According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 7 million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression every year. Although it’s a common and serious mood disorder, it is not a natural part of aging. Depression, ultimately, affects one’s ability to perform the everyday activities of living.
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”—C.S. Lewis.
Change affects everyone. For those in their senior years, however, change can feel relentless. From chronic diseases to changes in their household environment and the people they love, change can feel like a never-ending shadow in one’s midst. The sun begins to dim, the smile fades and a progressive melancholy takes over.
In many people, the symptoms of depression can be easily detected. They will exhibit extreme sadness and talk about problems and difficulties as if there were no solutions. Hope has disappeared. You notice increasing apathy and the reluctance to go out and socialize. In the elderly, the signs of depression may not be so noticeable.
Surprisingly, sadness is not always reported in a senior experiencing depression. For those in their elder years, complaints of a stomach ache, headache, or other types of pain may be their primary symptom. They may complain of difficulty sleeping and appear increasingly irritable. Other symptoms associated with depression in the elderly include difficulty concentrating, increasing fatigue and slowing down when moving and talking.
Depression may occur in conjunction with other diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or stroke. Any chronic disease that is painful, disabling, or life-threatening can lead to depression. The medications your aging family member takes for their various diseases may also be a contributing factor.
If you suspect depression has entered your parent’s life, call their physician or psychiatrist right away. According to WebMD, only 10 percent of the elderly population that is depressed receives treatment, and yet depression can have serious consequences, including an increased risk of heart disease.
How to Help
Due to the possibility of drug interactions and the susceptibility of the elderly to the side effects of drugs, many physicians will begin psychotherapy and lifestyle changes before intervening with medications. You can help by being there to support them through their many changes and help them make the necessary lifestyle adjustments. This may include getting them into a regular routine that includes 30 minutes of a daily exercise that they enjoy and a healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables and limited in processed foods, alcohol and nicotine. Come up with activities that they’ll consider joining in such as lunch at their favorite café, a stroll through the neighboring green space, or a local class in Tai Chi.
Home Care Services Provider
It’s important for someone under the spell of depression to have someone by their side and remain socially engaged. Consider obtaining the services of a home care services provider. They can assist with daily tasks, prepare healthy meals, run errands, and join your aging family member on social outings and on neighborhood walks.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Waukegan IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Gentle Home Services would like to thank Joan Ente, AM, LCSW, CJE SeniorLife for her very informative presentation for our staff on Creative Ways to Engage with Clients. Thank you for attending.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Chicago IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Just because your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with heart failure, that doesn't mean that life as she knows it is over. Sure, she may need to modify some of her habits, but that's a small price to pay for her to live a healthier life with fewer chances of experiencing serious heart issues.
Watch for Specific Symptoms
Your elderly loved one's doctor will let both of you know what you should watch out for that might indicate that your loved one's heart failure is getting worse. These might be symptoms that the medication isn't working or that her heart is under stress.
Some of the signs to watch for include:
Follow Medication Instructions and Other Advice from Doctors
Your loved one's doctors are going to have some very specific instructions for her regarding her lifestyle, her health, her diet, and her medications. It's really important to follow those instructions as closely as you possibly can. Failing to do so can impact your loved one's health in a negative way.
Pay Attention to How Secure Your Loved One Feels
Some elderly loved ones no longer feel safe on their own after they learn that they have heart failure. If that's the case for your loved one, you might want to look into ways to help her to feel more secure. One way to do that might be to make sure she has someone with her during the day if you're not there. Hiring elderly care providers or asking other family members to stop by can help your loved one feel less alone.
Join a Support Group
Having a support group that you can turn to can help you to accept your own feelings about your loved one's health issues. You'll also learn ways that you can help her to stay as healthy as possible. The more you meet other caregivers who are dealing with similar issues, the less alone you'll feel, too.
Talk to your elderly loved one regularly about what would help her to feel safer and happier. Then you can modify your plans accordingly.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Arlington Heights IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Lyme disease is a common illness in the United States. The number of cases is especially large in the summer, when people are going outside more and coming into contact with the ticks that may spread the disease.
As common as this illness is, though, it is often misdiagnosed. The early symptoms of Lyme disease are very similar to other illnesses, like the flu. This makes it hard to treat, because oftentimes, the doctor is prescribing medication for the wrong disease.
So how do you know if Lyme disease is the right disease to treat for?
You can start by taking a short quiz at Lymedisease.org. While it is no substitute for a visit to the doctor’s office, it will help you to figure out if your elder loved one is suffering from any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, and at what stage the illness could be in if they are.
Some of the symptoms include:
Rash – The most common, telltale sign of Lyme disease is the trademark bullseye rash that appears around the site where the tick bit the skin. It will look like a small red circle with a big red ring around it that expands out to form an even bigger circle. This can appear anywhere on the body, but pay careful attention to the legs and ankle areas, as this is usually the first place a tick comes to when it is climbing up the body.
