PTSD Awareness Month

Posted on

Oct 05, 2021

To learn more aboutHighland Cove Retirement Living,CLICK HERE.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first officially recognized in the 1980s. Many have now heard the term PTSD at some point. However, few can identify those suffering and the symptoms that impact them. With June being National PTSD Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to gain more understanding on the illness. When reflecting on our senior community, think of how many lived a huge portion of their lives without understanding, proper diagnosis, or treatment. This month, let us reemphasize the importance of mental health.
WHAT IS PTSD?
To understand PTSD, we must first understand trauma. Abuse, car accidents, loss of loved ones, or life-threatening careers are just a few of the many traumas one could experience. When a person is unable to process and heal from the traumatic event, PTSD can develop. Imagine how many of our senior population experienced childhood trauma, served during wartime, or experienced domestic abuse that was never addressed. For some of our veterans the war they fought never ends.
PTSD is an emotional or psychological wound manifesting itself in flashbacks, disassociations, sleep problems, nightmares, panic attacks, change in appetite, change in mood or behavior, and isolation. These symptoms can occur or increase when triggered by stimuli such as sights, smells, or sounds that remind the brain of the traumatic event. The person then has a physical and emotional response to feeling unsafe or threatened. Powerful emotions of fear, irritability, anger, or guilt can result. These symptoms can reoccur over a lifetime if the traumatic incident is never processed.
HOW TO SUPPORT A SENIOR WITH PTSD?
When caring for a senior who suffers from PTSD, there can be triggering moments which cause past emotional wounds to weep. It is important to remain empathetic and understand they are reacting to the brain reliving the most horrible part of their life. Do not take an emotional outburst personally. A senior could also have cognitive decline, which could worsen symptoms and increase confusion. It is important to learn known triggers and grounding techniques that work best for the individual. A grounding technique could be as simple as encouraging deep breathing or asking the individual to name items around them.
Families and care givers should communicate openly to create a care plan. There are options for treatment such as psychotherapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), medication, and holistic therapies.
Support groups can also be extremely beneficial. Many seniors rely on family members or care givers for their primary source of socialization. Those suffering from trauma may isolate those closest to them, worsening their depression. Being able to speak openly and relate to others who have similar traumatic experiences is a great start to healing.
I would like to encourage each of us to imagine what your day would look like if you struggled with PTSD. What event caused the traumatic response? What are some triggers you could encounter on a typical day? If the event were serving during wartime, some of your triggers could be seeing a news report of an attack, hearing loud noises, the smell of fire, or the feel of sand in your clothes. With that in mind, think of how you can aid someone struggling today.
ARE THERE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
It is important to know that you do not have to deal with trauma alone. There are options for treatment such as psychotherapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), medication, holistic therapies, and grounding techniques. What works best for one person may not be the best option for another. It is important to explore treatment options and find what works best for the present symptoms. During my time working in mental health, I saw many begin treatment at the lowest point of their lives. What astounded me was how they rose to be hopeful healing people after they had the opportunity to process their pain in a safe environment and learn positive coping mechanisms. Above all, it is important to have faith over fear that you can overcome trauma!

Other Articles You May Like

Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

This year, Vincentian celebrates 100 years of compassionate care, and youre invited to join the celebration! Founded in 1924 to meet unmet community needs, Vincentian is committed to serving our neighbors compassionately with your help.You can join the movement by supporting Vincentian through the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, a friends-asking-friends fundraiser and funraiser! It all culminates on Saturday, June 22, 2024, with a fun walk on Pittsburghs North Shore. All donations directly benefit Vincentians benevolent care to those in need. Get started today by visiting vincentian.us/walk to join a team, form a team, or register as an individual walker and fundraiser. By raising just 25 dollars, youll receive a Highmark Walk t-shirt and, if you register for the walk and attend the event, youll receive a Vincentian t-shirt, too! Join us for the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community to reconnect with old friends and make new memories, all while commemorating Vincentians 100 years of service to the community. For more information, visit vincentian.us/walk or email development@vcs.org.

