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Is It Just a Case of the Blues? Mental Illness in Seniors Is More Common Than You May Think

It is common to deal with sleep problems, fatigue, and/or loss of appetite in later years and often they’re written off as causes of aging. Yet for around 8 million adults over age 65, these symptoms could be suggestive of mental illness.

Mental illness in seniors usually goes unnoticed for a variety of reasons. A small percentage of adults age 65 and over who potentially have a mental illness actually receive treatment. There’s a stigma that comes with admitting to and searching for help for mental and emotional concerns. For some individuals, the assumption is that the symptoms of mental illness and aging go together so the signs are dismissed. In other cases, mental illness signs mirror medication side effects. 

Watch for any of the following types of behaviors in a loved one:

  • Anxiousness
  • Personality or mood changes
  • Changes in the desire for formerly enjoyed activities
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Alterations in eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory -loss
  • Depression

Effective treatment options are available for mental illness in seniors. If any of these signs are present it’s important to seek medical help. Talk to a primary care physician who can recommend the best medication and/or therapeutic options to consider.

Comprehensive Home Care can also help by escorting the senior to medical appointments and counseling sessions, picking up prescriptions and providing reminders. We can also serve as a caring companion to share in conversations and pick up on any changes that could indicate the necessity for further assistance. Contact Comprehensive Home Care, top providers of the highest quality companion care Charlotte has to offer, by calling us at 704-333-5214 or use our contact form to find out more.

Read about how another condition, insomnia, effects the elderly.

Caring for Older Parents? Ask These Questions Before They Move in

Probably the most admirable decision an adult can make is to open up their house to an older parent. Our parents took care of us, so it seems obvious to return the favor if they need a safe place to live. However, there are a number of things to consider when caring for older parents. 

Check out these key questions to ask when caring for older parents and deciding where they should live:

Is there sufficient space?

For example, consider how making room for the parent can lead to a change in another family member’s accommodations.

Is the home safe and efficient for the elderly’s needs?

Walk through your home and try to see it through the viewpoint of your parent. Are pathways clear between the senior’s bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.? Are there any tripping dangers, such as throw rugs? Should you install grab bars, an elevated toilet seat, or other home care equipment? Are there any stairs to maneuver? Is the house wheelchair-accessible?

Will someone be home each day?

Isolation and the dangers of being left alone will still be a problem if you and your spouse work outside the home.

Is everyone completely agreeable with the plan?

While you may be thoroughly convinced of your senior parent’s new living arrangements, feelings of reluctance, or resentment on the part a family member can create stress.

Are you prepared to handle increasing care needs?

While they may just need a little help currently, disease progression and the normal frailties associated with aging will change the amount of care needed. Think about the potential difficulties.

Is your parent okay with this decision?

Giving up status as “head of the household” is extremely challenging for some seniors. It takes careful planning to help your parent maintain self-esteem, autonomy, and a sense of control.

If you’re feeling uncertain about your ability to look after your elderly loved one, another choice may be better suited to both the senior and your family. One option to consider is the addition of a home care provider, such as a Comprehensive Home Care specialist. Our knowledgeable caregivers partner with families in Charlotte so that seniors stay safe and thrive inside their homes – whether that involves a few hours each week of companionship to promote socialization, personal care assistance for safe bathing and dressing, help with household chores and meal preparation, or round-the-clock, live-in care. We provide a free in-home consultation to learn about your senior loved one and then suggest a strategy of care to handle all concerns. Call us today at 704-333-5214 or contact us online to find out more about our Charlotte, NC, senior care services.

Check out Planning a Family Meeting to Discuss Home Care on tips to discuss the change with your family.

Is Elderly Hoarding Impacting Your Senior Loved One? Here’s How to Help.

Do you have a loved one who struggles with elderly hoarding? Is this situation becoming increasingly difficult to manage? Are you concerned?

Pathological or compulsive hoarding, officially known as disposophobia, is much more than just collecting or living with clutter. It’s the excessive gathering of objects, regardless of whether these objects have any value or use. The idea of giving away or throwing away any of the items, even trash, results in great stress.

Elderly hoarding causes several problems. Too many objects in a senior’s living space can cause problems with hygiene – both in the home itself and with personal hygiene if cleaning facilities are blocked. Extreme clutter can lead to social isolation, due to the person’s embarrassment about the state of the home and his or her inability to clean up sufficiently to go out. The clutter can also be a serious safety hazard. Clutter can result in falls, destroy home foundations, and block exits in the event of an emergency.

