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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

End of Life Medical Quicksand

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Advisors, Aging Parents, Caregiver, Siblings | Comments Off on End of Life Medical Quicksand

End of Life Medical Quicksand

We all know someone with a family member who has fallen into end of life medical quicksand and suffered an excruciating outcome. In his article ” I Know You Love Me–Now Let Me Die,” Dr. Louis Dr. Profeta, an ER physician, reminds us that there was a time when we treated dying family members with a communal dignity that was not focused exclusively on “death prevention” at all costs. Instead, it offered a sacred transition space to honor the expanse and contributions of a person’s life while we kept them safe and close to us until the end…

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Spousal Care

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Advisors, Aging Parents, Caregiver | Comments Off on Spousal Care

Spousal Care

Solo caregiving takes a toll on both parties. What starts out as an act of compassion and loyalty can deteriorate into a role the exceeds the best efforts of one person.

Reframing the situation from a new vantage point helps aging parents see how far out of control things have become, a reconsideration of the challenges as well as what could make things better…

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The Delirium Epidemic in Hospitalized Older Adults

Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Aging Parents, Boomers, Caregiver | Comments Off on The Delirium Epidemic in Hospitalized Older Adults

The Delirium Epidemic in Hospitalized Older Adults

Hospital-induced delirium, the sudden disruption of consciousness and cognition marked by vivid hallucinations and an inability to focus, affects 7 million Americans annually. Once triggered, it can persist for months. The good news is the 40% of delirium cases are preventable. The bad news is that the nature of modern hospital care with large doses of anti-anxiety drugs and narcotics combined with a busy, noisy brightly lit environment where sleep is constantly disrupted amid frequent staff change can trigger an episode.

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Wisdom Cards

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Aging Parents, Boomers, Caregiver | Comments Off on Wisdom Cards

Wisdom Cards

Aging Parents Dance Cards are a deck of the 20 cards designed for anyone involved in the care of an older adult. Each card is an aphorism I created on a topic, issue, or situation common to the caregiving experience. They are my wisdom cards.

Cards on unknown or unappreciated “rules” about home, families, siblings, and driving help decode the underlying agenda of older adults and its profound impact on their perspective, behavior and priorities.

Cards on magical thinking, secrets, and dilemmas make a compelling argument for resetting expectations in line with reality.

Cards on reframing control, open questions and facilitating last stories provide prompts and strategies for establishing and sustaining rapport.

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Why Do We Teach CPR, But Not Caregiving?

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 in Advisors, Aging Parents, Boomers, Caregiver | Comments Off on Why Do We Teach CPR, But Not Caregiving?

Why Do We Teach CPR, But Not Caregiving?

Indeed, why don’t we? This article by Dr. Richard Lindsey discusses how he enlisted help from Virginia’s college and university students to invent an app or product to improve the health of caregivers…This is the kind of intergenerational creativity we need to help ease the burden for everyone…

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Higher Levels of Depression in Married Caregivers

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 in Aging Parents, Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiver | Comments Off on Higher Levels of Depression in Married Caregivers

Higher Levels of Depression in Married Caregivers

“We also found that caregivers who are married and caring for a family member with a diagnosis other than cancer, such as Alzheimer’s disease, had higher levels of depression,” says Debra Parker-Oliver, professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

This excellent article from the University of Missouri documents that the 34 million caregivers of terminally ill loved ones are unacknowledged, anxious, depressed and sadly not being offered treatment that would help them cope with the inordinate stress they must endure.

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Home Unfurnishing Your Parent’s Stuff

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Aging Parents, Caregiver, Siblings | Comments Off on Home Unfurnishing Your Parent’s Stuff

Home Unfurnishing Your Parent’s Stuff

This is an excellent article by Richard Eisenberg that offers eight strategies for systematically paring down the stuff of aging parents that apparently nobody wants. It’s a necessary but ultimately awkward ritual of sorting with an eye towards aggressively casting aside articles that have both deep personal meaning but essentially zero value to the current generation.

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Sibling Rules

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017 in Aging Parents, Caregiver, Siblings | Comments Off on Sibling Rules

Sibling Rules

It’s a fact of family life: roles are cut in stone. Stop trying to change a sibling who for the most part resents you for having the audacity to think you need to fix him or her.

Accurately assess what a sibling will and will not do for an aging parent. If their contribution is zero, then zero is is and move on.

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Augmented Eternity: Ready or Not

Posted by on Jan 29, 2017 in Advisors, Aging Parents, Boomers | Comments Off on Augmented Eternity: Ready or Not

Augmented Eternity: Ready or Not

Technology is rewriting yet another chapter in the book on death. In addition to forestalling physical death with machines that can breath for us when are efforts fail, pump blood when our hearts gives out or need repair, or float our brains in a medically induced coma to buy time to neurologically regroup, it is now making it possible to for all of us to have a digital afterlife that goes beyond a retrospective memorial of who we were.

We are talking about chatbots created from our personal data including emails, texts, and tweets that is then fed into artificial neural networks that have the ability to model brains and process new information. The end product is that we become a digital version of our physically departed selves.

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A New Set Design for Nursing Homes

Posted by on Jan 22, 2017 in Advisors, Aging Parents, Alzheimer's Disease, Boomers, Caregiver, Siblings | Comments Off on A New Set Design for Nursing Homes

A New Set Design for Nursing Homes

This is a fascinating innovation in the physical design of a nursing home. Forget the clinical model of mini-hospitals and consider bringing the outside inside with a neighborhood look and feel. How comforting to have a front porch with your accommodations, a softening of the harsh decor of skilled nursing spaces. While you can’t unwind the need for a higher level of care, you can choose to have physical aspects of that care honor your need for community and familiar surrounding…

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