Aging, Hospice, Mexico, Palliative Care, Senior Services

2nd International Palliative Care Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico – Oct 2015

Juntos Contra el Dolor, AC (United Against Pain) a palliative care non-profit in Guadalajara, Mexico produced its 2nd International Palliative Care Congress (II Congreso Internacional de Cuidados Paliativos) at Expo Guadalajara October 29, 30, and 31, 2015. Physicians, psychologists, social workers, tanologists, nurses, and hospice volunteers participated in a study of the theme, Health Crisis: A Threat or an Opportunity for Growth?

Juntos Contra el Dolor Palliative Care Congress, Oct 2015, Mexico
Juntos Contra el Dolor 2nd International Palliative Care Congress, Guadalajara, Mexico   October 2015

Dr. Marcos Gomez Sancho, pioneer and thought leader in palliative care from Spain’s Canary Islands, was the main speaker. He spoke of the History of Death in Different Cultures, the Agony of Death vs. Dying in Peace, and, Advice for Family Caregivers in Terminal Situations. In addition to his own conclusions, he chose quotes from poetry, music, psychiatrists, and authors, as well as art work, to illustrate his main points:

the family must allow the ill person to make their departure

the experience of the person who is dying can help those who are witnessing their passing

the worst deaths are for those attached to machines (extreme personal pain, extreme financial costs)

the care team must be inter-disciplinary for best positive outcomes (attending to psycho-social, economic, physical, and spiritual needs of patients and families)

Dr. Marcos Gomez Sancho of the Canary Islands, Spain
Dr. Marcos Gomez Sancho of the Canary Islands, Spain, thought leader in palliative care signing one of his books

Dr. Gomez played a tape of Greek singer Demis Roussos’ Morir al Lado de Mi Amor (To Die Beside My Love), which reiterates a common last wish. He also quoted Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, “If you want life, prepare for death.”

Here below are You Tube links to Demis Roussos’ music in Spanish and French. (The Congress heard audio only, it did not view photos):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=193oMUtQzGE with Spanish sub-titles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5pu-FheBAo woman admirer’s production with no sub-titles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTBQm5RWUcw  in French

Other compelling lectures included anesthesiologist Dr. Beatriz Angelica Flores Garcia’s controversial topic Morfina vs. Marihuana. She outlined how morphine and marijuana can be used for pain relief. No one on the panel of professionals, nor anyone from the audience, could agree about use of either or both, and/or effects.

Psychologist Ortencia Gutierrez Alvarez focused her talk about crisis in the family as it relates to decisions. Conclusion? Allow free will of the patient. Psychologist Fabiola Montoya Martin del Campo who has worked with youth with cancer for over 20 years shared stories of the bravery and wisdom of children facing crisis. Dr. Cristina Orendain, a well-known naturopath with a number of health food stores in Guadalajara, spoke about tryptophan for pain relief and as a mood enhancer in our food and in supplement form.

Juntos Contra El Dolor founder Dr. Silvia Susana Lua Nava, an expert in palliative care and a nun, was the guiding light behind the conference together with Sister Martina Zumaya Tamayo, a nurse nun with a specialty in bio-ethics. They offer an integrated model for Mexico including best possible professional care with support for both patient and family. They welcome persons of diverse socio-economic background, religion, age, and race at their hospital for care, counseling, or to arrange in-home services.

 

Hda. Madre Silvia Susana Lua Nava, MD
Hda. Madre Silvia Susana Lua Nava, MD

Dr. Lua offered her own account about suffering and pain as an opportunity for spiritual growth. In 2015 she experienced three invasive surgeries, one to correct a surgery gone wrong. From age 19 to 2015 she endured five other surgeries. The presentation of how she learned to confront and overcome pain and the unknown was both amusing and inspiring. Dr. Lua is also the author of a book about palliative care which shares her insights, El Enfermo: Terreno Sagrado (The Ill: Sacred Ground).

Dr. Manuel Centeno from OPD Hospital Civil Guadalajara (the new civic hospital Dr. Juan I. Menchaca) addressed the most frequent problems treating patients with cancer of the colon. Nurse Elisa Gutierrez Andrade spoke of placement and complications involved with surgically implanted PEG’s (percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy), stomach feeding tubes. In both instances, explicit photos were shown and the lessons about care were clear and convincing.

Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Romo spoke of home nursing care and a not unusual circumstance – attending to men who have two families – two “wives” and two sets of children all meeting at the man’s death bed. Gonzalez spoke of what the patient suffers physically, psychologically, and spiritually – and how survivors deal with the patient’s pain and their own. Lots of drama – anger, forgiveness, fighting – but also a lot of love.