Weakness of facial muscles – Weakness in the facial nerves (also known as Bell’s palsy) can be a sign of Lyme disease. This causes the face to droop or become paralyzed, and it is a sign that there is something serious going on. It looks very similar to one of the main signs of a stroke, so if you or your elder care aide notices this symptom, seek help as soon as possible.
Flu symptoms – These are some of the things that mislead diagnosticians the most. Many people with Lyme disease experience tiredness, fever, and aching muscles, just as they would if they had the flu or another common ailment. If your elder loved one is having these symptoms, don’t assume it is the flu if your loved one has recently been in an area where ticks live.
Dizziness, lightheadedness – Again, this is a symptom common to many different health problems, and should never be disregarded. But, in this case, dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting could all be signs pointing to Lyme disease from a tick bite.
Joint pain and swelling – Another tricky one. Joint pain and swelling are hallmarks of arthritis, which your elder loved one could already have. But if they don’t (or if they do, and their symptoms suddenly get worse), and they begin to have swelling in their joints, they could be experiencing a side effect of Lyme disease instead.
Remember that Lyme disease is a tricky illness that has fooled even some of the most decorated medical professionals. If your elder loved one has been in a place where ticks are present, you and their elder care aide should never discount this possibility as the reason behind any medical issues they are having.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Lake Forest IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Educational Presentation for Gentle Home Services Staff Members
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Horwich Center, 3003 W Touhy Ave, Chicago IL 60645
Dementia and Challenging Behaviors. will be presented by Deena Karno,
Manager of Regulatory Training and Staff Development at CJE SeniorLife.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Chicago IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
When your senior loved one is confined to their bed for medical reasons, it can be frustrating news. Whether it’s due to an illness or recovering from a medical procedure, being bedridden isn’t fun for long. Family caregivers like you can help your senior loved one to feel more comfortable and pass the time in a more fulfilling way when you take the time to properly prepare the room.
If someone is going to be bedridden in one room for the majority of the time, it should be a bright and clean space where they can enjoy a positive atmosphere. While you might not have time or resources for a fresh coat of paint, you can definitely spend time scrubbing the room from top to bottom, including walls, baseboards, window sills and the floor.
Consider adding some new décor or bringing in some of your senior loved one’s favorite décor from elsewhere in the house. Small touches like new curtains, a few houseplants and beloved items like family pictures can transform a ho-hum room to a comfortable space.
Because your senior loved one will be spending a lot of time in bed, you need to make sure that it is a quality mattress that will provide the support they need. Additional comfort items include body wedges to help them sit better, an over bed table or lap desk for writing and eating, and a spacious side table that they can easily access.
You should be able to regulate the room’s temperature easily. Assess it carefully and make plans to deal with a particularly sunny window or a vent that blows directly down onto your loved one’s head. Don’t forget to include a nice chair or two that can be pulled out when visitors come to spend time with your bedridden loved one.
Your senior loved one needs to have all the necessary accessories that can keep them healthy and safe, even though they are bedridden. Many family caregivers invest in an alert system so that the senior can summon assistance from family members or a home care aide. Bed rails, bed rope ladder, transfer discs and more can make things easier for you and your loved one while they must remain in bed.
While most people think of television as the only entertainment for bedridden seniors, there are lots of other things to do. Family caregivers can set up a bird feeder or two just outside the window for bird watching. Video gaming systems are growing in popularity among seniors, and it’s a fun way to spend a few hours. Reading tablets bring almost any book ever written right to their fingertips, providing lots of opportunities to read.
Remember that television can get rather boring after a while, so family caregivers and their senior loved ones can think outside the box on how to stay entertained all day. Consider taking up a new hobby like cross-stitching, starting language lessons, building a model or writing poetry. Make sure that any new items are within easy reach of a bedridden senior so they can stop and start as they feel like it.
Bedridden senior loved ones are going to need a lot of support during this time, and preparing a comfortable room for them will definitely help them endure with the best possible outlook.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Skokie IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
One of the reasons families seek in-home elderly care is because they worry about their parent’s slipping cognitive abilities. Families are often concerned about the safety of an elderly parent and whether they might do something dangerous because of impaired cognitive function. While some lapses in memory are a normal part of aging, when memory loss becomes a more serious issue and interferes with daily life, there may be cause for concern.
Knowing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease can help to ease your fears about your parent, or they may help you to know when it’s time to get help.
Is it Normal, or Is it Alzheimer’s?
As people get older, they may sometimes forget someone’s name or miss an appointment. If they typically remember the name or appointment later, there’s no cause for concern. However, it is not normal for your parent to forget ever having known the person or that they even made an appointment. One of the early signs of Alzheimer’s is frequently forgetting new information or asking the same question over and over.
Elderly adults might sometimes need some help working things around the house. For example, they may forget how to record a television program using the DVR. When an elder has trouble doing everyday tasks on a regular basis, such as driving to the store or remembering how to play a game that has always been a favorite, it’s time to seek help.
