In Japan, elderly residents risk dying a “lonely death”

In Japan, elderly residents of the danchi (apartment complexes) risk dying a “lonely death” or dying alone, their body only discovered days after their death. These elderly residents live alone and isolated so much so that an entire industry has developed in specializing in cleaning out apartments where decomposing remains are found. Additionally, many elderly Japanese write “ending notes” that organize their final affairs and ensure a clean orderly death. The danchi (apartment complexes) were built in post war Japan and were a symbol of Japan’s posterity – they introduced Japan to the Western concept of the nuclear family instead Continue Reading

Funeral Directors Are Taking Advantage Of Technology

The National Funeral Directors Association recently held their annual convention in Boston where funeral directors from around the country gathered together to learn about new trends and how to handle topical issues in their field. Funeral directors are taking advantage of technology to aid families in creating personalized tributes to loved ones. To read the complete Boston Globe article, follow our link. Funeral directors work to put some life into death by Laura Crimaldi| Boston Globe Bob Biggins had a plan for navigating the exhibition floor at the funeral directors convention in Boston this week: Skip the caskets and steer Continue Reading

JAMA study says few nursing home residents receive palliative care

A recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal demonstrated that few nursing home residents receive palliative care. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life for seriously ill patients by relieving their symptoms and easing their stress which may be provided in conjunction with other medical treatment. The study found the need for better communication between nursing homes and residents and residents’ families regarding hospice and palliative care services their facilities offer. Follow our link to read the complete article Continue Reading

Estrangement is not all that uncommon

A recent study debunks some myths about estrangement. Estrangement is defined as one or more relatives intentionally choosing to end contact because of an ongoing negative relationship. Debunking Myths About Estrangement By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS | New York Times It’s the classic image of the holidays: Parents, siblings and their children gather around the family table to feast and catch up on one another’s lives. But it doesn’t always work that way. After years of discontent, some adults choose to stop talking to their parents or returning home for family gatherings, and parents may disapprove of a child so intensely Continue Reading

Massachusetts Hospitals ill-prepared for patients with dementia

Massachusetts is the only state to establish a committee to aid hospitals in developing a comprehensive plan for addressing the needs of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. A hospital stay can be traumatic for someone with Alzheimer’s and speed their decline often losing abilities they had, like dressing themselves and walking, before their hospital admission. The committee, formed in 2016, released a 70 page report with resources and suggestions. Dementia patients often need hospitals, which are often ill-prepared by Felice J. Freyer | Boston Globe Steve Johanson had a fierce and knowledgeable advocate at his side when he visited a Continue Reading

A lack of experience is not necessarily a bad thing

When it comes to the age of your physician, older isn’t always better. Research shows a consistent positive correlation between lack of experience and better quality of care. Additionally younger doctors are more likely to adopt innovative practices and are more likely to discuss important issues, such as end of life issues, with patients. For Doctors, Age May Be More Than a Number by HAIDER JAVED WARRAICH | NYT Article When I went on Terry Gross’s radio show last year, the very first question she asked me was one I get asked during my work as a doctor all the Continue Reading

Attacks On Nursing Home Residents Is Increasing

The murder of an older nursing home resident by a younger one in Randolph is part of a troubling nationwide pattern of violent sometimes deadly confrontations in which younger stronger men attack and sometimes kill older more frail roommates.  The attacks often involve residents suffering from dementia or mental illness, men separated by generations living in close proximity with each other. Although rare, the number of these violent interactions is increasing.  For the complete Boston Globe article, follow our link.   Continue Reading

Five tips for choosing a reliable nursing home

Five tips for choosing a reliable nursing home for a family member are: 1 Slow down. 2 Do your homework. 3 Visit all the facilities you are considering ideally at night or the weekend. 4 Ask for the facility’s emergency management plan. 5 Ask for help. For the complete NYT article follow our link. Five Tips for Choosing a Reliable Nursing Home By Katie Thomas | New York Times The news that eight Florida nursing home residents died in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma has prompted a criminal investigation and spurred widespread outrage. But it also poses unsettling, difficult questions Continue Reading

Poor Sense Of Smell May Indicate An Increased Risk For Dementia

A recent study concluded that a poor sense of smell may indicate an increased risk for dementia.  Study participants were asked to identify 5 different scents.  The risk for dementia steadily increased with the number of odors they failed to recognize.  People with smelling difficulties had more than twice the likelihood of developing dementia. To read the complete article follow our link. Poor Sense of Smell May Signal Impending Dementia By Nicholas Bakalar | New York Times A poor sense of smell may indicate an increased risk for dementia, a new study has found. Researchers recruited 2,906 men and women Continue Reading

Books On Aging and Elder Care

New York Times article details hard won advice from books about aging and elder care.  In Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, the author/physician aims to help readers avoid nursing home care. The reviewer found the chaper “Letting Go” where the author discusses the powerful effect of frequent concerted conversations about the goals and wishes for one’s end of life. The 36 Hour Day by Nancy Mace and Peter V. Robins delves into the many aspects of caring for someone with Alheimer’s, dementia or other forms of memory loss. Chapter 16 has tips for people researching long term care residences. Jane Continue Reading