How to Maintain Independence and Stay Safe on the Road

Throughout this week, we’ve covered several important points regarding senior driving, from statistics that show the rise of elderly drivers on the road and accidents involving senior drivers, to how age can affect your driving.

As we’ve mentioned, the concern for our aging loved ones behind the wheel is certainly a legitimate one, with more 5,500 older adults killed and more than 183,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2008 alone.

However, age affects us in many different ways. In some instances, one person may be unfit to drive by the age of 65, while others can possibly drive beyond that. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your state of health and limitations, which is what we covered earlier.

Now that you have a better understanding of how age affects driving, we’re going to talk about ways to continue to maintain your independence as you age.

Exercise regularly.

All in all, exercise is a wonderful way to maintain your independence, and increase your quality of life.

In regards to driving, strength exercises such as lifting weights can help with getting in and out of cars, as well as turning the steering wheel, whereas flexibility exercises like yoga help you move your legs on the pedals, or turn your head in all directions to see your surroundings.

For more, see our series on The Benefits of Exercise.

Check your medications.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor to go over all of your medications in order to see which ones cause side effects (e.g. drowsiness) that may affect your driving.

Check your hearing/vision.

Checking your hearing and vision annually helps to improve/maintain your ability to be aware of your surroundings.

Maintain a good sleep schedule.

Lack of sleep and fatigue affect our ability to concentrate, as well as our strength. Maintaining a good sleep schedule can help prevent drowsiness, which is very dangerous on the road.

Limit driving to the daytime/good weather conditions.

It can be extremely difficult to drive during the nighttime or in bad weather conditions. So, it is best to avoid driving in these situations unless absolutely necessary.

Plan ahead.

Always figure out the best route to your desired destination before getting behind the wheel. It is also best to avoid heavy traffic, which often occurs during the early morning (7-8 AM) and mid afternoon (5-6 PM) when people are heading to/leaving from work.

Limit distractions in your car.

Driving can be difficult when we are distracted. To avoid this, prevent distractions such as listening to a loud radio, talking on your phone, texting, eating, or searching for items in your bag or back seat.

Driving in old age can be difficult, but is not altogether impossible. By taking the proper steps to maintain your health and ensure your safety, you can help to maintain your independence for many years to come.

Throughout all of next week, we will discuss issue of figuring out when driving is no longer safe, and how to address such an issue. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the information we’ve discussed above, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always here to help!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get you free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

Senior Driving-- Understanding How Age Affects Driving

On Monday, we gave you an introduction to senior driving, discussing statistics such as the rise in elderly drivers and the number of motor vehicle accidents involving seniors.

As we mentioned, statistics like these raise concern over whether or not certain measures should be taken to help ensure the safety of our loved ones who wish to drive in their old age.

However, there are steps that older adults can take to maintain their independence.

One such step has to do with understanding how age affects driving. As we age, we may experience certain physical and mental impairments, which can drastically affect how we drive.

So today, we’re going to outline some of the impacts of aging that may cause certain physical and mental impairments, and how they can affect driving. Take a look below for a few tips adapted from HelpGuide.org:

Physical impairments

Pain or stiffness. Arthritis, body pains, and general stiffness in our joints can cause a lot of discomfort when it comes to doing everyday tasks, and this is can be especially true when we get behind the wheel of a car.

As a result, doing certain tasks necessary for driving can prove to be rather difficult. Here are just a few activities affected by pain or stiffness:

  • Extending our legs to step on the gas pedal or brake,
  • Turning around to look for oncoming vehicles on all sides of the car.
  • Turning the steering wheel
  • Sitting in one spot for a long period of time

Vision. Vision, of course, is also another important element of driving. As we age, our vision can be impaired due to a wide variety of eye diseases and disorders, making it difficult for us do things such as properly read road signs, traffic signals, construction/detour warnings, as well as see other traffic and pedestrians. This in turn increases the risk of injury, not only for our aging parents, but for others on the road as well.

Body strength. Similar to body pain/stiffness, body strength can also be a factor that can affect the way we drive. As we age, muscle mass can significantly decrease, making it difficulty to perform certain tasks such as lifting ourselves into larger vehicles like SUVs, or fully turning the steering wheel quickly and effectively at sharp turns.

Mental impairments

Memory loss/difficulty concentrating. Mental health can also be affected by age, leading to impairments such as memory loss or difficulty concentrating.

