Alzheimer's, Dementia, Emergency Preparedness, Health & Wellness, Senior Services

Emergency Room Environment for Alzheimer’s Patients – Denver Hospital Takes the Lead

I would not call the emergency room featured in the article below “paradise”, but I would say it is a vast improvement over others in terms of amenities and should be considered for all emergency rooms, not only for those receiving persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There are large clocks to read the time, big white boards written with exactly what tests and treatments you are receiving and how long they will last, softer lighting, no disruptive noises from monitors, curtains with soothing scenes to look at such as waterfalls.

The report claims the floors are designed with falls in mind but the bathroom floor looks like tile. No to tile! Use linoleum (rubber) or other material which can cushion falls and is quiet!!

Wondering if I missed seeing guard rails on the bed.

The senior TV correspondent in the video in the link falls short of being articulate, but the TV station footage captured at the hospital is worth viewing.

Congratulations to Denver’s Lutheran Medical Center for taking this first step. May the world follow your lead.

Note: The article in the link below was found on an excellent free weekly newsletter (via a Denver TV station). Alzheimer’s Weekly.

Aging, Assisted Living, End-of-Life Care, Health & Wellness, Senior Housing Security, Senior Living

International Women’s Day – Honoring An Ethiopian Woman Who Rescues Older Adults

It is March 8, 2016, International Women’s Day.

There are amazing women (and men) on our planet. There are many whom we can honor – some are known, others are silently making contributions to advance humanity.

Last night I read a Help Age International article about Assegedech, referred to as the Mother Teresa of Ethiopia. I felt it would be fitting to pay tribute to her on this special day.

Assegedech’s story is heart-warming and inspiring. It’s a tale of a generous, sensitive woman from humble origins who happened to inherit a large property. She noted in an interview that she was fortunate to have a good father and a compassionate husband, both of whom were open to caring for those with less. She’s been on her own for many years now… in a big way.

With the support of Help Age International Assegedech expanded her home into a compound which houses almost 90 destitute older adults. It is, in addition, a sustainable community. Assegedech empowers the residents  by offering them meaningful work in the gardens, if they are able. She keeps them active to their last days.  She offers them a life of dignity.

Photo and by-line from Help Age InternationalAssegedech smiles in her garden

Despite being in her 70s, Assegedech Asfaw shows no sign of slowing down.

Many blessings for Assegedech and all others who come to the aid of abandoned, frail, vulnerable elders on a daily basis. Photos of the Ethiopian seniors can be found in the link below. The full story is worth reading.

Aging, Alzheimer's, Dementia

Powerful Radio Documentary about Alzheimer’s/Dementia from Pieter Droppert, UK

Pieter Droppert, a British science writer and blogger, has produced a brilliant radio documentary about the “quiet crisis”, not cancer, but the growing number of seniors with some form of dementia.  Statistics, he reports, say one in three persons over 60 will likely develop some form of dementia.

Here below is a link to the extraordinary 25 minute narrative.  Pieter’s mother Audrey is one of the subjects:

Health & Wellness

How You Age May Depend on How You Think

Below you’ll find a post from McNight’s editor James Berkland published on-line on February 8, 2013

I have found in my work with elders, that yes indeed, your attitude affects your health, positively or not.

Wellness often depends on how we feel and think about it, no matter our age.  

Frail or sturdy? Seniors decide what they want to be

James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight’s Editor

If you’re like me, you’re a big believer in the saying “Attitude determines altitude.” If you’re in the eldercare business, this should become embedded in your mind — for the good of those on your watch.

An awful lot of research crosses my desk on any given day. That’s why when something sticks in the mind for more than a few weeks, it’s safe to say it’s remarkable. That is how I characterize the work of Becca Levy, which I first became aware of shortly before Christmas.

An associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University, Levy has worked for several decades studying how seniors’ attitudes affect their ability to deal with disabilities. Her most recent update appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In brief, she’s found that people who subscribe to negative aging stereotypes (“the older you get, the more helpless or useless you’ll be,” etc.), are more likely they are to suffer memory loss, poor physical function and even early death.

On the other hand, when seniors view themselves as being more likely to have wisdom, self-realization and general satisfaction in old age, they are essentially more liable to “will” themselves healthy.

In fact, a positive bias makes seniors 44% more likely to fully recover from some disabling condition, Levy and colleagues found. She also reported in 2002 that individuals with positive age stereotypes lived 7.5 years longer than those without them.

Researchers and reviewers agree that more study is needed. But they openly express confidence that a cause-and-effect dynamic exists.

Positive aging stereotypes are associated with individuals eating better, exercising more, following up with physicians better and stopping smoking more often. Seniors also feel a better sense of control and self-efficacy when they bring positive biases to the table.

How does this pertain to you, the senior caregiver? It’s simple: Realize how profoundly you can affect your residents’ outlook on aging, and, therefore, their lives in general. Help them build self-esteem and a sense of self-worth.

Be cautious with the tone of voice you use around them, and maintain a positive attitude about aging in general. Give your residents your full attention and work hard to avoid using loaded expressions and phrases that cast aging in a negative light.

And then when you go home, keep up the positive attitude. Psychologists note that impressions of aging and the aging condition are formed very strongly early on.

Today’s child who wrinkles her nose at the thought of, well, getting wrinkles, slowing down or becoming less useful in old age could be creating a path to unnecessary disability, or worse.