Everybody, regardless of age, makes a poor decision on occasion. One of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease is a significant change in making judgements. For example, someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s might start giving large sums of money to telemarketers or purchasing many more lottery tickets than they used to.
Losing things, like keys or a pair of glasses, is normal. However, people with Alzheimer’s may put items in strange places. The keys might be found in the refrigerator or the glasses in the pantry. When things are lost, people with Alzheimer’s sometimes have trouble retracing their steps to find the item or they might even accuse people of stealing from them.
If you recognize some of these symptoms in your elderly parent, schedule an appointment with a doctor. If your parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, help is available. Hiring an in-home elderly care provider can make it possible for your parent to remain in their home longer than if they were on their own. An elderly care provider can assist your parent with daily tasks, check to make certain they are safe throughout the day, and provide transportation to appointments.
Hiring an elderly care provider can not only help your parent, it can also help you by easing your worries and allowing you to go on with your life while still ensuring your parent is well taken care of.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Glenview IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Kashrut: The Jewish Dietary Laws will be presented for Gentle Home Services staff members by Susan Buchbinder, MSW, on Wednesday, June 14. The session will cover basic information about what makes food kosher, as well as how to shop for and prepare kosher food for Jewish clients who observe these laws.
Susan Buchbinder is Director of Religious Life at
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
3003 W Touhy Ave
Chicago, IL 60645
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Chicago IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
In an effort to keep aging loved ones as independent as possible at home, there may come a time when you have to make some important additions to the bathroom. Whether your aging loved one is capable of self-care in the bathroom or a home care assistant is needed for hygiene and grooming, putting some senior-friendly bathroom additions in place can make daily tasks easier for everyone. Of course, living as independently as possible is the goal for many elderly people and their loved ones, with as little assistance as possible. However, that isn’t always how it happens and seniors need help from time to time.
Seniors are more likely to experience a slip and fall accident in the bathroom than anywhere else in the house. The combination of being off balance, water, steam and slippery surfaces all add up to a hazardous location that can be made better and safer with some affordable additions. There are lots of different things you can do to transform your loved one’s bathroom from high risk to low risk. Most of these suggestions can be installed easily, while a few may require a professional.
Making these simple bathroom changes will definitely improve the day-to-day living for aging loved ones. It will also allow family caregivers and home care aides to provide better care for the seniors. When these and other bathroom additions are put in place, the make it easier for seniors to care for themselves and more importantly, reduces the risk of falling. You can have real peace of mind knowing that your elderly loved one is benefitting from increased safety and mobility in the bathroom.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Evanston IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
It’s no secret that our skin changes as we age. In elders, the skin isn’t as firm and supple as it once was, and it is more susceptible to dryness. Dry skin can also lead to scratches, bruising, discomfort, rashes and certain chronic conditions. Part of your role as a family caregiver is to look out for your elder loved one and make sure their physical and mental needs are met. This includes creating an elder care routine that all family members and home care assistants will follow that focuses on your loved one’s skin care.
Here are 7 ways to prevent dry skin conditions in elder loved ones.
1. Drink Lots of Water
Hydration is the key to reducing dryness in the skin. Elders may not consume as much water as they should for various reasons, but the skin needs as much as it can get. Sometimes, chronic conditions like diabetes or kidney issues can trigger skin dryness, so lots of water will benefit the entire body.
2. Use Unscented Lotion and Soap
Elderly skin can be more sensitive to perfumes, dyes and chemicals, leading to itching and rashes. Make sure your elder loved one is using mild soaps, deodorants and lotion as part of their elder care routine.
3. Wear Sunscreen Every Time
The skin grows less resistant to damage form UV rays with age. Also, sunburns can produce more intense negative effects in elders than in others. Whenever they go out into the sun for activities like gardening, walks or sporting events, elders should wear a strong sunscreen to protect them.
4. No Hot Baths or Showers
Hot water from baths and showers can dry out the skin, so make sure your loved one only has warm water during these times. Sitting in hot tubs and even swimming in pools laden with chemicals can increase skin dryness. If your elder enjoys these activities, encourage them in moderation.
5. Invest in a Humidifier
Especially in dry climates, seniors face an uphill battle in keeping their skin from drying out. A room humidifier can launch tiny water particles into the air, boosting humidity and making the skin less dry. A bonus side effect of a humidifier is reduced dry coughing as well.
6. Stop Smoking
Smoking is a bad habit that can affect the skin greatly by making it look leathery and dry. Even if the elder doesn’t smoke, skin can still be affected by being around others when they are smoking.
7. Trim Fingernails
With dry skin, elders will want to get to every itch vigorously. However, aging skin is much thinner and more delicate so long nails can actually open the skin up and cause wounds. Because skin takes longer to heal in the elderly, it’s a good idea to avoid this if possible.
These effective skin care tips for elders will bring them long term benefits because they won’t have to suffer the discomfort of dryness. Also, they will look and feel better overall when their skin is healthy. There’s no doubt that elders care about how they look and feel, so encourage them to follow the tips and techniques that lead to better skin health.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Highland Park IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
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