Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can Seniors Have Depression, But Not Sadness?

Depression without sadness sounds like a mental-health oxymoron, but it’s a very real condition that’s especially common in older adults. But because other symptoms of depression are present — trouble concentrating, fatigue, rumination — it too often gets dismissed as "just getting old."

Overlooking the signs of depression in seniors can be a dangerous mistake. The highest rates of suicide occur in men over the age of 85, and studies show that many of these men had visited their doctors in the month before their suicide — but their depression was not recognized.
"Older people don't always say 'I'm depressed.' They tend to focus on physical symptoms instead of on sadness," says Vineeth John, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. “The diagnosis is frequently missed.”
10 Signs of Depression Sans Sadness

Depression is not a normal part of aging, even though the symptoms are often mistaken as so.
"Although elderly people with depression may have classic depression symptoms such as hopelessness, they may also express their sadness as headache or nonspecific aches and pains,” explains Dr. John. “This may result in them being given pain medications instead of being treated for their depression."

Signs of depression without sadness include:
· Personality changes
· Isolation and loss of motivation
· Fatigue
· Loss of appetite and loss of weight
· Agitation and combativeness
· Changes in sleep patterns
· Poor concentration
· Forgetfulness
· Rumination
· Deterioration in home and self-care

Who’s at Risk for Depression in Old Age?

"Changes in the brain and illnesses that occur in aging may make it harder for the elderly to cope with stress and adapt to change, but depression is not a normal part of aging," says John. Still, certain risk factors increase the risk of depression in the elderly — and knowing these risk factors may help doctors and loved ones spot depression (and start treatment).

Risk factors include:
· Loss of a spouse
· Loss of mobility and independence
· Change in living arrangements
· Chronic illness
· Recent heart attack or stroke
· Use of alcohol or drugs

How Depression Is Diagnosed and Treated

"Sometimes the best person to recognize signs of depression in the elderly is a friend or family member who knows the elderly person’s level of functioning very well and notices a significant change," explains John.

Mental health professionals may use a diagnostic tool called the Geriatric Depression Scale to help diagnose depression in the elderly. Some of the questions asked on the scale include:
· Have you dropped many of your interests and activities?
· Would you rather stay at home than go out and do new things?
· Do you fear that something bad is going to happen to you?
· Do you feel you have more difficulty with memory than most people?
· Do you feel that you are full of energy?

Doctors must also factor in the effects of all medications being taken and search for medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease, thyroid disorders, or Alzheimer's disease that increase the risk of depression.

"The good news is that depression in the elderly is very treatable, just as it is in younger adults," notes John. “And treating depression may also improve the symptoms of other co-existing conditions.”

Depression and aging don’t always go hand in hand, but it is a common problem that often gets missed. Knowing the risk factors and signs of depression (even when sadness isn’t one of them), however, can help prevent a misdiagnosis.

-- from EveryDayHealth.com,

Monday, June 13, 2011

We Won A New Toyota Highlander!!

Toyota will donate a new Highlander to Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta (SCS) as part of its 100 Cars for Good program. The automaker’s program, which awards new Toyota vehicles to 100 nonprofit organizations based on Facebook votes, began on May 9 and continues through August 16, 2011 at www.facebook.com/toyota.

SCS was one of five organizations from across the country that competed for votes on Monday June 6 and plans to use the vehicle to deliver meals to homebound Atlanta seniors through its Meals On Wheels Atlanta program. According to Jeffrey Smythe, Executive Director of SCS, teamwork played an important role in winning the contest. “I am so excited and grateful! What an amazing team effort from so many great supporters. Their hard work made sure that more seniors will benefit from our services.”

Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc., a nonprofit, community-based organization, has been providing services since 1965 and is designed to support senior independence through meals, shelter, education, and community. Their programs include Meals on Wheels Atlanta, Home Repair Services, Vivian T. Minor Adult Day Care for Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and Fulton County Neighborhood Senior Centers. For more information on programs, please visit http://www.scsatl.org/.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vote for Senior Citizen Services, Monday, June 6!

Senior Citizen Services is happy to announce we’ve been named a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. The next step is for all of you to vote for us Monday, June 6, 2011, on Toyota’s Facebook page, facebook.com/toyota, as we compete for a new Toyota Highlander that will be used to deliver meals to homebound Atlanta seniors through our Meals On Wheels Atlanta program.

Check out our seniors video for the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program here:


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vote for Senior Citizen Services, Monday, June 6!

Next Monday, June 6, 2011, Senior Citizen Services will be competing for a brand new Toyota Highlander that will be used by the Meals On Wheels Atlanta program to deliver more than 300 nutritious meals daily to homebound Atlanta seniors.

Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program will showcase five non-profit organizations each day for 100 days on Toyota’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/toyota. Visitors to the page can vote once a day for the organization that they feel is most deserving of a new Toyota vehicle. Senior Citizen Services will be one of the five organizations highlighted for voting on Monday, June 6, 2011.

Did you know?

  • Georgia ranks sixth in the nation for senior food insecurity.

  • More than 6,000,000 seniors go hungry in the United States each day.

Everyone is encouraged to support Senior Citizen Services and our quest for a new Toyota Highlander. If Senior Citizen Services receives the most votes and is awarded the vehicle, it will be used to deliver meals to homebound Atlanta seniors through its Meals On Wheels Atlanta program.