in Dealing with Depression

elderly depression

Older people often deal with bouts of depression, be they caused by aches and pains, the illness or death of a friend or spouse, a hormonal imbalance, bad reaction to a medication or any other of a myriad of reasons.

Fortunately, with effort and creativity, depression can be beaten.  Once suspected, depression should be discussed with the patient’s doctor and other caretakers.  Following are some suggestions to help a loved one out of his or her funk:

  • Be in touch.  Call, visit… show you care.
  • Get out, set up a schedule with an exercise buddy.  The endorphins produced by the brain while exercising help keep depression at bay.
  • Explore the options offered through alternative medical practitioners.  These can include herbs, homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, guided imagery and so forth.
  • Get cooking.  Prepare a few new and exciting, healthy foods to try.
  • Get involved in the community.  Take part in a few classes offered through your local community center or college.
  • Develop a hobby, be it one you’ve fiddled with for years or something entirely new.
  • Volunteer in whatever interests you.  Schools are often looking for classroom, lunchroom or homework helpers.  Soup kitchens are often understaffed, and second-hand clothing outlets can often benefit from a senior’s experienced eye.
  • For times when it may be difficult to get out, be set up to communicate with the outside world via computer through internet forums, webcam with the grandkids or recipe-sharing.

If you’re stumped for ideas, it may be best to contact a social worker through Family Services.  It could well be that there are Golden Ager clubs in the neighborhood, Adopt-a-Grandparent, a book club or a drama group or even an over-sixty fishing team.  You won’t know unless you ask!

Safe Exercise for the Elderly

elderly exercise

Many people believe that elderly people only become frailer as they  age.  This does not need to be true.  It is within the power of most  older people to reverse this process through safe exercise.  A medical  professional should be consulted before beginning any program of  exercise, but barring any severe health problems, a program that is  built up gradually shouldn’t pose a problem.

Recommended exercises for starters are low-impact, that is movement  that will not overly-jar the joints, such as walking or swimming.  Many  swimming pools offer water aerobics classes catering specifically to  seniors.  Stretching and strength training are also safe additions to  this exercise routine.  Examples can be found through the internet or in  neighborhood classes of yoga, feldenkrais or tai-chi, among numerous  other possibilities.  Additionally, a number of regular, household tasks  can bring the same benefits as organized exercise.  Gardening, vigorous  cleaning, going out to the mailbox and even folding laundry can all be  turned into stretching, moving activities.  In fact, chasing after  grandchildren can be a better workout, and much more fun, than the most  flashy gyms and high-tech aerobics classes.

There are some precautions that should be taken before and during  exercise.  First of all, have the right equipment.  This includes good,  supportive sport shoes, loose-fitting clothing and an easy-to-use water  bottle.  Staying hydrated is of vital importance.  Likewise, any  dizziness or difficulty breathing should be reported to a doctor.  Any  workout must include both warm-up and cool-down exercises in order to  avoid injury.

The benefits of consistent activity are clear for anyone.  For young  and old alike, exercise helps one lose weight and increase strength,  flexibility and lung strength.  Of particular interest to older people  is that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, induces better sleep  and promotes good balance.  Having an exercise partner will help assure  getting out and about with social interaction on a regular basis.  In  doing so, exercise also helps fight depression.

So, grab a good day and a good friend and have a great time getting out and moving!

Labor Day Family BBQ


In honor of Labor Day weekend, we will be having a family BBQ. All direct family members are invited to attend and celebrate together.

Date: Monday, September 6th 2010
Time: 12:30 PM
Place: DEMO Nursing & Rehab Facility

RSVP: Please call Donna at 555-678-9000 ext. 221 or email donnak@demo.com

How to Help an Elderly Person Deal with Osteoporosis

Man in physical rehabilitation

It is extremely important once a family member has been diagnosed with osteoporosis to help them prevent falls and further deterioration of their bones. Here is some information, I hope you will find helpful.

Does the person really understand their condition?

Make sure they clearly understand what the doctor has told them. Often they do not. Write down the doctor’s directions as simply as possible. Review the instructions daily if needed, until they are getting it correctly. The elderly person may have difficulty understanding explanations and directions because of mental or memory problems.

