Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

Art & Alzheimer's: Dementia Awareness Through Photography with Gina Martin

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Art & Alzheimer's: Dementia Awareness Through Photography with Gina Martin

Why is Early Diagnosis of Dementia Important?

blog dementia memory loss Jul 27, 2020

Witnessing memory problems in your older loved one can be really scary. You might not know what's causing the memory loss and fear the worst case scenario. You may think, if it is dementia, there’s nothing I can do about it, right? WRONG!

 

On the other hand, you might notice signs of memory loss in your loved one and brush it off thinking “everyone experiences significant memory loss as they age, right?” WRONG!

 

I've seen many individuals and families put off getting an evaluation to identify what’s causing memory loss for the reasons above and so many other reasons as well. But putting off an evaluation to determine what is causing memory loss can be more harmful than helpful. 

In this article, I set the record straight about the benefits to early detection of dementia disorders. There's actually a lot that we can do to make your life and your loved one’s life with dementia easier- early detection is key. 

Here are 7 benefits of...

Continue Reading...

My 94 Year Old Mom Has Depression. Where Do We Go From Here?

I recently received a letter from a listener of my podcast: "Dear Dr. Koepp, My mom has recently become depressed. She's 94 and lives alone. My family and I aren't sure what we should be doing (if anything). Where should we go from here?"

 

I have tremendous respect for this listener for reaching out to learn more about depression in older adulthood.

 

Let me start by saying that depression is NOT a normal part of aging, but depression IS the most prevalent mental health condition among older adults. Unfortunately, depression in late life often goes undetected and untreated largely due to the false belief that with age comes depression.

This is why it is so important to learn about depression and have tools and resources to help older adults to get treated for depression if and when they need it.

 

What are the rates of depression in older adults?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1% to 5% of people 65 and older living in the...

Continue Reading...

COVID-19 & Ageism: Two Harmful Agents Affecting Older Adults

ageism blog covid-19 Jun 26, 2020

Coronavirus: Isolate the Elderly was the sign on the freeway that I would see twice a day as I drove to and from work at a busy medical center in a Geropsychiatry Outpatient Clinic to provide teletherapy to older adults and their families during COVID. I cringed every time I drove past this sign.

 

Since COVID started, I have received several emails from people who care about older adults expressing concern for them. Like, a college professor who reached out to me to express concern that her father, who is a physician, made the decision to leave retirement to return to work in a medical clinic during COVID. She shared with me that she was appalled and went so far as to call his medical practice and complain.

 

There have been countless ageist expressions since the coronavirus started. And the problem with ageism, even well-meaning ageism, is that it has the effect of harming older adults rather than helping them. 

 

I’ll start with the sign on the freeway:...

Continue Reading...

The Toll of Racism on African American Seniors and Tips for Care

blog diversity older adults Jun 10, 2020

With the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, there has been an important spotlight on racial injustice in this country and the toll that these injustices have taken on Black lives.

As a Geropsychologist working in Atlanta, a City in Georgia known for its history of slavery and Civil Rights, many of the African American seniors I work with have experienced indentured servitude, sharecropping, Jim Crow, no voting rights, and segregation (to name only a few). These experiences, coupled with modern-day atrocities and racial injustices, result in cumulative race-related stressors that have a profoundly negatively impact their physical and mental health.

Some of the more striking examples of physical health disparities being related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and more recently, COVID. 
  • Cardiovascular Disease: African Americans have two to three times the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with Whites at any...
Continue Reading...

Your Guide to Grief and Bereavement During COVID-19

Over the past few weeks listeners have been reaching out to me sharing their stories of loss. I’ve heard from several people that their aging parent or their older sister-in-law, or their older cousin died. Some due to coronavirus and others due to dementia, or even a sudden heart attack.

 

I've created this blog post and a two-part podcast series on grief to give affirmation and acknowledgement that there are many of you out there who are grieving. This grief series is my way of honoring you and your loved ones. And to make sure that nobody is alone with grief and bereavement during COVID.

