Archive for category Senior Older Adult and Elderly

Artist Michael Reagan

Have you ever been inspired by a senior who his making a difference in the world?  Here is a video on artist Michael Reagan, a man who has taken his love for art and turned his craft into fundraising for charity and donating art to the family of fallen American soldiers.

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Lack of Sleep- How It Hurts You

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We all know infants and teens need a lot of sleep, because their bodies are changing so rapidly.  But, when we consider adults, and the elderly, we often don’t associate sleep as something we “need”.  Some people are even proud- stating to others, that they only need “5 or 6” hours of sleep.

I recently read a fascinating article regarding our “catastrophic” lack of sleep, and that research shows that it is linked to a host of fatal diseases.  A professor at Berkley states that sleep deprivation affects “every aspect of our biology”.  A lack of sleep has been “linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and poor mental health among other health problems”.  The article goes on to say that anything less than 7 hours of sleep is bad for our health.  Many view the need for more sleep as a trait of being lazy.  In short, the article states that a lack of sleep is killing us, and that we need to change our view of sleep and get more of it on a regular basis!

For more, read the article below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sleep-deprivation-epidemic-health-effects-tired-heart-disease-stroke-dementia-cancer-a7964156.html

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Teepa Snow, Leading Expert on Dementia

 

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This week, I had the opportunity to attend a work shop on dementia by one of America’s leading experts on the topic; Teepa Snow.  It was both informative, and funny as she kept our attention the entire six hours.  Below, is a clip from her site.  She has a great deal of information you can use to improve your care for those with dementia.

http://teepasnow.com/resources/teepa-tips-videos/dementia-101/

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Live Life to the Fullest

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A Beautiful Gift

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This was a very touching story of a young man named Chris (aged 31), who took in an elderly neighbor named Norma who was dying from Leukemia.  He credited her with “changing his life for the better and helping to teach him to be a kinder, gentler and more compassionate person”.  After she died, he posted her photo on Facebook and he wrote this message:

“To love another is not about living struggle free or never experiencing hurt or loss, but to fully and deeply open our hearts to one another without fear. Each of us is lovable even with all of our differences. Love has no boundaries”.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/02/16/ailing-89-year-old-who-moved-in-with-actor-neighbor-dies.html

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Doll Therapy

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Have you considered doll therapy when working with individuals with memory loss?  This article lists the pros and cons.  Overall, I think the benefits can be tremendous.  I have observed elderly women in long-term care who talk to their doll and care for it.  The doll is very comforting and provides great joy to the patient.

I just recently watched a documentary on adults- both men and women who are serious doll collectors (Barbie dolls and Reborn dolls) and they have no memory loss.  Some women even bring their Reborn dolls out in public and push them in strollers.

I think it’s a great idea.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/03/495655678/doll-therapy-may-help-calm-people-with-dementia-but-it-has-critics

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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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