Category: Psychosocial health


Red Cliffs, seasonal crescendo, riot of Spring

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Death Dowry

This may be a mis-nomer—but it comes from the reality that there are things we relish and deny ourselves throughout life. Perhaps it’s legitimate to purchase, embrace, plan some of these things for our final days. This came to me while at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. I relished the bathrobe provided in the room, I was so sad that it wasn’t until the second night that I realized it was for me to use. As I reached  to untie the sash, the texture was sooo rich. Like my mom’s meringue, only fluffier. I priced a carbon copy in the…

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Fool’s Gold

All that glitters is not gold. When choosing a place for a loved one with dementia it is very important to research what is truly being offered. Is it simply a secured unit? Does it have a different staffing ratio? Is  the staff  trained in dementia care? An individual with dementia has unique activity needs. How is that accommodated on the unit?  Is the unit designed to encourage reminiscence? As a caregiver, you are very aware of the unique challenges your loved one presents in the face of medication; meals; loss of independence. How is the facility prepared to meet…

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Pioneer Network

Last weekend passionate people committed to changing the face of long-term care met in Little Rock, Arkansas.  1200 strong, they came from many states, many types of care backgrounds but focused on one goal—changing care.  It was an inspiring gathering with long-time personal heroes like Bill Thomas and Dr. Richard Taylor taking concepts to a new level.  I was fortunate enough to be one of many guides to personalizing care.  It was a powerful weekend that will serve as fuel for my teaching, my research and my writing.

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“A tree planted by the river is evergreen . . .”  This Jeremiah verse 17:8 has been my mantra in providing dementia care.  As a healthcare worker I have seen how quickly an elder can die though still breathing, still receiving excellent medical and physical care.  The river that once flowed through their life, had moved as surely as a tree that was uprooted.  Transplanted to a sterile environment that lacks the unique characteristics that once made them thrive.  This environment has many caretakers that tend their physical needs but just a few whose role is to tend their spirit. …

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Count Your Blessings

He came to us through the labyrinth of university closed doors. Ninety-two years old, Jesse G. wanted to develop a cognitive brain program. He landed on Dr. E’s desk because she has a big heart and hoped to gain future goodwill for research in the assisted living arena. He was a successful business man with a passion to get his peers out of their depression and back into life. By the time our research team met with him, he had formulated an entire program of reminiscence as well as a battery of tests to assess its value. He envisioned starting…

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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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