elder care

Some states call them assisted living facilities; others, residential or personal care homes. These state-licensed facilities promise peace of mind for families whose elders require long-term care. In Vermont and elsewhere, investigations into these homes have revealed lax oversight, injuries and deaths.

Few understand the risks like June Kelly. Her mother, Marilyn Kelly, was energetic and loved to go fishing when she moved into Our House Too, a 13-bed facility that advertised its memory-care expertise. Over the next eight months, almost everything went wrong that could.

"I'm not anti-hospice at all," says Joy Johnston, a writer from Atlanta. "But I think people aren't prepared for all the effort that it takes to give someone a good death at home."

‘Fear Of Falling’: How Hospitals Do Even More Harm By Keeping Patients In Bed

Oct 17, 2019
Nurse escorts elderly man using walker
Wikimedia Commons

Dorothy Twigg was living on her own, cooking and walking without help until a dizzy spell landed her in the emergency room. She spent three days confined to a hospital bed, allowed to get up only to use a bedside commode. Twigg, who was in her 80s, was livid about being stuck in a bed with side rails and a motion sensor alarm, according to her cousin and caretaker, Melissa Rowley. 

The firefighters came on Monday. They went up and down the halls, knocking on every apartment in the six-story Ansonborough House building in downtown Charleston, S.C., and leaving notices on the doors of those who didn't answer: This area is under mandatory evacuation.

The manager of the building heeded the warning and left a note on the window in the lobby explaining that the building would not be staffed all week.

The Talk Seniors Need To Have With Doctors Before Surgery

Aug 1, 2019
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The decision seemed straightforward. Bob McHenry’s heart was failing, and doctors recommended two high-risk surgeries to restore blood flow. Without the procedures, McHenry, 82, would die.

The surgeon at a Boston teaching hospital ticked off the possible complications. Karen McHenry, the patient’s daughter, remembers feeling there was no choice but to say “go ahead.”

It’s a scene she’s replayed in her mind hundreds of times since, with regret. 

This year I joined the ranks of 40 million Americans who are family caregivers as I began to care for my 81-year-old father. As a physician, taking on this role has given me the chance to experience what so many of my patients and their families encounter.

As I've learned, no one is prepared to become a caregiver. It just happens.

There are a lot of challenges to living in the Florida Keys. The biggest is the cost of living. But even some people who can afford to live in the Keys are leaving anyway for another reason — the lack of access to medical care.

A Doctor Speaks Out About Ageism In Medicine

May 30, 2019
Older hand holding another hand
NPR

Society gives short shrift to older age. This distinct phase of life doesn’t get the same attention that’s devoted to childhood. And the special characteristics of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond are poorly understood. 

Geriatric ERs Reduce Stress, Medical Risks For Elderly Patients

Aug 23, 2016
Heidi de Marco/KHN

The Mount Sinai Hospital emergency room looks and sounds like hundreds of others across the country: Doctors rush through packed hallways; machines beep incessantly; paramedics wheel stretchers in as patients moan in pain.

A lot of things are happening at Eldercare Services of the Big Bend. That includes the addition of several new services and an upcoming fundraiser that is one of the area’s most eagerly anticipated community parties.

Virtual Reality Aimed At The Elderly Finds New Fans

Jun 29, 2016

Virginia Anderlini is 103 years old, and she is about to take her sixth trip into virtual reality.

In real life, she is sitting on the sofa in the bay window of her San Francisco assisted-living facility. Next to her, Dr. Sonya Kim gently tugs the straps that anchor the headset over Anderlini's eyes.

Guardianship Bills Racing The Clock

Apr 28, 2015
Flickr Creative Commons

As lawmakers enter the final days of the regular legislative session, they have not resolved proposals aimed at shielding older Floridians from predatory private guardians who take control of the seniors' assets.
 

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More rules and licensing requirements could be coming for in-home caregivers in Palm Beach County, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. 

Florida doesn't require licensing or certification for care aides who aren't providing medical care, but as the need for home aides grows, elder advocates say more regulations are needed to protect seniors even on the local level, the Sun Sentinel reports. 

Thomas Bender / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The Florida Legislature will have a chance to make it harder for elder guardians to disregard interests of the wards they’re supposed to protect, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. 

Florida's Supreme Court is criticizing insurance agents and others trying to help families of nursing home residents apply for Medicaid assistance, the News Service of Florida reports. A Florida Bar committee asked the court to rule on what it calls an unlicensed practice of law, while critics say the Bar is too broadly defining the role of Medicaid planners, the News Service reports.

Elaine Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Even though Bunny and Claflin Garst had what can be described as an atypical marriage (they often slept in different homes), Bunny says she never expected the legal mess that would ensue as she petitioned to become her husband’s permanent guardian. As the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, she was competing with her former son-in-law for the right to take care of her husband, who has dementia.

Elder hands clasped
Flickr Creative Commons

In a three-part series, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune takes a close look at how people are cared for as they age. They begin with a couple who embody the once-common pattern: spouses who care for each other as they age.

 

Tampa Bay Times

Patty Wallace gets $2,000 a month from her 81-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia, to provide round-the-clock care.