by Debbie Swanson. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.
Finding assisted living or nursing care for a parent is never easy. The situation is further complicated when the individual in question is not fluent in English because he or she either never became totally versed in the language or aging has introduced difficulties.
“Patients with dementia often revert to their mother language,” explains Dr. Ivan Merkelj, medical director for Palm Beach PACE at MorseLife Health Systems. “The part of the brain that stores a learned language is different than the mother language, and they feel more comfortable with their.... Read More
When Mom Doesn’t Recognize Me, I Tie a Knot and Hang On
I would have never believed there would ever come a time when my Mom–whom I’ve always described, whenever asked, as my best friend, No. 1 fan, personal “shero” and one who’s loved me unconditionally without hesitation or regret for my entire life–would look upon my face and require a few minutes before recognizing who I am.
But as her 90th birthday approaches, I must face the inevitable truth that Alzheimer’s is slowly, but surely, reshaping our world, her reality. The disease is eating away pieces of my mother’s mind, leaving a mere shell of the woman she once was. And, it both frightens me and causes great pain.
by Andrew Lam. Andrew is the author of two books of personal essays: “Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora,” and “East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres,” and a book of short stories, “Birds of Paradise Lost.” This article was originally published by the Center for Health Journalism.
The cost of aging in America is exorbitant, which my siblings and I are finding out firsthand through our struggles over the past three years to take care of our aged parents.
My mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, spends her remaining days mostly in a hospital bed in hospice care, but mercifully next to my father. Both live in an apartment in.... Read More
By Jean Van Ryzin. This post originally appeared on the NCOA blog.
How we talk about aging matters. It shapes both individual and public perceptions. That’s why several national organizations are working together to reframe the story of what it’s like to grow old in America.
A married, gay older couple living in a nursing home introduced themselves as brothers to their healthcare providers and fellow residents because they were afraid of discrimination. A limited-English proficient Chinese American older adult was exhibiting signs of dementia, but her husband thought they were natural symptoms of aging and didn’t tell his family members or doctor what they were experiencing. A home care worker could not figure out how to remove the traditional dress that an American Indian Elder was wearing, so she cut the dress off — not knowing that in the Elder’s culture, clothing was only cut off of a person’s body after they had died.
Stories about diverse elders experiencing a lack of culturally competent care.... Read More
Increasing the Capacity of Family Caregiver Interventions
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing minority group in America, according to the U.S. Census. Between 2010 and 2030, the AAPI older adult population is projected to increase by 145%. A rapidly increasing aging population demands resilient, capable, and enduring systems of care. Familial systems of care are more prevalent in AAPI communities than other racial groups, with 42% of AAPIs providing care to an older adult, compared to 22% of the general population.
The Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral® (TCARE®) program is an evidence-based, care management software platform designed to enable care managers to more effectively support family caregivers by efficiently targeting services to their needs and strengths. The TCARE® program includes.... Read More
Worried About Care for Your Aging Parents? Support Racial Justice.
As a long-term care advocate, the most common question I get from friends is about access. A friend needs home care for his father with dementia, but he doesn’t know where to start or whether he can afford it. Another friend who has begun applying for Medicaid for her mother soon discovers that the application process is arduous and deeply invasive. Worse, she learns that paying for a nursing home will quickly deplete her mother’s savings—as designed by Medicaid—just to qualify for government support. The safety net for people who need long-term care is fractured, unfair and complicated—a painful realization at the worst possible time.
I think of these scenarios when I’m caught in policy debates about.... Read More
by Daniel Blue Tyx. This article originally appeared in the Texas Observer.
“La calavera,” the caller intoned, as Beatriz García placed a turquoise glass bead over the skull-and-crossbones icon on one of the two brightly colored cards on the table in front of her. It was 9 a.m. on a Tuesday morning at Lindos Momentos Adult Day Care in McAllen, and the chalupa — a bingo-like game featuring iconography drawn from Mexican folklore — was already in full swing.
Beatriz, 74, has five children and worked for 21 years in a local elementary school cafeteria. Her husband, Guillermo, sits at her side. He’s 80 and picked cotton for 25 cents an hour as a migrant farmworker in his youth,.... Read More
Needed: More Community Support for People With Dementia
Our country has reached a critical moment. The aging of the baby boom generation and the fact that people are living longer is driving tremendous growth in the numbers of older adults. By 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older. And statistics show that 90 percent of this population will want to age at home and in their communities.
To achieve this goal, older adults will likely need access to local services and supports — and their caregivers will need assistance, too. Providing those services is what members of the National Association.... Read More
Filipino Caregivers Battle Lack of Sleep, Other Work Risks
As a caregiver for nearly 10 years, Lea Nelson enjoyed the interactions she had with her elderly clients.
“The exchange of stories while eating meals, doing their nails, coloring and cutting their hair, and massaging,” she said. “Playing with them board games, mind games and card games.”
But Nelson, who provided one-on-one care at a home for seven years and served in a nursing facility for a year in the San Francisco Bay Area, also often had to stay awake through the night caring for the seniors and experienced other difficult working conditions.
“It was extremely hard,” she said.
Conditions Put Seniors at Risk
Recent studies only underscore the plight that caregivers — many of whom are.... Read More