Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases, Healthcare, Humanity, News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Rapid assessment and frailty — British Geriatrics Society

This is awesome news and more hospitals should do this! Care beds for older adults and rapid assessment and treatment. Thoughts?

 

Beverley Marriott is a Advanced nurse practitioner working in the Birmingham community healthcare foundation trust. She is also a King’s College Older Person Fellow. There continues to be a growing emphasis on older people and emergency hospital admissions, with Frailty often used as a ‘wrap’ around term for ‘older people’. Older people with multiple complex […]

via Rapid assessment and frailty — British Geriatrics Society

Aging/Gerontology, Education, Healthcare, Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Change for Older Adults is Needed!

As my clients are aging, I see the challenges they face and what is lacking in the current healthcare system.  This has led me to End-of-Life issues, Palliative Care and an interest in healthcare.  I have come to see that there needs to be a shift and focus on allowing seniors to ‘age in place’ and the services must expand in order to do so.   Expansion obviously requires money from the government, both on a federal and provincial/state level.  Healthcare needs to shift to a Patient-Centered approach with professionals available to the patient in either a facility, clinic or in their home in the community.  There is also a need for case managers to oversee the patients with chronic and complex health issues while coordinating with the professionals that need to be involved in the patients overall care.

I have realized much with the work that I have been immersed into for many years now.  For one, end-of-life needs to become less taboo and society needs to realize that in the cycle of life-there must be death; to be born, one must die.  I feel that we need to let individuals die with dignity and at home if that is what they choose while having the necessary professionals and services in place.  As a society we need to lighten up, reduce stress levels and find what makes us happy in life.  Again, a shift is needed and I believe this will happen; with less focus on materials things and more focus on human relationships, quality not quantity.

I feel it is important that every professional re-evaluate their interests and find their passion, their niche population, their niche demographic.  As professionals, we should also advocate within our profession for any needed updates or changes. 

There are many of us out there working with seniors/older adults in many different ways. We are on the front lines, we see what is happening, and see what needs to change. It is our role as professionals to advocate for that change.

What are you going to do today to make that change occur? How can you force the change? Who do you speak to? Write to? 

These are all things to think about and dwell on and when the timing is right-creativity will emerge along with action!

Aging/Gerontology, Education, End-of-Life, Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Social Isolation Amoung Seniors….

As a case manager that works with older adults/seniors in a private community centre, my role is different than a social worker or case manager in a government system.

People choose to be involved with our agency in some way whether through the Wellness Centre, taking courses, volunteering, playing cards, socializing in the cafeteria, attending a group or being involved in the Social Services department.

I have approximately 75 older adults that I personally work with. My contact with them can be only at the centre, through home visits, phone calls, visits in the hospital or rehabilitation, meetings, case conferences, etc.

I also co-facilitate a group for seniors each week and the group’s participants are Holocaust Survivors.

Some of my clients are very private, withdrawn while others are social, active in the centre where I work, volunteer and have more energy than I do! (That is how I want to be when I get older!)

For those that choose to be private, have only a few close friends or for those that have no where to go and are isolated-their life is very different.

This article resonates with me as this should not happen!!

What happened to neighbors saying hi to one another, being friendly, checking up on one another? What happened to the communities of long ago where the younger generations looked out for the older generations!

No one should die alone. No one should lie dead for a month in their home before someone notices!

When I first moved to Canada and my then-husband and I lived in a small upper duplex. We had a senior woman living below us who was extremely private and in the 4 years we lived there, I think I physically saw her in person maybe 3 times.

I heard her, I smelled the cigarettes she smoked and I heard her TV blaring.

One day I realized it was quiet in her apartment; no TV, no radio, no smell of cigarette smoke.

I knocked on her door-no answer. I tried this for 2 days and then being a social worker, professional instinct kicked in, and I went to the janitor of the small apartment complex. The police were called in. Her door had to be broken down and guess what? She was dead. She had fallen and hit her head on the side of her dresser. She had no family that I knew of. No visitors. She had her food delivered as she was not very mobile.

