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Smiles for Miles

Starting with one elderly smile at a time

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ALEYHA SLATTER | 608-449-0212 | ASLATTER@DBQ.EDU | UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE


WHAT IS SMILES FOR MILES?
SMILES FOR MILES IS A PROJECT TO HELP KEEP THE ELDERLY COMMUNITY HAPPY AS THEIR AGE
PROGRESSES. SO MANY TIMES, WHEN AN ELDERLY PERSON IS TAKING OUT OF THEIR HOME INTO A
NURSING HOME, THEY ARE NEVER HAPPY. THEY HAVE EITHER LOST A LOVED ONE, LOST THEIR HOME
BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL REASONS, OR THEY ARE PUT IN THERE BECAUSE THEIR KIDS DO NOT WANT TO
TAKE CARE OF THEM, THEY BECOME DEPRESSED. ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN GERIATRICS SOCIETY,
“SUCH A MONUMENTAL CHANGE (MOVING TO A NURSING HOME) CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION, RANGING
FROM MILD TO CHRONIC, IN APPROXIMATELY 40 PERCENT OF NURSING HOME RESIDENTS” (SOLLITTO).
EVERYONE KNOWS SOMEONE WHO IS IN THE NURSING HOME, YOUR GRANDPARENTS, PARENTS, AUNTS,
UNCLES OR EVEN A CLOSE FAMILY FRIEND. THINK OF HOW MANY TIMES YOU GO AND SEE THEM IN A
WEEK. MAYBE ONCE OR TWICE, MAYBE NOT AT ALL. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT GO AND
SEE THEM EVERY DAY, AND GOOD FOR THEM, HOWEVER, DO THEY STOP IN AND SAY HI TO OTHER
RESIDENTS LIVING THERE? DO THEY ASK THE RESIDENTS HOW THEIR DAY IS? PUTTING SOMEONE INTO A
NURSING HOME IS A HUGE LIFESTYLE CHANGE THAT THEY MAY OR MAY NOT BE READY FOR. THEY ARE
NO LONGER AROUND THEIR FAMILIES, LOVED ONES, AND NO LONGER IN THEIR PERSONAL HOME. THIS
PROJECT IS DESIGNED TO HELP MANY PEOPLE IN THE NURSING HOME FIND HAPPINESS BEFORE THEIR TIME
IS DONE HERE ON EARTH.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?


SMILES FOR MILES IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT BECAUSE “DEPRESSION IS NOT A NORMAL PART OF
GROWING OLDER.” (CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION). BEING DEPRESSED IN THE
ELDERLY POPULATION DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE JUST “SAD” BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING TO A NEW
PLACE, THEY ARE BEING TAKEN OUT OF THEIR HOMES, AND BEING PUT SOMEWHERE AWAY FROM THEIR
LOVED ONES. THIS IS A MENTAL ILLNESS AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS ONE. OLDER ADULTS HAVE AN
INCREASED RISK OF BEING DEPRESSED. QUITE A BIT OF ADULTS HAVE AT LEAST ONE CHRONIC ILLNESS,
AND SOME EVEN HAVE MORE THAN
ONE. DEPRESSION CAN BE MORE
COMMON IN SOMEONE WITH A
‘Depression is not a normal
CHRONIC ILLNESS. PLUS, MAJORITY
OF THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE part of growing older.”
DEPRESSION GO UNTREATED AND
MISDIAGNOSED BECAUSE TOO -Center for Disease Control and Prevention
MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THIS IS
JUST A NATURAL REACTION FROM
GROWING OLD.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF UNTREATED DEPRESSION IN
THE OLDER PERSON?

ACCORDING TO NAMI, NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS, SOME OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF


UNTREATED DEPRESSION IN THE OLDER ADULT INCLUDE:

 LIFE-LATE DEPRESSION INCREASES THE RISK FOR MORE MEDICAL ILLNESSES AND COGNITIVE
DECLINE.
 FATAL CONSEQUENCES IN TERMS OF BOTH SUICIDE AND NONSUICIDE MORTALITY.
o OLDER CAUCASIAN MALES HAVE THE HIGHEST RATE OF SUICIDE IN THE U.S.
o DEPRESSION IS THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT RISK FACTOR FOR SUICIDE IN THE ELDERLY
POPULATION.