  • How To Prevent Falls when a elderly person has osteoporosis.
  • How to improve diet when a elderly person has osteoporosis.
  • Life style changes and treatment to help the osteoporosis patient.

Preventing Falls is the #1 Goal

Vision: Make sure they get their vision tested. Bad vision causes falls.

Proper Posture: Observe them getting up out of a chair and walking. You may notice habits that may contribute to a accident in the future.

Demonstrate safe walking techniques: Explain how using the walker to pull themselves up on their feet is dangerous; instead show them how to push themselves up using the the chair arms; how to stand up slowly with their legs a few inches apart to give the body more balance; to wait for a few seconds to walk until they feel steady; to keep their head up and eyes forward; to stand tall not slouch when walking or using the walker; to bend from the hips and knees, not from the waist; when bending over to pick up an object, to not lean over if possible but lower themselves down using your thighs, keeping upright: when they lean over they are more prone to losing their balance and becoming light headed.

Take immediate steps to make their home safer: Install night-lights in each room and the hallways; remove boxes, bags, clutter from around walking areas; don’t wax floors; remove small rugs that may become a fall hazard; remove rugs that are ripped and uneven; remove all electric cords from walking areas; install handrails or grab bars on stairs, steps, bathroom, and shower; install a non-slip rubber bathmat in the shower; and make sure there is adequate lighting in all rooms. If they have a favorite chair that rocks, slips, or has narrow arms, encourage them to replace the chair. The new chair should sit higher, not rock or move, and have firm, wide arm rests. There are also chair seat lifts operated by a spring that can be placed on top of the chair seat. This makes it much easier to get up when arm strength is lacking. There are chairs that have built in, motorized seat lifts as well. The lift is controlled by a simple button control remote. You will find many of these items at a medical supply store.

Walking Aids: Suggest they use a walker instead of a cane for more support. Many elderly people hate to use walkers because it makes them feel they are becoming more feeble. Impress them with the fact, it is much better to use a walker than end up in the hospital. If they won’t use a walker, encourage them to buy a safer cane. There are safer designed canes with secure grip handles and three prongs that allow them to stand up on their own.

Alter Clothes and Shoes: People cling to their old, familiar clothes and worn out shoes. If they use a full length robe or nightgown that is too long, alter the hem, so they don’t trip on it. Make sure their slacks don’t drag the floor either. You must make them understand how important it is to get rid of sloppy, loose house shoes and bedroom slippers; They must discontinue wearing shoes with heels that are unstable; Take them shopping to buy new shoes that are supportive and have soles with traction.

Consider Hip Pads: Encourage them to wear undergarments that are padded over the hip areas. Help them purchase the hip pads from catalogs that specialize in aids for the elderly. You may have to show them how to use them as well. Research has shown they help in the reduction of hip fractures.

Discuss Dietary and Life Style Habits:Smoking and Alcohol: Encourage them to give up smoking and drinking. Drinking is responsible for many falls. Most elderly people develop a decreasing tolerance to alcohol and their balance is affected more quickly.

Increase Calcium Rich Foods: Help them improve their diet with healthier foods including calcium rich foods and Vitamin D. If they will not eat correctly, make them realize how important it is to take 1000 mg of a calcium supplement including 600 mg of Vitamin D if they are under 50; If they are over 50, they should take 1200mg of Calcium with 800mg of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb Calcium. Vitamin D should be in the range from 600 to 800mg according to the Institute of Medicine.

Protein Requirements: Protein is needed to maintain strong bones but too much is not good either. Too much protein causes more Calcium to be eliminated in the urine. The suggested protein intake for women is 46 grams and 56 for men. I have not seen many elderly patients eating too much protein. Most often elderly patients are low in protein because of appetite loss, poor food selection, and the inability to swallow and chew their food.

Decrease Salt Intake: Sodium increases the rate at which you eliminate Calcium in the urine: The typical American diet is packed with snack foods, canned soups and TV dinners loaded with salt.

