|Overcoming Geriatric Depression -- How You Can Help|
ElderCare Online is dedicated to bringing you educational materials that help you to enhance the quality of life your elderly loved one. We have begun working closely with RSI, a leader in the development of health assessments, care plans and training materials for frail elderly people and their caregivers.
RSI pioneered the idea of care management for the "whole person" for elderly residents of assisted living facilities. In the course of years of research, they developed a comprehensive training and care management program that helps the elderly person stay active physically and mentally.
Together, ElderCare Online and RSI have tailored key components of the Caring Community program to meet the needs of family caregivers. Over the next several months, we will be presenting a new series of Skill Builders that focus on how caregivers at home and in residential facilities can learn more about chronic conditions and improve quality of care to their loved ones.
Depression can be overcome, even though it disabling to daily functioning, happiness and personal growth. People with depression can be helped to manage and stabilize the disabling aspects of the condition and result in lives, which continue to have meaning, personal growth and a sense of hope for the future. When frail elderly people are depressed, they need to be helped to exercise as many personal choices and decisions as they are able. Depression affects the whole person, body, mind and spirit. Because of this, any plans of care for addressing depression, must include all these dimensions. The final responsibility for overcoming depression rests with the frail elderly person. It is unlikely that they can do this without the help of their caregivers. Depression so extensively saps the energy and spirit of people that other resources are needed to initiate recovery.
It is essential for caregivers to have the knowledge, skill and attitudes to address the complexities which managing depression demands. This Skill Builder provides these competencies for family caregivers. When caregivers possess the competencies to manage depression, they will, in turn, be able to assist their loved ones to participate in their own care. The mutual involvement of caregivers and their loved ones result in keeping chronic conditions stable and enhancing the capacity for elderly people to successfully address and manage their complex chronic physical, psychosocial and spiritual issues.
Maslow and Depression -- Meeting Your Loved Ones Needs
ElderCare Online and RSI emphasize promoting independence for frail elderly people. But, when frail elderly have depression it requires that family caregivers know that they can initiate actions to alleviate depression rather than expect the depressed person to initiate their own self-help activities. Depression saps energy and decision-making capacity. This leaves the depressed elderly person with only a small amount of energy to help him/herself. The progress of recovery from depression is very often slow and results are difficult to see. It is important for us to understand that depressed people can be very self-centered. Knowing that the responsibility for improvement lies with the resident can balance the, oftentimes, overwhelming responsibility which caregiving staff feels.
Frail elderly, in particular, express depression through physical symptoms such as headaches, backaches, backaches, stomach distress and constipation. Often medical evaluation has determined there is no organic cause for these symptoms. Physiological needs for balanced, nutritious meals, regular exercise and adequate, usual, uninterrupted sleep are of utmost importance for health and improvement of depression. Depressed people are often sedentary and have no motivation to move. Yet, exercise is known as a positive force for relieving depression. Exercise activates serotonin and norepinephrine and increases socialization, both known to enhance mental health.
Safety and Security Needs
Depression causes preoccupation with self, which may result in ignoring potential environmental hazards. For whatever reason, depressed persons feel a very strong need for a predictable, lawful, orderly world in which unexpected, unmanageable or other dangerous things do not happen.
Love and Belonging Needs
A depressed person is at risk for not having his/her needs for love and belonging met because of feelings of being a burden to others, of being no fun and spreading doom and gloom to others.
Depression is often the cause or result of feeling inadequate as a person. Some people with depression have been unsuccessful in handling their emotions alone. Feeling powerless and giving up can result when repeated attempts to help their own depression have failed. Depressed people have very negative opinions about themselves and feel very negative about their future. They often cant describe one good thing about themselves and one thing they enjoy. They minimize past achievements, concentrate on present failures even minor ones. They feel they have nothing to look forward to. This leads to abandoning previous roles because they cant be perfect and are afraid of failing. This leads to withdrawal of activities.
Depression needs to be freed first because it is unlikely there is any energy left for these creative self-expressions and personal achievements.
Talking to Depressed Elderly
How to talk to depressed elderly?
Making Choices My Own Decisions, Please
One of the major issues for a depressed person is his/her pervasive feeling of being unable to control the people or events in his/her surroundings. This is sometimes called "learned helplessness." Learned helplessness means that no matter how hard one tries, one is unable to have any influence on others or on the environment. This results in giving up making choices and trying to influence. Planning for, encouraging and assisting residents to make as many choices as they are able and applauding their efforts when they do can become a turning point in reducing depressions grip on the frail elderly person.
Relieving Mild Depression Special Activities
The prevalence of depression in frail elderly persons living in assisted living is approximately 25% -- and perhaps higher in the home-bound population. The vast majority of those with depression are experiencing a milder form of depression. All people with depressive symptoms need medical care and treatment. When depression is mild and when the people will not seek help from mental health providers, these alternative forms of treatment or special activities may be helpful. These special activities impact on some of the underlying reasons for depression in elderly persons such as loneliness, losses of all kinds especially of health and functioning and lack of pleasurable activities each day. People who are not trained as mental health specialists can do all of the special activities discussed in this Skill Builder.
|Available from ElderCare Online www.ec-online.net ©2000 Prism Innovations, Inc.|