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Fa la la la la la la la la! Our annual (and wildly popular) Cable Car Caroling event is back for its 35th season. Each year, IOA supporters will board holiday bedecked motorized cable cars and wind their way through the streets of San Francisco, offering vocal merriment along the way to isolated older adults and adults living with disabilities at assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities and private homes. It’s a toss-up between who enjoys it more…those doing the singing, or the ones being serenaded. One thing’s for sure—everyone has a smile on their face!

This annual fundraising event draws hundreds of participants—last year, more than 550 carolers brought joy to more than 1,000 seniors and adults living with disabilities across the city. At the end of the multicultural caroling event, participants will be treated to goodies from a local taco truck as well as festive hot chocolate.

This year’s songfest happens on Saturday, December 7, so get your tickets now! Proceeds support the Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line, the nation’s only accredited (American Association of Suicidology) 24-hour toll-free hotline for seniors and adults living with disabilities. 

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Two years ago, Scientific American released a startling story that took social media by storm. The story was based on a research study done on aging mice which found that delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC for short), the active ingredient in marijuana that can cause psychoactive effects and cognitive impairment, can have a positive effect on the hippocampus part of the brain which controls memory and learning.

Researchers didn’t stop with testing aging mice; they also performed similar tests on young and mature (middle-aged) mice. In the young mice, those exposed to THC exhibited cognitive impairment. In other words, they acted stoned. Whereas the older mice actually exhibited some signs of benefiting from marijuana use, such as sprouting additional synaptic spines, thereby increasing communication between neurons—resulting in more efficiently working brain cells.

The study has fueled discussions about the possibility that cannabis may help the brains of older adults function better. While this may seem hard to believe, it appears that THC and other external “cannabinoids” found in cannabis plants have the capacity to act as anti-aging molecules, or at least, improve cognitive function.

It could be a matter of enhancing what we already have. For years, medical professionals have known that our human brains naturally contain lots of marijuana-like molecules, called endogenous cannabinoids which activate specific brain receptors. While we have plenty of these when we are young, they decrease as we age. Therefore, it makes sense the brains of older people, who have naturally lost their endogenous cannabinoids over time due to aging, may indeed benefit from the THC supplied by marijuana and resulting additional cannabinoids (keeping in mind that this study was done on mice and not humans, so this has yet to be fully proven). Research aside, there is a distinct trend of older adults embracing marijuana use (and not just for medicinal purposes) in the 11 states and the District of Columbia where it is now legal. In California, where possession and recreational use of cannabis became officially legal on January 1, 2018, older adults are turning to cannabis use in record numbers according to this story in AARP. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans 55 and older now say smoking pot is morally acceptable. Perhaps these older adults have simply figured out something when it comes to cannabis use, whether it’s to relieve aches and pains, relax and have a good time, or possibly giving their brain a little boost now and then.

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By Shawna Reeves, Director of Elder Abuse Prevention

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As we reflect on the pain and trauma caused by domestic violence, Institute on Aging would like to make sure that older adults are not left out of this very important conversation.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” Domestic violence affects people of all ages, races, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, religions and genders. An older person who is abused by an intimate partner may have suffered in silence for decades only to have the abuse discovered – or acknowledged – later in life. Some seniors may find themselves entering into new relationships that bring physical or emotional pain. Domestic violence can be financial as well; an increasing number of older adults are using online dating sites to find love, only to find economic ruin and heartbreak instead.

What can we do as a society to address domestic
violence among older adults? 

First, we can listen without judgment. Domestic violence survivors are not timid or weak-willed, nor are they suffering from self-delusion. Just because a domestic violence survivor is an older adult, it does not mean they are suffering from dementia or do not understand the situation they are in. People remain in abusive relationships for many reasons, chief among them that it can be lethal to leave. In addition, a domestic violence survivor often relies economically or socially on an abuser. To leave the abuser could mean losing one’s home, access to food, or being cut off from friends and family.

Next, we can take steps to support the domestic
violence survivor. In California, anyone who falls into the category of
“mandated reporter,” which includes caregivers and health care workers, is
legally required to report elder and dependent adult abuse. The list of
mandated reporters is extensive; you can check to see if you are a mandated
reporter here.
 If you suspect an older adult you know
is currently in an abusive relationship, and you are a mandated reporter, you
must report the situation to Adult
Protective Services
(or, call 911 if the older adult is at
imminent risk of harm). Those who are not mandated reporters can also make
reports to Adult Protective Services. In addition, putting the older adult in
touch with local
domestic violence resources
or the National Domestic Violence Hotline can
be extremely helpful and empowering.

