In school they had us wrap our ankles in a small pillow with duct tape to simulate severe edema, and would only allow us to take maybe 8 steps towards a bathroom because after 8 steps they told us we were SOB and couldn't go any further!
But I do want to add that much of Geriatric depression isn't about the physical ailments people face as much as the emmotional and spiritual suffering of their own beliefs on growing old! I have seen many people use a disability or condition as a front or crutch to stop them from seeking help for their depression...they blame the conditions not the mind! This is a very important fact many of us forget or miss...easy to do though...they have had years to cope this way and sometimes we simply take it at face value, blame the condition, and don't truely follow through (and neither do they).
That is why depression is so sneeky, people have behavoirs and though processes that cover it so well that you actually trick the mind and others! Finding those tricks is NOT easy, but realizing that they are there is helpful
I just got a book, Depression for dummies and I absolutely love it! It breaks it down to the basics and really good! Not for dummies I will tell you...and it is really helping me with some s/sx I have of depression (work related), and my patients! It reminded me of the 'active listening' I was taught and loved so many years ago in school...and I think I will be a better nurse for reading it
It also taught me the common stoppers in changing (geriatrics really really tend to get stopped on the idea that their though processes need to change in order to help), negative thought processes we use as guards (this was the best and most helpful!), and how to try to recognize them! Very helpful!!! May be something worth checking out
if you have the time.
Makinging someone empathic is awesome...giving them the tools to help is priceless!
And like I said...knowledge isn't power, applied knowledge is
Good luck...this sounds like a fun and well needed project