Attendees earned 20 continuing education credits and a diploma from the Colegio Nacional de Cuidados Paliativos de Jalisco, www.comecupal.com.mx

A note about palliative care in Mexico:

The Ministry of Public Health instituted a law in 2009 that all citizens should have access to palliative care (pain relief and comfort for chronic diseases and at end-of-life). In October 2014 the Human Rights Watch conducted a study which showed the availability of palliative care is uneven and limited throughout the country. There are also politics associated with obtaining opiods. See article at http://www.ehospice.com/ArticleView/tabid/10686/ArticleId/13355/language/en-GB/Default.aspx

A note about Juntos:

As with most non-profits, Juntos Contra El Dolor relies on donors – pharmaceutical companies, the Catholic church (which provides the housing), volunteers, and others. Throughout the year Juntos hosts weekly educational activities in an effort to support its professionals and its expenses. Dr. Nava and two other nuns are unpaid. Funds for cleaning supplies, diapers, kitchen items, linens, gasoline for in-home visits, nursing staff, nursing supplies, and upgraded office equipment are always in need. Juntos is registered as an international non-profit and all donations are tax deductible by deposit to the Juntos Contra El Dolor account at ScotiaBank CTA 01002517167. More information is available at tel. (52)(33) 3617-2417, http://www.JuntosContraElDolor.com, or at juntoscontraeldolor@gmail.com.

The web site for Dr. Marcos Gomez Sancho is http://www.mgomezsancho.com

 

Aging, Ecuador, Ecuador Senior Living, Health & Wellness, Senior Services

Cuenca, Ecuador Inaugurates New City Senior Center

Mayor Marcelo Cabrera, his wife, city dignitaries, employees, and approximately 150 seniors were present Sunday morning, April 19, as Cabrera proudly inaugurated one of Cuenca’s special projects, the “first free public senior center” also known at El Hogar del Abuelos (Home of the Grandparents).  Eight other city senior centers are in the planning stages.

See Cuenca High Life article at link below

http://cuencahighlife.com/cuenca-mayor-cabrera-inaugurates-new-city-senior-center/

Cuenca Ecuador's new city senior center in the El Vergel neighborhood
Cuenca Ecuador’s new city senior center in the El Vergel neighborhood

Assisted Living, Health & Wellness, Mexico Senior Living, Retirement, Senior Living, Senior Services

Mexico’s AMAR Hosts Senior Living Convention w/ North American Investors & Retirees

AMAR, the Mexican Association of Retirement Communities (Asociacion Mexicana de Asistencia en el Retiro), is hosting AMAR’s International Convention 2014 at Rosarita Beach Hotel, Rosarita Beach, Baja California, October 23-25, for North American and Mexican senior housing industry professionals and the public. Rosarito Beach is 20 miles south of San Diego, CA in Mexico.

The event focus, part of a continuing dialogue, is how to attract a portion of North American Baby Boomers over the coming years to senior-friendly, affordable destinations in Mexico with ideal weather,  health services, infrastructure, and proximity to the U.S. It is anticipated that of 100 million boomers in Canada and the U.S., 4 million will consider living in Mexico. According to Internet statistics, there are currently 1,400,000 to 1,600,000 U.S. citizens living in Mexico, not all retirees.

Experienced Canadian and U.S. senior living developers, operators, and executives will meet to discuss collaboration possibilities with Mexican developers and investors.

Among the 22 scheduled speakers are Americans Martin Lakatos, VP and developer for California based Front Porch Development Company; Patricia Will, CEO of Belmont Village Senior Living (23 Assisted Living properties across the U.S. and one in development in Mexico City); and Matthew J. Downs of the Center for Medicare Portability. Javier Govi, Founder & CEO of AMAR; Ignacio Bernal of FONATUR (a Mexican government entity which plans and develops top tourist destinations); and Rodrigo Contreras Mejia of PROMEXICO (a Mexican government trust for international trade and investment) will be among the speakers from Mexico.

Subjects will include elements for successful operation of CCRC’s, active senior living, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care with holistic/wellness-based concepts, eco-friendly LEED-certified construction, universal design, and health information technology. Topics will also include the state of MOM and POP projects, aging in place communities where services come to you, and Medicare in Mexico. (Medicare is not yet accessible outside the U.S. unless under rare circumstances. American seniors can purchase Medigap emergency plans C, D, F, G, M, or N with a $250 deductible).

Lic. Javier Govi, Founder & CEO AMAR
Lic. Javier Govi, Founder & CEO AMAR

When asked about the current state of senior living and its future in Mexico, AMAR’s Javier Govi stated, “We currently cater to the mom and pop market, the parents of baby boomers. We are simultaneously transitioning to meet the needs of boomers who have begun to retire. We have spent years studying this market, looking at the history, and visualizing the future. The important components for boomers will be wellness, fitness, and a holistic approach.”

An adjunct part of the event is the 50+ Expo and Workshops for Healthy Living where the public can learn about senior living options in Mexico.

AMAR Friends Foundation, which helps retirees find independent or assisted living in Mexico, is sponsoring the 50+ Expo. Seminars are designed “to answer questions from banking to moving belongings, and what is involved in obtaining a residential visa,” added Govi. The expo also includes product displays and music. The foundation will soon be providing social service projects for poor elderly Mexicans through its North American volunteers. See http://www.amarfriends.org.

