Depression and Suicide Screening Tools

Depression is a common mental health condition that affects people of all ages. However, older adults are at a higher risk of developing depression due to factors such as social isolation, physical illness, and life changes like retirement or loss of loved ones. Therefore, it is crucial to screen older adults for depression and suicidal ideation to provide early intervention and support.

Screening Tools for Depression in Older Adults

There are several screening tools available to assess depression in older adults. Some of the commonly used tools include:

1. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): The GDS is a 30-item questionnaire that assesses depressive symptoms in older adults. It is a self-administered tool that includes questions about mood, energy, sleep, and appetite.

2. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9): The PHQ-9 is a nine-item questionnaire that evaluates depressive symptoms in older adults. It includes questions about feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep, and suicidal ideation.

3. Center for Epidemiologic Studies
Depression Scale (CES-D): The CES-D is a 20-item questionnaire that assesses depressive symptoms in older adults. It includes questions about mood, sleep, appetite, and social engagement.

These screening tools can help healthcare providers identify older adults who may be experiencing depression and provide appropriate interventions such as counseling or medication.

Screening Tools for Suicidal Ideation in Older Adults

Suicide is a significant concern for older adults who experience depression. Therefore, it is essential to screen older adults for suicidal ideation. Some of the commonly used tools include:

1. Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating

Scale (C-SSRS): The C-SSRS is a six-item questionnaire that assesses suicidal ideation in older adults. It includes questions about the frequency, intensity, and duration of suicidal thoughts, as well as any plans or attempts.

2. Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale (GSIS): The GSIS is a 31-item questionnaire that assesses suicidal ideation in older adults. It includes questions about suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and risk factors.

3. Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS): The BSS is a 19-item questionnaire that assesses suicidal ideation in older adults. It includes questions about the intensity, frequency, and duration of suicidal thoughts.

In conclusion, depression and suicidal ideation are significant concerns for Older adults, and screening tools can help healthcare providers identify those who may be at risk. These tools can be administered easily and quickly and can help healthcare providers provide appropriate interventions to prevent adverse outcomes. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate these screening tools into routine healthcare assessments for older adults to improve their mental health and overall well-being.

Article Provided by:
adapt Integrated Health Care

Starting one of the Most Important Conversations of Your Life

All too often families and individuals put off one of the most important conversations of their lives and then find themselves in a world of hurt, or worse, not having the capacity to communicate their desires at the end of life. Reasons for this vary, but the consequences end up being the same, others are left making the decision for you, often with long-term consequences for you and those around you.

With this in mind, we should think of starting this conversation as a gift that often brings a sense of connection with those around us. So, the question is how do I or we start such a conversation? The good news is you can start the conversation any way you wish. Perhaps by starting an engaged in conversation with your loved ones about your wishes and hopes for how you would like to be treated in your last months. Perhaps using an event that those around you can relate to might be the starter. Whatever feels right is the way to start and far better than not starting the discussion at all.

Here’s how it started in my family. Years ago, after I had a significant bike accident, one of my adult children asked what treatment I would want if I were tragically

hurt. This question began a discussion with my spouse and our closest family members. The result was a clear understanding of my desires and a document that empowers my family to make these decisions. It was freeing and enabled all of us to speak openly about our thoughts on care and end of-life options.

Try starting with “I’d like to share my hopes and dreams for my last months of life.” You don’t need a goal, it’s an evolution of many conversations. As we age and go through health issues, our sense of what we would like evolves. Your conversations over time or however long it takes should guide you to the following:

  • What are my desires for aggressive care and weighing the balance of the burdens of such care?
  • Who do you wish to be your advocate for these decisions when you are unable?
  • Make sure your advocate will honor your wishes and share your desires even when they are saddened by these turn of events.
  • Discuss your financial goals with whom would manage them when you are no longer able.

Often this conversation doesn’t begin because people might be fearful of the outcome of them. It doesn’t matter what you say; it is more important to open the dialog. Remember doing nothing or avoiding this discussion ultimately puts you at risk of having these important decisions made by others often without your input.

In the worst scenario, you hand over these decisions to governmental entities by not finalizing your wishes with those you love. So please start the discussion with those closest to you.

Article Provided by:
Rogue Valley Council of Governments

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Caregiving can be a deeply rewarding experience, but it can also take a significant toll on the caregiver’s physical and emotional well-being. Caregiver burnout is a condition that can occur when caregivers are exposed to chronic stress and strain without proper support or self-care.

Caregiver burnout can manifest in a variety of ways. Physical symptoms may include chronic fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension. Emotional symptoms may include depression, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. Caregivers may also experience a decrease in their own quality of life, as they may have less time to pursue their own interests and hobbies.

