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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 31, 2005 / 28 Tishrei, 5766

Depression often misdiagnosed in the elderly

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: Since my mother's death early this year, my husband and I have gone to visit my 81-year-old father several times a week. We thought he was doing wonderfully until six weeks ago when we noticed he was becoming more distant and looked very sluggish. When I peeked in his refrigerator, I found it to be nearly empty, and what was there was spoiled. His house, which had been immaculate, was disheveled, he had noticeably lost weight and he wasn't interested in visiting. Since I am the only child within 500 miles, I feel responsible. Dad denies any problems and refuses to see his doctor, who won't talk to me without some type of release. Owing to his forgetfulness, my husband and I believe Dad has early signs of dementia, but we are frustrated because we can't find out what is wrong and how to treat him.

A: Because of your frequent visits, you and your husband are probably the best reporters of historical data to your father's physician; however, without a release signed by your dad, you will not get any information from his doctor. Not being able to interact with your father's medical providers is quite an impediment to assuring that a parent receives appropriate treatment. That said, if you try to coax your father into signing a medical authorization, he may assent voluntarily or he may become antagonistic.

Regardless of the outcome, we believe your father may not be suffering from dementia, which, unfortunately, almost everyone is too quick to use as a diagnosis. Instead, his problem could be depression — an affliction that many say is the most pervasive mental illness facing older Americans but few recognize as the underlying problem.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, depression involves a dozen fundamental symptoms: (1) ongoing sadness or anxiety; (2) lack of interest in common activities; (3) lack of energy; (4) changed sleeping patterns; (5) changed eating patterns; (6) problems in making decisions or recalling things; (7) being distracted; (8) feeling worthless; (9) having suicidal or death thoughts; (10) being in bad moods; (11) crying regularly; and (12) having chronic aches without physical diagnoses.

It may be easy to ignore one or two symptoms when dealing with older Americans. But when you see three or more over a period of several weeks, it may well be that your dad is clinically depressed.

Depression can be caused by the side effects of medications, alcohol, physical health issues, genetic personality traits and major lifestyle changes. The good news is, once depression has been diagnosed, it can be treated with a very high success rate. However, like any illness, early intervention and treatment are essential.

In conversing with experts in geriatrics, we believe that, even if your father's physician will not talk, you should make sure he or she is aware of the problem. If the physician still won't talk because of privacy issues, we suggest you write him or her and outline your fears. You may also want to try an experienced geriatric-care manager (www.caremanager.org) in an effort to gain your father's cooperation. But at the same time, you should consider frank discussions with him about your concerns for his safety.

Obviously, it is best to have an authorization or a durable health-care power of attorney so the physician will be free to discuss these issues with you. However, if you feel you must act because of safety concerns, we suggest contacting a lawyer well-versed in guardianship and conservatorship matters to discuss whether your father is sufficiently incapacitated to justify court intervention. In our view, this should be your last option; but it may be necessary to protect him.

Since these types of problems are difficult for family members to face and deal with successfully, it is wise to read up on depression issues — in books or over the Internet — to learn as much as you can about this most prevalent problem.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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