In turn, we may experience difficulty remembering the directions of familiar routes, decreased awareness of our surroundings, or slower reaction time in emergency situations, all of which can increase the risk of injury.

How we age can certainly affects the way we drive, which is why it is important to understand all elements of the aging process. On Friday, we will continue our discussion on senior driving by outlining ways to maintain independence. As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your loved one, please feel free to give us a call. We’d love to help you.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

An Introduction to Senior Driving

For many, driving is a rite of passage to adulthood and more often than not, the beginning of ones independence.

As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people would feel reluctant to turn over their keys simply because they’ve gotten older.

Still, the concern over when it becomes unsafe to drive is one that worries many families of the loved ones who continue to get behind the wheel in their old age.

Throughout this week, we’ll discuss a wide variety of topics related to senior driving, from the rising number of senior drivers, to how age affects driving, maintaining your independence, and more.

For today, we’ll start with some basic facts in regards to senior driving. Take a look below:

The rise in elderly drivers

In recent years, the number of elderly drivers has steadily risen. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 33 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the U.S, which is a 23% increase from 1999.

And this number is only expected to explode in the coming years.

With Baby Boomers making their way into retirement, it is projected that by 2030, 85% to 90% of the 70 million Americans older than 65 will have driver’s licenses, according to auto insurer AAA.

Accidents do happen

In 2008, more than 5,500 older adults were killed, and more than 183,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. According to the CDC, this amounts to 15 older adults killed and 500 injured in crashes on average every day.

Statistics like these raise concern over whether or not certain measures should be taken to help ensure the safety of our loved ones who wish to drive in their old age.

In more recent news, the unfortunate passing of 88-year-old Lorraine McKaig may also serve as a reminder that accidents can and do occur to senior drivers; McKaig had crashed into a fence while driving to her destination. And, although the report notes that the official cause of death was from heart disease, it does bring into question whether or not McKaig was well enough to drive in the first place.

There are steps that older adults can take to maintain their independence

While the risk of injury does increase as you age, there are still ways to help you maintain your ability to drive and thus your independence, such as taking the proper steps to ensure that you are in good health, both physically and mentally.

As Jim Bassett, a senior who continues to drive at the age of 72, says, “Driving, to me, is an individual thing. There’s people in their 80s who are quite capable, and there’s people in their 40s I don’t think should drive. If you’re capable, I could see no reason why you should give up your driving.”

On Wednesday, we will outline how age affects your ability to drive. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the information we’ve discussed above, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We’re always here to help!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

Sleeping Problems in the Elderly--Maintaining Proper Sleeping Habits

Throughout this week, we’ve covered various topics concerning sleeping problems in the elderly, from the basics to specific sleep disorders and other causes.

Now that you have a better understanding of why sleeping problems occur, we’re going to talk about a few ways to help you or your aging loved one maintain proper sleeping habits.

Maintaining proper sleep habits on your own

In our previous post, we mentioned several kinds of treatments for disorders such as sleep apnea or Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). However, depending on the severity of insomnia, there are several ways you can help maintain proper sleeping habits on your own. Remember, if you’re ever unsure, you should always seek out the advice of a medical professional in order to ensure that all the proper steps are being taken to maintain the best possible health.

Here is what you can do to help (adapted from helpguide.org):

Daytime habits

Despite what you may think, proper sleeping habits aren’t confined to bedroom. In fact, what you do throughout the day can really affect the way you sleep at night, which is why it is important to be aware of your daytime habits and how they can affect you at night.

  • Be active. Staying active throughout the day helps to naturally prepare your body to wind itself down at the end of night. You can stay active by exercising regularly and getting sunlight to naturally balance your sleep-wake cycles.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Stimulants affect proper sleeping habits by disrupting your deep sleep. If such things easily affect you, try to limit them or refrain from using them after a certain point in the day.
  • Stay positive. Having a positive outlook helps to de-stress your body and reduce anxiety and depression, which can keep your mind racing throughout the night. Try your best to end your day with a positive attitude rather than a negative one.

Right before bed

Avoid heavy/large meals. Heavy meals around dinnertime keep you up because your body will continue to digest the food. Instead, try your best to eat light meals and/or snacks before bed.

Avoid excessive light and noise. Loud noises and excessive light can upset your sleep cycle by offsetting your body’s production of melatonin levels. Try to wind down before bed by reading a book or listening to soft music and avoid sleeping with the TV or music on.

