Stop Saying These Three Things to Elder Adults!

day lillies

When they speak to elderly seniors, middle-age children and and other adults tend to say things, often unintentionally, that demonstrate a lack of respect and empathy.

Sometimes it happens when a person tries to solve a problem quickly; at others the goal is to move along getting to work or school on time. Not infrequently adult children are frustrated when they need to repeat things which they have already said multiple times. Unfortunately, every time we make one of these comments, the elders in our lives grimace, sigh, or merely shake their heads, making allowances for our rudeness. We don’t mean to say unkind, disrespectful, and yes slightly nutty, things to our elder family members and friends, but we do.

As I’ve talked with elder adults that I know, I’ve discovered three phrases that they dislike hearing.               Continue reading

Caring About the Patient While Caring for the Patient – UChicago

Click here to visit the U of Chicago announcement site and watch a video.

The Bucksbaum Foundation has donated $42 million to the University of Chicago to create an institute that concentrates on clinical excellence with a focus on partnering with patients. What a common-sense, and timely idea. Disclosure: I have a graduate degree from U of C.

As university president, Robert J. Zimmer comments in the press release:

This generous gift offers the opportunity to bring a new level of rigor to the study of the doctor-patient relationship and clinical judgment. The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence provides an important complement to the biological research and clinical strengths of this institution.

The main focus? Developing the environment for better communication thereby ensuring better patient care (and better outcomes when it comes to recovery). Adult children who are helping older senior parents through medical care often find that communication gaps occur frequently and are complicated by information overload and reticence of older patients to ask questions.

According to the announcement on the website: Continue reading

Aging Parents, Adult Children: Caregiving and Empathy

Spring Flowers in My Yard

When you have senior parents who need increasing support, empathy is critical. You try hard, and not always with success, to understand what they are experiencing. That’s called empathy.

The concept of empathy has received a bit of a bad rap the past year or two with politicians actually taking the time to deliver statements against looking at the world through an empathic lens (I could write an entire post just on these tactless quotes). During some U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for judges questions on empathy played a central, and I think somewhat silly, role. I like the outlook of the late Senator J. William Fulbright, who originated the idea of Fulbright scholars. Senator Fulbright wrote:

There are many respects in which America, if it can bring itself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to its size and power, can be an intelligent example to the world.

Continue reading