Fighting domestic violence against older adults is a
community effort. In October, as well as all year round, Institute on Aging is
with you in this fight.

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Carolers young and old will gather Saturday, December 1st for one of Institute on Aging’s most beloved events, the 34th Annual Cable Car Caroling. This multicultural songfest brings holiday cheer to isolated older adults and adults living with disabilities at assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities and individual homes across San Francisco.

More than 500 volunteers aboard 15 motorized cable cars will traverse the city, visiting about 60 locations over the course of the day. The holiday season is a joyous time of year but for those who are lonely it can be difficult, and that’s where the carolers come in, bringing smiles and laughter to those who may not have another opportunity.

‘A profound experience’

Few can speak to the impact of Cable Car Caroling better than Ken Donnelly, CEO of the Heritage on the Marina retirement center and a member of the Cable Car Caroling board. Donnelly says Heritage on the Marina has been participating in the event since 2013 and he has no plans to stop.

“It’s a wonderful event, for both carolers and recipients,” he says. “Not only do the carolers feel that they are bringing joy to their older neighbors, but they also see the various environments they live in and the frailties they deal with each day.”

As the CEO of a facility and a caroler himself, Donnelly says it’s a particularly moving day for him, but he says it truly is the older adults who benefit the most.

“They appreciate people from the greater community taking time to come and spread good cheer,” he says. “I think the carolers’ singing oftentimes reminds them of a happy time for them.”

Uplifting holiday atmosphere

“We see more than 1,000 seniors in a day,” says Tamara Cameron, IOA’s Events Manager. “For a lot of them, this is the only holiday celebration they get. It’s really special to do that for someone you know isn’t going to have anything else.”

Cameron says the participants represent every segment of the community.

“We have a ton of families, we have a group of Brownies who come out,” she says. “We have a woman who does this as her holiday celebration every year, then she and her friends meet at her home for dinner afterward. Everybody is represented. Some of our IOA employees come out, too!”

Cameron says the joyous atmosphere on the day of the event is infectious.

“The holiday spirit it creates is my favorite thing about Cable Car Caroling,” she says. “People show up in their holiday clothes, they are so excited to be there – it’s just a very uplifting day.”

The older adults at the facilities are always touched by it, as well.

“It’s a win-win because it is such a gift on both ends,” Cameron says. “It’s a gift for them to have us sing to them and it’s a gift for us to get the opportunity.”

Festive fun for a good cause

Imagine a world where you are alone – isolated and vulnerable; feeling hopeless, invisible, worthless, and unloved. For too many seniors and adults living with disabilities, this is a reality. Isolation and loneliness plague too many and it is extremely detrimental not just to the quality of life but overall health. Research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).

Friendship Line provides a literal lifeline to these isolated individuals. Friendship Line, founded in 1973 by Dr. Patrick Arbore, Director of IOA’s Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention, makes and receives almost 150,000 calls per year to reach out to those feeling alone. By providing a warm voice to speak to and a person to connect with, this service provides an ally, a friend, and most importantly a human connection. The calls made at Friendship Line fill these secluded individuals with hope, purpose, and meaning. After the calls, they feel seen and heard – acknowledged in a way they haven’t for a very long time. It restores a light within that had dwindled. At its core, Friendship Line provides the human connections that bind us to life.

Last year, Cable Car Caroling raised more than $100,000 for this vital service.

A family tradition since day one

One of the most enthusiastic supporters of Cable Car Caroling is Zak Arbore, Patrick’s son, who has participated every year since the very beginning. Now in his second year as co-chair of the event alongside his wife, Renee Russo, Arbore says he can still remember the inaugural year.

“I was 4 or 5 years old when it started,” he says. “My early memories are of the smells, sights and sounds of the places we visited. The cable cars were so fun. Some of the cars used to have a bell in the back and I remember ringing them a lot.

As he’s grown older, so has his appreciation for Cable Car Caroling, both the event itself and what it means for the Friendship Line his father started. The sense of community the event creates, he says, is why he keeps coming back.

“When all the carolers come back together and share a meal together, there is an incredible sense of accomplishment,” he says.

To be sure, Arbore says, Cable Car Caroling is a family affair.

