Frances Shani Parker, eldercare consultant and Detroit, Michigan author of Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes, writes this blog. Topics include eldercare, hospice, nursing homes, caregiving, dementia, death, bereavement, and older adults in general. News, practices, research, poems, stories, interviews, and videos are used often. In the top right column, you can search for various topics of interest to you. You can also subscribe to this blog or follow it by email.
Do people realize the full
impact of statements they make about what they would
never do, particularly when they are judging others? Many things people said
they would never do, regrettably, they have done. This brings up the topic of
older adult abuse by caregiving family members. More and more cases are being
reported. This abuse can be physical, psychological, and exploitative. It often
occurs in shared living situations with caregivers.
Everyone has a breaking point,
a moral boundary that must not be crossed. Caregivers overwhelmed with
depression, guilt, anger, and other stressors may have difficulty not crossing
over this boundary, even when they know they shouldn’t. This is one reason why
caregivers must always be mindful of taking care of and monitoring themselves.
Assistance from others is not only helpful, but also mandatory to prevent abuse
from happening. Healthcare workers can help with these needs and refer
caregivers to other resources.
Caregivers need respite
time away from patients to share their experiences, gain information
from others, and relieve stress. They need programs that save time and make
them feel that they are cared about. They need others to be their caregivers by
temporarily relieving their burdens, sharing an uplifting activity, being good
listeners, and providing encouragement.
What can happen when family
caregivers reach their breaking point and cross over? In this video titled Breaking
Point, a formerly abusive daughter shares
her frightening experience of abuse toward her mother and how she changed:
With federal marshals guarding her from angry mobs in 1960,
first-grader Ruby Bridges integrated William Frantz Public School in New
Orleans, Louisiana, my hometown. In protest during the first year, all parents withdrew
their children from the school.
Dying is universal. A hospice volunteer, I come together
with my patients as strangers and often discover, even in our differences, that
we share similarities that bond us to higher levels of understanding of one another
and ourselves. Shared similarities can include race, language, talents,
occupations, travel, values, joys and even common pain.
My book Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing
each chapter with an original poem. I was moved to write the poem Deeper Than Words
while watching my hospice patient sleep. I thought about our shared African
American history that bridged our communication beyond her dementia. This poem
is dedicated to Miss Loretta, Ruby Bridges and our awe-inspiring ancestors.
If you know a good love
story, share it. George and Adriana Cuevas have a great love story. Beginning
87 years ago, their love reigns eternal. They met as children with trillions of
dreams and no certainties about their futures. Distance sat between them for 15
long years. But they continued as pen pals until love brought them back
together like inseparable magnets.
The day finally arrived
when their love was celebrated in marriage. Children followed with lots of
reasons for George and Adriana to cherish their mutual joy while stringing
memories together. But dementia, a terminal illness with many challenges, also
became an integral part of their relationship. Sometimes love is too magnificent
to explain, but the story must still be told. When The Mind Says Goodbye does that:
Parties and small
parades are common in nursing homes and other older adult communities in New Orleans and other cities
celebrating the world-famous Mardi Gras or Carnival season. It's a great time for fantasy, food and fun! The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6 and continues until Fat
Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday begins the Christian season of Lent. Mardi Gras day makes its annual debut this year on February 12, 2013. Street
parades attracting huge crowds of local residents and curious tourists occur
daily. Parades are held during the day and at night.
Growing up in New
Orleans, I loved this magical season. Mardi Gras parades created wonderful
memories for me. The excitement of swimming in an ocean of festivities, the
buoyancy from living fantastic fantasies thrilled my senses. They connected me
with the same wave of wonderment flowing through every child who ever lived on
As a hospice volunteer and traveler, I have had the good fortune of seeing entertaining Mardi Gras merriment enhancing quality of life in older adult communities in various cities. I store all my Mardi Gras memories in a marvelous, mental, treasure chest painted with purple, green and
gold brush strokes, the official colors of Mardi Gras. I always smile when I look inside. No doubt, amused older adults will be smiling this
Mardi Gras 2013 and many Mardi Gras seasons to come.
Mardi Gras Dates:
Gras can fall on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9.)
February 28, 2017
February 13, 2018
March 5, 2019
February 25, 2020
February 16, 2021
March 1, 2022
February 21, 2023
February 13, 2024
March 4, 2025
February 17, 2026
February 9, 2027
The celebration at the Catholic
Charities Program of All-Inclusive
Care for the Elderly (PACE) features older
adults celebrating with a Mardi Gras ball including a king, queen, maids and
dukes of the royal court. Plenty of sparkling apple juice is provided for
toasting! This brief video is an example of
Mardi Gras celebrations held in many older adult communities. Let the good times roll!