Other suggestions

  • Avoiding using your bedroom for other activities such as work, watching TV, etc. This will help you associate the bedroom with sleeping and signal your brain that it is time to wind down.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Develop bedtime rituals that help you relax and slowly ease yourself into a good nights rest.
  • Avoid sleeping aids. Sleeping aids are not meant for long-term use and can often worsen your insomnia through dependency. Consult your doctor before taking any sleeping aids.

Sleeping is a vital part of maintaining your health. With these tips, we hope to help you or your aging loved one develop proper sleeping habits that will keep you healthy for years to come. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about any of the topics we discuss, please feel free to give us a call!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

On Monday, we gave you an introduction to sleeping problems in the elderly. As we mentioned, having a good nights sleep is vital to maintaining our health, which is why it is so important to understand the ins and outs of sleeping, including why we sometimes have difficulty sleeping.

So today, we’re going to talk about specific sleep disorders, as well as other causes that may result in difficulty sleeping. Take a look below:

Sleep disorders

Sleep apnea. The most common sleep disorder among adults, sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is disrupted during sleep. Sleep apnea results in a lack of oxygen to the brain and body, making it difficult for people to get a proper nights rest.

According to WebMD, there are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center

*It should be noted that snoring doesn’t necessarily mean a person has sleep apnea. For a proper diagnosis/treatment, seek the advice of a medical expert.

 

Treatment for sleep apnea varies, depending on the severity of the case. In some instances, a doctor may advice certain lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise, or changes in sleeping positions. In more serious cases, a doctor may suggest surgery, or a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a treatment in which a mask is worn over the nose and/or mouth that regulates airflow while you sleep.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

RLS is a disorder of the part of the nervous system that affects the legs. People with RLS often feel uncomfortable sensations in their legs and an irresistible urge to move their legs in order to relieve the sensation. As a result, RLS can often affect our sleeping habits and cause us to wake up through the night.

While there are currently no medical tests to diagnose RLS, doctors may use blood tests and other exams to rule out other conditions. Treatment such as exercise, leg massages, or changes in sleeping habits are targeted at easing symptoms.

Other causes

Outside of these disorders, there are various other causes that may impact sleep habits as well. In order to pinpoint the cause, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional.

These may include the following (adapted from helpguide.org):

  • Poor sleep habits
  • Pain or medical illness
  • Depression
  • Medications
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress

On Friday, we will round off our series with a post on ways to help you maintain proper sleeping habits. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your loved ones health, please feel free to contact us at anytime!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

An Introduction to Sleeping Problems in the Elderly

Ask your aging loved ones how they slept the night before, and you’re bound to hear a few complaints.

It’s no surprise to hear an elderly person tell you they have difficulty sleeping. According to researchers, nearly 50% of older American adults complain of chronic trouble with sleep.

As we know, sleep is a vital part of maintaining our health, which is why it’s important to do what we can to ensure that our loved ones are getting their much-needed shut-eye.

Throughout this guide, we’re going to cover several topics regarding sleeping problems among the elderly, from the basics of sleep, to specific sleep disorders, to what we can do to maintain our sleep.

Today, we are going to focus on the basics. Take a look below:

The need for sleep does not decrease with age

As we age, the amount of time we sleep seems to decrease significantly, especially for the elderly; according to researchers, healthy young adults sleep 95% of the night, whereas healthy older adults, ages 60 and above, sleep 85% of the night.

This is due in part to changes in our sleep patterns as a result of aging. As we age, our bodies produce lower levels of growth hormones, affecting our deep sleep cycle and the amount of melatonin our body produces. As a result, we may experience more fragmented sleep, causing us to wake up more often and throwing off our internal clock.

However, despite the changes in our sleep patterns, sleep is still an essential part of maintaining our health, meaning that aging adults require just as much sleep as young adults do.

The amount of sleep you get is a good gauge of your health

Sleeping well helps to maintain both physical and mental health, as it is important for such things as improving concentration and memory, refreshing our immune system, and repairing cell damage.

As such, health experts take into consideration a persons sleep habits when gauging their health, as those who have trouble sleeping are more likely to suffer from depression, as well as certain illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight gain.

Sleep problems are not inevitable

Fortunately, trouble with sleep is not an inevitable part of aging. While difficulty sleeping is common among the elderly, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is entirely the result of aging. According to one study, most of the changes in sleep patterns occur between the ages of 20 and 60. Beyond the age of 60 though, older healthy adults experience very little change in their sleep patterns.