“My Dad started the Friendship Line and I have grown up in and around his work,” Arbore says. “My mom has always been a part of it, too; she is usually our song leader on our car. And now my wife and a lot of her family are staunch cable car carolers.”

How to take part

Cameron says the event always sells out, so if you want to carol, you should sign up as soon as possible. Those who can’t or don’t wish to participate can also donate online at give.ioaging.org/ccc. You can also sign up to take the Cable Car Challenge, wherein every $200 you raise earns you a ticket to the event (with a minimum donation of $200).

Anyone on the fence about caroling, Arbore says, should go for it.

“The holiday spirit has never been as tangible as when you are participating in Cable Car Caroling,” he says. “You are riding a motorized cable car through a world class city, you are vising elderly people who do not get many visitors ever and you are the star of the show. You can throw your voice into the group’s song and wait to see those elders’ eyes light up with joy and hope for the future.”

For more information visit www.ioaging.org/ccc.

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Now in its 36th year, Dinner à la Heart
represents a perfect marriage between two of San Francisco’s favorite things:
incredible food and giving to a good cause. After all, what better way to
support Institute on Aging’s work with older adults and adults living with
disabilities than by celebrating in the city’s world-class dining with family
and friends? And this year, Dinner à la Heart will also celebrate Dr. James
Davis, a very special person who has done a great deal to support Institute on
Aging and the community over the years.

What is Dinner à la Heart?

Dinner à la Heart gives Bay Area residents an opportunity to
select from one of many chosen a Bay Area restaurant enjoy a unique dining
experience, for either dinner or lunch, while supporting the Institute on
Aging’s programs and services. Diners enjoy a prix-fixe meal along with wine
and coffee or tea, for a price ranging from $85-$250 per person.

Inspired, then involved

Dr. Davis’ experience with Institute on Aging comes through
Mt. Zion Hospital, where he was chair of the Mt. Zion Health Fund and was
introduced to IOA through one of its board members. Hearing about IOA’s work,
he says, “Got me very inspired to get more involved.” The more he worked with
IOA, he says, the more he embraced its mission.

For more than a decade now, Dr. Davis has continued to
support IOA as a member of its board; his internal medicine and rheumatology
practice, his work with the Arthritis Foundation, and his work as a clinical
professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, are all
worthy of recognition.

When Dr. Davis learned he was to be honored at Dinner à la
Heart this year, he says he was “very flattered.” It’s a treat, he says, in
part because the event is one that’s always been near and dear to his family.

“Starting when I first came back to San Francisco, my
parents and my aunt were very active in IOA, and the whole family would gather
together every year,” he says. “Then when I moved back to San Francisco, myself
and my cousins as the next generation started coming. Now my kids and my cousin’s
kids come. It’s this big family gathering every year now.”

Dr. Davis says Dinner à la Heart is a perfect example of
what makes IOA special.

“That’s really part of the beauty of IOA, is this generation
to generation connection,” he says. “Cable Car Caroling is great for that now,
too. Multigenerational families have been coming to these events for years, and
they have a wonderful legacy to them.”

Honoring the past, looking ahead

For an event that goes back nearly four decades now, it’s no
surprise the planning and execution of the event is multigenerational, too.
Sandra Simon, co-chair of the Dinner à la Heart Auxiliary Board, has been
involved for 25 years, and her mother was involved for many years before that.

“My mother passed away in 1994, and one of her friends on
the board called and said ‘you need to come on and take her place,’” she says.
“I couldn’t say no!”

Simon says one of her favorite aspects of Dinner à la Heart
is the connections it forges.

“There are people who are always together,” she says.
“They’ll call to make a reservation for their group and instantly you remember
them.”

Simon says she is particularly looking forward to honoring
Dr. Davis.

“Oh, I’ve known Jim Davis since we were kids,” she says. “He’s
been so involved and has given a ton to the community. Many of our supporters
were his patients! Everyone thinks he’s a great guy, so it was an easy
decision.”Dr.
Davis will be honored and will speak at a special event at the Presidio Golf
& Concordia Club that evening. A social hour begins at 6:30 p.m., with
dinner to follow at 7 p.m.

Preparing for the occasion

Simon says planning for the event begins in August, and
picks up steam in December, when the list of participating restaurants is
finalized. Some of the restaurants have participated for years, but they always
try to bring in new venues, as well. On the day of the event, Simon says,
things get really hectic.

