Filed under parents

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

Mother’s Memorial Service

Other Posts Relating to Remembrances:  After a Parent’s Death: Obituaries and Remembrances,  After a Parent’s Death: Writing a Remembrance, Part II,    After a Parent’s Death: Writing a Remembrance, Part I Our goal was to plan a memorial service that celebrated the life of my husband’s mother. As she was two months shy of her … Continue reading

The End of Mother’s Life

We were not able to follow through with the hairdresser, though we know that Mother would have loved it, even so close to the end of her life. Raymond was a master at making her feel good. Early on Monday morning mother died, perhaps from the dementia, but more proximally from congestive heart failure. She … Continue reading

The Hospital Bed

For the past several weeks, Mother’s breathing has grown shallower and faster, and she can’t catch her breath. I am told this is called “air hunger.” Her heart is racing, and it is difficult for her to rest lying down. Mother uses oxygen continuously, and she continues to be severely disoriented. So today hospice arranged … Continue reading

How My Parents Selected a Retirement Community

My parents have moved through three or four retirement periods. At any given time, it seemed like one of them had a retirement job of some type, and my father, until a couple of years ago, accepted regular “fill-in” church assignments, helping out a church for a week or two here and there. They have … 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

Parent Legacies: Modeling Philanthropy

Charitable giving has always been important in my family.The time and energy that my parents, now in their mid-80’s and starting their 61st year of marriage, spent on service to others has, I believe, has contributed not only to their rich lives, but also to their good health. I cannot remember a time when I … Continue reading

ADL’s and IADL’s: What’s the Difference?

Links to other postings about ADL’s are at the bottom. In an earlier post I was not as accurate as I should have been about activities of daily living. The functional tasks in the daily lives of older seniors are divided into two parts, activities of daily living (ADL’s) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL’s).

Journaling Legacies

For as long as I can remember my father has kept a journal. I have memories, even from earliest childhood, of dad taking a few minutes to record his thoughts. It did not seem to matter where we were — at home, on a vacation, at the park, or attending one of his many conferences … Continue reading

Dementia: Life in Reverse

Mother’s dementia is progressing. I’ve mentioned in other posts, that she needs a caregiver all of the time, except when she is sleeping (she sleeps soundly). She is almost always confused, asking many times a day, “What should I do?” I find myself searching the web for confirmation of what I see each day. Today … Continue reading

Dementia Music Therapy: Broadway Songs

Mother Weston’s New York trips were legendary. Each trip included a balance of shopping, museum visits, plays, and Broadway musicals. From the early 1950’s until the mid 1980’s she and father made at least one and sometimes two trips to NYC each year usually for more than a week. Her love of Broadway musicals continued … Continue reading

Oxygen II

Mother was right. We did not know how to correctly put the oxygen tube nose piece on her head. She was agitated for a reason last night and was probably uncomfortable. Today when we went over to visit, Dolma, her caretaker showed us how to operate the oxygen. Dolma helped Mother put it on and … Continue reading


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

Evaluating Health Web Sites – Part II

We all learned to write essays when we were young. Our teachers taught us to introduce the important facts.  With web sites the rules are the same. Usually it’s easy to identify significant information about a site, information that indicates whether a site is a reliable resource, but sometimes it’s not so easy. Many web sites often look … Continue reading

Health Info on the Web — Be Careful! Part I

Just about every time I speak with people about health issues they refer to one Internet site or another. This worries me. Too many people are finding too much inaccurate virtual information. Older adult children like me as well as senior citizens are eagerly surfing the web for medical information, however, when we go off … Continue reading

Getting Started With Hospice

Our family member with dementia is now in a hospice program. She continues to live in her apartment and to be helped by the caregivers that she is used to having as a part of her daily life. Mother was clear that she did not want to go back to the hospital for any reason … 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

Dementia: Loss of Mobility

We see it coming — mother’s loss of mobility. At first she took smaller and smaller steps. Gradually those steps turned into larger shuffling steps. We bought her a cane, but she did not have the focus to understand how to use it. Little by little the big shuffles turned into tiny ones. She has … Continue reading