Reflections Feed

Hospice organizations are keenly aware of the soothing power of music. Sometimes the music may be used casually, by the facility or the family, knowing that this is a type of music that the person who is in the dying process had always enjoyed. Increasingly, though, employing trained music therapists has been favored. This type of therapy seems especially helpful with those who are dying from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Perhaps this is because in the final stage of dementia, people have usually moved beyond the point where conversation is possible. Read more →


Residents and their families would gather on the patio, or find chairs under the trees out on the lawn. The able-bodied served those with more limited abilities. For years, the grill chef was the husband of one resident. He was aided by other spouses, children and grandchildren of residents, as well as staff. Read more →


While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here. Read more →


As with all celebrations at the time, we were pretty much going through the motions. We were not going to stop celebrating this day for fathers just because Dad didn’t really understand the significance of it anymore. Mom would ask me to order yellow roses for his room. Yellow roses were something they both treasured (I kept the local florist in business during those years by ordering flowers from each of my parents to the other). I’d also pick up Father’s Day cards for him - one for me to give Dad and one for Mom to give him. Read more →


...The fact that Joe needed help was obvious. However, he was my first care receiver, other than my grandmother who lived with us when I was a teenager. That was different since with Grandma my parents were mostly in charge. Joe learned to depend on my daily visits for company and my help with doctors, groceries and some small chores. But I learned from Joe, that there is a line that we caregivers should not cross, and that line isn’t always clear. Read more →


In my view, everyone over the age of 18 ought to have appropriate health care and financial documents that will assign a trusted person to speak for them should they, for whatever reason, be unable to speak for themselves. But most people wait until they’re well into middle age before taking care of this important legal work. Read more →


Finances can be a difficult topic to discuss in some settings, and talking with aging parents qualifies as one of those. But it’s essential that families discuss finances and how they will be handled when — not if, but when — one of them becomes incapacitated physically or mentally. Wise people appoint a trusted person as power of attorney (POA) before there is a health crisis. Read more →


I believe that all caregivers who practice any form of validation when caring for a person living with dementia aim for the same result. They want to help the person maintain their sense of self, and they want to lower the anxiety and stress that stems from the person living with dementia losing the ability to readily understand the world around them. Read more →


Caregiving is a continual learning process and no two situations are identical. But, becoming as organized as possible and consistently trying to stay that way can help us relieve stress and use our time more efficiently. It might seem overwhelming to maintain order in such a hectic situation, but a reasonably small amount of effort applied regularly will prove to be far easier than frantically trying to handle everyday mishaps and especially larger emergencies. Read more →


Would you prefer a hot dog or hamburger? Ketchup, mustard, relish? Chips, salad, dessert? All were available during the annual barbecue picnic at the nursing home where my parents, my uncle and my mother-in-law lived at different times. While people also enjoyed the monthly birthday dinners and holiday festivities hosted by the nursing home, the summer barbecue was one of the most anticipated events of the year. Read more →