AMAR, founded in 2007, is the first national Mexican non-profit organization committed to educate and collaborate with Mexican government regulatory agencies and business executives in Mexico and North America on the potential of the senior housing industry in Mexico.

For more information on the event go to http://www.amar.org.mx, write info@amar.org.mx, or call San Diego, CA number (619)564-4007.

Alzheimer's, Assisted Living, Health & Wellness, Senior Services

Interior Design for Alzheimer’s/Memory Care Communities – A Successful British Experiment

For almost two decades, especially since I served as night time administrator and marketing director at an Alzheimer’s campus in southern California, I’ve been focused on universal design – how to create a safe, practical, healthful, and inviting environment not only for those requiring memory care, but for anyone, even those of us fortunate enough to be well.

What could be better than an immaculate, welcoming, protective atmosphere where ever you live?

Yesterday I viewed a video about interior redesign of a dementia wing at Elmhurst, an assisted living village in England. I like much of what was chosen. I might not have chosen laminate flooring even if it looks great and is easy to clean, I don’t find it eco-friendly.  I may have choosen linoleum, cork, or wood instead as there is no off gassing. These green products might be safer for falls.  But I imagine there may have been budget considerations. Other than that, a fine redesign job. Based on a visual site visit, even from afar, I would consider recommending this community focused on wellness.

Note the energy of light features, especially the use of skylights and large windows, and the secure garden area.  Also note the reason red prompts were chosen for the bathroom, and cerulean blue gray for the dining room plates. There is valuable information in the video at the link below.

http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2014/09/redesigning-home-for-dementia-care.html

   please don’t be shocked by the red, there is an excellent reason for the choice

 

Assisted Living, Health & Wellness, Senior Living, Senior Services

PBS and Scan Foundation Host Long-Term Care Discussion

Very exciting senior care news…

Today, in Washington, D.C., PBS and the Scan Foundation (health insurance for the 65+ crowd) host a conversation about long-term care models from around the world.  Panelists will discuss the possibility of successfully implementing some of these models, as well as regional ones, across the U.S. The taping event is sold out but keep your eyes open for the air date. Wish I could be there!

Here is the official announcement:

The PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan will lead an exploration of long-term care, from across the global village to Main Street U.S.A. After looking at different models for providing long-term care and benefiting from expert commentary, the event will aim to answer the question: can what works there, work here?

The conversation will feature:

An interview with Dr. Bruce Chernof, President & Chief Executive Officer of The SCAN Foundation and former chair of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care
Video and expert discussion of models for long-term care, including examples from California, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., Finland and Taiwan
We will be joined by:

Dr. Laura N. Gitlin, Director, Center for Innovative Care in Aging, Johns Hopkins University
Howard Gleckman, Resident Fellow, The Urban Institute
Jennie Chin Hansen, Chief Executive Officer, American Geriatrics Society
Dr. Mark McClellan, Director, Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative, The Brookings Institution
Dr. E. Percil Stanford, President, Folding Voice LLC
Debra Bailey Whitman, Executive Vice President, Policy, Strategy and International Affairs, AARP

Health & Wellness, Senior Services

Dedicated, Loving, Well-Trained Nurses of Any Nationality Should Be Able to Work in the US

Please find below my comments an article from TheHill.com (health blog section) about a request from the U.S. nursing home industry to include a “viable” guest worker program in any immigration reform.

I second this request.

Dedicated, loving, well-trained nurses of any nationality should be able to work in the USA.  

North America does not have enough nurses and geriatricians as it is.  The work is hard.  It takes an open heart and deep concern for the well-being of all, especially the elderly and infirm.

It is my experience with most nurses from Canada, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Italy, and the Philippines, for example, that they are truly caring and connect well with their patients.  (I do not have experience with nurses from countries other than those mentioned).  

It goes without saying that the U.S. has a remarkable corps of nurses.  The point of the comments, however, is that there are not enough nurses to fulfill the needs, not to mention future needs with the ever-growing senior population.

Caring is an intangible talent that goes beyond borders.

It also goes without saying that all those who would be welcome on the guest worker program would be qualified.

NURSING HOMES WANT GUEST WORKER PROGRAM IN IMMIGRATION BILL 
By Sam Baker – 03/13/13 10:34 AM ET

The nursing-home industry said Wednesday that Congress should include a “viable” guest worker program in any immigration overhaul, and should also lift caps on employer-sponsored visas for healthcare workers.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) said immigration reform should recognize the needs of employers — including nursing homes and long-term care providers, who rely heavily on immigrants for positions such as nurses.

“Members of the long term care community employ immigrants and boost the economy. Any visa program must give employers, not the government, the primary say in which workers they need to staff their businesses,” the AHCA said. “In addition, the labor market should also have the primary say in how many workers enter the country annually in a legal program.”
The group is scheduled to testify at a House hearing Thursday on immigration reform.

AHCA said the supply of skilled nurses in the U.S. will fall more than 30 percent short by 2020 if Congress does not act. The nursing-home group said immigration reform should allow employers to access “previously unused” temporary visas for healthcare workers.