Frequently Asked Questions About Geriatric Depression Scale

Understanding depression is not a thing I intend to put effort into. I don’t like the idea that I struggle with a mental health condition, but I don’t like to know more about it. I don’t like the thought of knowing a lot about it as it will only make me feel worried and fearful about my current situation. That is because, as of now, aside from being depressed, I am also emotionally unstable. Thus, learning more about my condition will only make my life miserable as I know the truth can somehow put me in a lot of emotional and mental agony.

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But honestly, I am not closing doors in learning. Perhaps my decision to disregard important information only comes from disbelief that I have to suffer from this God-knows-how-long mental health issue. Also, it is not that I don’t want to listen or seek professional advice; I do not feel the need at the moment. I may sound too cocky, but I perfectly understand how things are despite my emotional and mental instability.

But for some reference of the symptoms I am dealing with, I rely more upon my sources to GDS or Geriatric Depression Scale. If you don’t know what it is, here are the answered frequently asked questions about it.

What does the Geriatric Depression Scale measure?

GDS or the Geriatric Depression Scale is a screening tool that measures symptoms of depression, mostly in older adults. Participants of GDS respond in a Yes or No format to a 30-item instrument. But it is essential to realize that GDS does not guarantee a hundred percent assessment, nor should it provide concrete medical diagnoses. It only serves as an effective tool to screen or determine moderate to severe depression that will require a referral to a mental health specialist or psychologist.

 What is the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form?

The GDS or Geriatric Depression Scale’s short-form holds a 15-question screening mechanism suitable for measuring depression symptoms in older adults. Usually, the process takes a few minutes, five to almost seven. It gets administered by a professional health care provider with minimal training in its use, provided to be filled out by the patient.

 Is the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) a reliable screening tool?

The research demonstrated that the GDS-30 is strongly a reliable screening tool that follows a ‘gold standard’ in determining moderate to severe depressive symptoms. It is fast and more convenient to administer and score. But of course, it requires a referral to a licensed mental health expert or a psychologist by the physical therapist or clinician.

 When using the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form, which does a score of 1 to 5 indicates?

When a patient scores less than 5 points, it means he or she is suggestive of depression and should warrant a comprehensive follow-up assessment. A score that is less than equal to 10 points is often almost symptomatic of depression.

 Who created the Geriatric Depression Scale?

The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a 30-item self-report instrument that measures depression symptoms in older adults. It processes through the use of a “Yes/No” format, answered by the patient experiencing a mental health problem. It is a screening test originally produced in 1982 by J.A. Yesavage and his collaborators.

 How do you score the Zung depression scale?

Each item of the Zung depression scale is scored on a Likert scale that ranges from 1 to 4. A total score is concluded by adding the individual item scores, ranging from 20 to 80 from the questionnaire. From there, people with a score between 50 and 69 indicate having mild depression, while a score of 70 and above designates severe depression.

 How do you score the Zung Self Rating Anxiety Scale?

The Zung Self-Rating that a potential range score scales anxiety. The normal range is 20-44, mild to moderate anxiety levels are at 45-59, the severe anxiety levels rest at 60-74, and extreme anxiety levels go with a score of 75 and above.

 How do you score the Beck Anxiety Inventory?

To score Beck Anxiety Inventory, each item’s values should get a sum of yielding a total score for all 21 symptoms. These should range between 0 and 63 points. From there, a total score of 0 – 7 can be interpreted as the least level of anxiety, while the 8 – 15 holds a mild implication. The 16 – 25 designates to a moderate state, and the 26 – 63 scores represent a severe mental health state.

 Who can use the Beck Depression Inventory?

The current version of the BDI-II is designed for people aged 13 and over. Typically, the Beck Depression Inventory is composed of items relating to symptoms of depression, including irritability, hopelessness, anger, and loneliness. It also scales cognitions such as guilt or overwhelming feelings. It also scales physical symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, and lack of interest in physical activities.

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 Is there an anxiety scale?

Yes. In fact, the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale or HAM-A is one of the first rating scales that is widely used today in both clinical and research settings, developed to measure the severity of anxiety symptoms. It is STAI that briefly administer and does not require an expensive cost to measure general anxiety.

 What is the highest level of anxiety?

Usually, the level of distress and impairment typically classify Anxiety levels. It gets experienced into common categories such as mild, moderate, and severe. However, aside from severe cases, there is still the highest form: the panic level of anxiety. Panic attacks are intense, often uncontrollable, and overwhelming feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, choking sensation, hyperventilation, shivering, hot flashes or chills, headache, and fatigue.

 What happens if anxiety is left untreated?

Untreated anxiety often leads to a lot of complications in the physical, emotional, and mental aspects. In some cases, it even causes other mental disorders, such as substance abuse or depression. Individuals with untreated anxiety often tend to have a higher risk of self-isolation, suicide, or self-harm behaviors.

 Can you get rid of anxiety forever?

