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Signs of Depression

bigstock-older-man-depressed-37650079
In the wake of the sad news about the suicide death of beloved actor Robin Williams, discussions about depression, its recognition and treatment seem appropriate. Depression is common in American society, with 10% of men and 18% of women over the age of 65 in the United States reporting current symptoms associated with clinically significant depression. These statistics have been relatively stable since about 1998. Severe depression is one of the major causes for suicide attempts.
Sometimes it is hard to understand why a person would become so depressed that suicide seems like the only option. There are many reasons that depression occurs. These may include losses of various types such as outliving a spouse, friends, or loved ones. There may have been loss of health, financial difficulties, loss of a job, or a drastic unwanted change in living situation. Maybe the person has experienced a trauma that was life-changing. For some people, these losses can be overwhelmingly painful and persons may lack the support or coping mechanisms to successfully deal with their extreme feelings.
Men and women may display depression differently. Men express depression in the form of irritability, anger, agitation, controlling behavior, blaming others, or expressions of despair. In contrast, women may appear anxious, scared, apathetic, and express feelings of worthlessness.
Other common signs of depression include:

• No interest or pleasure in enjoyable activities
• No interest in sexual activities
• Feeling sad or numb
• Crying easily or for no reason
• Feeling slowed down
• Feeling worthless or guilty
• Change in appetite; unintended change in weight
• Trouble recalling things, concentrating, or making decisions
• Problems sleeping, or wanting to sleep all of the time
• Feeling tired all of the time
• Thoughts about death or suicide

While depression can be associated with suicide, persons with depression may not actually want to die. They simply feel they cannot live with the pain they feel and may express wanting that pain to end. This pain can be physical or emotional or both. In the United States, the highest rate of suicide is among white males over the age of 85. These men often visit their doctors within the month prior to their suicide, and give few other signs of their suicidal thoughts. They most often use lethal means to carry out suicide such as hanging or firearms. In women, suicide attempts are more often by nonlethal means such as taking pills, and should be considered a cry for help. If you have a loved who is at high risk for depression or suicide, be sure to take special note of the warning signs listed here.
The good news is that depression can be successfully managed and treated with the right help. Early recognition and treatment of depression is important and generally includes medication therapy and counseling. Talk to your doctor if you or your loved one is feeling depressed. Your primary care provider can assist you in diagnosing depression and can refer you to a reliable mental health professional to help address your symptoms and promote a better quality of life.

Tips for helping your loved one who is experiencing depression are provided on SCC’s care page that can be found at http://senior-care-central.com/category/dr-mauks-boomer-blog/

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By |2019-07-05T17:31:51-05:00July 9th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Signs of Depression

The Promise of Smart Home Technology for Seniors Living at Home : Brooklin Nash

“With the IoT, we’re headed to a world where things aren’t liable to break catastrophically – or at least we’ll have a hell of a heads’ up. We’re headed to a world where our doors unlock when they sense us nearby.”

~ Scott Weiss

This quote from famous venture capitalist Scott Weiss highlights how much the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our lives. It’s not just about connected devices and smart refrigerators. It’s about making smart home technology a norm. And it can be a norm that makes independent living for seniors much better in the long run. Here are a few ways smart home technology can directly benefit seniors living at home.

#1: Smart Home Technology Makes Independent Living Safer

Caring for seniors living at home can be both rewarding and challenging. With independent living, safety is always a concern. What happens when a senior loved one needs to be left alone, for example?

By introducing smart home technology into the mix, you can help ensure that your loved one is safe while home alone. The IoT means that seniors living at home can easily access everything they need – from the medicine cabinet to the front door to a voice command for emergency services.

#2: Alerts & Real Time Monitoring Make Independent Living More Realistic

More immediately, smart home technology and IoT makes independent living both safer and more realistic. Tech innovations now allow the control, monitoring and reception of alerts from physical devices in the home. With the touch of a button on an app, you can control appliances, security systems and more.

Users can also receive alerts on heart rate, blood pressure and a host of other health factors. You can have a safe amount of control over the home while letting your senior loved one live their independent life.. With this level of innovation, there is less of a necessity of back and forth.