“Some estimates of major depression in older


people living in the community range from less
ARE SYMPTOMS DIFFERENT IN THE than 1% to about 5% but rise to 13.1% in
ELDERLY POPULATION THAN IN THE those who require home healthcare and to
YOUNGER?
11.5% in older hospital patients.”
ACCORDING TO NAMI, SYMPTOMS IN ELDERLY
-Center for Disease Control and Prevention
PEOPLE DIFFER THAN IN YOUNGER PEOPLE, AND
HERE IS HOW THEY CAN BE
CHARACTERIZED:

 MEMORY PROBLEMS
 CONFUSION
 SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL
 LOSS OF APPETITE
 WEIGHT LOSS
 VAGUE COMPLAINTS OF PAIN
 INABILITY TO SLEEP
 IRRITABILITY
 DELUSIONS
 HALLUCINATIONS

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PROBLEM

 DEPRESSED ELDERLY POPULATION IS LEFT UNTREATED


 THERE ARE MORE CHRONIC ILLNESS CORRELATED WITH DEPRESSION
 SOCIAL UNATTACHMENT
 ELDERLY POPULATION IS FEELING “UNWANTED”

PLAN OF ACTION

 MAKE HEALTH CARE TEAM MORE AWARE OF DEPRESSION SIGNS


 PROVIDE MORE INDIVIDUAL CARE
 SEEKING EACH INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
 MORE SOCIAL ACTIVITY INTERACTION
 HELP LOWER THE DEPRESSION RATES AT STONEHILL NURSING HOME

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DATE STAGE TASK

2/22/19 APPROVAL EMAIL STONEHILL NURSING


DEPARTMENT TO GET
APPROVAL OF MY PROJECT

2/25/19 APPROVAL SET A TIME A DATE FOR


INTERVIEWS WITH RESIDENTS

3/7/19 PROCESS START INTERVIEW WITH 50


RESIDENTS ABOUT LIVING AT
NURSING HOME/HOW TO MAKE
IT BETTER

3/9/19 PROCESS FORM DATA AND


CORRELATION TABLE AND
PRESENT TO STONEHILL
NURSING DEPARTMENT

3/19/19 PROCESS SENDING INFORMATION OUT


TO STAFF ABOUT DEPRESSION
AWARENESS IN ELDERLY

3/21/19 PROCESS FIRST DAY OF MANY DAYS OF


SOCIAL INTERACTION
ACTIVITIES
EXAMPLE: BINGO, BOARD
GAMES, SING A LONGS, CRAFTS,
GROUP PROJECTS, GROUP
GAMES, ETC.
WHAT TO EXPECT AS AN OUTCOME FROM THIS PROJECT

IT WILL BE A STRUGGLE TO GO TO EVERY NURSING HOME AND TRY TO HELP AS MANY ELDERLY
AS POSSIBLY. HOWEVER, STARTING WITH ONE NURSING HOME AND MAKING A HUGE DIFFERENCE IS A
GREAT START. AFTER GETTING THE APPROVAL TO WORK WITH STONEHILL, THE NEXT STEP WILL BE TO
DO INTERVIEWING PROCESS. THESE INTERVIEWS WILL CONSIST OF ASKING RESIDENTS WHAT WOULD
MAKE THEIR TIME BETTER AT STONEHILL, ASKING THEM WHAT TYPES OF THINGS MAKE THEM HAPPY, AND
WHAT ABOUT STONEHILL HAS BEEN THE BEST FOR THEM SO FAR. THAT WAY AFTER GATHERING DATA, IT
WILL BE EASIER TO FIND DIFFERENT ACTIVATES OR SOCIAL INTERACTION TO MAKE THEIR TIME BETTER.
ALSO AFTER FINDING THIS INFORMATION OUT, THE STAFF WILL BE MORE AWARE OF HOW THEY CAN
HELP THEIR RESIDENTS FEEL BETTER. THIS PROJECT ISN’T ABOUT CURING DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY
POPULATION, IT IS ABOUT MAKING THEIR DYING STAGE OF LIFE EASIER.
REFERENCES

“Depression Is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older | Healthy Aging | CDC.” Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
www.cdc.gov/aging/mentalhealth/depression.htm.

“Depression in the Older Person .” National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2019, www.ncoa.org/wp-
content/uploads/Depression_Older_Persons_FactSheet_2009.pdf.

Sollitto, M. (2019). Does Moving to a Nursing Home Cause Depression?. [online] Agingcare.com.
Available at: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/nursing-home-depression-147347.htm
[Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].