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Monday, October 15, 2018

Terminal Illness: Patients’ Attitudes, Views (Research, Video 2:39)

Some days, feelings of despair try to take over. Other days, simple joys in life seem bigger than ever imagined. Most people experience varied moods from time to time. However, with so much focus being placed on treatment, terminally ill patients may need to focus more on maintaining positive outlooks. A lot depends on how they view themselves and their condition. Attitude really is everything.

What are some palliative care patients’ views on coping with mood swings?
A study of terminally ill advanced cancer patients revealed the following regarding their attitudes and helpful coping strategies, life narratives, and spirituality:

1) Resources were found in meaningful contacts with others.

2) Personal attention of professional medical caregivers for their well-being was also appreciated.

Kathleen was a terminally ill nurse who was told she had only six months to live. Her life advice to others who are terminally ill is embodied in her actions after her diagnosis. When the cancer storm came, she made positive adjustments. She shared her heartfelt sentiments in this video that teaches about living, making good choices, and being remembered.




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, October 8, 2018

Elder Abuser Profiles (Research, Financial Abuse Video 2:13)



Who are the perpetrators of the vulnerable elderly population? Do similar profiles and risk factors motivate elder abusers to mistreat others? Research suggests their profiles and risk factors differ among them. They can be categorized for successful intervention approaches. One way is through analysis of their behavior profiles.


This data comes from the Older Adult Mistreatment Assessment administered to victims by Adult Protective Service (APS) in Illinois. Abusers were categorized using victim and caseworker reports on abusers' harmful and supportive behaviors and characteristics. Results indicate that abusers fall into the following profiles:

 1) Caregiver (lowest in harmful characteristics and highest in providing emotional and instrumental support to victims)

2) Temperamental

3) Dependent Caregiver

4) Dangerous (have the highest levels of aggression, financial dependency, substance abuse, and irresponsibility) 


This is the first quantitative study to identify and characterize abuser subtypes. These profiles differ significantly in average age and gender of the abuser, the relationship to victims, and types of mistreatment committed.

Adult Protective Services (APS) is a social services program provided by state and /or local governments nationwide serving older adults and adults with disabilities who are in need of assistance. They can offer assistance in cases of elder abuse. State adult protective services program numbers in your area are available at this website: http://www.napsa-now.org/get-help/help-in-your-area

Dr. Peter Lichtenberg, Director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI is a national expert on financial elder abuse.You can read about him, the Lichtenberg Financial Decision-Making Screening and Rating Scales, his community engagement component SAFE, Success After Financial Exploitation, and more here: https://iog.wayne.edu/research/financial-decision-making


The following video from the WKRG News 5 Scambuster Report is one example of how financial abuse by an elder abuser can take place.



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, October 1, 2018

Die Laughing: Hospice Balloon Humor




Contrary to what some people think, many terminally ill patients continue to maintain a comic state of mind and often initiate and enjoy participating in humorous activities. Sometimes the humor is unintentional, but the energy is just as exciting. That has definitely been my experience as a hospice volunteer.

I’m a balloon lover. My favorites are Mylar foil balloons with special shapes, themes, and messages. Many of my patients with dementia enjoy balloons as much as I do. Funny scenarios have often resulted after I brought them balloons. This true story came about after I offered to get a seasonal spring balloon in a flowered shape for Miss Robinson, a patient with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. But she decided she preferred a green balloon instead. This heart-warming balloon adventure followed.

Excerpt from my book Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes:
Miss Robinson was very emphatic about choosing a green balloon. She couldn’t explain why the color green meant so much to her, except to say it was her favorite color. The party-supply store had many flowered balloons, but green ones were scarce. After a lengthy search with my help, the salesperson found one green balloon in the entire store. Later that week, I brought the balloon to Miss Robinson, tied it to her wheelchair, and took her for an indoor ride around the nursing home to show it off.

“Look, everybody! Look at my red balloon! Did you ever see a red balloon this pretty? It’s my red spring balloon! Hey, everybody, look at me! I’ve got my own red balloon!” she exclaimed.

A few days later, I visited Miss Robinson. Her balloon hovered over her bed like a shiny green pit bull on guard. She could enjoy watching it bobbing around doing its doggie dance and even talk to it if she felt lonely.

“Hi, Miss Robinson, it’s me, the hat lady.

“Sure, I remember you. You’re the hat lady who brought me my purple flag. See, it’s still waving in the air. I just love my purple flag!”

I smiled, thinking of the evolving green balloon that had developed a life of its own. In fewer than two weeks, it had evolved at three different levels with hidden powers I had not known. It was enough to have gone from a green to red balloon. Now, it had become a purple flag. I couldn’t wait to visit Miss Robinson again before the balloon deflated completely. I looked forward to hearing more about her happy adventure with the green balloon and its miraculous makeovers. 

© 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