Posts Tagged nursing home

Caregiving in the US -2009 Statistics


Source: Acknowledgements – Caregiving_in_the_US_2009_full_report.pdf

Are you a caregiver or know someone who is?  Caregiving for another person, whether it be a child or adult can take a great amount of physical and mental energy.  The stress of being a caregiver is sometimes overwhelming.  The latest statistics that I am able to locate on this topic is found at the above site.  Even though it dates back to 2009, it provides very detailed information for those who want to learn more about this topic.  The research was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving, in collaboration with AARP.  It was funded by Metlife.

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Suicide in Caucasian Men over 85 years old

Here is a statistic you may not be aware of- according to the CDC, white men over the age of 85 are more likely to commit suicide as compared to Americans in any other age group.  Here is excerpt from the CDC:
In 2013, there were over 41,000 suicides in the United States –an average of 113 each day. Each suicide takes a substantial toll on individuals, families and communities. The medical costs and lost wages associated with suicide are estimated to be $44.6 billion per year. These numbers underestimate the severity of the problem. In the United States, for every one suicide there are 25 attempted suicides. In 2013, over 494,000 people were treated in US emergency departments for self-inflected injuries. In addition, many more people struggle with thoughts of suicide. During 2008– 2009, over 8 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous year and 2.2 million adults reported having made suicide plans.
The risk for suicidal behavior is complex. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide but some groups are at higher risk than others. Men are about four times more likely than women to die from suicide. However, women are more likely to express suicidal thoughts and to make nonfatal attempts than men. In the past, suicide was addressed by providing mental health services to people who were already experiencing or showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior. While such services are critical, preventing suicide at a national level will require approaches that go beyond mental health issues to address broader family, community, and societal issues.
For more information related to seniors in particular, please see the article below from the Washington Post.

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Where’s Mary?


I recently spoke to a woman who has a friend in an assistant living.  Here is a story that was relayed to me about the assisted living….

At this assisted living, most seniors are of sound mind- yet, are unable to live independently to do some other disability.  When someone from the assisted living dies, the staff keep it a secret.  None of the seniors in the assisted living are told.  Perhaps for privacy reasons, or to not make them worry.  Of course the seniors figure it out- as they inquire to staff or another resident, “Where’s Mary?”

My first thought was to say- this is silly, that these seniors have lived their whole lives dealing with life and death and they aren’t children.  Surely, the staff can sit them down and tell them gently that Mary died…. maybe take a few minutes to recall some special things about her.  My thought was that the seniors are able to handle it- that they are stronger than we think.

When I asked my husband, he disagreed and said that staff should spare the residents heartache and that it was better for them to find out on their own.  He said their mind is probably already centered too much on their own mortality and that they don’t need to be reminded that people the only leave the facility by going to a nursing home or dying.

What do you you think?


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How Basic Math Practice Can Help a Senior With Dementia


Here is a photo of my grandmother at age 95.  She has dementia and lives at an assisted living facility.  She is unable to care for her daily needs, such as going to the restroom, bathing and requires full assistance getting dressed.  She is no longer aware of society around her- she doesn’t know the name of the state she lives in, or the town.  She cannot recall the names of most of her family members.

She is however, able to recall her basic math facts!  She writes her answers slowly but really seems to enjoy the simple job of adding.  She is able to add numbers up to 20.  She can do some subtraction, but that is more challenging.  Working on the math sheets helps fill her day.  When she is praised for completing a sheet, she will look into your eyes and smile (something really special).

If you have a loved one like my grandmother, consider purchasing some basic math fact books- my grandmother can do Kindergarten level and some 1st grade.  Consider making copies, as my grandmother is happy to complete the same pages over and over.

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My Dad’s Favorite Thing: Coloring

Coloring Books: Coloring fun and challenges for all ages.

Do you have a loved one who has had a stroke?  Over the past few years, my father has had multiple strokes and was placed in a nursing home at the age of 65.  He is bed-bound and can do very little on his own.  He isn’t a fan of watching TV or reading.  So, how does he fill his day?  He practices his hand coordination by writing words and coloring.  It may sound a little nuts that an adult (much less a man) spends so much time coloring.  I’m actually proud of him for working to improve his hand strength.  I can connect with the fun of coloring because I have done various artwork over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Poem- Cranky Old Man

The Wise Old Man.
This poem is taken from another site and is quite inspirational.  (Scroll down on their site for the full poem.  Its worth the read.)
It is called  “Cranky Old Man”.  It is a good reminder for all who work with seniors to remember the young person inside– to always give the respect and honor that is due… to remember the life they once had.  If caregivers ONLY see the senior as an “old” person who is helpless and even difficult to care for at times…then care giving will be ten times more challenging.  But, when you consider the person they have been MOST of their life, (prior to getting frail and sick) then you have a fresh and much healthier perspective.  You can then see the senior for who they are….. someone who is unique, special, and deserves good care.  Someone, at a different time and place…you might have been really great friends with.

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My Love of the Elderly

When people ask me what I do (after explaining I’m a stay at home mom), I tell them about my two degrees in Social Work and my time working at a nursing home.  I often get a look of disappointment or confusion.  Many people cannot imagine someone choosing to go into this field.  It seems many people are turned off by the downside of aging- wrinkles, gray hair, a decline in health and even death.  I’m sure they are thinking, “of all the things you could do, why that”?  It is difficult to explain my fascination with and affection for older adults. Read the rest of this entry »

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