Autonomy and Health

Autonomy and Health The fine balance necessary between these two standards is never clearer than in the recent Florida death of an 86 year old female resident of an assisted living facility. She signed herself out, went to a local grocery store and then drove off of a boat ramp. She was found seven days later drowned. The media and community reaction varied. It ranged from suicide being her goal, to memory loss and directional impairment, to “the right to die” her way. Had she been residing in a nursing home, she would probably not have had the autonomy to…

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Breadcrumbs Through the Forest

An analogy of Alzheimer’s disease could be one of a forest being taken over by undergrowth. The clear paths that once existed neuron to neuron are being overtaken by plagues and tangles that make the cognitive journey difficult. When the thoughts are no longer connecting to guarantee recognition of loved ones and tasks of daily living, more care providers are added. These are folks who don’t know the individual at all but hopefully understand the disease and its impact. How do they get to know the “resident”, “patient”, or “client”? They need a trail of breadcrumbs through the undergrowth. That’s…

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Dementia Doula

My qualifications as a dementia recreation specialist come from over twenty-six years of care-ing for individuals with dementia. I started as a nurse’s aide in 1972, continued as a volunteer when my children were very young and then had the life-changing transition from professional caregiver to family caregiver of my father-in-law with Alzheimer’s disease. My ability to provide nursing assistance was very useful as a live-in caregiver, but our inability to provide him with better quality of life was devastating. After his death, I took on a job as activities assistant at the Adult Day Care Dad had attended briefly….

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