Eating problems in elderly patients: Bad teeth, missing teeth, and plates that hurt their mouth often prevent the elderly patient from eating their food properly. These problems also prevent proper digestion and utilization of the nutrients. I spent a lot of time in nursing facilities. The food is overcooked, often unappealing in taste and appeal. Many patients do not eat because they need help eating and the cafeteria is understaffed. Most elderly patients are undernourished in every respect. When they are home, often they don’t eat because they are depressed, lonely, sick, or incapable of fixing much. Even though meals for wheels and senior center lunches encourage appetite, most meals are over cooked as well. Many times the elderly fail to eat them or only eat the dessert or parts they like. In Osteoporosis and most ailments of the elderly, nutrition is a main contributing factor to their condition or disease.

Help them start an exercise program: The majority of the elderly can start a exercise program. The exercise program will depend on the age and physical abilities. Get direction from their physical therapist or doctor. There are exercise sheets for different kinds of situations. Go over the exercises with them. Have them do the exercises with you there, to make sure they perform them correctly. Do the exercises with them. Post a weekly exercise schedule where they can see it. Check weekly to remind them.

If they are in a nursing home, get them involved in the physical activities offered by the home. If there are no activities offered, do exercises with the elderly person yourself when you can.

Medication confusion: After their diagnosis, discuss with them the suggested treatments which could be Fosamax, Actonel, or Boniva; Miacalcin, or Fortical; parathyroid medications such as Forteo; or hormonal therapy; All that information may be completely overwhelming and unclear. They may have difficulty making a decision. If you feel the medication is not appropriate, and the doctor is wrong, try to persuade them to get a second opinion.Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace the recommendations or suggestions of your medical care provider. When ever in doubt please contact your loved ones care provider and ask them for tips and suggestions.




Chronic Diabetes in the Elderly: The Effects of Treatment Burnout


By Christine Cadena

Diabetes in the elderly is expected to rise in the next several decades as the baby boomer population begins to enter retirement. For many elderly adults, diabetes will be a lifelong health battle and will require the attention and support of family members to ensure compliance is treatment is maintained. If you are caring for an elderly adult that is living with diabetes, is it important to understand not only what treatment is available but also what effects can arise when burnout occurs.

Burnout in any type of treatment of a chronic health condition is quite normal. In fact, when forced to manage diabetes with medications, diet and exercise, most elderly adults will simply throw their hands up and give up the realm of their diabetes regimen. For diabetes, however, treatment is vital to ensuring long term health and to prevent other health conditions from developing. For this reason, burnout must be identified early.

Non-compliance in diabetic treatment is the first sign of burnout. While it is normal for a diabetic adult to be relaxed with diet and exercise, if there are signs that medications for diabetes are not being taken or diabetic injections are not being administered, this could be indicative of far greater complications. Burnout is common and must be accepted as part of the diabetic patient’s treatment profile. Managing and minimizing burnout can be challenging.
As a loved one, caring for an elderly adult with diabetes, you will want to speak with a healthcare provider about the elements of burnout. Because diabetes is a chronic condition that required three levels of care, when burnout arises, there is usually one element of treatment that is given way. When this occurs, most healthcare professionals will recommend boosting the other two elements to ensure that the diabetes is managed as effectively as possible.
Burnout of diabetes treatment can be challenging to control and manage in the elderly. Because the elderly often become non-compliant with treatment, the tendency for burnout is not only stronger but can also be challenging to control. As a caregiver of an elderly adult, if you find that burnout is an issue, be sure to address the diabetes treatment options with a healthcare provider and boost up the other two forms of treatment when the third has reached burnout levels. In doing so, you can ensure your loved one is given the best opportunity to manage not only the diabetes but to also overcome burnout by choice and not by force.Sources: Geriatric Patients Today, 2007: 6:78-82.

