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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...

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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. 

...

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The COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

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.

 

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 important public health recommendation that we all need to follow.

The downside of social distancing, however, is that it increases the risk for loneliness and isolation among older adults.

One of the best ways to...

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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...

How to Help Older Adults with Depression (Ep #036)

 

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 aging parents get treated for depression. In this episode of the Caring for Aging Parents Show, I answer several questions related to older adults and depression, including:

  • What are the rates of depression in older adults?
  • What are the signs of depression in older adults?
  • What to do if your aging parent has depression?
  • How do I find mental health providers for older adults?
  • Is depression in older adults treatable?

   

                       

           

What are...

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How To Challenge Stereotypes About Older Adults (Ep #035)

 

Today, I want to talk about how to challenge our stereotypes about older adults.

 

Ageism is Bias and discrimination based on age and it affects older adults more than any other age group. Check out my episode from last week, where I talk about ageism and how it affects older adults.

 

I want to start by saying that categorizing and stereotyping people and developing bias and prejudice are a normal aspects of the human experience- we all do it, no matter our age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc - we all do it. It's a common human phenomenon. So, if you find yourself falling into the bias trap about others, it can help to remind yourself that you're human.

 

But even though its common,  it’s not healthy, and it’s actually very harmful. As humans we’re good at creating biases and stereotypes, but as humans we’re also really also good at learning, healing, and growing. 

 

So I am going to challenge us to make...

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What is Ageism? And, How Does it Affect Older Adults? (Ep #034)

 

What is Ageism? 

Ageism is bias and discrimination based on age and it affects older adults more than any other age group.

To start, I want to give you a few examples of what ageism looks like in every day life. 

Start by thinking about older adults in your every day life. And, ask yourself if you've ever had any of these thoughts?

  • She's so cute!
  • He's surprisingly sharp!
  • Isn't it time that she retires!
  • He's doing so well for 85!   
  • Old people can’t change! “old dogs can’t learn new tricks”        
  • Of course he’s depressed, he’s old
  • Of course, she has dementia, she’s old. 

 

Watch and learn!

                                                         
How...

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Older Adults & Psychiatric Inpatient Units. Interview with Dr. Lisa Frank - Part 3 (Ep #030)

 

Caring for an aging parent who has been hospitalized on a psychiatric inpatient unit is incredibly challenging.

 

Older adults who end up needing psychiatric inpatient care may have a longstanding mental health condition, a new mental health condition, a mental health condition with medical problems, like dementia,  and countless other scenarios.

 

If it happens that your aging  parent needs psychiatric hospitalization, not only are you likely to be scared and confused, so too is your aging parent. It's incredibly upsetting to see our aging parents suffer. When we witness them struggle with mental health concerns and we see that they are suffering not only in their body, but in their psyche and their soul, it is incredibly painful thing to witness.

 

If you find yourself in this situation, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I'm here to help by sharing some information and resources.

 

This is exactly why I am devoting an episode to...

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Hallucinations, Delusions, & Antipsychotic Medications. Interview with Dr. Lisa Frank- Part 2 (Ep #029)

 

One of the most common questions y'all send to me and that I'm also asked frequently in my own practice with families are questions surrounding hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.

 

So, today, Psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Frank, helps us understand psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, and antipsychotic medications!

 

Some of you have written to me saying:

 

 

AND

 

 

 

In this interview, Dr. Frank answers these questions and so much more about hallucinations, delusions, and antipsychotic medications in the context of dementia disorders! This is the second of a 3-part interview with Psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Frank.

 

Watch the interview now!

 

Read transcript here!

 

Lisa Frank, MD is a board certified psychiatrist with special interests in geriatric psychiatry, trauma, and mood disorders. Dr. Frank has practiced in a variety of clinical settings, including inpatient psychiatry units, partial hospitalization programs, and...

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