- The Last Blog Entry
Mom is doing just fine. As a matter of fact, her diabetes is so stable that the glucose checks are down to once a week for another few weeks; thereafter, they’ll be done every two weeks. The woman is going to live forever, or so it seems.
I’ve decided to stop writing A Good Enough Daughter. The team at Silver Planet has been great to work with. Reason for stopping: it’s time.
- Terminal Sedation as Part of End-of-Life Care
Seems that while I have been spending most of my waking hours thinking about care models for frail old people, a new and somewhat disturbing practice has been in play at hospice centers around the world. Terminal sedation or palliative sedation are terms used to describe the intravenous administration of powerful sedative drugs intended to keep dying, suffering patients under deep sedation, until death, while withholding artificial nutrition or hydration.
- Sons and Mothers
A strange-looking woman, she (I’ll call her Ivy) is tall and lean, with an almost athletic posture. She wears a large neck brace that was probably designed to keep her head from totally flopping over. In fact, without the brace, it looks as if her head might fall off. At one time in her life, Ivy was probably very attractive, but not now. I heard it had something to do with a medication reaction.
- Fine Clothing, Part Deux
I want to thank you, Tricia, for your comment to my November 9 post, Going Shopping with Mom. I loved the part about your mom (who I assume was fairly advanced in age) looking in the mirror saying, “If I could only get this stomach down, they would fit.” My mom said exactly the same thing until she was about 80.
Tricia’s post reminded me of one of the ongoing “rubs” I have with my mom’s assisted living: how they treat her clothing.
- A Good Enough Daughter’s Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season
Tips to enjoy the season with your old, frail, possibly demented family member are easy to find on the Internet. Just type “ caregiver holiday tips” into your search engine, and a long list of Web site options will be displayed on your screen.
While I have tremendous respect for anyone who develops a holiday tip list, I find that many of those tips don’t apply to my situation. My mother lives in a dementia-oriented assisted living center in Seattle and may not have far to go.
- Going Shopping with Mom
Assisted living regulations require that residents’ clothing be washed in very hot soapy water and dried in very hot dryers. As a result, clothing gets really beaten up and wears out fast.
After a year at Gaffney House, my mother needed some new clothes, so I thought we would go shopping.
- Obama Wants to Reduce Entitlements
Most people have little interest in budgets and policies that impact services to older adults—until the issue becomes personal. When Mom or Dad needs home care or adult day services or a nursing home, families suddenly sit up and pay attention. And that is a good thing.
I have been busy. No, I have been very, very busy. I normally visit my mother once a week, sometimes twice a week. She lives in an assisted living facility near my office in Seattle, but it has been almost three weeks since I visited, and I have been feeling really guilty—as if I had abandoned her.
Webster’s defines the word guilty as "having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, esp. against moral or penal law; justly subject to a certain accusation or penalty; culpable.” Yikes! Pretty serious stuff.
- To Prepare for Old Age, Begin Taking Risks When You Turn 55
Old age is not for the faint of heart.
In old age, life changes come at us on a daily basis. We may end up moving from our home of many years into a strange place; in the spirit of “helping,” people we don’t know touch us in very personal places; and dozens of pills are shoved at us with little explanation of what they do or why we should take them. Paradoxically, all of these changes happen at a time in our lives when we are least capable of handling the stress of change.
- Telling My Brothers About Mom’s Dementia-Related Behavior
Those of you who have cared for your old and frail family members know that each day brings new challenges, issues, and questions. Throw in dementia as a factor and the caregiving experience can get downright bizarre at times.
My 91-year-old mother measures 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 98 pounds. She has always been friendly, helpful, and kind. She’s a retired Salvation Army social worker. She never swore, and she certainly never hit anyone. That all changed with the onset of dementia.