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Watchful Waiting: Stuck In The Middle With An Aging Parent

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The process of family members observing the decline of a parent’s physical well being isn’t something that occurs overnight. It’s an evolution and although there is an abundance of information and resources out there that provide solutions for practical matters, it doesn’t make dealing with the emotional aspect any easier. As difficult as it is in its own right, unless you have a parent who dies suddenly or contracts a terminal illness that requires acute care in a hospital setting, you are bound to find yourself in the abyss of “watchful waiting.” This can turn into a long period of uncertainty dealing with intervention and assistance on practical issues and the emotional roller coaster ride that accompanies it.

I’m the middle child in the family and find myself in the position of not only attempting to provide support to my elder sibling, who because of geographical proximity has become our declining mother’s “caretaker” but also in the role of “buffer,” the one who has the “luxury” of addressing the emotional side. I admit it, since I’m not a psychologist or an expert on the subject; I’m going strictly on instincts and the miniscule bit of information out there that addresses this issue. And, it is an issue. How one must feel, and how they act out when they lose the ability to control their own life, is complex and painful. It’s not too difficult to figure out that denial plays a huge part, and emotions such as extreme sadness, anger and resentment can surface.

aging by *amhd on deviantART

For the children, it can be difficult to know when a parent’s decline in independence has become a serious problem. Keeping an eye on the deterioration of a parent’s activities of daily living — basic skills such as personal care and hygiene, mobility in the home, taking medications, eating and dressing, housekeeping, paying bills, doing yard work and scheduling appointments, but it’s even more difficult finding the time to address the emotional aspects. It very well may be impossible for one person to do it all. My husband and I recently paid a weekend visit to my mother, not just for the purpose of spending time with her, but also to give my “caretaker” sibling a break.

Although my mother verbalized her appreciation for “all the things” my sibling does for her, she also expressed a bit of denial about her even needing some of the services and features that have been set into place. She didn’t really think the installation of grab bars in her bathroom was something she needed, and said, “maybe when I get old” it might be helpful. Believe me; at this very point in time, the bars may very well prevent her from taking a fall. I decided at that moment it would serve no purpose in trying to reason or explain to her that she IS old, and her lack of mobility, balance and steadiness was obvious. Therefore, in order to keep her agreement to have them installed in place, I just agreed that it was an excellent idea.

Throughout the weekend, I listened to her lament the lost of her independence on many issues such as driving, managing her finances, etc. as I simultaneously agreed and disagreed with her take on the necessity of other practical “solutions” that are in place; home visits by a physical therapist, a medical alert system, a regimented prescription taking system, etc., etc. I guess caring for an elderly parent is a joint effort, and I’m okay with being the middleman.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Dallas and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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A Tribute To A Pioneer And A Hero: Dr. Robert N. Butler 1927-2010

May 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Josh Tapper, a fellow of News21, a national initiative to promote innovation in journalism, at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism wrote about his last conversation and interview with Dr. Robert N. Butler just days before he died on July 4th. However, it was a last phone conversation that did not happen that moved me. It was described in a response to an obituary published in the LA Times written by his grandson, Brooks J. Hall. He had missed the call from Dr. Robert N. Butler just days before his death and Mr. Hall described the voice message as, “Hey kiddo, I hope you are well and just wanted to tell you I love ya.” After reading the response article, it became apparent that Dr. Butler was also a wonderful grandfather in addition to his lifetime achievements in the area of aging.

It was he who in 1968 coined the phrase “ageism” in describing discrimination against the elderly and how it still plagues American society, and how the lack of primary care doctors spells trouble for aging baby boomers. Dr. Butler was a physician, gerontologist, psychiatrist, and Pulitzer-winning author, who was the first director of the National Institute on Aging. Butler is known for his work on the social needs and the rights of the elderly and for his research on healthy aging and the dementias. Having grown up with his grandparents, Butler was shocked by the dismissive and contemptuous attitude toward the elderly and their diseases by many of his teachers at medical school, an attitude that no doubt led to his career and dedication to the issue. Days before his death, he was still putting in 60-hour workweeks as the founder and C.E.O. of the International Longevity Center in New York.

elderly sign by *stephyPHOTOG on deviantART

In Tapper’s final interview with Dr. Butler, he “cautioned that old age shouldn’t be taken for granted or romanticized.”  However, Dr. Butler also reflected on the joys of aging, and said that he “still found fulfillment in his writing and advocacy.” He also said he had “been tempered by the years,” and he “doesn’t blow his stack as much,” He also shared that he “didn’t have the tempestuousness he had 40 years ago.” I believe Dr. Butler was a pioneer, a grandfather, and loved by many.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for independent accommodations such as Assisted Living Facilities Los Angeles, Care Homes, Skilled Nursing Facilities, as well as a variety of Home Healthcare services nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

TLC Home Hospice – Heroes Of Hope

March 5, 2011 Leave a comment

TLC Home Hospice specializes in Hospice services and caring for those families and patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. TLC has a great team of professionals that work as an Interdisciplinary team to accomplish the care appropriate to each patient and their families. Service is our main concern and promise to our families and patients. TLC Home Hospice also is unique in that we have on board Certified Senior Advisors that have a great understanding of our senior population and their needs. TLC Home Hospice is also State Licensed, Medicare Certified and JCAHO Accredited. Visit http://tlchomehospice.com for more information and details.

