Elderly Depression and Care for the Elderly

Does it seem like just yesterday that your mom lit up when you brought the grandchildren over? So why does she hardly smile and seem irritable around the kids now? Has your dad always been a lifelong baseball fan? So when did he start turning down box seat tickets at the ballpark? Sudden changes in mood and interest can signal more than just old age. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that elderly depression is not only widespread but "a serious public health concern." Recent research suggests that as many as 15% of elders - that's 6.5 million Americans-suffer from depression, and still more, 25%, report that they suffer from persistent feelings of sadness.

 

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Elderly Anxiety Disorders

We all experience anxiety. After all, worrying about the future is part of being human and helps us plan ahead and make better decisions. Some anxiety is normal and even productive. However, when anxiety becomes disruptive and disabling to a person's life, it is considered an unhealthy psychiatric disorder. 

As many as one quarter of all people experience anxiety to an unhealthy extent, and older people can be at particular risk. Seniors may experience more troublesome anxiety than other age groups for several reasons: they experience more losses, suffer from more pain and chronic conditions, are often on multiple medications that might exacerbate anxiety, and have confounding ailments such as Alzheimer's disease or depression. 

Some experts suggest that in general anxiety is equally prevalent in all adult age groups but perhaps is less often reported by seniors, and not as accurately diagnosed and treated as in younger people. A large study published in theAmerican Journal of Psychiatry(1998, A. Beekman) found that 10 percent of adults 55 to 85 years of age had elderly anxiety disorders-the same prevalence as for other age groups.

 

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How to Prevent Senior Malnutrition

Not only do seniors have different nutritional needs than younger adults, they also take more medication, have higher rates of chronic medical conditions-such as diabetes and heart disease-and are more likely to live alone; all of which contribute to the rising numbers of older Americans who are seriously impacted by a deficient diet.

Know the signs and symptoms of senior malnourishment and how to protect your older loved ones from this preventable state.

 

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Elderly Bruising

Our bodies undergo a series of natural changes as we age-externally and internally. Our skin cells divide more slowly and skin begins to thin. Skin retains less moisture, causing it to become dry, scaly, and appear wrinkled. It loses its elasticity and instead of springing back, starts to sag. The skin's ability to repair itself diminishes, and wounds are slower to heal. Blood vessels also become more fragile and it becomes more common for the elderly to bruise. Certain conditions, diseases, or medications also play a role in elderly bruising.

Bruises result when trauma or a blow to the body damages or ruptures tiny blood vessels under the skin. In most cases, bruises occur as a result of an injury or a fall, or when people bump into things. Not only are the elderly more prone to bruising, less force is required to cause a bruise. For example, doctor visits involving intravenous (IV) procedures often make their mark in the form of bruises in older patients, while they may not in younger ones. With greater impact, deeper bruises of the muscles or bone can happen, which take longer to heal.

The medical term for a bruise is contusion. Ecchymosis is the visible skin discoloration caused by the ruptured blood vessels in the tissue near the skin's surface. If a bruise increases in size and becomes swollen and hard, it may be a hematoma, a localized collection of blood which becomes clotted or partially clotted.

 

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7 Tips to Avoid Elderly Heat Stroke and Exhaustion

Hot weather is dangerous, but seniors are particularly prone to its threat. Elderly heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a real problem. In fact, a recent University of Chicago Medical Center study found that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were among people over 65.

There are several reasons for elderly heat vulnerability. People's ability to notice changes in their body temperature decreases with age. Many seniors also have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat. Furthermore, many medicines that seniors take can contribute to dehydration. Fortunately, a few simple precautions are all that's needed to keep safe.

 

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