Embracing Friendships

Embracing Friendship: A Guide to Making Connections Later in LifeWhen we were young, it was easy to make friends. No matter where we went, it was an opportunity to connect with others. But as we journey through life, the landscape of our social circles begins to undergo significant changes. Whether it's due to career moves, life transitions, or the natural ebb and flow of relationships, finding new friends can become a bit more challenging as we get older. But fear not! Making friends in your later years is not only possible but can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips to help you navigate the waters of adult friendship and build meaningful connections.Embrace Your HobbiesOne of the best ways to meet like-minded individuals is by engaging in activities you love. Whether it's joining a local book club, taking up a new hobby like painting or photography, or participating in community events, pursuing your passions can lead you to people who share your interests. Conversations flow more naturally when you're discussing something you love, providing a solid foundation for friendship.Attend Social EventsMany communities host social events that cater to a wide range of interests and ages. Attend local gatherings, festivals, or workshops to meet new people. This creates an organic environment for striking up conversations and finding common ground. Don't be shy to initiate discussions or join group activities. Remember, everyone is there to connect and make friends!Leverage TechnologyIn our digitally connected world, technology can be a powerful tool for forging new friendships. Join online communities and social media groups, or use apps designed to connect people with similar interests. Attend virtual events or participate in online forums related to your hobbies or passions. You might be surprised by the genuine connections that can blossom through these platforms.Volunteer Your TimeGiving back to the community is not only a fulfilling experience but also an excellent way to meet new people. Plus, its been proven that its good for your health! Another little perk. Volunteer at local charities, community centers, or events, and you'll likely encounter individuals who share your commitment to making a positive impact. Shared values can be a strong foundation for lasting friendships and relationships.Be Open and ApproachableFriendships often begin with a simple smile or a friendly greeting. Practice being open and approachable, even in everyday situations like at the grocery store or in your neighborhood. Small talk can lead to deeper conversations, and you never know when a chance encounter might turn into a meaningful connection.Reconnect with Old AcquaintancesLife gets busy, and people often lose touch with friends from their past. Take the initiative to reach out to old acquaintances or classmates. Rekindling old connections can be a delightful way to expand your social circle, and you may find that you have more in common now than you did before. Not to mention, its always fun to reminiscence on the past. Join Classes or WorkshopsLearning something new can be a fantastic way to meet people. Enroll in classes or workshops that interest you, whether it's a language course, dance class, or cooking workshop. The shared learning experience can foster a sense of camaraderie, making it easier to strike up conversations and build friendships.Attend Meetup GroupsPlatforms like Meetup.com offer a plethora of groups centered around various interests and activities. Whether you're into hiking, board games, or meditation, there's likely a meetup group in your area that caters to your preferences. Attend events hosted by these groups to meet individuals who share your hobbies.Remember, making friends at any age is about being genuine, open-minded, and patient. Building meaningful connections takes time, but the journey is well worth the effort. So, embrace the opportunities around you, be true to yourself, and watch as your circle of friends blossoms with kindred spirits. After all, friendship knows no age limits, and the joy of companionship is a treasure that can be discovered at any stage of life.This article was submitted by VIPCare Senior Primary Care.  

Sun Safety for Everyone with These Sun Safety Tips

Stay Sun-Safe with These Sun Safety Tips Summer is in full swing and with it comes the long-awaited sunshine. While the sun can provide many benefits, it can also be detrimental to our health if we do not take care to protect ourselves.  Whether you're spending time outdoors on a sunny day, going for a walk or just sitting on the porch, protecting yourself from harmful rays should always be a top priority. In this blog post, we will share tips and tricks on how to keep safe in the sun. Facts and Stats About Skin Cancer  Staying ahead of skin cancer means staying informed about its causes, risks, and outcomes. The Skin Cancer Foundation (Opens in a new window) shares the following staggering facts and stats about skin cancer in the United States:  1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Every hour, more than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. Your risk for melanoma doubles after experiencing five or more sunburns. Early detection of melanoma leads to a 99% 5-year survival rate. Risks of Skin Cancer and Who is Most at Risk Although anyone can develop skin cancer, some people are more at risk than others. According to the American Cancer Society (Opens in a new window), those with fair skin, light hair, and blue or green eyes are more likely to get skin cancer, as are those with a personal or family history of skin cancer. Additionally, exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds can greatly increase your risk. And while skin cancer can happen at any age, it's more common in people over the age of 50, says the Skin Cancer Foundation (Opens in a new window).  Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun We all want to make sure that were taking the best possible care of ourselves and our loved ones, especially when it comes to protecting ourselves from the dangers of spending too much time in the sun. Overexposure can lead to serious health risks such as dehydration, sunburns, heat exhaustion even skin cancer so its imperative for us to be aware of sun protection methods during outdoor activities. Here are some sun safety tips to bear in mind when spending time outside: Apply sunscreen regularly: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher) that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. To ensure that sunscreen is evenly applied, use about an oz (a shot glass) worth of sunscreen or enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Wear appropriate clothing: Wear loose, comfortable clothing that covers as much skin as possible, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants. Consider sun protective clothing with UV blocking fabric. Seek shade: Stay under the shade as much as possible and always use an umbrella, tent, or other porous objects to provide shade. Again, avoid being in the midday sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when UV rays are the strongest. Wear a hat: Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is a great way to protect your face, ears, and neck from the sun. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water being in the sun can be dehydrating. Dont be fooled by cloudy weather: UV radiation can still damage your skin, even on a cloudy day. It is important always to apply sunscreen when going outside for an extended period. Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Opens in a new window), skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and it affects millions of people every year. It is caused by damage to the skin cells caused by the sun's harmful UV rays. CDC research show that certain people carry risk factors that make them more susceptible to skin cancer (Opens in a new window). Whether you have risk factors for cancer or not, there are plenty of ways to protect your skin from the sun and prevent skin cancer: Monitor your medications: Some medications can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. If you are taking any prescription drugs, talk to your doctor, or pharmacist, about the potential side effects and how to protect your skin. Live a healthy lifestyle: Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress can all have a positive effect on your skin. By living a healthy lifestyle, you can give your skin the best chance of staying healthy and avoiding skin cancer. Avoid Tanning Beds: If you're looking to get a tan, skip the tanning bed and opt for a self-tanner instead. Tanning beds expose your skin to harmful UV rays, increasing your risk of skin cancer. Get Regular Skin Checks: Schedule regular appointments with a dermatologist to have your skin checked for any signs of skin cancer. Catching it early can greatly improve your chances of successful treatment. Protect. Protect. Protect: As mentioned above, some of the most proactive steps you can take to protect yourself from skin cancer is to seek the shade; avoid the suns UV rays when they are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm; wear sun protective clothing; and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.  Call today for more information 303-300-6666.