“We try to make it festive as part of the experience, so
every restaurant gets decorations,” she says. “And we also bring them gifts
from IOA’s day center’s program – they make notecards for this occasion. Then
our ladies deliver all these items to the restaurants.”

As for the popularity of the event itself, Simon says it’s
an easy sell.

“We’re asking people if they want to go out to dinner with
their friends,” she says. “People say, ‘Yeah, why not?’”

For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.ioaging.org/calendar-events/dinner-a-la-heart, or please call 415-750-4141.

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elderly living alone with dementia

It’s no secret that natural light can transform a space, or
that it has a tangible effect on the people who live and work there. The
difference between a basement office with no fluorescent lights and a corner
apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows is – please forgive the pun – like
night and day. Simply put, natural light makes people feel better!

It was on the basis of this idea that University of Southern
California Assistant Professor of Architecture Kyle Konis created a study to
explore the effect of natural light even further.

Konis, who received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, knew that people who work in spaces that have daylight exposure are more content and productive, while those without much exposure to daylight, such as nightshift workers, are more prone to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. The logical next step, he said, was to think about groups that might be hardest hit by “poorly functioning indoor environments.” That’s how he came up with a pilot study looking at the impacts of daylighting on older adults living with dementia.

Daylight first, medication second

Konis and his team looked at about 80 participants across
eight dementia communities in Los Angeles and Orange counties. His study showed
that early morning exposure to natural light improved the mood of residents,
reducing depression and psychoactive symptoms, which are common side effects of
the neurodegenerative disease.

The hope is to use the pilot study results to kickstart more research on the subject. He said dementia treatment is often, and rightfully, focused first and foremost on delaying memory, learning, and language degradation. What is often overlooked is the depression, agitation, and difficulty sleeping that often comes along with a dementia diagnosis. Lack of exposure to daylight leaves people feeling moody and sluggish, a feeling similar to jet lag. While depression can be treated pharmacologically, there are other options, like mindfulness and meditation. Konis hopes that his study and further research will allow some dementia sufferers to live happier, healthier lives without the need for medication.

Other research backs Konis up

Konis isn’t alone in his pursuit, either. In the Netherlands, there is a village-like community for older adults with dementia called Hogeweyk. They live in houses just like their old homes, they have gardens, and they shop at the local grocery using special currency. And in the United States, the Green House Project is taking a similar approach. The Green House Project, a national non-profit dedicated to creating alternative living environments to traditional nursing home care facilities, also mimics the feeling of home by giving their campuses the look and feel of a residential neighborhood. “This is a disease or problem that’s been almost totally focused on pharmaceutical cures. There are lots of other things we can do to make a difference,” said Victor Regnier, a professor who has dual appointments in gerontology and architecture at USC. “If you can create a setting [like Hogeweyk or Green House] that’s more normalized — less rules and more improvisational attitudes — it’s just better.”

Environment clearly has an impact

While Regnier and others look at the broader environmental
impact on dementia patients, Konis said he hopes to continue his research on
the effects of natural light. As the dementia population is predicted to
dramatically increase in the coming decades, Konis’ research could be hugely
impactful.

“There’s a huge demand now for housing people with dementia,” he said. “Dementia care, in terms of the companies that operate them, they’re buying existing medical facilities or hotels and repurposing those buildings. They’re not always thoughtfully designed from the ground up.”

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September 8 to 14
is National Suicide Prevention Week (and September is Suicide Prevention
Month). It’s a time to share what we can do to prevent tragedies occurring with
the ones we love and others around us.

We often hear
about suicide victims when they are celebrities or if they are young, but
rarely do we hear about seniors. Yet, older adults, who make up 12% of the U.S. population, account
for 18% of all suicide deaths, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

To explore the topic
of suicide and seniors, we spoke with Dr. Patrick Arbore, the Director of Institute on Aging’s Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention and the founder of our Friendship Line. Dr. Arbore founded the Friendship Line
in 1973, which is the only accredited
crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older. Here is his
advice on what to do if an older person you love or know may be in trouble.

Q: What are the signs that an older
person may be having suicidal thoughts?

A: When an
older adult tells you that they don’t feel as if they belong anymore, or they
tell you that they feel like a burden, you must listen carefully to what they
say. A perception of thwarted belongingness and believing that you are a
burden to others is connected to thoughts of death. The older person
becomes alienated from whatever support system they may have.  For human
creatures, this sense of alienation is very painful since humans are hard wired
to connect with others. 

Q: If you suspect an older person might
be thinking about doing something rash, what should you do?  