One of the biggest contributors to caregiver burnout is the lack of support and respite care. Caregivers often feel a sense of responsibility to provide care 24/7, which can be physically and emotionally draining. It’s important for caregivers to recognize that taking time for themselves is not a sign of weakness or neglect, but rather an essential part of maintaining their own well-being.

Many caregivers are thrown into their role without any formal training or support, which can make it difficult to navigate the complex medical and emotional needs of their loved ones. It’s important for caregivers to seek out resources, such as support groups and educational materials, to help them feel more confident and competent in their caregiving role.

It’s also essential for caregivers to practice self-care on a regular basis. This may include engaging in activities that bring them joy, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family. It’s important for caregivers to prioritize their own health and well-being, as this can ultimately lead to better care for their loved ones.

If you or someone you know is experiencing caregiver burnout, it’s important to seek help. This may include reaching out to a healthcare provider, joining a support group, or seeking counseling. It’s essential to recognize that caregiver burnout is a real and serious condition and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

In conclusion, caregiver burnout is a common and serious condition that can have significant impacts on caregivers and their loved ones. It’s essential for caregivers to prioritize their own well-being and seek out support and resources to help them navigate their caregiving role. With proper support and self-care, caregivers can continue to provide the important and valuable care that their loved ones need.

Article provided by:
Home Instead

Tips for Engaging Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

Whether you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or you are a caregiver looking after a patient, it can be challenging to care for someone with memory loss. While Alzheimer’s Disease has varying stages, many patients start to find themselves losing train of thought, have difficulty finding the right words, and even start to speak less often. We’re sharing some tips to help you engage with people with Alzheimer’s disease and minimize communication challenges.

Talk directly

It’s easy for people with Alzheimer’s to get overwhelmed and confused. To reduce this, talk slowly and clearly while making eye-contact with the patient. If possible, try to minimize distractions and background noise such as pausing music or the TV while speaking.


It can take a bit more time for people with Alzheimer’s to process what they are hearing and how they want to respond. Be patient in waiting for their response and offer reassurance. Don’t interrupt them but instead encourage them to take their time in responding. Be Clear Rather than asking open-ended questions, ask questions with direct or yes and no answers. For example, rather than asking what do you want to do today? Ask, would you rather go for a walk or start a puzzle? This helps the patient to be less overwhelmed and easily answer.

Be Visible

When possible, always approach a person with Alzheimer’s disease from the front, rather than from the side or behind. Try making eye contact, smiling, and matching the person’s mood when appropriate. While the challenges of communicating with someone suffering from memory loss are always evolving, we hope these tips help to ease frustrations and improve communication. Remember to be patient and don’t hesitate to get help if needed.

Article provided by:
New Horizons In-Home Care



“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” -Anthony Bourdain

I am currently interviewing potential new team members. While meeting with each candidate I always consider how they fit with the rest of us and how they will better our team as a whole. “We hire character and train skill” is already part of our Retirement Connection Creed; but it is important that this is always more than just words on a page.

Willing to Work

“Normalize I’m willing to work on that instead of That’s just how I am.” — Unknown

I have realized then when someone gives me feedback, I tend to deflect and defend rather than just listen. I am working harder to acknowledge the feedback, rather than reply. I often prefer to solve a problem, rather than just hear the concern. Sometimes the best support we can offer others is a listening ear.


“A mistake which makes you humble is much better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.” — Unknown

Success can be an excuse for continued bad behavior because we may not feel the immediate repercussions of our negative actions. We learn faster and grow more from our mistakes, as long as we are willing to pivot. Don’t let a speed bump become a stop sign, keep driving forward!! Embrace your mistakes and fail forward.

Calm Seas


“Calm seas never made a good sailor.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Calm seas don’t test a sailor’s skills, knowledge, or perseverance. The same is true in our personal and professional lives. We learn more in rough waters because we are forced to make crucial decisions- without the luxury of added time or resources. We must rely on the knowledge available, and our ability to find that extra bit of energy and grit. For me, the past months have included: sending my oldest to college, my husband’s cancer, and a business pivoting post covid. After the storm, you know where you fell short, where you succeeded, and what you learned. I am still learning!

Free Time


“Some talk to you in their free time, and some free time to talk to you.” — Unknown

I’m busy, you’re busy, we are all busy! I hear about “time management” strategies all the time, but we all have 24 hours in the day- no more no less. So, we really are not managing “time”. But we can manage our priorities. We can make people our priority. I want to be the person who makes time for others, and I want to surround myself with those that make time for me.


“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden. It’s deadly.” — Mark Sanborn

Teamwork isn’t just part of a business, it also exists in families and friendships as well. When we don’t communicate our concerns, feelings, or hopes we leave a void for others to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, what they create to fill in the gaps, may not be what we intended. Use your words!