Filed under Frustrations When Growing Older

Aging Parents: Bodies Slower but Same World View

Aging parents, we should all understand, have frustratingly aging bodies, yet many are seeing and perceiving the world just as they always have. In fact, I’ve heard them say how curious it is to look in the mirror and see themselves staring back. Some wonder, “Who is that old person looking back at me?” About 25 … Continue reading

Aging Parents: Explaining Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common diagnosis for seniors, and many of us will have more than one aging parents with this condition. The diagnosis, indicating a progressive disease, often requires multi-year medial care and can require invasive cardiac procedures, many medications, lifestyle and diet changes, and medical supplies such as compression stockings which … Continue reading

Aging Parents and Medication Side Effects

Recently my dad, who takes a number of blood pressure and heart medications, began to experience nosebleeds –they seemed to begin out of the blue. Family members and friends kept offering explanations for why the nosebleeds were occurring. Twice, when he had difficulty stopping the bleeding, Dad went to the emergency room at the local … Continue reading

Helplessness and Aging

Watching all four, now only two of our senior parents over the past ten years, I’ve been intrigued that a certain amount of helplessness seems to surface when they encounter the medical system. When a person becomes ill or develops a chronic condition, the medical world usually goes into high gear. This is especially true … Continue reading

Senior Citizens and End-of-Year Giving

Help aging parents be excited about technology and to use it, but also counsel them to be skeptical, savvy, and ask questions. It is the time of year when many scammers make telephone calls or send e-mails asking for contributions to charity. I have a rule. Unless it is my college or one of the … Continue reading

Dementia: Mobility, Falling, and Perception

This morning mother fell. Until now she has stayed in bed until one of the nursing assistants arrives to help her get up and get dressed. Today it was a different story — for the first time she tried to get out of bed. The nursing assistant found mother on the floor in the living room a bit … Continue reading

Oxygen!

Mother is winded whenever she walks a short distance.  She breathes heavily and her heart races. So hospice has delivered two oxygen containers, one that stays in place and another portable device that can move around with her. The permanent one stays in one place, but has a huge tube that reaches to all of the … Continue reading

Assumptions About Being Old

Too often seniors who have been successful and productive individuals, are trivialized in their everyday interactions. Most often this occurs unintentionally because of unconscious assumptions about people who are growing old. But it occurs everywhere, and I believe the assumptions that greet a person of any age can often evolve into self-fulfilling prophecies. Negative assumptions … Continue reading

Thanksgiving and Dementia — Redux

Our family member with dementia arrived at our Thanksgiving celebration sometime around 2:00 in the afternoon.  Her afternoon caretaker  took Thanksgiving afternoon off, and we planned to be responsible for her care until bedtime.  Things went quite well, however, we now realize that if we are entertaining family and hosting festivities at our house, we … Continue reading

Scary or Urgent E-mail — Don’t Be Fooled

E-mail  is the best communication tool for seniors, kids, and grandchildren and is so easy and convenient!  This interconnectedness is even more important at times of family illness and when family members live far away from one another.  All family members, but especially seniors, need to master some important skills and understand some key concepts, … Continue reading

Senior Adults and Falling

From the November 11, 2009  New York Times in an article by Steve Lohr … “FALLS are so harmful to the elderly and so costly to society that if falling were a disease it  be deemed an epidemic.” Almost every week or so an over 70-year-old acquaintance or friend falls. According to the Centers for … Continue reading

Stages of Dementia, Part II

Keep in mind that these stages are general guidelines that help people understand dementia’s progression, and that some professionals do  not use them as disease guideposts. I am applying them to the dementia that is occurring in my family. Another family may not have anywhere near the same experience. By the time stage five of … Continue reading

Stages of Dementia – Part I

When you read about dementia you learn that the disease presents itself in stages. The literature seems to describe six stages, seven if you think of stage one as the “normal” range in which most of us function. I am reconstructing these stages, attempting to understand the progression of the disease in our family. In … Continue reading