 

In this article, I answer many of the frequently asked questions I get about grief (including some of the questions recently posed to me by journalists), and I share resources for grief and bereavement support.

 

My hope with this grief series, is that you feel less alone in your grief during COVID, that you have more courage to face the losses in your life, and that you...

Continue Reading...

Support Resources for Caregivers

 

If you’re caring for an older adult and you’ve had to change your routine in the last few weeks with senior centers, doctors' offices, and adult day programs closing due to COVID-19, you might find yourself experiencing more caregiver stress and burnout.

 

Last week, I met with a caregiver who was teleworking from home and whose husband with dementia was unexpectedly home at the same time. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, his home health aide would come to his home 3 days a week and he would attend an adult day program 5 days a week. These resources would help his wife (the caregiver) to continue to work and have a break from caregiving, so that she wouldn't have to give up her whole life in exchange for caregiving. But, since the Coronavirus Pandemic has started, his adult day program has closed, and his home health aide has been sick. As a result, the caregiver is experiencing lots of stress and overwhelm trying to figure out how to work and caregive...

Continue Reading...

Scared During COVID-19? Look for the Good!

 

With cities across the nation facing lock-down and Coronavirus rates increasing, people are experiencing higher rates of fear and anxiety.

To add to the tension, we've been separated from our broader support networks due to social distancing, like places of worship, senior centers, and adult day programs.

And don't even get me started on economic concerns. Last week my recently retired friend told me that she emailed her former employer asking for work opportunities due to concerns about how the drop in the stock market is affecting her retirement planning.

This is a scary and uncertain time for us all.

When we're scared and uncertain, it can help to spend a little time "looking for the good".

I'm devoting this week's blog to a few of the good things happening in society that warm my heart and remind me of the connection that I have to the greater good in humanity - see this as looking for the good in the greater good.

 

5 *Good* Things That Are Helping Me To Find...

Continue Reading...

Social Distancing Doesn't Have to Mean Social Isolation for Older Adults

With the Coronavirus affecting adults over 60 at greater levels than other age groups, many older adults are electing to “self-isolate” or are actually on “lock down” at long-term care or skilled nursing communities. 

 

Social distancing and protecting the most “at risk” populations (i.e., adults 60 and older) is the current recommendation. And, I will do everything in my power to follow this guideline. 

 

The downside of social distancing, however,  is that it increases loneliness and isolation among a group of folks who are already at risk of social isolation- older adults, and more specifically older adults with chronic illness. 

 

What is the risk of social isolation?

There is a well established body of research linking social isolation and loneliness to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, dementia, and even death. 

...

Continue Reading...

The COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

 

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!


 

 


With social distancing in full effect, older adults are encouraged to maintain their distance from others.  But this can have a major impact on your quality of life.

It's essential that during the COVID-19 pandemic that older adults stay physically safe and mentally well. Research shows that older adults who engage in meaningful and productive activities live longer, experience a better mood, and maintain a sense of purpose in their life.

To promote wellness for older adults, I have created a wellness guide to help older adults stay physically safe and mentally well during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

 


Looking  for more tips on maintaining your wellness during COVID-19?

Download the FREE COVID-19 WELLNESS GUIDE for Older Adults!


 

 


 

1. Stay connected with friends and family

Social distancing is important in maintaining your physical health and well-being in the time of COVID-19. And this is an...

Continue Reading...

Helping Older Adults Stay Connected During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

With the Coronavirus affecting adults over 60 at greater levels than other age groups, many older adults are electing to “self-isolate” or are actually on “lock down” at long-term care or skilled nursing communities. 

 

Social distancing and protecting the most “at risk” populations (i.e., adults 60 and older) is the current recommendation. And, I will do everything in my power to follow this guideline. 

 

The downside of social distancing, however,  is that it increases loneliness and isolation among a group of folks who are already at risk of social isolation- older adults, and more specifically older adults with chronic illness. 

 

What is the risk of social isolation?

There is a well established body of research linking social isolation and loneliness to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, dementia, and even...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5
Close

Download My Free

COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

You'll get tips for staying mentally and physically well during the Coronavirus Pandemic.