May is Mental Health Awareness MonthWe make particular note of this awareness effort in our communications, aide training, and public communications, because mental health plays such a large role in the care McKenney Home Care provides. In previous bulletins, we have already discussed how the informal caregivers of elderly loved ones are at greater risk for emotional health problems and how formal home care services can help. We should also consider the mental health of the millions of home health patients in the United States.

Even though they number in the millions, home health patients are a subset of the general retired population. The factors that lead patients to home care have strong overlap with the factors that can precipitate negative mental health outcomes. Somatic health challenges, bereavement, and stress over finances become more common with age group, and these factors are also known to contribute to depression. Social isolation and feelings of loneliness have been connected with myriad somatic and mental health problems including cognitive decline, increased mortality, increased morbidity, institutionalization, functional decline, diminished immune function, and depression.1

Retirement does not necessarily spell social isolation. On the contrary, surveys suggest that early retirement often correlates with increased social connectedness. However, the factors that commonly lead to home care services (i.e. mobility limitations, dementia, and health challenges) also increase the likelihood of social isolation. Additionally, research suggests that social isolation, even in the absence of feelings of loneliness, leads to many of the health problems mentioned above.1 These associations would explain why the rate of major depression is so

much higher among medical home health patients. Among community-dwelling elderly, major depression rates range between 0.7% and 1.4%.2 Among patients newly admitted to a visiting nurse service, major depression was measured at 13.5%.3

Because home care patients and their caregivers are much more prone to mental health challenges, McKenney Home Care aides and nurses receive specific training in supporting the mental health of clients. Among people age 85+, sense of resilience has been connected with a sense of purpose, a sense of connectedness, and a belief in one’s own ability to manage challenges.4 Delivered properly, long-term, non-medical home care services can facilitate emotional health. Activities such as transportation assistance, assistance with correspondence, assistance with hobbies, and companionship have clear potential for benefit. McKenney aides have specific training in communicating with clients in ways that do not make them feel challenged, forgetful, or patronized. McKenney aides are trained to not interrupt a patient’s attempt to do things on his or her own and to instead support clients patiently in performing tasks with as much independence as possible. McKenney Home Care understands that a need for home care denotes a need for direct, physical support but also signals an opportunity to promote long-term mental health.

1. Cornwell E, Waite L. Social disconnectedness, perceived isolation, and health among older adults. J Health Soc Behav. PMC. 2009; 50 (1): 31-48.
2. Henderson A, Jorm A, Mackinnon A, et al. The prevalence of depressive disorders and the distribution of depressive symptoms in later life: a survey using draft ICD-10 and DSM-III-R. Psychol Med 1993; 23: 719-729.
3. Bruce M, McAvay G, Raue P. Major depression in elderly home health care patients. Am J Psychiatry. 2002; 159 (8): 1367 – 1374.
4. Norberg A, Lundman B. Resilience, sense of coherence, purpose in life and self-transcendence in relation to perceived physical and mental health among the oldest old. Aging & Mental Health. 2005 Jul; 9 (4): 354-62.

McKenney Home Care, in Naples, FL will be hosting a Lewy Body Dementia Support Group, starting in January 2018. This will be an ongoing support group approved by the Lewy Body Dementia Association in Atlanta, and in affiliation with the Parkinson’s Assocation of SWFL, Alzheimer’s Support Network, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

McKenney Home Care provides exceptional in-home health services and client-centered care. With a passion for maximizing the quality of life of their clients and their families, they are driven to ensure social engagement and specialty services during all stages of life.

For Individuals with neurodegenerative disorders, McKenney Home Care delivers enriched specialized training for its caregivers working with Dementia Patients. In addition to specialized videos and manuals, McKenney educates the caregivers through the use of the Virtual Alzheimer’s App. This virtual reality experience helps caregivers understand the feelings and experience of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia.

Along with their medical expertise, McKenney Home Care is a certified Music & Memory Agency. Providing help for Dementia Patients; this specialized music therapy program is highly personalized and has been shown to reduce the need for anti-anxiety and antipsychotic drugs by up to 50%, while brining joy to the lives of patients who have Dementia.

If you or someone you know would like more information about McKenney Home Care or the LBD Support Group, please call McKenney Home Care at 239-325-2273, or visit

239-325-CARE (2273)
9655 Tamiami Trail North #201
Naples, FL 34108