1. Geriatric Depression

    December 14, 2013

    Geriatric Depression

    There are millions of people in the world today who struggle with depression. It is one of the most common reasons why people visit doctors, whose typical response is to prescribe anti-depressants. Any human have struggled with depression at some point in their life. Maybe a close friend or a family member passed away, maybe the love of your life broke your heart, maybe you feel stuck in a situation that you cannot figure out a way to get out of, whichever the case, depression can be found everywhere. One thing many people do not realize is that the elderly get hit by depressed especially hard. In western countries the rate of depression among elderly could run as high as 20% overall with 30-40% among those living in institutions.

    Why they are struggling with depression.

    The elderly typically struggle with depression because they feel that their life has no purpose anymore. They raised their children, worked at their job until retirement, and accomplished all that they needed to when they were younger. They may also be dealing with recent deaths, health issues, or loneliness.

    How to help them.

    Even if you are struggling with depression yourself, helping others is a form of making you feel happier and more accomplished and is actually a way to fight your depression. One of the greatest actions you can take if you are struggling with depression is helping others who are in the same situation, including the elderly. They need to feel love and hope just as you do. Volunteer at a nursing home, visit the elderly in the hospital a few times a week, or even just make friends with the elderly person who visits your work every day. You can help each other fight depression and maybe even become good friends in the process.

    Encourage therapy.

    Plenty of people today go to therapy to try to work through the problems in a healthy way. If you know an elderly friend who is struggling with depression, encourage them to go to therapy to try to work through the negative feelings. A therapist will try to figure out what the cause of the depression is and once they know that, they can come up with a solution together.

    The elderly should feel good as they age.

    Typically, the elderly have accomplished a lot in their lives and are looking forward to their older years as a time to relax and enjoy life to the fullest. If they are struggling with depression, they will not be able to enjoy their last years. Encourage your elderly friends to feel good as they age and know that life is good. Their lives are not over and they still have fun times ahead of them. Encourage your elderly friends or family members to continue to live life to the fullest and remember that they are important to you.

    Everyone can struggle with depression and most people have at some point in their life. Take the steps to fight the depression and live your life in happiness and peace.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwardez/4033116300

     


  2. 4 Ways Technology can Improve Mental Health for the Elderly

    July 23, 2013

     

    by Chris Wensink

     

    As the population of baby boomers continues to climb the demand for quality health care facilities also continues to grow.  According to the numbers, an estimated 78 million baby boomers will be over the age of 65 by the year 2030.  With Alzheimer and Dementia on the rise, this will triple the demand for health care workers, and put an increased strain on the approximate one million workers that are involved in direct care of the elderly.  In order to relieve that burden and increase patient satisfaction, modern technologies are being used to reconnect families and loved ones.  Here are four ways technology can improve mental health for the elderly.

     

    Video Chat brings daily conversations

     

    One of the easiest ways for the elderly to stay in good health is to stay in contact with younger family members.  If you can’t be together in person, then Video Chat may be a great option.  Devices such as webcams, with Skype, and FaceTime have made it easier than ever to start a video conversation, where you can see your family members from miles away.  When I start a Skype session with my grandparents, nothing brightens their faces more than seeing the great grand kids and how they are growing and talking and learning more every day.

     

    If you have an elderly parent or grandparent living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, check if the facility has wireless internet access available for residents.  If it is, a tablet PC would be an easy way to make conversations like this possible.

     

    Online games opens community

     

    For years my grandfather always said “I’ll never get into that computer stuff, I don’t need any of that, who would want to sit at the computer for hours and hours at a time and do that stuff.”  Despite this resistance, about ten years ago My cousin and I built a desktop PC for my grandfather, and taught him how to get on the Internet and how to play Sheepshead on Yahoo games.  My grandfather loves playing cards, especially Sheepshead.  After a few weeks of getting used to getting on the Internet he got into Yahoo Games.

     

    After a few months of gaming, we had to get my grandparents a new phone line because my grandfather would be dialed up to the internet for hours at a time playing games.  Eventually we got them a broadband connection, and now that he’s living in an assisted living facility, he continues to enjoy playing card games on a laptop, with 20,000 sheepshead games played on yahoo games.

     

    Online gaming communities can be a fun and engaging place for the elderly to connect with new people and enjoy an activity they already love in a whole new way.

     

     

    Wii Bowling Leagues strike a note

     

    In 2006 Nintendo, a Japanese based video game manufacturer introduced the Nintendo Wii, a whole new Nintendo that with a motion sensitive remote, along with several fun sports games including Wii Bowling.  Since that time thousands of seniors have recognized the fun and enjoyment of bowling on the wii.  Wii bowling is easier than traditional bowling because it doesn’t require the physical movement or the strength to hold a heavy bowling ball, making it a perfect game for seniors in skilled nursing facilities.  Today the sport has grown to form the National Senior League, a national organized League of Wii Bowlers with 280 teams, and over 1500 players registered to compete in the 2013 National Senior League Championships with players participating from 31 different states and 110 communities.

    Wii Bowling is a great way to enjoy a great American Sport even as an older adult.

     

     

    Social Networks Re-connect loved ones

     

    Social Networks like Facebook are a great way for loved ones to enjoy pictures and details of different family member’s lives.  While this is not as personal as a face to face visit, social networks can still provide some opportunities to connect by sharing funny stories of pets, and fun things that family members have enjoyed together in the past.

    Facebook also has an integrated instant messenger built in, allowing for real time conversations to take place between loved ones.

    No matter what ways you choose to engage with your loved ones, be sure to share that you love them, and that you wish the best for them at the end of their lives.

     

    Author Bio: Chris Wensink is the Director of Information Technology, owners of Columbus Nursing and Rehabilitation in Columbus, WI. Columbus Nursing and Rehab is a skilled nursing facility specializing in occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy for patients recovering from an accident or a surgery. For more then 30 years Heyde Companies has been the leader of Skilled Nursing Care in Western Wisconsin. Chris lives with his wife and two children in Chippewa Falls, WI.

    Image Credit: Nwardez