Rather, difficulty sleeping may occur as we age due to various health issues, such as certain illnesses, chronic pain, and/or depression. So, by maintaining our health, we can help to improve our sleep patterns to a certain degree.

Sleep is essential to maintaining our health and well-being, which is why it is so important to understand why and how we can ensure proper sleeping habits for our loved ones. On Wednesday, we’ll give you an outline of various sleep disorders, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give Encompass a call. We’d love to hear from you!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

How to Help Your Aging Parent Manage Their Depression

Throughout these past two weeks, we’ve discussed a wide variety of topics surrounding elderly depression.

Depression can cause serious harm to your loved one if untreated, which is why it’s so important to help your aging parent manage their depression as soon as possible.

To round off our series, we’re going to talk about several options you and your loved one can consider to help manage their depression. Take a look below:

Seeking Medical Assistance

Seeking out a medical opinion from a professional is an extremely important step to helping your loved one manage their depression. Not only does it help you gauge the severity of their depression, it also helps you seek out treatment in a more organized manner, rather than guessing and prolonging their experience.

Another important thing to consider is that seeking out medical advice may also narrow the possibility of other illnesses, such as dementia, which has similar symptoms to depression. Doing so can help increase the chance of proper treatment, sooner rather than later, which may improve your parents life drastically.

Medical Treatment

Once you’ve sought out a medical opinion, your doctor may offer you a few different options for medical treatment. In some instances, a doctor may prescribe a combination of medical treatments depending on what they find necessary.

Here are some of the medical treatments you can expect:

Medicine

Psychotherapy or counseling

Your doctor may also prescribe some form of psychotherapy or counseling, which can help to address underlying causes rather than just the symptoms. These may include the following:

  • Supportive counseling
  • Therapy
  • Support groups

Managing Depression at Home

Another important aspect of managing depression is taking initiative outside of seeking medical treatment. Here are just a few ways your aging parent can help to manage their depression:

  • Exercise
  • Connect/reconnect with others
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Maintain a balanced sleep schedule
  • Finding new hobbies or returning to old ones
  • Volunteering
  • Caring for a pet

Managing depression can be a rather difficult task”especially as you age. However, by taking the proper steps to understand depression, as well as the initiative to seek out proper treatment, your loved one can manage their depression and improve their quality of life drastically.

At Encompass, we strive to ensure the best quality of life through all stages of the aging process, and that means going through the good and the bad with you. If you are concerned about your loved ones well being or have any questions, please feel free to give Encompass a call. We are here to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “ currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa“provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

How to Approach Your Aging Parent about Depression

Having an understanding of what elderly depression entails is one of the key steps to helping your loved ones improve their lives.

Throughout this guide, we’ve talked about the various aspects of elderly depression, from a brief overview (i.e. the physical effects, suicide rates, and the importance of addressing such issues), to the causes of depression, to the physical signs of depression, as well as the mental signs of depression.

Now that you’re better acquainted with the various aspects of elderly depression, we’re going to help you by guiding you through how to care for them in their time of need. For today, we’re going to focus on how to approach your aging parent when it comes to discussing depression.

Take a look below:

It’s never just in their head

Throughout this guide, we’ve talked about the importance of understanding just how much depression can affect a persons life. As such, it’s important to take everything your parents say into consideration. Never treat your loved one as if their symptoms are all in their head. Whether it has to do with physical symptoms such as chronic pain or headaches, or mental symptoms such feelings of loneliness or extreme feelings of guilt, belittling your parents problems will only make the situation worse and prevent you from properly helping them.

Depression is more than just a simple illness

Another thing you want to remember is that you avoid treating your loved ones problem like a common cold or flu. Remember, depression is much more complicated than it seems. Once again, belittling their situation by making them feel like they have an illness that simply needs to cured, will only make them feel worse about it and will more than likely cause them to close up rather than let you help.

Talk them through it

Most importantly, you need to make sure you show your support for your parents by talking them through their struggles. Letting them know you are willing to help is one of the best ways to warm them up to idea of that things can be improved because sometimes, they just need to know someone is there by their side. Hopefully, once they feel comfortable enough opening up to you, they will have the confidence to seek out professional help.

Approaching your parents about their depression can be difficult not only for them, but for you as well. Remember though, the sooner you approach them, the better chance you have at improving their lives.

