Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Comment and Question from only of my Readers

I recently received this email and have permission to share. I made a few suggestions but thought that other readers might have some helpful insights.....

"I am an occupational therapist. I received a copy of your book "Still Giving Kisses" a couple of years ago when my mother was starting to exhibit cognitive changes and she was still living independently in senior housing with assistance from a home health aide for shopping , laundry , and showering (although at that time she was refusing to shower as she preferred to sponge bathe.
She has been living in an assistive living facility for the past two years, with cognitive and functional skills greatly declining. The biggest problem is her refusing to shower and refusing to let aides assist her, therefore even sponge bathing , brushing teeth and hair are not consistent . I picked up your book which had been sitting on my shelf and read it through and was amazed at how similar my mother's life has been to yours. I could totally identify with you, your sister and your mothers situation.
I loved you suggestions for cognitive stimulation (I am jewish so your specific activity ideas hit home although they can easily be adapted to any culture).
I was hoping to find suggestions for improving my mother's cooperation with hygiene as that is the biggest struggle. After getting her to agree to a shower twice a week I posted a schedule in her bathroom to remind her when the aide would be in and time so the aide could point out the schedule and remind her that she agreed to it, but my mom proceeded to tear it down. She has a fear of getting water in her ears , and I have provided ear plugs, but she continues to resist. She won't allow the aide to help her with a sponge bath, but does not initiate herself. I am planning to post a simple reminder with one or two words and a picture for washing/ showering, tooth brushing , and hair brushing to see if she will initiate given this visual cue I stead of being told what to do.
Do you have any suggestions? Wondering if you had to address this problem with your mom or other dementia patients.
Much thanks for any additional ideas"

Friday, December 16, 2011

I read in the Boston Globe today that some hospice care companies pay employees for referrals.
Hospice care used to be chiefly a charitable cause but has become a huge industry with a base of medicare covered patients that doubled to 1.1 million from 2000 to 2009. It is supposed to be offered for patients who are expected t die within 6 months. According to this article Hospice Care of Kansas gave its salespeople a budget of $500 a month to buy lunches and gifts for doctors and nursing facility managers and staff.
The article presents this as being somewhat unethical. I think that it is unethical to bribe but as far as  services- it all depends on what they are. When my mom was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's disease I was not told about Hospice. I only discovered it when I saw a Rabbi running around and I asked him why he was there.  I applied and my mom was suddenly given a specially trained aide who spent 2 hours a day stimulating her. In addition, the hospice nurse said that my mom no longer needed to have painful blood tests to assess her psychiatric medication. I was thrilled with these services.
What I was not thrilled about was arriving one day and seeing a woman waving her arms above my mother's body while my mom was sleeping. This was during the late stages of the disease when she spent most of her time with her eyes closed and needed to be physically stimulated in order to open her eyes and interact at all. Nobody asked if I wanted Medicare to pay for Reiki (which I admit I don't know much about), but I would have said no.
In the same Boston Globe today I read that President Obama will be raising the pay for home health care employees. This is very important because the people who take care of our loved ones should earn a living wage.
Thank-you President Obama!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Glen Campbell Good Bye Tour

I am kind of dating myself when I say I that grew up with Glen Campbell on TV. I preferred rock and roll at the time but I am a big fan of his now that he has shared facing his Alzheimer's diagnosis with public.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life, Scrambled by Dementa

Boston Globe article describes virtual tour so that caregivers experience simulated sensory losses to better understand dementia.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Elders not told of risks in hip study

Wow, this is an interesting article in the Boston Globe. I don't understand what the purpose of the research was and who funded it. Are the companies that make the underwear looking for a cheaper way to make them with padding on only one side? Who gave permission to be in the study-family members or the nursing homes. Did the nursing homes get financial reimbursement for involvement in the study or free underwear? Basically, I am asking why did the family or staff agree to this study in the first place? Is the study supposed to be comparing use of underwear with padding on one side vs. padding on both sides or are they comparing use of underwear with padding on one side vs. no padding at all? Why would the nursing home staff want to be involved in this in the first place if previous research indicated that underwear with padding on both sides was effective! I think that the authors of this article are just as confused as myself since they seemed to have difficulty getting information from the researchers. but since our tax monies pay for nursing home care we all deserve an explanation from a financial as well as humanitarian vantage....