Hospice and Palliative Care Feed

DEAR CAROL: My wife has had a stroke that’s left her mostly paralyzed on one side. She can’t speak well and she cries often. We’re in our 70s and have spent our lives as active church people. In fact, we’ve done our share of visiting hospitals and nursing homes representing the church. We’ve told people that what they are facing is their reality and that we will pray for them. We’ve told them to be grateful for what they have. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m having a difficult time feeling grateful for anything at all. Instead, I feel angry, exhausted, frustrated and frightened. How could I have been such a hypocrite all of these years? – Roger Read more →


“I hope we don’t have another funeral this Christmas,” my young son said after we wrapped up Halloween. Hearing my child voice that fear nearly broke my heart, but our family had endured the deaths of two elders during the last two Christmas seasons so why wouldn't he wonder if this year would be the same? Thankfully, that particular year we didn’t have a funeral during the season, though we did have another death at that time the following year. Read more →


Our 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. That is a mistake. Read more →


Cognitively impaired individuals or individuals with dementia evidently articulate their complaints less frequently. We, therefore, have to do more than just ask them about possible pain; we have to actively examine them to determine whether they are experiencing pain." Read more →


Q.What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?  A. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one type of dementia among many, though it is considered to be the most common type. Others include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s dementia and normal pressure hydrocephalus. People can actually have more than one type of dementia. Read more →


As a longtime family caregiver who provided, and continues to provide, differing levels of care for loved ones with illnesses, I can attest to the fact that caregiving can be unimaginably stressful. For dementia caregivers, the stress is even more extreme. Only lately have we seen the results of studies that have followed family caregivers. One of the most scientific, in that it uses hard physical evidence, was published last spring. The study, by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging, showed that caregivers may have their lifespan shortened by four to eight years. Read more →


Dear Carol: My parents are in their 60s and have decided that they need to have their legal paperwork updated. I think that this is smart and my siblings agree. The problem is that my parents want to designate me as their Power of Attorney for both healthcare and financial decisions since I live in their community. Unfortunately, my siblings feel slighted. While I don’t love the idea of having this responsibility, I have no problem doing what’s needed when the time comes. My brother lives 500 miles away and my sister lives over 800 miles in the other direction so this seems to be the sensible decision. There’s no concrete reason why my siblings would object to this arrangement except for sibling rivalry. My siblings would be assigned as secondary POAs and they would have their equal shares laid out in the will. How do we get over this bump? – ST  Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad is in a good assisted living facility. He’s 96, and other than congestive heart failure, he’s in fair health for his age and has a good attitude for the most part. He was having physical therapy for hip and knee problems but now refuses it. I feel that at his age he can do what he wants so I haven’t pushed it. He uses a wheelchair to get around for the most part, but he can transfer himself. The nurse at the ALF said that he’d probably qualify for hospice care, though a doctor would have to make the determination. She did say that it’s a good idea for us to check into hospice because they can offer a lot of assistance that the assisted living facility can’t provide. Read more →


According to the National Cancer Society, the majority of bladder cancers occur in the older population, with the average age... Read more →


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 →