Many years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Puerto Rico. Many people pass briefly through on the way to other Caribbean destinations. We talked with people with ties to Puerto Rico and decided to see more of the island by staying for two weeks and renting a car, staying in some of the smaller towns. Here are a few of my photos, while dated, show the beauty we found along the way.
I share this because I can validate the descriptions of the island as a special place with extreme physical beauty and proud and welcoming people. The people of Puerto Ricans have suffered due to Hurricane Maria and the lack of support from the federal government. It is a different response than was given to other US disasters.
A co-worker of mine tells me her family, including her 98 year old father, get by day to day with food and water not a sure thing, and they are not in a remote location. I don’t believe her story is unusual.
Take a look at this interesting story of Jason Maddy, who with a group of US veterans that call themselves “Grunt Rescue” took it upon themselves to go to Puerto Rico and help those in the isolated towns to get the assistance they need. You can look him up on Facebook, it seems to be legitimate. There are multiple posts from concerned family members who can’t get to family in remote areas of the island.
Unfortunately, it’s taking a twitter war to bring this important service into the mainstream.
Adult daycare provides supervision and care to adults in need of support during the day so they can return home at night and avoid institutionalization. It’s a great way to support caregivers and maintain people in their communities.
Some adult day programs are for adults with disabilities, and some are specifically designed for older adults with Alzheimer’s.
Like child daycare, it’s not cheap but dramatically less than nursing home care. The cost is included in publicly funded long term care programs for people eligible for Medicaid.
PACE is a model of care that provides adult day care in conjunction with primary care for frail older adults. Here is a link for more information about the PACE model:
Today was the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It is so incredible to see the group of thousands coming together to show support for the many people impacted by this disease. We had a beautiful day for it. It was more than a fundraiser or a walk. As the Mayor said, it was the city’s largest support group ever!
I was honored to walk alongside our CountyDementia Care Specialists, both who are caregivers themselves. They work tirelessly to help caregivers, with a special focus on African American and Hispanic caregivers.
I’ve participated in many events for great causes, but this one is one of the most worthy of support. Consider supporting this important organization. For more information, click here.
Person Centered Care, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Treat people like individuals. Let people make decisions for themselves, in the drivers seat. Well, I have seen many times when this is not the case. Efficiency, rules and protocols take precedence. Provider centered care is common.
The concepts behind Person Centered Care apply in every care setting. Several times over my career and in different settings I have participated in initiatives promoting institutional culture change, from task oriented, hierarchical rules to treating people as individuals. This is good and helps. But we still have a ways to go.
Here are a few ways to use person centered care.
- Checking assumptions
- Choosing language and vocabulary carefully
- Leveling the hierarchy within the organization
- Changing expectations and beliefs about people
- Adjusting attitudes
- Building support networks to wrap around those in care
Here is a link to a document that will guide to person centered care if you or a family member is in need of care.
Here is an excerpt from an article looking at the significance of names. This has often struck me as interesting, especially when I run across an interesting name of a Senior, such as Nelda, Archie or Moses.
A name is, after all, perhaps the most important identifier of a person. Most decisions are made in about three to four seconds of meeting someone, and this “thin-slicing” is surprisingly accurate. Something as packed full of clues as a name tends to lead to all sorts of assumptions and expectations about a person, often before any face-to-face interaction has taken place. A first name can imply race, age, socioeconomic status, and sometimes religion, so it’s an easy—or lazy—way to judge someone’s background, character, and intelligence.
So I am trying to be more aware of how I make judgments based on a name. While sometimes the name fits like a glove, its useful to wait until each new acquaintance has a chance to express their unique personality.
In his Presidential Proclamation, Ronald Reagan said: “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”
Here are some suggestions for recognizing the Seniors in your life:
- Stay Connected-send a note!
- Encourage physical touch and eye contact
- Start a family history project-ask about proud moments or lessons learned
- Make small talk-take a minute to talk to neighbors
- Practice random acts of kindness-sign up for the Alzheimer’s Walk below
I was confronted with a difficult realization today when talking with a co-worker. We were working with an older couple, the wife has Alzheimer’s dementia and he is her very devoted caregiver. My Coworker and I discussed the husband’s reluctance to provide needed information to access services. She pointed out to me that they were African Americans from the deep South and may be fearful of outsiders, based on past experiences with systematic racism. I then realized that so many old wounds are being opened with the recent public demonstrations of white supremacy/white nationalism. Older people are reliving the racism of the past.
Here is a great article with information we can all use. You don’t need to be a full time activist, but all of us ordinary people need to DO SOMETHING!