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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Old Love Wedding Anniversary Quarantined by Coronavirus (Video 2:30)



Let’s talk about love, more specifically, old love. That could include a heartwarming discussion about the 72nd wedding anniversary of Alden and Hester Barkel. Neighbors and friends for years before sealing their union in marriage, the 92 year-olds continue to nurture each other as often as they can. For Alden, that means visiting Hester, who lives with dementia, not once, but twice a day at the senior community where she lives. That’s where they rekindle the many memories they have made together through the years.
 

The question is asked: "Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts on the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love? And the answer is given: Yes, there is a more beautiful thing. It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped; their faces are seamed, but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired, but still strong with love and devotion for each other. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love." Unknown
 

Blowing kisses with their hands pressed against the window glass separating them, Alan and Hester did not let the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine stop the observance of their many years of union celebrating their old love.


   
 


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, May 5, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Poem for Older Adult Senior Communities


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Poem 

for Older Adult Senior Communities


By Frances Shani Parker  

 
They know you, a bold executioner
roaming their halls seeking humans
to complete your pandemic purpose.
Nights follow days in a quarantined
existence of food, TV and  hobbies.
Thoughts of limited time increase
survival of those determined to live.
With distance, washing and masks,
they wrestle with fear, while nearby
victims scramble for scraps of life.
 
Whispers saying, “She has the virus”
and “He died yesterday” create new
visions of people wracked with pain.
Healthcare workers wearing full-body
protection suits seem sinister, surreal,
surprising in a place known as home.
Posted photographs of deceased friends
remind them of good times that will end.
Their new normal is difficult, but doable.
Mugged by history, they pray for peace.
 
         © Frances Shani Parker
 

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  Website: http://www.francesshaniparker.com/

            

 

Monday, April 6, 2020

A Volunteer's Calling (Poem)

                                                    
“Defining Moments” is a poem I wrote after a series of events led to my becoming a hospice volunteer. Hospice volunteering crept up on me unnoticed during the HIV-AIDS pandemic that was one of the world’s most serious public health challenges. Early in the 1980's, the Centers for Disease Control reported five cases of AIDS in young homosexual men in Los Angeles, California. By 1994, AIDS had become the leading cause of death for all Americans ages 25 to 44.

Before the 1990's, I was not attracted to being actively involved in the healthcare field. I also wasn't skilled in caregiving at a personal level, sometimes feeling awkward around sick people in general. Nobody is more surprised than yours truly that I have been a satisfied hospice volunteer over 20 years involved with bedside caregiving in nursing homes, eldercare consulting, authoring a book, and eldercare blogging. You can read about my compelling transformation that includes a video in this LinkedIn article titled "Hospice Volunteer? No Thanks, Not Me!" (Video 3:25).

“Defining Moments” is one of 16 original poems at the end of each chapter of my book titled Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes. Several readers have told me that “Defining Moments” resonates with them when they read it. As a writer, I appreciate knowing when something I have written connects with other people. But I was especially surprised one day when a man I did not know well had actually memorized the entire poem and approached me while reciting it aloud. This was followed by his sharing a heartfelt explanation of a defining moment in his own life. Perhaps this poem will remind you of a defining moment in your life when past met future.

Defining Moments

They come without warning,
grab us in chokeholds of change,
fling us into outer space
where past meets future.
In this realm resonating
with first-time knowledge,
we awaken wide-eyed,
infused with wisdom
to turn around, stand still
or move forward with clarity.
No matter how they smack,
stroke, lift, drop, push, kiss
or kick us to get our attention,
when they finish their mission,
we are permanently scarred.

© Frances Shani Parker

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.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Amazing Grace and Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic (U.S. President Barack Obama Video 2:30)


I greet you today during troubling times that I could not have imagined. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is creating a disastrous path of global pain that currently has no ending date. 

Many are particularly vulnerable to the disease and its accompanying hardships. Let us make every effort to take care of ourselves and others whenever we can. Fear, confusion, scarcity, ignorance, and daily living restrictions impact everyone. Condolences of sympathy are sent to families of those who have died.

