Nursing Home Feed

Families Need to Know About Elders’ Prescription Changes

Medical_drugs_tablets_222894Dear Carol: My dad has been in a nursing home for several years and, for the most part, we’re happy with the care. A problem occurred lately, though, where I’d like your thoughts. Dad has been on a medication for mental illness for years. We’re aware that this medication has side effects but we also know how miserable he is without it. Anyway, the dosage of this medication was lowered and we weren’t told. I found out about the change because of Dad’s behavior. I asked the floor nurse and she told me that an order had come through to lower the dosage. I then checked with the doctor who said he hadn’t lowered the dosage but that there was an order on Dad’s records for the change. In the end, we got the medication reinstated at the proper dose and Dad is improving. The staff knows that I have the medical Power Of Attorney for Dad's health.  Am I wrong about thinking that I should have been told? KB

Read more on Inforum about how medications can affect elderly and why family needs to be kept in the loop:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Dad Crushed When Mom Finds New Love in Care Home

DementiaManDear Carol: My mother developed Alzheimer’s about six years ago.  Dad was her primary caregiver until his health began to deteriorate. At that time, the family talked Dad into placing Mom into a good, local memory unit where she’s lived for two years.  She no longer knows any of her children, or even her husband, but now she’s got a boyfriend in the nursing home. They hold hands and are together as much as possible. Dad knows that Mom’s behavior is caused by the disease, but when he visits Mom and sees them holding hands it breaks his heart. The man’s wife isn’t bothered by the relationship since her husband, who also has Alzheimer’s, is happy. She says to let it go because this relationship doesn’t mean anything. I agree with her, but watching Dad suffer is almost too much. How can we help him? CTB

Read more on Inforum about person with Alzheimer's finding new love:

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


Individual Attention Important Benefit of Alzheimer’s Eating Study

FAtherSonIt’s natural for caregivers to worry if their loved one is getting sufficient nourishment. People with dementia are often a challenge because they forget to eat, or they may have problems remembering how to transfer food from the plate to their mouths. Some people have trouble chewing and swallowing, especially during later stages of dementia.

Read more on HealthCentral about a study that shows how much difference individual attention can make in eating: 

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Specialized Music Therapy for Alzheimer's and Other Types of Dementia

Guitar2..Fridays at the nursing home were very popular. Regular music groups would come by at the week’s end to play old favorites for the residents, always filling the room with cheer. My dad, who had dementia caused by failed surgery, loved the live music but also responded well to CDs of his favorites from the big band era. I know that his quality of life during his last ten years would have been diminished without music to help override the effects of dementia.

Read more on Agingcare about specialized music therapy for people with dementia:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Guilt Intrinsic to Caregiving: Most Is Unearned

CaregiverStressIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. 

Read more on HealthCentral about unearned guilt for caregivers and how to cope with it:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Bed Sores: What Caregivers Need to Know

DeathBedsores, or pressure ulcers as the professionals generally call these injuries, are a serious concern for caregivers in long-term care settings, employees in hospitals and of course, to family caregivers. People who are bedridden or spend significant time in bed or a chair and cannot shift positions on their own can be at risk. While a small, irritated area of skin does not sound like a huge concern to the average person, this minor annoyance can quickly develop into a major health problem for a person who is vulnerable.

Read more on Agingcare about bed sores - pressure ulcers -  and how to prevent them:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Having a Purpose Necessary for Quality of Life

ARTDear Carol: My dad has vascular dementia which is thought to be caused by a series of mini-strokes. He lives in the memory unit of a fine nursing home. Dad needs a certain amount of nursing care and is at risk for frequent falls, but I believe that some of his depressed state could be relieved if he felt that had a purpose. Probably the same is true for several other residents. The staff is kind and devoted and I believe that they want the best for their residents, but choices for activities are limited. Do you have any ideas about how Dad and other higher functioning people could take part in life with more than visiting the zoo and playing bingo? Gary

Read more on Inforum about the need to have a purpose in life:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Choosing a Care Facility? Listen To Your Gut

HairSalonPeople often ask what to look for when choosing an assisted living facility or a nursing home for a loved one. There are grading sites such as the Medicare Nursing Home Guide, found on Medicare.gov, and I suggest you use them. However, there are many things that go into good care that can’t be measured on a chart. In order to see the heart of a facility, you need to spend some time there. Observe routines and pay attention to the atmosphere. What is your gut feeling about the place? 

Read more on HealthCentral about choosing a nursing home: 

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Desire to Break from Paralyzing Sense of Responsibility Normal

ConfusionDear Carol: My mother is in a nursing home and has been on and off of hospice care twice, since improvement in her health has disqualified her for the program each time.  This should be good news, but with or without hospice she is still very ill with lung disease. She also suffers from the effects of past chemotherapy and her mind is increasingly foggy. She says she wants to join Dad, who died years ago. This back and forth business is tearing me apart and, to be honest, it’s wearing me out to a point that I can hardly function. I need a vacation, but I’d never forgive myself if she died and I wasn’t there. I sometimes wish she could just die now, as she wishes, and get it over with. How do I get over the guilt of having these terrible thoughts?  EMB

Read more on Inforum about wanting a break and wish for loved one's death:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


“Birdsong Initiative” Shows Computer Engagement Reduces Use of Antipsychotic Drugs for People with Dementia

Westminster-Canterbury Photo 01 (1)

Photo credit:Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay

Nearly all of us involved with dementia care know that the use of anti-psychotics has had terrible effects on many of our loved ones. My dad's story is one that I won't go into here, but let it suffice to say that I know what these drugs can do. That's one reason that the "Birdsong Initiative" fascinates me. 

The 24-week study was conducted among residents of the Hoy Nursing Care Center by the non-profit life plan community Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in conjunction with Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Wesleyan College. During the study, 31 Hoy Center residents whose dementia makes it difficult to participate in social activities used computers to regularly access enriching content customized to their personal interests and cognitive ability. The touchscreen technology is designed to be easy for seniors and offers Skype, social networking and a spectrum of content. It was developed by Colorado-based It’s Never 2 Late and is referred to as iN2L.

Read more about the "Birdsong Study":

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling