Monday, October 29, 2012

First Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) SAGE Center for Older Adults, Seniors (Video 1:34)

America’s first full-service center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults is located in New York City. The Services and Advocacy of GLBT Elders (SAGE) Center opened earlier this year and serves the city's five boroughs. Members receive help with everything from health and wellness to meals and technology. For many of them, the center represents a place for “family” relationships missing due to lack of biological family support because of their sexual orientation.

LGBT older adults and other sexual minorities have increasingly been discriminated against and abused by members of society, including healthcare providers and others who resent them because of their sexual orientation. Damage to their emotional and physical health has been so devastating that some members of this population have resorted to suicide. Singlehood and lack of children by most people in this community add further to their sense of isolation.

There are SAGE Center opponents who say having a separate center for LGBT populations and promoting their philosophy is wrong and against the principles of equality, especially if any taxpayer funds are used to support it. On the other hand, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it's time to change the "one-size-fits-all" approach that has traditionally shaped senior centers. SAGE is one of several organizations awarded an Innovative Senior Center contract by the mayor’s office and the New York City Department for the Aging. Do you think the LGBT community should have separate centers?

View more information about the SAGE Center on this video titled NYC Opens Full-Service LGBT Senior Center:

Frances Shani Parker, Author

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hospice Volunteer Training Video: Caregiving, Dementia, Death, More (Video 30:16)

Frances Shani Parker, an eldercare consultant, writer and former school principal, has been a dedicated hospice volunteer for many years. In addition to serving nursing home residents, she is author of Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes (paperback, e-book) and writes a popular blog titled Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog. Featured in various eldercare media, she was interviewed on the television show Aging Well in America. She shares her experiences and general eldercare information that can benefit others, especially hospice and other healthcare volunteers. The video interview below covers these topics:


Hospice Volunteer Training

Nursing Homes (Long-Term Care)




Death Preparations

Intergenerational Partnerships

Older Adult Stereotypes

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alzheimer’s Sundown Syndrome Support: Adult Night Care (Video 9:03)

Sundown is usually time to wind down and embrace the peaceful restoration that comes with night. For 20% of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, however, sundown means just the opposite. They experience a phenomenon known as sundown syndrome when expectations and energy levels rise to greet new excitement and activities. Caregivers reluctantly face another nightly challenge of interrupted or nonexistent sleep caused by constant monitoring. When sleep does come, worries about the safety of loved ones invade their dreams.

While adult day care programs are popular, many people could benefit greatly if they had more night care support designed for people who are living at home and require constant supervision during the night. ElderServ at Night, located at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York, is such a program. They accept Medicaid, and they also have a day program.

Adult night care is particularly helpful for people who suffer with sundown syndrome or other sleep disturbances that keep them awake during the night when they may become anxious and fearful without activities to keep them occupied. The night care program relieves caregivers of stress and allows them to sleep well knowing that their loved ones are being cared for throughout the night. This video showcases ElderServ at Night.

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

Monday, October 8, 2012

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s), Healthcare Staff Workplace Injuries (Long-Term Care Research, Video 3:01)

Some people have jobs that seldom require discussions about workplace injuries. The possibility of getting injured is viewed as the potential result of a rare incident not associated with normal job requirements or physical confrontation with other people. A former school principal, I have had my share of incidents breaking up students' fights and calming overly disgruntled parents. Using a planned prevention approach, I was usually successful at avoiding serious injury to myself.

As a hospice volunteer in nursing homes, I noticed early on that schools and nursing homes have a lot in common.  In both locations, the daily risks of workplace injuries due to combative or non-combative reasons were real for many workers. The following is an excerpt from my book Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes that explains shared similarities between schools and nursing homes regarding potential workplace  injuries caused by physical assaults.

“Dementia is like a fluttering bee. I never knew when it would make honey or sting. There were times when patients with dementia were rude or violent. I have seen a patient slap a nursing assistant’s face with such force I thought she would fall over. To her credit, the CNA took a deep breath and walked away while another assistant interceded. The patient  probably forgot the incident soon afterward. During violent situations involving patients with dementia, caregivers had to protect themselves, restrain a patient if they could, but resist expressing rage and fighting back.”

Nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) have many documented occurrences of non-combative workplace injuries related to their care of patients. In a Colorado workplace injuries study done with 35 individuals from the State Board of Nursing public list of CNA’s, they were surveyed about their work injuries and the circumstances under which the injuries occurred. Almost 46% of the respondents reported having hurt themselves while lifting, moving, or helping a patient, with 40% specifically reporting having incurred a back injury. Eleven of the injured respondents (79%) were working in nursing homes at the time the injury occurred. This indicates a need for more research and education for CNA’s about injury prevention, particularly in nursing home environments. 

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Influenza Vaccinations (Flu Shots) for Nursing Home Residents and Everyone (Research, Video .31)

Fall is a time when the topic of influenza vaccines or flu shots becomes prevalent. Many communities make flu shots available for older adults. A large population believes the vaccine reduces the risk of dying in nursing homes. 
How well are nursing home residents improved by flu shots? Research reported in the Journals of Gerontology shows a lot depends on residents’ functional status. In a study done over several months with 711 nursing home residents, participants were divided into these categories: good functioning, intermediate functioning, and poor functioning. In terms of functionality, influenza vaccination was associated with reduced all-cause mortality in older nursing home residents with different functional statuses. Influenza vaccine efficacy in reducing mortality declined with increasingly impaired functional status.
What about the importance of flu shots for the rest of the population? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a US government agency focused on improving overall public health. This agency advises everyone to get a flu shot. For many, this is still a controversial issue.  Some say the shots are safe, convenient, and may save lives. Others say they are not safe for some people, do not guarantee people won’t get the flu, may have side effects, and may even cause people to get the flu (not true because viruses are dead). What do you think?

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers in America and other countries and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.