A: If an older
person is thinking about death and they have the capacity to inflict self-harm,
this is a crisis situation. You must act quickly if you are going to interrupt
the development of their suicidal ideation. If this older adult has both the
desire and the capability to end their life, your immediate action is to call
911. 

However, if the
person desires to end their life but does not have a plan to do so, stay in
contact with them until the emotional pain subsides. Contact our Friendship Line, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, 365 days a year. Friendship Line staff and volunteers are ready to
receive a call from both you and the older person. In San Francisco, we
can arrange to make outreach calls to the senior on a daily basis in order to
help create a supportive connection with them. Remember that connections
to others are what bind us to life. 

Q: Any other actions you can take?

A: Once the older adult is back to feeling emotionally stable, you may need to speak to someone at the Friendship Line about your own feelings. Helping other people who are suffering emotional pain is not easy. Remember to take care of yourself as well.  

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Average Age Seniors Stop Driving

It’s no secret that as we age, we become increasingly at risk of falling, and fall-related injuries are more dangerousfor older adults. What researchers recently learned, however, is potentially significant: a definitive link between cognitive slowing and fall risk, and an opportunity to provide better care for those living with dementia.

Manuel Montero-Odasso, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and his colleagues set out to study the role of cognition in falls, with the hope of managing and even preventing them in older adults.

Their study, published in the Journal of the American
Geriatrics Society last year, measured the relationship between gait and
cognition in aging adults. The study showed that low performance in attention
and executive function was associated with “gait slowing, instability, and
future falls.” In addition, older adults with dementia who experience a fall
are five times more likely to be admitted to long-term care facilities. They
are at higher risk for fractures, head injuries compared to older adults
without dementia who experience a fall.

Montero-Odasso and his team concluded that older adults living with dementia should have cognitive training specifically related to their motor function. Montero-Odasso also said he is optimistic about the role virtual reality might play as a therapeutic tool.

Fall risk is more common than you think

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. There are many factors at play, the HHS says. As we age, our eyesight, reflexes, and hearing aren’t what they used to be. Common health issues older adults face, such as thyroid or nerve issues, can also make a person more prone to a fall. In addition, some medications cause drowsiness, which might be enough to cause someone to catch their foot on the end of a rug and be unable to catch themselves before falling.

What else can older adults – and those soon to join the
older adult population – do to prevent
falls before they happen
? The HHS has several suggestions:

  • Stay
    physically active
    – Regular exercise keeps muscles, joints, and ligaments
    healthy and flexible, and may also slow bone loss due to osteoporosis
  • Have your
    eyesight and hearing tested
    – Ensure your glasses or contacts prescription
    is up to date, and if you have a hearing aid, always wear it
  • Ask about
    the side effects of your medications
  • Get
    enough sleep!
  • Limit
    alcohol consumption
    ­– Even a small amount can be enough to affect your
    reflexes
  • Stand up
    slowly
    – Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop,
    which could be worsened by blood
    pressure medication
  • Use an
    assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk
  • Be very
    careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces
  • Wear good
    shoes
    – Non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes that fully support your
    feet can make a big difference
  • Always
    tell your doctor if you have fallen since your last checkup, even if you aren’t
    hurt when you fall
    – A fall could be the result of a new health issue, so
    your doctor needs to know about it

For more information on fall prevention, visit https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures.

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Sunday, September 8 is National Grandparents Day—not only a time to celebrate, but a time to reflect on the importance of having grandparents.

The common thought around grandparents? They are put on Earth to spoil their grandkids. 

However, the role of a grandparent
can be so much more meaningful that providing birthday gifts and the occasional
babysitting service. Grandparents offer their grandchildren a different
perspective on life and exposure to the past that they can’t always get from
their parents.

Here are just a
few ways that grandparents can make the difference in our own and our
children’s lives.

Grandparents Contribute to Children’s
Well-Being

A University
of Oxford
study in 2008 showed how grandparents were beneficial to kids, especially to adolescents.
The survey of nearly 1,600 children, ages 11 to 16, revealed that heavily
involved grandparents often have more time than working parents to support
young people in activities and are well placed to talk to their grandchildren
about any problems the young people may be experiencing. They were also found
to be involved in helping to solve the young people’s problems, as well as
talking with them about plans for their future.