Music is often consoling and empowering during times like this. When we are open spiritually, an inspiring song can often strengthen our higher selves in the process of overcoming. The video below offers that encouragement through U.S. President Barack Obama. Let us tap into that amazing grace as our journey continues.


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, March 16, 2020

Older Adult Technology Use (Research, Video 3:14)



I remember when I had to dial a phone number to access the Internet. Technology has come a mighty long way. My early computers all had names, and I vented my frustrations to them personally when they harassed me daily with their complicated maneuvers. Sapphire, an overbearing laptop of a woman loved, hated, and tormented me with a vengeance that forced me to write poems about our ongoing squabbles. With all these haunting memories, however, I still must confess that mastering the basics and more has been one of the best things I have ever done and continue to do. 

Every day, I see important examples of how I would have been left behind if I had not taken advantage of opportunities to navigate my way on the Internet, even basically. When TV news reporters make comments about going “to our website for more information" about disaster assistance, product recalls, high crime and accident locations, etc., I am reminded of all the people who are unable to receive these services on their own and probably worry about what they are missing. 

Research on older adults reports that those who continue using the Internet are more likely to gain significant cognitive improvement. Even though numerous public facilities offer free or inexpensive technology classes for using computers, smart phones, etc., too many older adults have refused to try them or have given up by saying, “I don’t do all that computer stuff. It’s just too confusing.”
Research results conclude that "older adults who continue using the Internet were more likely to gain significant cognitive gains and lower cognitive loss. Promoting Internet use in older adults can help a strategy for cognitive stimulation in older adults."


The following video shares important statistics on how older adults use technology to meet and expand their information needs:

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, March 2, 2020

Older Adult LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Issues (Research, Video 3:30)


There is no question that older adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) belong to a population subjected often to adverse discrimination in society and experience unique health needs. Approximately 2.7 million U.S. older adults self-identify as being members of this population. Many feel unsafe revealing their sexual orientation and may not be willing to reveal their sexual orientation to their medical providers. Institutions that focus on providing them with support must implement more staff development and dissemination of homophobia training and policy changes that positively impact older adult LGBT quality of life.

A research study was done to increase understanding of the experiences and needs of older LGBT adults when accessing healthcare. Results of the study included three major themes. The themes were "Outness," "Things are Different Now," and "Additional Resources." These themes describe participants comfort with being "out," how treatment they received changed over time, and needed services or other options from the community. Healthcare providers must be prepared to create trusting relationships with these individuals to deliver truly comprehensive care.

Aging adds another layer of concerns for those in the older adult LGBT community. Like millions of others in this quickly expanding population, they must think about where and how they will live. This includes serious concerns about discrimination and bullying targeting them in senior communities. This video features LGBTsenior issues related to discrimination in long-term care homes.

 

 

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, February 24, 2020

Good Death Views: Patients, Relatives, Healthcare Providers (Research, Video 1:40)

Improving quality of life should be an ongoing goal, even as death approaches. While many embrace thoughts of having a good death, what exactly do they mean at personal levels? What do patients, relatives, general practitioners, and other healthcare providers mean when they speak of dying in a good way when recovery is no longer available? The following research on a good death explains their responses.

Research participants were asked how important patients, close relatives, and healthcare providers considered 11 core themes in defining a good death. Specific questionnaires were used for each group and distributed in the working area of a palliative care network with the cooperation of five local quality groups, two nursing homes, and two groups of home care nurses. Data were analyzed. The following results were reported:

     1. All groups believed a pain-free death was most significant.

     2. General practitioners, nurses, patients, and close relatives valued the       following themes: support of family, respect for patient as an individual, being able to say goodbye, and euthanasia in case of unbearable suffering.

     3. Major differences between general practitioners and nurses deserve      attention because patients and family members expect that healthcare providers will work together as a team.

What about you and your own personal expectations of a good death beyond being pain-free? In this video, several people share their opinions on what a good death means to them:


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