To me that is wrong on so many levels, but if I had not noticed the absence of smoke, no TV-how long until someone else noticed……

Please as a personal plea from me, be aware, notice when a senior is not seen or heard from, get to know your neighbors. Rebuild that sense of community from long ago…….

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-coroner-report-senior-social-isolation-1.4200146

Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases, Healthcare, Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Attitudes and opportunities: Medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients — British Geriatrics Society

Another article I have to share as I have worked with older adults/seniors for 17 years. My past work was with youth and families and adults with mental health issues, but my passion is older adults!

This is a great article with excellent information-take a look!

 

 

Dr Rajvinder Samra is a Chartered Psychologist working as a Lecturer in Health and Social Care at The Open University. She enjoys researching the influence of attitudes and personality in medical settings and tweets at @RajvinderSamra Read her Age and Ageing Paper. Social psychologists have been interested in attitudes for about 90 years now. Debate […]

via Attitudes and opportunities: Medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients — British Geriatrics Society

Aging/Gerontology

Changes are Needed for Seniors Living Alone

Changes are Needed for Seniors Living Alone– OTTITI- habitation, hebergement services

Recently, I attended the funeral of a senior who was living alone in the community and died alone in the community. If it wasn’t for an adult child and a friend expressing some concern because she did not answer her phone or return messages, she did not answer her door, and there were papers outside her door; no one would have known that she died. She lived independently.

As a case manager, to learn of this is very sad. No one should die alone and certainly not in this way. The exact causes of death are unknown; the length of time she lay dead on her floor are unknown.

As a professional and as an adult child, I certainly do not want this scenario for my clients or for my parents. In the modern world, it is quite normal for adult children to live out of town. They go where the jobs are, where their spouses or partners are. This leaves many seniors alone in the community.

Many older adults choose to be alone and limit contact with friends, neighbors, community, and others, including their own family. While they may be cognizant to choose this option, as a professional while at the same time I want to honour their independence and ability to make their own choices, I have difficulty with it. I am sure I am not the only one. I did not make the choice to be a social worker/case manager lightly. I chose the profession because it fits with who I am and with my values. I do my best to live up to the ethics and value of the profession. At the same time I need to honour the values and choices of my clients, their right to self-determination and support them in doing so; even if I do not agree with their choice. There is the fundamental right of all persons to determine their own best interest. While self-determination can be compromised by the interest of the collective, a delicate balance is required between these two concerns. (1)

On the other hand, if a senior is living in an apartment building, independent living facility or assisted living facility, should the management or staff check on their tenants/residents? Whether it is part of their mandate or not, if a senior has not been seen in awhile, does not answer their door or their phone-should the management be concerned? Should a janitor or ‘super’ be available on the weekends and after hours in case a family member, resident or neighbor is concerned?

Part of me says yes and part of me says no. The emotional part says yes while the realistic part says no. Independent living is just that, independent. Assisted living and senior residences are very different living situations. Unfortunately, as the population continues to age and there are more seniors than youth, this will become the reality. Adult children live out of town and seniors are often alone and they rely on professionals and community.

There are choices available should a senior or an adult child(ren) be interested-hiring a private geriatric case or care manager, connecting with a CLSC (local community service centres) in Quebec, Community Care Access Center (CCAC) in Ontario or Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) in B.C. (as examples); basically a government run clinic that provides social workers, nurses, physicians, and other professionals. Neighbors, friends, PAB, and home care workers can also be valuable resources. Any of them can be the local contact when a senior is alone and adult children are out of town. They may be the only contact.

Should a community, clinic, neighborhood, friend or family member be available, check on and be in contact with seniors? Should more be done? Should community be reaching out more to the lonely older adult? How does a concerned neighbor, friend or family member make community aware of the situation? How does one go about hiring a professional privately to keep an eye on their parent? What resources are available?

There are many individuals who are private geriatric care and case managers; as well there are many local public and private resources re: clinics and community agencies to choose from for this role. This is certainly an area that will expand in the coming years as the population continues to age.

Resources:

CASW-ACTS

*Original can be found at: http://www.ottiti.net/changes-are-needed-for-seniors-living-alone/

Aging/Gerontology, Humanity

Eight Reflections on Seniors as Patients

Eight Reflections on Seniors as Patients

List three older people that were in your life as a child.