#3: IoT Makes Independent Living More Accessible

In the past, there were generally two options: moving seniors into assisted living homes or having them move in directly. Smart home technology empowered by IoT and a fine tuned UX means seniors can access the tools they need to remain independent. There is no need for fancy tech that is difficult to understand.

What other ways do you see the promise of smart home technology taking hold for seniors living at home?

Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.

By |2019-07-05T17:31:12-05:00July 7th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on The Promise of Smart Home Technology for Seniors Living at Home : Brooklin Nash

Predicting Stroke Risk

 

Doctors know patients with atrial fibrillation are at a higher risk of having a stroke, and now a new study finds that integrating two separate clinical risk score models more accurately helps doctors assess the stroke risk of patients with Afib.

The composite stroke decision tool studied by researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City combines the widely used CHA2DS2-VASc with the Intermountain Risk Scores (IMRS) to derive and validate new stroke prediction scores.

The study shows the new model, IMRS-VASc, was significantly more effective in predicting stroke risk and will give clinicians a more effective and accurate tool to assess patients with cardiovascular disease.

Atrial fibrillation, the most common heart arrhythmia in the world, affects more than 2.7 million American adults. The abnormal heart rhythm causes blood to pool and clot in the heart, and when those blood clots break free, they can cause a stroke.

Researchers found that the new IMRS-VASc risk score model nearly doubles their ability to appropriately predict stroke risk compared to the traditional CHA2DS2-VASc risk tool. The development of the IMRS-VASc risk score model is the first step in a research pathway for other conditions that will ultimately result in time and cost savings for both patient and physician.

Researchers presented results from the study at the Heart Rhythm Society’s 39th annual Scientific Sessions in Boston earlier this month.

By |2019-07-05T17:30:43-05:00July 6th, 2019|News Posts|Comments Off on Predicting Stroke Risk

Essential Tools for Seniors with Parkinson’s

A senior couple. The wife is caring for the husband.

If you or someone you care for has Parkinson’s disease, you may encounter a wide array of symptoms on a day to day basis from tremors to muscle rigidity to slowed movements, balance problems, and speech changes. Non-physical symptoms can accompany the disease as well including trouble sleeping, mood changes, urinary urgency, constipation, even loss of smell.

When it comes to managing this type of chronic autoimmune condition, in addition to a comprehensive treatment planned laid out by your doctor, assistive equipment can go a long way in simplifying daily life:

Adaptive Utensils
Advancements in science and technology have made their way into the kitchen market providing relief to people who may otherwise have difficulty feeding themselves. Adaptive utensils are specially designed to help counteract tremors someone with Parkinson’s may have in their hand when holding a fork or spoon, for example.

Other helpful dining aids may include weighted cups and bowls (that are less likely to tip over), and plate guards or high-rimmed plates that prevent food from falling out.

Bedroom Equipment
People with Parkinson’s are at increased risk of falling so supportive equipment around the bed can definitely make this fall-prone environment safer. Install bed rails to aid seniors with limited mobility or try a super pole that stands fixed beside the bed or a pull strap that connects to the end of the bed and makes it easier to sit up.

Bedside commodes can also simplify the task of night time toileting, especially for Parkinson’s sufferers with incontinence issues.

Dressing Aids
As dexterity and finger nimbleness falls prey to the contracture of muscles and joints in the hands, getting dressed on your own can become difficult. This key marker of independence may be retained in some respects with dressing aids that allows a person with Parkinson’s to dress themselves. Tools like button hooks, zipper pulls, one-handed belts, dressing sticks, and shoe horns can all go a long way to promoting self-reliance even as the disease progresses.

Bathing Tools
Maintaining personal hygiene has the ability to improve your sense of confidence and your mood, no matter what Parkinson’s brings your way. Equipment that makes bathing safer and reduces the risk of falling includes shower transfer chairs, grab bars (inside and outside the shower), and non-slip bath mats. Additional bathroom tools may include weighted holders for toothbrushes, razors, etc. as well as removable shower heads and long-handled bath sponges and scrubbers.

By |2019-07-03T15:36:29-05:00July 5th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Essential Tools for Seniors with Parkinson’s