Unfortunately, there is no chance you can stop or get rid of anxiety forever. That is because it doesn’t vanish since it is more like any other feeling you have, such as frustration, anger, sadness, happiness, love, and so on. It is an emotion that you cannot eliminate from your brain because it serves a purpose in your life.

 At what age does anxiety peak?

It is vital to realize that each person’s anxiety levels are different. Thus, their experience and coping strategies differ, as well. However, the mental health condition usually peaks in adults whose ages are 30 to 44. That is approximately 23% of people in the particular age group. Perhaps that is because of …

When Family Members Don’t Believe In Mental Health

For all the developments we’ve witnessed in mental health care, there remains a considerable population of non-believers, marked by their dismissive and apathetic remarks. Sadly, some of them exist inside our very homes and are the first people we’d expect to support us from the onset. Although this seems to blur our path towards mental and emotional well-being, there are several ways to navigate such situations. 

Understanding Is A Two-Way Street

Believe that, ultimately, your family wants what’s best for you. There could be generational and environmental circumstances that have placed all of you in an uncommon ground. Perhaps, they may have been raised with no privilege to acknowledge and prioritize mental illness. Unlike us, most of our parents grew up in an era where mental health was relatively taboo.

A 2015 survey conducted by Matters of the Mind revealed that millennials have better access to mental health resources, making it easier for them to address related issues. 

On the one hand, empathy does not come easy for everyone. Others may lack the capacity to understand a situation they have never experienced. There is a cognitive barrier that hinders them from comprehending and having compassion for causes, not affecting them directly. It may be difficult not to take personally as this may make us feel inadequate and undeserving of concern from our loved ones. 

Family members could also be fighting their own battles. Choosing to prioritize themselves doesn’t automatically mean they don’t care. They are just unable to extend emotional resources to other people at the moment.

Knowledge Is Power

Some family members may have false notions of mental health, which proper education can hopefully address. Openly discussing your unique struggles makes the concept of mental health more personal, rather than being another abstract and complex idea they may intentionally avoid. 

Nicholas J. Westers, Psy.D. ABPP, Associate Professor at UT Southwestern and Children’s Health clinical psychologist, pointed out that “Having great mental health is actually about developing, encouraging and practicing daily healthy habits – like sharing and accepting feelings, correcting unpleasant and unhealthy thinking, showing empathy and building resiliency.”

It does take a lot of strength to be vulnerable, most especially with the people closest to you. The scariest part of speaking your truth is the uncertainty of your family’s response, which could take many forms and evolve over multiple discussions. 

If you have mustered up enough courage, it will help to come prepared by planning the conversation and setting expectations. Find a communication method that makes you feel comfortable, whether it be a face-to-face conversation, a phone call, or a letter.

You don’t have to disclose everything. You may decide beforehand which experiences you are willing to talk about. You may also convey your trust in them by emphasizing to keep sensitive information to themselves. Doing these will reinforce your control over the discussion. 

Try to be as clear and direct as possible. Your family won’t be able to guess what’s on your mind. Rather than merely stating your feelings, provide concrete examples of how your mental condition has manifested in your daily life and the coping mechanisms you have developed to address them. After all, every case of mental illness is different, and there is no single way to approach it.

Encourage your family to learn about your condition. You may suggest relevant reading materials, support groups, and professional counseling to determine the best and healthiest way to help you. It may also protect your loved ones from wrongfully blaming themselves for your mental struggles.

You Are In Control

Despite doing your best in reaching out, there will be people with negative viewpoints so deeply rooted in them that changing their minds seems impossible. Remember, it is not your responsibility to convince them. Their behavior has nothing to do with you as a person.

Someone’s denial of your situation does not make it any less real. Take it as a sign for you to redirect energy spent in getting through them to practicing self-compassion instead. Although you can’t choose your family, you can always control how they affect you.

Perhaps taking a step back and removing yourself from the situation will be the most useful thing. While you don’t want to distance yourself from people you love, you also don’t want to slow your healing. 

An essential aspect of recovery is assuming control over your life. Find out what gets you to a better or worse headspace. Prioritize yourself, not other people’s approval.

Existing dysfunctions in your household may impede your road to healing. After all, being able to offer emotional support does not come naturally to everybody. Try shifting your focus to those who can willingly give it to you. It may be in the form of seeking professional help, joining support groups, or connecting with close friends. Take advantage of other outlets that can help you grow and heal.

 

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How Will Your Business Survive During A Pandemic?

Businesses are among the helpless victims of the coronavirus outbreak. They cannot technically get infected with the disease, but their source of life—the customers—are not safe from it. Thus, most entrepreneurs had no choice but to either operate remotely or shut down momentarily when the government ordered a lockdown and sealed the borders.

Luck is on the side of supermarket and pharmacy owners, given that their businesses are thriving despite the pandemic. The same cannot be said, however, for restaurants, factories, and various companies that offer “non-essential products and services.” Some have had to let go of a significant number of employees to reduce their expenses. Others have gone closer to bankruptcy than ever. And even when the lockdown order has been lifted partially to let some businesses reopen and help the economy, it does not mean that everything will return to normal. 

