Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chivalry is not Dead

Today I heard a story about a man and a woman who had been married 73 years.  She had cared for him for nearly a decade; he had Parkinson's Disease and complications.  One night they both went to the hospital by ambulance.  She had had a stroke that left her with significant impairment, but overall she was in much better condition than her husband.  In the morning the young doctor went in to check on his patients and the wife had died during the early morning hours.  The doctor was quite surprised, as her vital signs had been stable throughout the night.  "What happened?"  he asked the husband, who seemed amazingly calm and accepting.  "A gentleman always lets the lady go first."  The husband passed that night.  This was a true story.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pet Therapy Services

Hi My name is Jack.  I am Kate's 90 pound collie poodle afghan and I am a Pet Therapist.  Today we are on the road again!  I love riding in the car and often wherever Kate goes, I go! Sometimes she takes me to the nursing and retirement homes and we visit people. 

I remember one guy, he was pretty young (about 7 in dog years). He was very disabled and didn't "connect" with anyone, ever! Kate took me in and his eyes slowly raised to meet mine and his hand reached out and ruffled the hair on my head. You could tell he was really weak and tired. They say it was the only time he made eye contact or reached out for anything. It was with ME?! 

I heard he died the next day. I am so glad I was there with him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Aging With Grace


I am a weekend gardener.  Here are my roses this morning... Look at the old and then look at the new..  How exquisite the aging petals are!!! Getting older can be quite beautiful when it is approached with grace.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It Takes a Long Time to Grow Up


Funny how long it takes us to Grow Up.  It takes our whole lives doesn't it?  I have realized that no matter how old people are (and I've worked with old people all my life) that we are all just children when we are in an area of life that we have never been exposed to.  Learning to deal with a new challenge in life is not much different than walking through the door of your kindergarten class on the first day of school.  There's always more to learn!

We are reminded that we are still children when we get caught up in emotional waves of concern, fear, overwhelm or feeling a loss of control over our life circumstances.

No matter how old we are we are still just children.  If we are blessed we have our parents alive and well for a long time.  If we are really blessed we will know how blessed we are to have our parents alive and well.  I am one of them!  My parents are doing well and I thank my lucky stars when I look at statistics and when I work everyday with people who are struggling to survive and to live.

I am also well aware that it is just a matter of time and the situation will change.  It makes me very thankful for Right Now for what I have, for what we have together as a family.

Look around at all the parents who aren't doing well.  All those who struggle with memory loss; dementia.  All those who rely on walkers and wheelchairs to get them from one place to another.  All those who rely on their adult children to meet their most basic needs on a daily basis.

This Mother's Day (and Father's Day) upcoming, please take a moment to thank your parent for being self-sufficient and healthy.  And if they aren't, take a moment to breathe in and think of ways to help them --- and to help yourself to help them.  You don't have to do it all.

If you don't know where to start, get yourself a geriatric care manager who can make it all easier for you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Growing Old Is Sometimes Optional

The Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality Remind Us of the
Health Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity has beneficial effects on most (if not all) organ systems, and consequently it prevents a broad range of health problems and diseases. Physical activity in older persons produces three types of health benefits:
  1. It can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease.
  2. It can aid in the management of active problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or high cholesterol.
  3. It can improve the ability to function and stay independent in the face of active problems like lung disease or arthritis.
Although the benefits of physical activity increase with more frequent or more intense activity, substantial benefits are evident even for those who report only moderate levels of activity—i.e. washing a car for 60 minutes, raking leaves for 30 minutes, or brisk walking or swimming for 20 minutes. All of the benefits of physical activity are especially important for older men and women since they are more likely to develop chronic diseases and are more likely to have conditions such as arthritis that can affect their physical function.
Regular physical activity has beneficial effects on a variety of health outcomes, effects that are supported by consistent scientific evidence. These include:
  • Lower overall mortality. Benefits were greatest among the most active persons but were also evident for individuals who reported only moderate activity.
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease. The cardiac risk of being inactive is comparable to the risk from smoking cigarettes.
  • Lower risk of colon cancer.
  • Lower risk of diabetes.
  • Lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Exercise also lowers blood pressure in individuals who have hypertension.
  • Lower risk of obesity.
  • Improved mood and relief of symptoms of depression.
  • Improved quality of life and improved functioning.
  • Improved function in persons with arthritis.
  • Lower risk of falls and injury.
Additional possible benefits of physical activity (research is less consistent) include:
  • Lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Prevention of bone loss and fracture after the menopause.
  • Lower risk of developing depression.
  • Improved quality of sleep.
Research studies have demonstrated these benefits in both middle-aged and in older persons, and in men and women. Because these chronic diseases increase with age, older persons may benefit even more than those in middle-age from physical activity. A recent study of older men in Baltimore demonstrated that leisure time activity was more important for protecting against heart disease in men over 65 than in younger men (Talbot, Morrell, Metter et al., 2002).

Of great importance to older adults, regular physical activity sustains the ability to live independently. Research has shown that virtually all older adults can benefit from regular physical activity. In particular, the mobility and functioning of frail and very old adults can be improved by regular physical activity. The large potential ability of regular physical activity to prevent chronic diseases and sustain active living means that an active lifestyle is a key component of healthy and successful aging.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Click Here to Listen to Hear on NPR How Care Managers Bring Relief


Click Here to hear the April 25, 2012 NPR program on how Geriatric Care Management can relieve families and their aging parents.

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