Preparing Your Home for Elderly Parents

By Eisla Sebastian
The cost of assisted living communities and retirement homes coupled with the troubles the economy has experienced over the last decade has made it necessary for many families to take in their elderly parents. If you find yourself in this position it is a good idea to make a few simple adjustments to your home so that your elderly parents will be safe and to make caring for them easier to do. These adjustments can be completed over a weekend.
Install Rails
The first thing that you will want to do is install railing systems in your home. Rails will need to be installed in hallways, near your parents’ bed and in the bathroom. Rail systems can be purchased from medical supply companies, mail order catalogues and from department stores.
Set Up Their Bedroom
Even though you will be living together you want to ensure that both you and your parents are able to have a little privacy when it is desired. This means that their area of the home needs doors that can be shut and that it contains what they need, like a television, phone and places to sit and lay down. A small refrigerator that is positioned high enough for easy access is another great addition to their section of the house for snacks, medications and cold drinks.
Secure Your Flooring
Tripping hazards are a common cause of injuries in the elderly. You can help your parent(s) to avoid tripping and falling by securing your flooring. If you have carpeting then you will want to go around and make sure that there aren’t areas of the carpeting that has come loose, you will want to re-tack the edges of your carpet and you will want to make sure the transition zones are smooth.If you have hard floors then you will want to make sure that any area rugs that are lying around are non-skid, or that they have non-skid pads placed under them. If your elderly parents use a walker or have ambulation impairments you may just want to get rid of the area rugs all together except in areas where they are out of the high traffic zones of the home.
Accessibility Issues
If your parents use wheelchairs then you will need to make your home wheelchair accessible. This will include building a ramp to at least one entry point, widening doorways (in some cases) and setting up a roll-in shower. If you have a little extra money to play with you can also set up remote entry access systems. These systems will provide your parents with a remote control unit that they can push to unlock and open the exterior doors of your home. This is a great option for people with fine motor skill impairments or who have partial paralysis.

July 4th @ DEMO

[styled_image size=”large” link=”#” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”yes”]http://demo1.sklmktg.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2010/08/IMG_1787_c.jpg[/styled_image] Our July 4th celebrations were a blast here at DEMO Nursing & Rehab Center. We kicked it off with a early evening BBQ , featuring charcoal grilled chicken, hotdogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and all the fixings. Next was ballroom dancing on our patio and topped off with our very own fireworks display. A great time was had by all.

What to look for in a Nursing Facility


Use the following checklist to assist you in assess nursing homes. If possible, both the caregiver and care recipient should be involved in the decision making process. The more an older person participates in the planning process, the easier it will be to adjust to the new environment.

The Facility

  • Are there handrails along the walls?
  • Are the doorways wheelchair-accessible?
  • Does management take safety precautions to prevent residents from falling down stairs?
  • Is the floor kept dry and free of litter?
  • In case of fire, can the facility be easily evacuated?
  • Are fire extinguishers easy to locate?
  • Does the facility appear clean?
  • Are there lingering odor?
  • Do the faucets, call buttons, telephones, and television sets work?
  • Are heating and cooling adequate?

Staff and Care

  • Is the atmosphere pleasant?
  • Do staff seem to genuinely enjoy working with the residents?
  • Do staff appear to care about and respect residents?
  • Are residents treated as individuals?
  • Do the staff appear interested in the residents?
  • Do staff seem interested in speaking to visitors or residents?
  • Are your questions answered clearly, frankly, and in sufficient depth?
  • Do any other residents have conditions similar to your elderly relative’s?
  • Are residents clean and adequately dressed?
  • Do staff appear to refrain from making unrealistic promises or predictions?
  • Are the rights of the residents clearly posted?
  • Is the food hot, attractive, and tasty?
  • Are special diets available? What kinds?
  • Does a resident have plenty of drinking water easily available?
  • Are planned, posted, and varied recreational and social activities available?
  • Do the listed activities seem interesting and appropriate?
  • Do most of the people at an activity program seem to be participating?
  • Are religious services held weekly?


  • Is the facility in good standing with the state inspectors?
  • Are fees competitive?
  • Have fees increased significantly in the past few years?
  • Is the structure easy to understand and reasonable?
  • Does the institution readily reveal what service are covered in the quoted fee?
  • What services are extra?
  • Is Medicaid accepted? Is Medicare accepted?
  • Are billing and accounting procedures understandable and acceptable?
  • Is transportation of patients provided?
  • Does a resident advisory council exist?
  • Are visiting hours reasonable?
  • Are therapeutic services available? (Speech, physical and occupational)
  • Are social work services or other mental health services available?
  • Are community organizations (library, church group, volunteers) involved?
  • Do the charge nurses, social workers, department heads, and top-level administrators have geriatric experience and/or education?


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