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Monday, July 27, 2015

Marijuana: Older Adult Use (Research, Video 2:15)

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, Mary Jane, and other names, continues to gain acceptance and popularity in our society. However, the Pew Research Center reports that 74% of adults 65 and older are still uncomfortable about marijuana smoking, and 22% say they never used it. But many older adults, particularly those from the boomer generation, do use marijuana for health and social purposes. Eating edible marijuana is more popular than smoking it. Hospice patients in states where marijuana is legal can also choose treatment with marijuana to manage their symptoms and make them more comfortable. Even some retirees with medical challenges are deciding to move to states with legalized marijuana.

In a study of marijuana users in the San Francisco Bay Area, participants were
researched through history interviews, questionnaires, and health surveys in order to learn their perspectives regarding marijuana harm reduction. Results indicated that participants minimized marijuana harm so they could maintain social functioning in their everyday lives. Responsible and controlled use was described in the following ways:

          1) Moderation of quantity
          2) Frequency of marijuana used
          3) Using in appropriate setting
          4) Respect for non-users

Participants followed rituals or cultural practices while using rules that helped them define what was "normal" or "acceptable" marijuana use. Users with access to a regulated market (medical marijuana dispensaries) were better equipped to practice harm reduction.

This video describes the growing trend of older adult use of marijuana.




Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Animal Therapy: Paro, Robotic Seal (Research, Video 4:03)


Let’s talk about seal healing. Paro, a baby harp robotic seal that’s been around for some time continues to convince many it is real. Paro was created to improve social interactions and activity participation among institutionalized older adults. Those with dementia have particularly benefitted with improved brain activity. While therapy with real animals has grown in popularity, the reality of dog bites, allergies, disease, and lack of availability have caused robotic animals to serve as great alternatives with proven results. 

Robot-assisted therapy can be provided as a routine activity program and has the potential to improve social health of older adults in residential care facilities. In a study of robot-assisted animal therapy with older adults, sixteen eligible participants received group robot-assisted therapy using a seal-like robot pet for 30 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks. Assessments of their communication and interaction skills were done. The 12 participants who completed the study showed significant improvement in their communication and interaction skills and activity participation.

Paro, the robotic seal, has done a great job improving social health of older adults in many residential care facilities. You can watch Paro improving lives through seal healing in this video:



Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spirituality Helps Coping With Illness (Research, Video 10:02)

Life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease can cause many to rely on support and comfort from sources in addition to medical healthcare. Coping skills related to spirituality often empower patients with a layer of strength to face each day with renewed hope and joy.

Spirituality research interviews were done with 10 cardiac survivors and 9 cancer survivors. Participants explained how their life-transforming changes occurred in the context of their life-threatening illnesses. Spirituality, meaning, and purpose were described in several ways such as connecting with family and friends, nature, art, music, and creating a relationship with God. These connections were how they walked through the fire and coped successfully with their diseases.

By understanding the importance of spirituality in many people’s lives, healthcare workers and other caregivers can create better plans for helping patients come to terms with serious health challenges. These plans could include support groups, activities that involve yoga, meditation, nature, music, prayer, or referral to spiritual or religious counselors.

The following video features a church congregation experiencing solitary and communal spirituality through saving strains of the gospel song “Come on in the Room” sung by the Georgia Mass Choir founded by Reverend Milton Biggham. Reflecting the times and power of spirituality, this moving presentation unfolds in the context of a compelling story not written in the lyrics below. Welcome, the service has started.

“Come on in the Room”

Chorus 1:
Come on in the room.
come on in the room.
Jesus is my doctor,
and He writes out all of my prescriptions.
He gives me all of my medicine in my room.

Chorus 2:
There is joy, joy in the room,
joy in the room.
Jesus is my doctor,
and He writes out all of my prescriptions.
He gives me all of my medicine in my room.

Chorus 3:
Joy in my room,
Joy in my room.
Jesus will meet you.
The Holy Ghost will greet you.
Joy, unspeakable joy, in my room.





Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming Healthcare Discrimination (Research, Video 2:47)

Diversity in healthcare continues to be an issue that must be addressed seriously to achieve equality among all groups. Unfortunately, too many people still experience negative and discriminatory treatment in their efforts to receive quality healthcare. Among them are those who are transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC). Transgender refers to the state of one's gender identity or gender expression not matching one's assigned sex. Transgender is independent of sexual orientation. Gender nonconformity, is behavior or gender expression by an individual that does not match masculine and feminine gender norms. These groups are recognized by the American Medical Association.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey was used in research focused on anti-transgender and GNC discrimination, harassment, and victimization within healthcare settings. The influences of insurance status, level of passing, time of transition, and other socio-demographic factors were considered. Results indicated more than one fifth of transgender and GNC individuals of all ages reported healthcare discrimination, harassment, or victimization. Services related to these groups are often considered to be cosmetic when they are not. Clearly, more cultural competency training, implementation, and monitoring related to transgender and GNC individuals are greatly needed.

In this video, Dr. Leigh Dolin, former president of the Oregon Medical Association, explains problems he has encountered in providing care to these groups such as denial of payment by insurance companies. More recently, Oregon and a few other states have started covering the cost of reassignment surgery through Medicaid for transgender people, but many other problems still need to be solved.




Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sex and Aging Older Adults (Research, Video 5:08)

Attitude is everything. Take sexual expression of older adults. Many people, including too many older adults themselves, assume the attitude that older people have or should have little or no sex. Having this attitude can become a reality for those who believe this is a normal part of aging.

In recent years, the older adult population has been studied more, and the results are interesting. In this research on whether sexual attitudes contribute to sexual well-being of participants over the age of 45, gender comparisons were made with these results:

1) Age-related sexual attitudes significantly contributed to sexual well-being.
2) Women held slightly more positive age-relative sexual attitudes than men.
3) Among middle-aged and young-old adults, sexual well-being may be reduced by harboring negative ageist sexual attitudes.
4) Efforts should be made to reduce stigma surrounding continued sexual activity and expression among the aged.

Honest communication is important in building better relationships. The following video effort titled “The Truth About Sex and Aging” and produced by AARP reduces the stigma surrounding continued sexual activity and expression among  aging older adults. Dr. Pepper Schwartz explains why the golden years may be much better than many people’s attitudes.




Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.