Considering you want your business to survive this pandemic, you have a few tasks in your hands.

Stay Active Online

Does your company have an Instagram and Facebook pages? If the answer is no, stop reading for a minute and come back when you already have social media accounts. But if you maintain pages on these channels, I advise you to start posting business-related content often.

You see, your customers need to know that your business still exists, that you cannot wait to come back and serve them again. It is impossible to go out there to do that, but you can stay active on social media and build your online presence. That’s how you ensure that no one will forget you.

Offer Home Delivery

Having a website that will inform people about your business’s history does not suffice these days. You must update it with your latest products and find a way to turn it into a marketplace. Then, you should hire individuals who can deliver the items right at every customer’s doorsteps.

Home delivery is not a new concept at all; many have been doing it for years. Despite that, if you have never done it before, now is the best time to offer this service to keep the money flowing.

Put Stocks On Sale

Although most businesses have been immobilized in at least two months, manufacturers may have new products that are ready to launch soon. The latter is inevitable, but it can be problematic for retailers, especially if they still have not-so-old stocks. 

The only solution for this is to put your products on sale. Say, offer buy-1-take-1 deals or sell items at discounted prices. While you may not earn much, you can get rid of everything and restock with brand-new goods.

Make Your Store Safe For Everyone

In case your business is exempted from the lockdown, try not to see it as a sign that the coronavirus will never enter your doors and affect you and your clients. Instead, it would help if you take extra precautionary measures, given that you cannot ask everyone about their travel history or the people they have met before coming to your store.

One of the most effective techniques is adding a partition between your counters and the customers. Invest in face shields, masks, and even vitamins for the employees to protect them from the virus. Furthermore, the guards should be armed with a thermal scanner so that no one with high body temperature can come in without medical clearance. 

Final Thoughts

The pandemic is not only awful for humans but also for the businesses that cannot survive without the latter. If you do not want to file for bankruptcy in no time, try the tips mentioned above.

Survivors’ Guilt Among Frontliners

My favorite aunt in the world is a doctor at a large hospital here in the United States. I feel nothing but pride for her, especially now that so many people count on professionals like her as they deal with the lethal coronavirus. I called my aunt one day, thinking of celebrating her work. After all the pleasantries exchanged, I expressed how happy I was that the virus did not affect her at all. She said something that I did not expect to hear at all, though. “I know I should be happy, too, but I feel very guilty about it. Some of my colleagues have not been so lucky.”

A realization hit me at that time: my aunt was dealing with survivors’ guilt. She could not feel joy for being healthy and accomplished because her friends did not survive COVID-19 unscathed. Some of them are still at the hospital now, trying to fight the illness. Others have already passed on because the virus has overpowered their bodies.

I could not precisely tell my aunt, “No, you should not think about that at all. Just focus on being glad that you are alive and helping patients get better.” I knew that that would be too insensitive of me, given that she had undoubtedly seen her colleagues’ battle with COVID-19. Still, I could not help but remind my precious aunt about a few things that might ease her guilt as a frontliner who dodged coronavirus.

Surviving Is Nobody’s Fault

The #1 fact that survivors like my aunt may have forgotten is that no one can tell who can or cannot win against coronavirus. I am pretty sure that some doctors may still say, “I should have treated my patients better,” but you can only do so much. The pharmaceutical experts are merely testing potential cures for the virus at the time of writing this blog, and it’s thoughtless to feel guilty about living.

Fate Can Be Brutal Like That Sometimes

A person’s ability to survive during a pandemic depends on how robust their immune system can be. If you have a pre-existing condition, it is naturally weak, and you may not be able to strengthen it after a few days of taking vitamins. In case you do not always catch other viruses, you are highly likely to avoid or fight coronavirus.

Many people frown upon the idea that it is survival of the fittest, but what can be more accurate than that? Though it feels sad to think of friends dying because of COVID-19, that’s practically how fate works. Sometimes, it is kind to you; other times, it makes you say goodbye to folks you love.

Honor The Dead By Remembering Them Throughout This Lifetime

During my last conversation with my aunt, she was still feeling down due to her colleagues’ death. I listened in silence the first time I heard about it because I knew that she needed to grieve. When she talked about it again, though, and mentioned what better things they could have done in life, I had to stop her. I said, “Instead of regretting the loss, why don’t we honor their accomplishments before dying?”

It’s the truth—those medical professionals died while doing their job. They were no different from soldiers who passed away on duty. That turns them into heroes who need to be celebrated in my book.

Final Thoughts

The ideas mentioned above apply for all frontliners who may be experiencing survivors’ guilt right now. We know that life has not been very kind to the entire planet; the coronavirus may have even taken the lives of your friends. Despite that, keep in mind that you cannot feel remorseful forever because of something that’s out of your hands.…