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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Want to Give Birth at Age 60 ? (Research, Video 2:58)


Are you age 50 or over and thinking about getting pregnant or fathering a child? If so, you are among an increasing number of older adults considering and making that choice. Are you planning to start a new family or extend a current one? According to AARP on births by older mothers in 2013, an average of 13 children were born every week to mothers 50 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that births by women ages 50 to 54 rose by more than 165 percent from the year 2000 (255 births) to 2013 (677 births). Most women used donor eggs fertilized by sperm and implanted in a womb. This process is known as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Not that it should affect your decision, but how do you think your family and friends would react if you had a baby this late? Would they be happy and supportive that you have chosen this new direction in your life?  Or would they think you are too old to be effective parenting a child at this stage in your life when you should be taking it easy and certainly not taking on unnecessary medical risks for both you and your child. Complications such as hypertension, diabetes, organ damage, genetic defects, etc. are real, but good health and care can go a long way toward successful results.  After all, people are living longer and taking better care of themselves.

Some people think the government should have pregnancy limits on age in case older parents die before children are able to take care of themselves. Do you think it's fair for them to pay for raising your child? While everyone may not approve of your reasons or even the technology of the procedure itself, the decision ultimately belongs to you.

This CNN news video features a 60 year-old mother who may be the oldest in America to deliver twins. She and her husband have been married for 38 years and also have adult children and a younger child.



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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Older Adults (Research, Video 3:17)


A former school principal, I have known many students diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They often displayed behaviors such as inability concentrating on and completing tasks, mood swings, operating impulsively, and having low tolerance levels when interacting with others. I actually witnessed a father who was so frustrated with his seventh-grade son’s destructive and belligerent behavior that he asked him, “Son, why don’t you just run away?”

Many young people with ADHD age into adulthood never knowing why they act the way they do. They become older adults before they are even diagnosed. Imagine the anger and grief of discovering late in life that the sadness and madness you endured all those years went nameless, undiagnosed, and untreated. An increasing number of those who went many years undiagnosed with ADHD are now over 50 years old.

Unfortunately, ADHD research on older adults is limited. However, there is reason to believe that symptoms decrease with age and that medication can be helpful for them. Side effects of medicine may cause more problems after age 65. Different psychological therapies are also helpful alone or with medication for patients who are motivated. Most important is good support based on knowledge and understanding of how ADHD has affected health, quality of life, and function throughout their lives.

What’s it like being diagnosed with ADHD later  in life? In this video, Dr. Barkley explains the difficulties and the need for acceptance. 




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

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dolphin Palliative Care Providers (Research, Video 1:24)


Dolphins represent many animals that instinctively convey their profound capacity for caregiving by supporting other distressed, injured, or dying animals. This research on caregiving dolphins and distress calls includes the first documented underwater account of multiple wild bottlenose dolphins caregiving a distressed dolphin. The suffering animal appeared to elicit help through calls of anguish to other members of a group of Atlantic dolphins.

When this incident was recorded in underwater video and acoustic recordings later analyzed, it was revealed that a distressed dolphin frequently produced what are most likely distress calls often paired with the emission of long bubble streams. The frequency of her whistle production was positively correlated with the frequency of the supporting behaviors received from other dolphins.

What did supportive dolphins do? Caregiving behaviors of the other dolphins included raft formations, lifts, and stimulating pushes that were predominantly directed toward the upper third of the distressed dolphin’s body. These activities appeared to be directed towards bringing the distressed dolphin toward the surface so that she could breathe. This account highlights the possible role of distress calls in such scenarios.

Dolphins are well known for displaying empathy and emergency assistance for other species in need. In this video, two incidents are featured in which dolphins come to the aid of a dog and a human in danger of death.




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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Elderspeak Views of Certified Nursing Assistants’ (CNAs), Research


What is elderspeak? Essentially it’s baby talk that most adults would not think of using in conversations with other adults. As a hospice volunteer in nursing homes, I noticed elderspeak being used often. For example, “Hi, Mr. Smith. I hope you’re enjoying your day? Did you have a good dinner?” might become a singsong version of this: “Hey, Handsome. Are you behaving today? Did you eat all your dinner veggies like a good boy? You did? That’s my baby!” Imagine what the average adult would think about being addressed in this manner. But some nursing home staff members, caregivers, and others think nothing of speaking to residents in this way.

This research on elderspeak focused on the perspectives of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who frequently spend time with older residents. The goal was to learn more about the intent and conditions under which elderspeak is used. Participants who were interviewed included 26 CNAs who worked in long-term care facilities. It should be noted that half of the CNAs reported that elderspeak is more appropriate with individuals with dementia and that others believed elderspeak was always inappropriate.

These were the findings regarding the intended purposes of CNAs using elderspeak:

1)   Make residents feel more comfortable.
2)   Make caregivers seem friendlier.
3)   Help residents better comprehend verbal communication.
4)   Increase the likelihood that residents cooperate during caregiving tasks.

Based on these findings, more staff education is needed that incorporates previous research results. For example, elderspeak research reported in Behavior Therapy states that resistiveness to care has been linked to communication by staff using elderspeak. This study examined videotapes of nursing home residents with dementia interacting with staff.

Use of elderspeak implies that the resident is not competent enough to be spoken to on an adult level. Even when residents get used to being spoken to in elderspeak and seem not to mind, research studies indicate that their self-esteem may be lowered. In addition, using elderspeak perpetuates negative stereotypes about the elderly.


On a personal note, I was raised in the Jim Crow South and was taught that children should never call adults by their first names. For many African Americans, including adults addressing other adults, this was not only a practice of respect, but mandatory in society under certain racial conditions. After I received my driver’s license at sixteen, I felt proud when I was told I could start picking up my grandmother from her job as a cook at a segregated white school.

Imagine my distress when I arrived at the school and saw young children calling my grey-haired grandmother “Lou.” She allowed it because she needed the job, but words cannot describe the humiliation in her eyes when she saw me and realized I had witnessed how she was treated there. That night, my mother told me I couldn’t pick up my grandmother from work again. For many older African Americans, being called by their first names without their permission by younger adults is connected to painful memories of historical injustices.

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

Monday, April 4, 2016

Older Adult Sex Offenders (Research, Video 2:19)


As America’s population continues to surge with aging boomers, older adult sex offenders also increase in our communities and institutions. Many states restrict where registered offenders can visit or live. Restrictions usually include certain distances from child safety zones, but some states also have included senior safety zones to protect other older adults in or near centers and housing where they congregate. The National Sex Offender Public Website provides the public with access to sex offender data nationwide. NSOPW is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice and state, territorial, and tribal governments, working together for the safety of adults and children.

In terms of health issues, older adult sex offenders have particular risk factors related to their treatment and future stability such as dementia or other mental health issues. Their physical health issues must also be considered when being placed in the community. Current research on older adult sex offenders indicates that older offenders, previously thought to be similar to young offenders, pose a much lower risk to repeating offenses than their younger counterparts. However, emphasis on the need for individual analysis and management of each case is stressed. 

An example of a 100-year-old sex offender who showed no indications of repentance regarding his sexual offenses is featured in this video. Theodore Sypnier was convicted of molesting children and was released from prison with post-release supervision and registration with the state. 

(Postscript: Because he would not attend sex offender classes while on parole, Theodore Sypnier was returned to prison where he died at the age of 101.)



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.