Hospice Feed

Pain: How Is It Perceived by People with Dementia?

AnemiaSeniorsIt’s far too easy for onlookers to view someone with dementia as unable to feel pain. Since the disease eventually renders most people helpless and cognitively inexpressive, they can't articulate what hurts or why they are upset. Caring researchers have now brought new insight to this issue. In an article on altered pain processing in patients with cognitive impairment, Medical News Today states that new research shows how wrong previous ideas about what people with cognitive disorders could feel have been.

Read full article about pain and  Alzheimer's on HealthCentral:

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An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Missing the Moment of Passing Can Make Some Family Members Feel Guilty

Between-seasons-10031027Dear Carol: My dad had been fighting cancer for years. Eventually, there was no more hope for a cure, so we agreed to ask for hospice care to keep Dad comfortable during his last weeks of life. He surprised us by doing well under hospice care, living beyond the doctor’s expectation, but, of course, he eventually died. What bothers me is that I wasn’t with him at the moment he passed. He was in a nursing home at the time and the staff was wonderful. They called the family together when it was determined that Dad was close to the end. My siblings and I sat with Dad for two days around the clock. We brought in food at first but as the wait stretched out we took turns going to my nearby home to shower and nap. Dad died during my nap. I still feel devastated and guilty that I wasn’t there when he passed. I go to hospice grief counseling and that is helping, but I’m wondering if you have any words of comfort to offer? Rhonda

Read full column on Inforum about feeling guilty when you miss the moment of passing:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


What Is Palliative Care and How Is It Different from Hospice?

HospitalPalliativeHospice care is palliative care, but palliative care is not hospice. The difference between these two types of care is something that I have found difficult to clarify myself let alone explain to others. However, this care is a fundamental part of treating any chronic or terminal illness.

Read full article on Agingcare about the difference between hospice and palliative care:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


No Need to Feel Guilty About Wishing a Loved One Could Let Go

DeathDear Carol: My mom is 94 years old and frail. She has a weak heart and bad lungs, yet she hangs on. I’m a 73-year-old widow. I took care of Mom at home for over five years, but two years ago I placed her in a nursing home. I felt terrible guilt about doing that because I’d promised her that I wouldn’t, but my own health was deteriorating and I couldn’t physically transfer her anymore. There was no other choice. Apparently, we both had outdated ideas about nursing homes or we would have done this sooner since we are both pleased. But Mom is now bedridden and can barely murmur a few words. There is no quality in her life that I can see and I find myself wishing that she could just let go. Then I feel ashamed. She’s very religious and isn’t afraid of death, and neither am I, but I'm still confused about my feelings. Guilt and shame nag at me even though I know that her current situation is miserable. How do I deal with this feeling of disloyalty about wanting her life to end? SL

Read full column on Inforum about the guilt from wishing an ill loved one would die:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Hospice Care about Re-Focusing Priorities, Not Giving Up

Hands12Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care.The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how hospice care is "doing something."

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Acceptance of Change Important in Alzheimer’s Caregiving

CloudsMy dad went into surgery with a smile and hope. He came out with severe dementia. Something unexplainable at the time had happened and Dad became a statistic – one of those “poor outcomes” we hear about. My head knew this tragedy was permanent, but my heart wanted my “real” dad back. The kind, loving, intelligent man whose love for me was steadfast. I wanted him back. Unfortunately, my family and I had to learn to accept the fact that Dad would never be the same.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how accepting change can help us survive nearly anything:

Safety for your Elders - Peace of Mind for You:  Simple Smart Phone with Large Screen, Jitterbug flip phone, Urgent Response Device   For help CALL:  1-866-222-0703

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Critical End-of-Life Issues a Holiday Topic for Many

FamilyvisitEnd-of-life discussions may not seem to fit with the commonly cheerful image of the holiday season. After all, who likes to talk about potential death? Yet, too many people die in a manner they would not choose. When we consider that the true reason for this spiritual season is to celebrate our faith, what could be more fitting than incorporating the message that we want the best for our loved ones for their entire life - and that their life will include the death process?

Read full article on HealthCentral about having the end-of-life discussion with your loved ones: 

Christmas Gift for your Elders - Peace of Mind for You:  Simple Smart Phone with Large Screen, Jitterbug flip phone, Urgent Response Device   For help CALL:  1-866-222-0703

Support caregivers this CHRISTMAS by giving them copies  of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. ORDER EARLY before supplies run out.


Life Expectancy for Person with Advanced Dementia Hard to Predict

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Dear Carol: My mother was diagnosed with mixed dementia (vascular dementia along with Alzheimer’s) at age 67. She’s now 75 and the doctor says she’s in Alzheimer's stage seven. She’s had two strokes and takes medication for high blood pressure. Mom doesn’t know anyone and simply sits and stares into space without reacting very much. All of her doctors are vague about her life expectancy. I don’t expect the doctor to know exactly how long she will continue this way but I’d like some idea.  Are they uncomfortable with my question? PT

Read full article on Inforum about life expectancy and comfort care:

Christmas Gift for your Elders -  Peace of Mind for You:  Simple Smart Phone with Large Screen, Jitterbug flip phone, Urgent Response Device    For Help CALL:  1-866-222-0703

Support a caregiver this Christmas with Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


November Appropriate Month for Celebrating Hospice and Palliative Care

ComfortWhether or not November was chosen as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month because of the sad reminders of holiday deaths that Thanksgiving and Christmas bring around each year, I don’t know. But to me, the timing is perfect. All deaths leave behind days on the calendar that are particularly painful for loved ones. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, the births of children and grandchildren. All magnify the lack of presence of the deceased person. However, Thanksgiving, Christmas - and even the New Year - come around at the same time for all.

Read more on HealthCentral about how November is appropriate for celebrating comfort care:

Support caregivers this Christmas by giving them copies  of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories:


Changing Terminology Can Make Accepting End-Of-Life Decisions Easier

DeathDear Carol: My family is having a serious disagreement over signing papers for our mom who has just entered a nursing home. I have Power Of Attorney and am favor of signing a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form for Mom. She has always told us she didn’t want to linger when her time came. While she is going into the nursing home for physical, she is showing some signs of early stage dementia so it’s important that we get this done. My brother and sister both think that a DNR is cruel and that it’s like killing Mom. They think that everything should be done to keep her alive as long as possible. Her POA even states that she doesn’t want to be kept alive at all cost. Because of this, I think I can push through the DNR, but I feel bad because my siblings are upset. I know that they don’t want to see Mom suffer unnecessarily but they feel guilty taking this formal step. How do I get through to them that there’s a point where people allowed to go? CD

Read more about Allow Natural Death on Inforum:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

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