February 14, 2013 (PRBuzz.com) New Brunswick, NJ – The staff at Expert Home Care, a New Jersey home care agency that provides caregivers to aging seniors, is celebrating the 8th birthday and dedicated service of one of it’s most treasured members: Lola the therapy dog. Continue reading
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New Jersey Senior Health News
Contrary to popular belief, mental disorders like anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, mood disorders and behavioral problems, are not a normal part of aging.
Yet, psychiatric illnesses in older adults have long tended to be neglected, sometimes with tragic consequences. This is why the rate of suicide is higher than any other age group and twice the national average.
Many elderly people suffer in silence because they are unable to relate their problems to someone who understands. Access to psychiatric care has long been a problem for them. And most families and nursing homes don’t know how to care for them.
According to the American Medical Association, there are less than 2,600 board certified geriatric psychiatrists for 35 million seniors – or about one per 14,000 Americans 65 and older. Families and nursing home personnel often fail to recognize mental or emotional illness in an elderly person, which can be confused with the symptoms of multiple medical problems.
In addition to a shortage of appropriate health specialists, experts cite barriers to access, a denial of problems among the elderly, and a lack of coordination between mental health and aging networks.
It is estimated that 40 percent of older adults with medical problems also have signs of depression. It’s not surprising when you think that in addition to dealing very often with the loss of loved ones, financial concerns, feelings of neglect and loss of independence, they also must deal with the realities that their bodies are breaking down.
Depression is not just a case of being in a bad mood, but continues for more than a couple of weeks. Signs include a loss or lack of concentration, sleep, appetite, and interest. Watch out for them in your loved ones!
New Jersey Senior Care News
Having a pet at a senior’s home may be just what the doctor ordered. A three-year study at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia showed that pet owners were healthier than non-owners. This finding could not be explained by such personal differences as cigarette smoking, diet, weight, or socioeconomic profile.
Pet owners were found to have significantly lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, as well as lower systolic blood pressure readings than non-pet owners. When examining the results, researchers could not find any other factors other than pet ownership that influenced the outcome. Pet owners reported they were more active, but they also drank more alcohol and ate more take-out food.
Lola pictured above, our 7 year old Havanese, is Pet therapy certified and available to visit our senior clients at no extra cost.
NJ Senior Health & Fitness
Relaxation techniques can reduce anyone’s stress level, including seniors. Here are some good exercises for your elderly loved ones to consider:
Tense the muscles in the body, one by one, then relax them, one by one.
This technique takes the mind off of anxiety-provoking thoughts and images and enables one to feel somewhat in control of his or her body.
Slow, rhythmic breathing combined with images of beautiful, peaceful places
This refocusing onto positive and peaceful images, helps diminish any pain and reduces anxiety.
Meditation, focusing on a word, image or concept
This technique takes the mind off of pain or anxiety and focuses on something calming, such as ocean sounds, the thought that “I will get better,” or an image of a child smiling.
This appeal to a higher power relaxes and calms some people.
Biofeedback plus relaxation
Biofeedback uses electrical equipment to help one learn how to control the body’s heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. It is normally used in conjunction with other relaxation techniques and helps reduce pain and anxiety.
In hypnosis, the goal is to achieve a state of relaxed concentration, during which the mind is more receptive to suggestions that block the awareness of pain, or to change the sensation of pain to something that is positive. The hypnotist should be a trained psychologist or psychiatrist.
A massage therapist kneads the body into a state of relaxation, which can reduce pain and anxiety, stress and exhaustion. Different people find various massage techniques helpful. Try different techniques to see which works most effectively.
Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care. New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.