Nursing Home Feed

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:

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“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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“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


How Is Palliative Care Different from Hospice?

SleepHospice 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.

With that in mind, I contacted Kimberly Angelia Curseen, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Emory School of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Supportive/Palliative Care Clinic Emory Healthcare. Dr. Curseen has a passion for palliative care and was happy to clarify this important type of medical care that seems to pass under the radar.

Read more on Agingcare about how these two types of comfort care differ:

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


When Addressing Elders begin with Respectful Formality

FriendlyOlderWomanTwenty-five years ago, my aunt and uncle moved from the Washington, D.C. area to be with my family here on the Great Plains. One of the few complaints that I heard from my aunt about the move was that when she went to their new bank, the tellers called her by her first name. To someone of her generation, a younger person should have been calling her “Mrs. Kelly.” Yes, she understood their intent and she now lived in a more open, friendlier community than before, but she felt that first names lacked dignity. Additionally, while she was obviously aging, her mind was quick and her memory accurate. All she wanted was a little respect.

Read full article on HealthCentral about dignity in names:

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


Determining Nursing Home Quality Requires Patience and In-Person Visits

StickynotesDear Carol: With reluctance, I’m looking for a good nursing home for my wife who has had multiple sclerosis for decades. I’ve cared for her all along but my own body is breaking down.  I’ve checked Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare and that’s helpful. However, I feel that is too removed from the everyday life of most nursing homes. Some care homes look good in ratings and but in reality they seem lifeless and institutional. One that I like the feel of doesn’t have the highest rating, though the rating isn’t low. What are the best tools for choosing? Mike

Read more on Inforum about researching nursing homes:

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


Do You Regret Cohabitating with Aging Parents?

Emotions...you would always take care of her. After all, she always cared for you. Or, even though she wasn't a very good mother, and you never really got along, one cares for one's own, right? Or, your mother was pretty healthy and doing okay and you were divorced and trying to take care of two children, so you moved in with your mother. She cared for the kids for awhile, but then began showing signs of strange behavior. You feared for your kids, your mother and yourself. "What have I gotten myself into?" You thought.

Read more on Agingcare about how you feel about cohabitating with your aging parents:

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


Fall Prevention and Emotional Comfort Difficult but Important Balance

WalkerDear Carol: My wife has Parkinson's disease along with mixed dementia. She's still home with me but it's getting to be a challenge. The hardest part is preventing falls. She uses a walker. I settle her into her electric recliner and tell her to let me know when she wants to get up but she'll still try to stand alone. She can work the chair to sit upright and then she pulls herself up by one end of her walker which often tips to the side. She also will get out of bed without waiting for me to help. So far she hasn't hurt herself when she's fallen, but it's only a matter of time. She gets very upset over any type of restraining device. I don't know what to do.—Sam

Read more on Inforum about fall prevention and dignity:

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


Was It a Mistake to Place Your Parent In a Nursing Home?

Hands2If there's one emotion that nearly anyone caring for vulnerable people can count on it is guilt. We feel guilty about a decision to take some kind of action. We feel guilty about a decision to wait. We feel guilty about asking others to help. We feel guilty about not asking for help. Caregiver guilt is human, and for most caregivers, the guilt is largely unearned. Of course, we don't always make the right call regarding every circumstance. But we do our best. I'd hazard a guess that the most painful decision for most of us to make is whether or not it's in our loved one's best interests to place him or her in a nursing home. If it is also in our best interest, then the guilt looms even larger.

Read more on Agingcare about the guilt we often feel about nursing home placement:

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


Getting Over the Guilt of Placing a Loved One in a Home

AnxietyFor many caregivers, placing an elder in a home spells failure on the part of the caregiver. Even when carers know they've done all they can, a subconscious nagging voice often tells them they are giving up on their parents or spouse. I'm here to tell you that you are not giving up. You are just getting help. 

Read more on HealhtCentral about getting over the guilt of placing a loved one in a 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


Group Singing Offers Multiple Benefits for People with Dementia

Piano...Why would we be surprised? People with dementia are not less intelligent after they develop the disease than they were before. They aren’t less talented. They aren’t less in any way except that portions of their brains are being damaged so that they can’t always function well in the world as we know it. Anything that can level the playing field for people with dementia is bound to give them joy and renewed confidence.

Read more on HealthCentral about the benefits of group singing for people with dementia:

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