Helping someone who struggles with elderly hoarding can be difficult. Those who hoard place an extreme amount of value on their possessions. Clearing anything away can be painful.

If you have a loved one who struggles with elderly hoarding, the tips below may help:


Try not to judge the person. It may be difficult, but if your senior loved one doesn’t feel judged, he or she may be more likely to work with you. Avoid statements such as “What a mess!” or “How can you possibly live like this?”

Use upbeat language. If you see any improvements at all, no matter how slight, such as a path from one room to another that is wider than it was before, congratulate them on trying to make things safer. If you notice a trash bag with trash to go out, let your loved one know that this is wonderful progress. Whenever there is something to praise, do so: “I can imagine how hard it was to fill that trash bag. I’m so happy you were able to do that.” You can also point out the nice things in the home, such as a beautiful painting, or an unusual decoration.

Never argue. Seniors who hoard have their reasons and arguing usually results in them shutting down the conversation. You don’t have to agree with what the person says, but arguing may result in them becoming defensive, pushing further away from a solution. If an argument is ensuing, it may be time to take a walk around the block or call it a day.

Understand that some things are just too important for your loved one to part with. When cleaning out a home, it’s important to remember that not everything has to go. We all have certain items that are dear to us. Recognize and acknowledge this.

Comprehensive Home Care’s home care experts have seen what hoarding can do and our experienced caregivers know how to help. As the top-rated home care agency in the Charlotte area, we can provide in-home care services, including friendly companionship to help seniors feel accepted and socially involved. Contact us at 704-333-5214 for a professional assessment to learn how we can help your senior loved one.

Check out 4 Situations When Home Care is Beneficial to learn more.

Ask These Questions Before Hiring a Home Care Specialist

Hiring a home care specialist is useful when your loved one prefers to stay in a more active lifestyle while needing assistance with things around the home. There are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure that your loved one is cared for in the best way possible. These questions are a great way to find out which specialist is best for your family member.

Consider these questions before choosing a home care specialist:

  •  What specific experience and certification do you have in caring for the elderly?

This question is so important because it gives an overview of the person’s background and qualifications. The way they present their experience will show how they feel about the elderly care they provide. The qualifications should already be in place if you are considering any home care specialist. To ensure proper care and a nurturing environment, it is important to ensure that the home care specialist is more than just qualified. The specialist should also enjoy giving care to those who cannot care for themselves.

  • What references do you have in regards to specifically caring for elderly patients with illnesses such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease?

The references will provide a frame of time for the experience presented and also a backup for honest feedback.

  • How would you handle emergency situations during after-hours?

This gauges the specialist’s ability to handle situations that may occur during times you may not be readily available. It is important to have emergency protocols and to know that the home care specialist is comfortable with addressing issues and prepared with the necessary procedures and practices.

Comprehensive Home Care provides the necessary processes and background checks to find the right fit for your loved one. We specialize in caring for those who need assistance taking care of themselves. This includes the elderly, those who have an illness, disorder, or injury, pregnant women, and new mothers.

Read Tips to Start the Care Provider Search for more advice.

How Do I Know if My Loved One Might Benefit from Home Care?

As time goes on, you may notice your loved one is not quite what they used to be. There are countless reasons why there may begin going through changes. These changes can seriously affect your loved one’s ability to live alone. In this case, they may truly benefit from home care.

Here are some things to consider when deciding if home care is the right move to make for your loved one:


When they are becoming more forgetful.

While forgetting something every now and then can be okay, when your loved one is constantly forgetting, it is a rise for concern. Even if it is small things like checking the mail, you may want to start paying more attention. When they are forgetting to throw out old food, forgetting appointments, and other similar things they should not continue living by themselves.

If they seem to not be taking care of themselves.

When a loved one seems to not be properly taking care of themselves, this is another rise for concern. This may mean that they are either struggling to do or just forgetting to do simple tasks.  By turning to a home care specialist you will have peace of mind.

If they can no longer drive safely.

When you start to notice their car getting more dents and scratches, it may be a sign that they are struggling behind the wheel. This is not only putting themselves at risk but other people as well.

When you are starting to get worried about your loved one’s well being have a conversation with them or their doctor and see what the cause could be. Comprehensive Home Care can also ensure they are getting the proper care from professionals who know what to do. Contact Comprehensive Home Care to get a free home assessment and learn more about the services we offer.

Check out Is It Just a Case of the Blues? Mental Illness in Seniors Is More Common Than You May Think to read about a condition that would benefit from the use of a home care specialist.