Grandparents Can Help Kids Eat Better

Despite the reputation
grandparents can have of stuffing little ones with cookies and candy (and
almost no one disputes that this happens from time to time), grandparents do
have some range of influence in getting kids to eat healthier meals. This is especially
true for single working mothers, as discovered in this
study
that showed that grandparents who are caregivers of kids of single
moms did a better job of keeping them active and getting them to eat breakfast
more often.   

Grandparents are Like Chicken Soup for the Soul

When your kids are feeling ill or
sad, grandparents often have just the right capacity to make them feel better.
They often have both the patience and the time to really comfort kids, which
can be challenging for busy parents.

Grandparents can also stave off
depression. A 2016 study from Boston University, as reported by U.S.
News
, found that grandparents who have strong relationships with their
adult grandchildren make a difference in keeping depression at bay on both
sides of the equation.

Grandparents Offer Insight to the “Way Life Used to Be”

If you ask them, grandparents can offer a treasure trove of
stories about the way life was “way back when.” Long before the Internet,
social media and smart phones came along. Back when TV was only in black and
white, phones were rotary dial, and kids made up their own games and
entertainment. Tap into these living history books—you may be surprised at how
interesting their stories are.

What do you do
if your children don’t have grandparents? Look for grandparent “substitutes.” You
will likely find other family members or friends that are willing to step in
and play the role of grandparent. While it’s not quite the same as the real
deal, it will give your child exposure to older adults who are loving, kind and
will make a lasting impression.So on Grandparents Day this year, celebrate the
grandparents, or grandparent-like people, who are part of your and your
childrens’ lives. Buy them flowers, bring them dinner, make them a card or just
sit down and have a meaningful conversation with them.

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How to Help an Elderly Person with Depression

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, and it’s important to remember that anyone can suffer from mental health issues, big and small. That includes older adults. From depression and anxiety to dementia, seniors are often expected to be stoic, to keep their mental health issues to themselves, and that’s why Mental Health Awareness is so crucial! It serves to remind us that we are not alone and we should not be afraid to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable.

But what if an older adult family member is suffering silently? Thankfully, there are signs to look for, even if your loved one is trying to hide it.

What does poor or declining mental health look like?

One sure sign to look for is isolating behavior. If an older
adult loved one is uncharacteristically showing little interest in hobbies or
activities they’ve always enjoyed, it could be a sign of depression.

Dr. Patrick Arbore founded IOA’s Friendship Line in 1973 to combat social isolation and loneliness in older adults.

“We were very aware, even then, that loneliness and social
isolation had a relationship to suicide and suicidal ideation,” he says.

The Friendship Line was created with the idea that even a 15-minute phone call can make a noticeable difference.

“It can impact the caller’s thinking about despair or
hopelessness or depression,” Arbore says.

Another indicator that something might be wrong is a change
in routine. That could be an unkempt home that’s always been tidy, suddenly
missing appointments, or even sudden changes in personal care.

Finally, memory issues are something to keep an eye on. It can be tricky to determine what is the sort of forgetfulness that comes as we age, and what could be a sign of something like dementia, so you’ll have to use your judgment. If your loved one is repeatedly asking the same question even though it’s already been answered, misplacing items more regularly, or forgetting important dates or commitments, it might be worth a conversation.

How can you improve mental health?

There are many simple, straightforward ways to improve
mental health, starting with some tried and true methods:

Exercise – Regular exercise has been shown to release chemicals that mitigate depression and anxiety, improves cognitive function, and lessens the likelihood of physical injuries like falls that could lead to deeper depression.

Socialize – One sure sign of depression is isolating oneself, and unfortunately, that only leaves a person more depressed. Simply having the support of a social group can be a huge boost to happiness, and like exercise, can have big benefits for cognitive function.

Learn something new – Taking on a new hobby isn’t just fun; the challenge of learning a new skill helps cognitive function, improves mood, and if it’s a social hobby, has all the benefits of that, as well.

Mindfulness – Whether through yoga or meditation or something else, taking the time to practice mindfulness is an easy way to improve mental health. Even just a few minutes of deep breathing has been shown to provide a noticeable boost. It calms the mind and body and helps us put stressors – a major source of anxiety – into perspective.

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Samaritan is focused on one goal – ensuring the comfort of our clients. We strive to keep individuals healthy and independent. We thoroughly assess your needs and select the appropriate caregiver to ensure compatibility.

6151 Wilson Mills Road – Suite 101
Cleveland, OH 44143
1.440.561.7328

Copyright by Samaritan Home Health Services 2019. All rights reserved.