Saturday, December 31, 2016
A Collector of Hugs | Moments of Life
Monday, December 26, 2016
The widowhood effect: What it’s like to lose a loved one so young - The Globe and Mail
When you reach the end of your life, what will go through your mind? Which areas of your life will you scrutinize and take inventory? Will you evaluate whether or not you were a good son, sibling, father and friend? Maybe you’ll think about the accomplishments you accumulated or, perhaps, some of the failures and shortcomings. Others may focus exclusively on the end, lean on their faith, and concentrate on what they believe is to come in the afterlife. Morrie Boogaart knows he’s nearing the end of his life. The 91-years old is currently a resident at Cambridge Manor assisted living facility in Grandville, Michigan. He’s barely mobile, spending every day bedridden. Family members visit him regularly, but when they leave, Morrie is left with his life-long memories to stimulate him. A well-worn bible sits innocently on his nightstand, and hanging on one of his walls is an 8x10 photo of his wife Donna Mae, who passed away 16 years ago. “I had a good life,” said Boogaart, while he slowly wraps yarn around his spindle. “I have always accepted what I had in life, and this is now what it is for me.” Right next to Morrie’s nightstand is a pile of brown boxes stacked on top of each other. None of the boxes can be closed because each one is overflowing with more yarn. “I just like to do it,” said Morrie, as he continued knitting. “My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, but I can still do this.” Boogaart wakes up every morning and starts knitting. He doesn’t stop knitting until he falls asleep at night. This happens all day, every day. “This is my life,” said Morrie. “I have always liked to helped people, and I’m not going to stop now. “We all need a sense of purpose.” Morrie knits hats, and since he started doing it nearly 15 years ago, he claims to have knitted at least 8,000 of them.“That’s why most people call me the ‘Hat Man,’” he said."
91-year-old man knits hats for the homeless
Saturday, December 24, 2016
For 73 years — through wars in Europe and Asia and civil rights battles at home, through the assassination of a president and the rise of rock-and-roll — they shared a bed.
He’d be gone sometimes, flying missions during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, but he always came back to her.
So now, as he lies in a hospital bed unable to say or do much, she lies beside him.
Like many hospitals, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, where retired Army Col. George Morris, 94, is receiving end-of-life care, allows family members to sleep in a patient’s room on a foldout couch. But for George’s wife, Eloise, 91, a cancer survivor who has suffered two broken hips and a broken shoulder, that would be hard.
So the hospital made a special exception when they admitted him this month: They admitted her as a patient, too — a “compassionate admission,” their doctor calls it.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
What I did not understand when I was a student then, and what I would explain to that professor now, is that people talk to the chaplain about their families because that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence.
We don't live our lives in our heads, in theology and theories. We live our lives in our families: the families we are born into, the families we create, the families we make through the people we choose as friends.
This is where we create our lives, this is where we find meaning, this is where our purpose becomes clear.
Family is where we first experience love and where we first give it. It's probably the first place we've been hurt by someone we love, and hopefully the place we learn that love can overcome even the most painful rejection. This crucible of love is where we start to ask those big spiritual questions, and ultimately where they end."
Many patients miss out on palliative care assessment before feeding tube placement, study finds - McKnight's Long Term Care News
Sunday, December 18, 2016
"I asked them, ‘What are your deepest concerns?’ The husband started sobbing and said, ‘I think she’s going to die, and I don’t know what to do without her.’” The wife, Puchalski said, expressed fear over how her death would come about and whether she would suffer at the end. “They just cried, and I sat with them. We’d gotten to the heart of the visit, and it wasn’t about the medication or the pain. The real issue was the bereavement and the fear of losing each other.” Sometimes, Puchalski noted, the most crucial thing a doctor can offer a patient is their presence and a willingness to listen. With these tools doctors can attend not only to their patient’s physical needs but to their spiritual concerns as well, she said."
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
With green caskets, a more earth-friendly end - The Boston Globe:
Friday, December 9, 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The holiday season can be a minefield for those who are grieving, even if the loss is not recent. The holidays bring back sweet but painful memories of happier times that sharply remind us of what we no longer have. And there is a deep disconnect with a world that seems to be uncomplicated and joyful. Rhonda O’Neill writes about the "fog of grief" during the holidays
[W]hy am I still surprised a decade later, when my mostly healed heart, breaks back open during the holidays like clockwork? Just what is it about the holidays that brings the pain of our loss back to the forefront of our hearts? And how can we be more prepared to deal with the unexpected pain?
Our society puts a lot of money, emotion, and time, into the winter holidays. Holidays are advertised as joyous occasions where we gather together and celebrate with family and friends. Everywhere you look there are reminders that the holidays are the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ But, after loss, holidays don’t feel so wonderful anymore. In fact, they can be downright debilitating.
Some of her suggestions: "Be kind and patient with yourself." Acknowledge that it is difficult. Reach out to help others. Make an effort to do things that give you happiness. Don't let yourself get isolated. But say no when you need to. Cherish your memories. And "Sometimes volunteering or helping someone else in need can bring joy to our broken hearts. If you find joy in giving, find a way to balance giving to others in need, without draining yourself physically or emotionally."
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Patton Oswalt's Year Of Magical Parenting | GQ
The Most Creative People Are Also the Least Afraid of Death -- Science of Us:
Friday, December 2, 2016
Memorywell has journalists speak to memory care patients and their families to help caregivers understand and help them.
Moving my dad into long-term Alzheimer’s care was one of the hardest days of my life. And in the months and years that followed I was desperate to find better ways to ensure his nursing staff understood him like I did. None of his homes offered me any tools to provide a better experience for him when I was away.
MemoryWell grew out of that experience. As a journalist, I wrote his story down. His caregivers loved it because now they could understand my father so much better, and soothe him in tense moments by recalling for him family names or poignant details about his life. His near-daily rages subsided, and he got along better with his nurses. Capturing his story made all of that possible.
There are so many stories out there that we are losing every day. Our web-based platform makes your loved one's stories and favorite digital photos, music, and videos easily available to you and to their caregivers no matter where you are - a menu of stimulating engagement tools.
We're eager to chronicle your loved one's life and hear their unique story. Alzheimer's and dementia care communities can be isolating places for residents, for caregivers and for family. We aim to change that one story at a time.