Creative way to teach about elderly depression??

  1. Hi,
    I am a senior nursing student and I have to do an hour long teaching to some of my class about elderly depression and we have to be creative. So far I have thought about making it so people are handicapped in different ways for an hour, like one will have a blindfold, some will have cotten balls put in their ears, one will have their arms taped to their body, and trying to think of others. So I was wondering if anyone can think of other ways I can make people handicapp and also what else I can do to be creative.

    Thanks,
    Christi
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    About Christi321

    Joined: Oct '04; Posts: 22

    6 Comments

  3. by   Luciole
    Hi Christi...

    It sounds like you have some really creative ideas already! I can only suggest a few others for consideration and they're mostly variations of what you've already suggested:

    1.) While total blindness (blindfold) is definitely a problem, I wouldn't want to overlook the impact of impaired vision as well. Maybe you could use frosted goggles or a saran-wrap blind fold to simulate poor vision due to cataracts etc.

    2.) Along the lines of taping student's arms to their sides, maybe you could demonstrate loss of finger dexterity/use due to arthritis? Perhaps tape fingers together or have students wear bulky gloves and try to perform normally simple tasks.

    3.) Maybe you could create a fake instruction sheet or newspaper article that would be all garbled and confused in the way in which it is written and have students try to read it and understand in hopes of simulating the frustration of dementia/senility?

    4.) So many elderly are bony/frail and yet too physically impaired to move around enough to make themselves comfortable. Perhaps you could have students sit on something uncomfortable (styrofoam/cardboard egg cartons, balled-up cardboard...) for a period of time to show how frustrating it is to be uncomfortable and unable to move.

    Just some quick ideas... I hope something helps you out and best of luck on your presentation!
  4. by   stidget99
    Quote from Christi321
    Hi,
    I am a senior nursing student and I have to do an hour long teaching to some of my class about elderly depression and we have to be creative. So far I have thought about making it so people are handicapped in different ways for an hour, like one will have a blindfold, some will have cotten balls put in their ears, one will have their arms taped to their body, and trying to think of others. So I was wondering if anyone can think of other ways I can make people handicapp and also what else I can do to be creative.

    Thanks,
    Christi
    I agree that you have a very good start. (Petroleum jelly on a pair of glasses works for impaired vision.) However, I really don't think that you are focusing on depression in the elderly, although the physical limitations very definitely can be a major contributing factor in depression.

    I think that depression is caused by several different factors -
    financial strain (not being able to afford meds, food, shelter, etc), loss of a spouse, decrease in contact w/ family/children, death of lifelong friends, etc. Not to mention physiological changes in the brain. Also the social stigma that the elderly have in the US. I think that an hour long teaching session can't begin to cover everything. Good luck to you.
  5. by   happy&healthy
    Quote from Christi321
    Hi,
    I am a senior nursing student and I have to do an hour long teaching to some of my class about elderly depression and we have to be creative. So far I have thought about making it so people are handicapped in different ways for an hour, like one will have a blindfold, some will have cotten balls put in their ears, one will have their arms taped to their body, and trying to think of others. So I was wondering if anyone can think of other ways I can make people handicapp and also what else I can do to be creative. Thanks,
    Christi
    Hi Christi -

    You are *free to be Creative* ? - how fortunate you are!, really. And adding to your ideas, how about
    1. you explore interviewing actual "elderly"-individuals, living for instance in AFH's. (in one I managed, we scheduled visitors daily, the more the merrier ) They can clue you in, far better than any Textbook ever will, re: multiple contributing factors (stidget mentioned), and signs/symptoms. Now,
    is this short presentation asignment only supposed to cover how "stinkin' lousy" depression feels?
    OR
    2. might you be interested in actually learning how to *create fun differences* in the lives of these people, afflicted with dis-eases? ...because I can tell you, from successful experiences participating in the latter, that it will change you for the better, as well as any "Elderly"-person who you choose blessing. so, Christi - let me know how you are intending walking this path...
    Last edit by happy&healthy on Mar 16, '05
  6. by   PBAJS
    have them, with one arm in lap or taped to body, sitting at a table and put their food/meal tray in front of them and then walk away.

    i have seen some patients/residents not look forward to meal time and not eat because they cannot open the milk carton, cut the food into bite size portions, open the cracker package for the soup which is at the back of the tray which they cannot reach, open the jelly package for the toast, put the butter pat on .....

    [color=white].
  7. by   Christi321
    Thank you all for your ideas. I am going to make them handicap and then do a powerpoint, they will at least be able to hear if they can't see or see if they can't hear. In the powerpoint I will cover, what depression is, assessments for depression, some statistics on levels of elderly depression, what can be done to treat/prevent depression and lastly how to prevent depression. I am well aware that a lot of depression in elderly is due to social issues, but I really don't have any way to show them first hand how that feels. I do however have a really good story written by a lady in a nursing home and also have personal stories from working in a nursing home. I am very passionate about this because I worked in a nursing home and it broke my heart to see how depressed some of the patients were. At the same time however it made me feel great that I was able to at least make them smile by just talking to them, taking the time to give them a bath and lotion them, and kiss them goodnight. I will definately push just making them feel human and that you care in my presentation because I know that makes a big difference. Thanks again for all of your help!
  8. by   Antikigirl
    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
    Last edit by Antikigirl on Mar 17, '05

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