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Let There Be Light

By Erika Hoffman, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 5)

Of the 107 initially treated by LIGHT, 58 could be contacted at three months. Seventy-five percent of them showed improvement at the three-month follow-up using the short form of The Geriatric Depression Scale. This is a very impressive result given the fact that a myriad of challenges arise when trying to reach individuals for follow-up, such as hospitalization, relocation, tragic events, telephone disconnection, and increased dementia interfering with their ability to answer questions.

In meeting with each practice to discuss the LIGHT toolkit, Veronica Poklemba found high praise for the information the kit provided: an explanation of depression, the symptoms, the treatments, the mental health resources, and educational handouts for medical and lay communities.

Veronica Poklemba’s advice is: Don’t hesitate to bring up questions about mental health with your primary doctor. She urges, “If it’s in your head, you should ask it.” She emphasizes that a caregiver must take care of himself in order to care for another. She advises to search online to find mental health care providers in your area, ask your physician for a list, and if you need names of therapists and psychiatrists in the Baltimore environs who enjoy working with elderly patients, call her. [410-601-2875]

Look over the list of symptoms of depression. If you notice these present in your loved one, ask the doctor, “Can you determine if my loved one has depression?”Be proactive.

Today’s caregivers must be knowledgeable about the proven tie between a person’s emotional well-being and physical health. To treat only symptoms that have a readily identifiable physical cause is to deny a person help, hope, and the pursuit of happiness. So, all ostrich heads must yank themselves up into the 21st century and get their loved ones to a program like Project LIGHT where beauty, truth, and joy can be within the grasp of their beloved charge—the person they care for.


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