  • Of these, choose one of these persons to focus on for just a moment: Consider something important they shared with you at that time.
  • How might that important message yet influence your care of elders now?
  • What do you believe that elders are most afraid of?
  • What is there about elders that you do not yet understand?
  • What is your best gift to your elder patients?
  • How will you know if you are succeeding in elder care?
  • What pleasures do you expect to continue to receive in elder care?

These questions are arranged in a hierarchical fashion. They are designed to give us an opportunity to think about and reflect on our care of elders. They elicit memories that may influence our care of elders. They invite reflection on what we believe are important concerns of elders.  They illuminate our expectations regarding how we will be as we care for our elders.

Alan S. Wolkenstein, MSW
Clinical Professor of Family Medicine (Ret.)
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Behavioral Sciences Consultation Service
School of Nursing: Concordia University of Wisconsin

Aging/Gerontology, News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Theatrical Presentation on Elder Abuse: Arm Yourself with Knowledge

I attended a play on Elder Abuse this past weekend titled: “Grandpa Is Not a Cash Cow & Grandma Won’t Take Any Bull” organized by Seniors Action Quebec. It was excellent! The cast, except for 3, were all seniors. Le Theatre La Belle Gang presented. The play was written by Francois Jobin and directed by Marie-Claude Henault.

Issues of financial, emotional, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse were addressed in vivid, humorous, and easily recognizable vignettes. Physical abuse and sexual abuse were not outwardly addressed, but these are a bit harder to portray within a play.

Examples of the vignettes are: adult children (sisters) discussing placement while older adult present (recently suffered a stroke), but not including her in the decision-making. A grandchild that approaches her grandfather seeking money for a class trip and this was suggested by the adult child (grandpa’s daughter), an adult daughter who is verbally abusive towards her mother and demanding a check supposedly to be used to pay the mother’s bills, residents in a senior residence sitting around talking and waiting for their Sunday visitors that might show (children and grandchildren), an adult son talking on the phone to a friend saying that if his mother, who baby sat his sister’s kids, will not take his 2-year-old daughter for the weekend, she will see the granddaughter much less often, and the infamous scam of a ‘company’ coming to a senior residence and promising the world, taking the residents money, and giving nothing in return. Another scene was of a ‘doting’ niece who started paying extra special attention to her aunt when the uncle died and suggested that her aunt update her will.

Getting older is not easy, but it does not have to be negative. There may be more dependence on others for IADL’s, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living; cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, transportation, finances, medical appointments, medication management, communication and/or ADL’s- Activities of Daily Living; bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, ambulating (mobility), cognitive issues, auditory or visual challenges, and fewer socialization opportunities. Household management becomes more difficult and often adult children and grandchildren live out-of-town and a senior has to rely on the community, friends, and agencies or organizations for assistance.

Possible Abuse: What to Look out for and What to Do:

Potential Signs of Abuse:

  • They criticize me
  • They ignore me
  • They isolate me from others
  • I am dependent on others
  • They take control of my affairs, i.e. finances, medication, medical appointments, hiring of homecare assistance, etc.
  • They boss me around
  • They raise their voice to me and at me
  • I am lonely
  • I am depressed
  • I cry often
  • They ask me for money all the time
  • I have no decision-making power

To Counter the Possible Abuse:

  • Say no! Assert yourself to family members, friends, and acquaintances.
  • It is your life and you should be able to go out and do as you please without approval.
  • You can call or talk to whomever you want.
  • You have socialization activities whether playing cards, exercising, attending a social group or meeting friends for lunch to keep you busy.
  • Call your local, provincial or state Elder Abuse Hotline for information, clarification, with specific questions. Arm yourself with knowledge!

Some Resources:

  1. HelpGuide.org
  2. CSSS Cavendish in Cote St. Luc, Quebec- http://www.cssscavendish.qc.ca/   or 514-484-7878.
  3. http://maltraitanceaines.gouv.qc.ca/en/
  4. http://www.aqdr.org/ (French)

By Victoria Brewster, MSW

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