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Observations and commentary on aging, caregiving, and the complex journey through the second half of life.

Second-Half of Life Blog

Alzheimer’s and Agitation: A Surprising New Medication?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Alzheimer’s and Agitation: A Surprising New Medication?

This intriguing article from NBC News suggest that a combination drug of dextromethorphan – a cough suppressant – and the anti-arrhythmic drug quinidine may markedly reduce agitation in some Alzheimer’s patients. If this proves true, it could help address one of the most vexing and disturbing symptoms of dementia. The combination drug is already approved to treat uncontrollable laughing, crying or other outbursts caused by head injuries and degenerative disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or...

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Aging Parents: Time To Move?

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Aging Parents: Time To Move?

Helping aging parents consider a change in living accommodations is a delicate process. Before offering unwanted advice about where to live, adult children should first undertake a compassionate assessment of the losses and potential gains of this emotional transition. There is a deep fear of loss of control that must be appreciated and accommodated. That is why we created the What Do You Value Mind Map. The What Do You Value Mind Map offers families a one page diagram of the values that represent and sustain control in living accommodations....

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Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 6

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Aging Parents, Poetry | Comments Off on Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 6

We grant the old a special courage to weather the slings and arrows of aging, but we forget their older brains are rewired for contemplation, a benefit that goes far beyond facilitating life review. This unique capacity of second half minds brings with it new reservoirs of creativity and compassion. Freya Manfred’s poem Imagine This honors older lives whose “narrowing choices” yield deeds of kindness and gratitude. Imagine This by Freya Manfred When you’re young, and in good health, you can imagine living in New York City,...

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Caregiver Decision Fatigue

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Caregiver Decision Fatigue

Caring for aging parents brings with it a new kind of exhaustion called decision fatigue. While its cause has a number of contributing factors, two in particular stand out as primary sources: • Sustained engagement with dilemmas • Decision volatility in family systems Although demanding and stressful, the problems of aging can be contained or eliminated. Lost prescriptions can be refilled. Unsafe staircases can be modified. Transportation for an unscheduled medical testing can be arranged. Solving problems means eliminating uncertainty and...

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Poetry and Adult Children, Part 3

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Poetry and Adult Children, Part 3

Below the perpetual buzz of our busy caregiving lives is another channel, softer in tone and kinder in character. We sense it in vertical moments where rushing and worrying get sidetracked, the chance second where life sparks back a fragment of wonder and joy. Annie Lightheart’s wonderful poem The Second Music captures the mood and impact of this restorative melody. It is a poem that should be read every morning before we are so easily swept away… The Second Music by Annie Lighthart Now I understand that there are two melodies playing,...

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Clinical Frailty Scale

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Clinical Frailty Scale

(Click on graphic to enlarge) Frailty occurs by degrees. It is helpful to have system to quantify it for the patient, caregivers, and health care professionals. The Clinical Frailty Scale found in the 2008 Canadian Study on Health & Aging is an excellent frailty assessment tool. It is also useful in identifying which older patients pose a higher risk for post-hospital...

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Post-Hospital Syndrome and Aging Parents

Posted by on Jun 7, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Post-Hospital Syndrome and Aging Parents

Hospital stays are stressful for anyone but can turn out tragic for frail seniors. Arriving with diminished physical reserves, they are subjected to a world of frequent needle sticks, unappetizing food, sleep deprivation and long waits for doctors. Even if their treatment is deemed successful, frail seniors often leave the hospital deconditioned, malnourished, stressed and utterly exhausted. Within days or weeks after being discharged, they can wind up being readmitted or dying. The majority of those readmitted are not having a relapse of...

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Toxic Parents and Adult Children

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Aging Parents, Poetry | Comments Off on Toxic Parents and Adult Children

It’s the luck of the draw as to which childhood any of us inherit. Sometimes it’s filled with toxic parents who leave abusive tattoos that last a lifetime. Remarkably, they wind up under our care with the same bag of tricks that got us the first time around. Aside from the painful irony that our roles are strangely unreversed, there is the disappointing ending that death changes nothing. Here or gone, the toxic departed are up to their old tricks again and again. Toxic Tango By David Solie Something was always Wrong in our house,...

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New Boomer Epidemic: Aging Alone

Posted by on May 30, 2015 in Boomers | Comments Off on New Boomer Epidemic: Aging Alone

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. …Aristotle As the age wave arrives at the land of old, it carries with it a substantial population of childless and unmarried Boomers characterized as “elder orphans.” Aging alone, they face that last phase of life unsupported by no known family member or designated surrogate to act on their behalf. The link below to an article by Janice Wood outlines the challenges of trying to provide community, social services, emergency response and educational resources to...

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When The Last Parent Is Gone

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on When The Last Parent Is Gone

When The Last Parent Is Gone By David Solie When the last parent is gone, Your heart cannot right itself, Things that should help, Heeding warning signs Repairing loose ends Bracing for impact All prove shallow comfort. For the end of having parents Activates the orphan gene Endlessly looping you between Just here and never coming back, Releasing a fog of regrets Choices unable to settle Moments still getting away. When the last parent is gone, Your brain cannot right itself, Death moving you to the Head of the line marked Next to leave,...

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