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

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

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

Casey Kasem’s Caregiving Fiasco – Prepare with End of Life Planning

The bizarre family feud over who should take care of Casey Kasem and make decisions about his care was played out publicly and legally for several years until his death this month. His 3 children from a first marriage and his second wife fought vehemently in both the media and the courts over who should be able to make decisions, who was able to visit him, who was ultimately responsible for his care. His wife went as far as secretly moving him out of California and not letting the rest of his family know where he was.

Most families, even if they disagree about care for a parent, won’t go to such extremes as Kasem’s family. But family conflict is common and we can use Casey Kasem as a reminder that it’s worth taking the time to talk to the people around you about what’s important for you at the end of your life, or even in your later years. Continue reading

Care Resources for Visually-Impaired Seniors

Periodically I take the time to sort through the stacks of brochures I collect and organize them so I can at least pretend to know where things are. This morning during my organizing, I rediscovered a brochure for the Audio Information Network of Colorado. This is a fabulous service I recommend to many clients who really miss being able to read the newspaper.

Poor vision is all too common among seniors and contributes to isolation and withdrawal from social connections. When you can no longer keep up with the local news or your favorite magazine, you’ve lost some of the regular routines of your life.

The Audio Information Network (AINC) understands that local information is the hardest to access for blind and visually-impaired individuals, and that is what they focus on. And, the service is free.

Audio Information Network of ColoradoAINC is among the nation’s leading resources for blind, visually impaired and print-disabled individuals, providing its listeners with free access to recorded programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The services allows registered listeners to access audio programs online, through downloaded podcasts, on TV or over the phone. Recorded content from over 100 newspapers and magazine articles provides everything from national news to local news and community events.