Archive for category Long-Term Care

Eugenia Smiled

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Do you work with seniors who have end-stage (or advanced) Alzheimer’s?  Have you found it challenging to connect to them in a meaningful way?  It can be difficult without knowing something about what they used to enjoy.  Below is a story of Eugenia, a senior who was 100 years old and was told that she didn’t need a volunteer.  Not only did she have an advanced case of Alzheimer’s, she was partially blind and had hearing difficulties.

A volunteer coordinator decided to place a volunteer with Eugenia every day of the week.  Each day volunteers read to her.  Volunteers also oriented Eugenia to her surroundings and the time.  Week after week, Eugenia continued to be unaware of the companionship she was receiving.  But one day, a young volunteer sang his university’s fight song.  Then it happened- Eugenia’s feet began to tap.  She bobbed her head and lifted her eyes.  With all eyes on Eugenia, she looked up and spread her lips and smiled.

It took time and patience.  It took finding what Eugenia needed to connect to the outside world.  Her smile meant so much to those volunteers- they had finally made a connection.  What she needed was music!

http://seniorsmiles.org/about-us/stories

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Sitting Too Long Speeds Up Aging Process

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Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, shows that elderly people who sit for most of the day age quicker than their more active contemporaries.  According to James Goodwin, head of research at Age UK says, “people don’t realize that if you sit down all day it can undermine all the exercise you do”.  It is recommended that people stand up and move around every 20 minutes throughout the day.  For more about this interesting topic, see below.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/18/sitting-hours-day-speeds-ageing-new-research/

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Hasbro’s Robotic Pet Therapy

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Modern technology has produced something very special- a new companion for the elderly who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  It is a Robotic Pet and it acts similar to a live pet, but it never runs away, has to be fed, or must make an expensive trip to the vet!  These pets give these seniors a true companion and would be terrific for any activity program.  The video is short, but very sweet and shows how these pets can make a real difference to your loved one.  You can find these at Walmart.com.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5177109640001/are-robots-the-future-of-therapy-animals/?#sp=show-clips

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Never Ending Love

This video is from You-tube, and was posted by a group called Human Kind.  Human Kind posts really terrific stories about real people.  This one, is about a husband and wife both in a long-term care facility.  The wife has Alzheimer’s and the husband visits her when he can.  He continues to love, and be devoted to her even when she doesn’t remember him. It is very touching.

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Suing A Nursing Home Could Get Easier Under Proposed Federal Rules

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Source: Suing A Nursing Home Could Get Easier Under Proposed Federal Rules | Kaiser Health News

This is an article about a woman who wanted to file a claim against a nursing home and her experience.  It can be very difficult to prove the case of abuse and neglect in a long-term care facility without the use of technology (a video camera) because while abuse occurs, falls and other incidents of accidents also occur.  While it can be challenging for a family member to prove abuse, it can be even more so, to prove neglect.

In this article, a case is described where a man with dementia who had a history of wandering was placed in a nursing home, only to die within a month of complications from dehydration.  Is it possible the CNAs didn’t offer him enough to drink?  Yes, this is possible.  But did you know, some dementia patients who pace burn many calories (causing significant weight loss), while at the same time refuse to eat or drink enough to survive?  Many patients with dementia who pace could use the benefit of additional calories through a feeding tube (G-tube), but they are so restless or agitated, that in some cases a G-tube can’t be inserted due the the dementia patient being at high risk for pulling it out.

Monitoring the delivery of good patient care can be challenging.  I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.

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Caregiving in the US -2009 Statistics

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Source: Acknowledgements – Caregiving_in_the_US_2009_full_report.pdf

Are you a caregiver or know someone who is?  Caregiving for another person, whether it be a child or adult can take a great amount of physical and mental energy.  The stress of being a caregiver is sometimes overwhelming.  The latest statistics that I am able to locate on this topic is found at the above site.  Even though it dates back to 2009, it provides very detailed information for those who want to learn more about this topic.  The research was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving, in collaboration with AARP.  It was funded by Metlife.

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Suicide in Caucasian Men over 85 years old

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Here is a statistic you may not be aware of- according to the CDC, white men over the age of 85 are more likely to commit suicide as compared to Americans in any other age group.  Here is excerpt from the CDC:
In 2013, there were over 41,000 suicides in the United States –an average of 113 each day. Each suicide takes a substantial toll on individuals, families and communities. The medical costs and lost wages associated with suicide are estimated to be $44.6 billion per year. These numbers underestimate the severity of the problem. In the United States, for every one suicide there are 25 attempted suicides. In 2013, over 494,000 people were treated in US emergency departments for self-inflected injuries. In addition, many more people struggle with thoughts of suicide. During 2008– 2009, over 8 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous year and 2.2 million adults reported having made suicide plans.
The risk for suicidal behavior is complex. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide but some groups are at higher risk than others. Men are about four times more likely than women to die from suicide. However, women are more likely to express suicidal thoughts and to make nonfatal attempts than men. In the past, suicide was addressed by providing mental health services to people who were already experiencing or showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior. While such services are critical, preventing suicide at a national level will require approaches that go beyond mental health issues to address broader family, community, and societal issues.
For more information related to seniors in particular, please see the article below from the Washington Post.

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