End-Of-Life Decisions For Families

End-of-Life Decisions .. this is a hard subject at times.  Have you had the conversation with your parents yet about how they envision their life as they get closer to the end of it?  Most of us haven’t.  But it is time that we do.

It is important for us to think about how we want our life to be at the end, because the medical professionals around us during that time certainly aren’t going to guess what we want.  And given the tendency to overdiagnose, overtreat, and overmedicate, you may get subjected to more interventions than you ever anticipated.  The time to be considering what you or your parents might want and not want, and what you want your life to look like, is before you are in the midst of a crisis and needing to make quick decisions. Continue reading

Dignity of Risk and Caring for an Elder

Growing old should not mean that you lose control of your daily life and all the decisions that go along with it. Yet too often that is exactly what happens. If you are a caregiver, have you heard yourself saying “you NEED to use your walker, you might fall”, “you need to drink that water”, “let me carry that for you, you might drop it”, “don’t do that, you might fall”?

the dignity of risk

Even though the person has lived with and managed their risks all their adult life, suddenly everyone else is telling them what they can and can’t do. And based on what? Safety? For what end, hanging around waiting to die?

There is a wonderful concept called “The Dignity of Risk”, which acknowledges that life experiences come with risk and that we must respect a person’s self-determination and autonomy and allow them to make their own choices about which experiences are worth a risk. Continue reading

Home Care Addresses Social Isolation Worries

A recent Harvard School of Public Health study published in The American Journal of Public Health suggests that “strong social ties, through friends, family and community groups can preserve our brain health as we age and that social isolation may be an important risk factor for cognitive decline in the elderly.” The study also indicated that those elderly engaged in many social contacts had the slowest rate of memory decline. Continue reading

Caregivers Forced to Choose Between Caring for a Loved One and a Job

At least 42 percent of U.S. workers have been caregivers for aging loved ones in the last five years. In fact, most family caregivers work full or part time while caring for their parent, spouse, aunt, uncle or other loved one.

jugging your job and caring for a loved one

The majority (68 percent) of family caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving duties including: arriving late/leaving early or taking time off, cutting back on work hours, changing jobs or stopping work entirely. Continue reading

Embarrassing Things People With Dementia Say

Many people with dementia lose their social filters and no longer understand what is or is not appropriate to say in public.  They do not say embarrassing things intentionally, but have indeed lost the lens they used to live with.  You may have encountered situations like these:

Person with Dementia: (upon hearing someone speaking a different language) “Speak English!” Or use a racial slur to describe them.

I have seen and heard many elders using racial references that were, to say the least, disrespectful. It doesn’t necessarily mean the people are racist, though some are.  Many of our elders grew up in much less diverse communities than we have today.  They have simply lost whatever inhibitions they may have had. So when they see someone of another ethnicity, they blurt out labels that they heard as youths, embarrassing everyone involved. Continue reading