As always, if you ever concerned about the well-being of your loved one, please feel free to give us a call. We are always here to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

The Mental Signs of Elderly Depression

Last week, we discussed the various aspects of elderly depression, from a brief overview (i.e. the physical effects, suicide rates, and the importance of addressing such issues), to the causes of depression, and finally the physical signs of depression.

Many elderly loved ones may experience a form of depression that goes unnoticed because they aren’t willing to open up about their experiences. This is often due to the stigma attached to them, which in turn requires a little detective work on your end.

Last week, we gave you the physical signs of elderly depression, and to complete our list, today, we’re going to talk about a few of the mental signs that may indicate that your loved one has elderly depression. Take a look below:

  • Frequent mood swings. Perhaps the most common sign of depression, your loved one may experience extreme changes in mood, such as going from an extremely happy mood to extremely sad or upset. It’s often difficult to know when a mood change will strike. They may occur from day to day, or within a matter of hours from one another. The cause of these mood swings may not be so apparent, and often seems small or trivial to the outsider who doesn’t understand depression.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or withdrawal from social activities. You may also notice that your parent is beginning to lose interest in things that were once important to them, such as hobbies, friends, and even family. In turn, your parent may be reluctant to see their friends, leave home, or engage in any sort of activity, and may make comments about the pointlessness of these things that were extremely important to them at one point in time.
  • Increased feeling of guiltiness. Your parent may also express a lack of self-regard, which is often followed by extreme feelings of guilt, such as feelings of worthlessness or worries about being a burden.
  • Thoughts of suicide. Thoughts of suicide are very real among the elderly, and can prove to be fatal if they go unnoticed. If you’ve heard your parents make frequent remarks about the desire to die, or any mention of suicidal thoughts, be sure to seek attention immediately.

Depression is a very serious issue that affects many aging parents. Here at Encompass, we believe that it’s important to have a full understanding of what elderly depression entails.

For the rest of the week, we’ll be discussing ways you can help your parents overcome their depression. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about your loved one, please feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “ currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”

 

 

The Physical Signs of Elderly Depression

Throughout this week, we’ve discussed the various aspects of elderly depression, from a brief overview (i.e. the physical effects, suicide rates, and the importance of addressing such issues), to the causes of depression.

Understanding the causes of your loved ones circumstance is only one part of understanding depression. In some instances, a parent may be able to hide their depression, requiring you to do a little detective work. So, to finish off this weeks guide, we’re going talk about a few signs that may indicate that your loved is depressed. Take a look below:

Physical Symptoms

As we’ve mentioned throughout this weeks guide, depression can be much more than a mental affliction. Because physical symptoms of depression can often be persistent, your parent may experience chronic pain or discomfort.

As such, it is important to take into account your loved ones physical health and to not rule out depression as a cause otherwise, such symptoms may not be properly treated.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the physical symptoms, which may indicate that your loved one has depression (adapted from WebMD):

  • Headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness. Headaches are perhaps the most common physical symptom of depression. Along with headaches, your loved one may experience dizziness or lightheadedness, which can increase the likelihood of serious injury from falling.
  • Back pain, muscle aches and joint pain. Along with causing chronic pain, depression may also heighten pain and discomfort caused by other health problems. If you loved one has back pain, muscle aches, or joint pain, it’s very possible that depression isn’t the cause but too many people don’t even consider it as a possibility when they see physical pain.
  • Chest pain.  Chest pain can also be a sign of depression. However, anyone experiencing chest pain should receive medical assistance immediately, as it may be a sign of serious heart, stomach, lung or other problems.
  • Change in appetite or weight. Your loved one may also have a change in appetite or weight. Whether your parent is gaining or losing weight, extreme fluctuations in weight and appetite can be a sign that your parent is depressed.
  • Digestive problems. Body changes caused by depression (i.e. drastic weight changes) can result in digestive problems as well. This may lead to digestive problems, such as diarrhea or constipation. In regards to diarrhea, be aware of your pars fluid intake, as it may lead to dehydration.
  • Exhaustion and fatigue. Another common symptom of depression is the feeling of exhaustion or fatigue. If your loved one finds it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or do daily task that they normally can do, they may be experiencing depression.
  • Sleeping problems. Along with exhaustion and fatigue, many people with depression may have difficulty sleeping or experience an imbalanced sleep cycle.

Check back on Monday to see our post on the mental signs of elderly depression, as well as the second part of our guide on Depression in the Elderly, which we will cover over the rest of the week. In the mean time, if you have any questions or concerns about your loved one, please feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.firstcareco.wpengine.com.”