The Assisted Living Industry Strikes A Chord

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a song sung by a variety of people from the Assisted Living Industry. This is a great way to spread awareness about Senior Assisted Living Communities and the effort each one takes to make the elderly feel safe, comfortable and happy.

Assisted Living Marketing services are provided by 800Seniors.com, a leading referral system in the Assisted Living Industry. We provide the perfect match between seniors searching for a facility and Assisted Living Facilities nationwide and take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information, call 1-800-768-8221 or visit http://www.assistedlivingcompanies.net/

How To Talk To Parents About Assisted Living

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment
 

source: elderly person 2 by ~peppedoubleg on deviantART

Talking to parents about putting them in an Assisted Living Home can be a very sensitive issue for many families. Children busy running a family and working a 9 to 5 job may not have sufficient time to take care of their parents and make sure they are happy and healthy. Children become concerned about how their parents are going to cope on their own. As parents get older they require more attention and assistance as their medical ailments as well as physical/mental deficiencies progress. Many seniors do not like admitting that they need assistance or help carrying out their daily routines. This could involve dressing or bathing themselves. For others it could mean requiring transport so they can participate in social activities. Many seniors have a fulfilling lifestyle residing in an assisted living facility. They have all the recreational and medical provisions that they need within reach. National Public Radio (NPR) recently did a segment on how to talk to your parents about assisted living.  The transcript of the segment can be found here or you can listen to the actual audio clip of the segment here. Any personal thoughts on what you feel is a tactful way of discussing this subject with your parents?

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living San Jose and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

Volunteering In An Assisted Living Nursing Home Is A Rewarding Experience

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

United We Serve is a US government sponsored volunteer program. Their mission statement declares “The President is calling on all Americans to participate in our nation’s recovery and renewal by serving in our communities. There are many ways to get involved. America’s new foundation will be built one community at a time – and it starts with you.” The program seems to be running successfully. The annual data collected through volunteer statistics, which started in 2002, reports the largest single-year increase in volunteers who served in 2009 versus 2008 is approximately 1.6 million! 63.4 million volunteers contributed 8.1 billion hours of service in 2009, equaling an estimated dollar value of approximately $169 billion for their services. One can’t help being moved when you imagine how $169 billion dollars worth of service personally affected the lives of each and every single person who benefitted from the volunteer efforts. Volunteer opportunities are abundant in all areas of service, and they are often right in front of you. Assisted living nursing homes are a great place to volunteer.

Omar Cain also known as “The Rapping CNA” works as a certified nursing assistant at a Philadelphia Assisted Living Nursing home. He’s raps in his spare time and draws inspiration from his co-workers and the assisted living nursing residents he serves. He asks them to share their experiences in the nursing home and used it as the basis of a rap called “Be Proud.”  Whenever he gets the chance he entertains assisted living residents and clients. Cain had the opportunity to share his talent outside the organization’s walls. On a trip to the state capitol, Cain shared a recording of “Be Proud” with a state legislator who later asked him to perform for a group of fellow legislators and staff members. He also performed a rap at the recent Pioneer Network conference that he wrote especially for the event. Although he doesn’t consider his entertainment stint a volunteer effort, he finds the experience very rewarding.

A Helping Hand by ~carts on deviantART

I was once working alongside a graphic artist who moonlighted as an electric guitarist in a small band. For three years in a row, the band’s leader arranged a musical holiday gig at a couple of assisted living nursing homes. They always needed backup singers. In spite of the fact that I could barely carry a tune I thought it would be a great experience to volunteer at an assisted living nursing home. My husband who happens to have a great singing voice had opportunity to volunteer with me and share his talent. Decked out in holiday red cable knit sweaters we accompanied the band to the packed recreation room full of elderly people in varying stages of decline. Many showed up for the concert in wheelchairs, some dressed for the occasion, while others were in their robes and seemed to be in a stage of semi-incoherence. But all of the seniors were attentive, smiling, and clapping their hands to the beat of the music. They rocked back and forth in their seats to the tune, and they cried. No, not because of my singing but because they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Collectively, we had given them an evening of fun and enjoyment.

If singing is not your forte you can always volunteer to read to the Assisted Living Nursing Home residents. Other people volunteer to knit, exercise, teach arts and crafts and other activities to the senior citizens. The idea is to keep them occupied and happy so they don’t feel lonely. This distracts them from their pain and complex health conditions. There is something for everyone to do when volunteering at an assisted living nursing home. You will find the experience of volunteering very rewarding and you’ll be surprised at how many friends you will make along the way.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living San Diego and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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