Visiting Mom - Day 11 - Departure

On this date in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act, which guaranteed an income for the unemployed, disabled, and retirees. I cannot imagine how Mom would have survived without these benefits from a resource perspective. For the old and the old-old, changing body position throughout the day is a key to avoiding discomfort and skin breakdown. Mom is mobile, so the combination of room-to-room mobility during the day, and an electric recliner, which enables her to change her sitting position on occasion, eliminates this as a problem she (and we) have to address. For the less mobile, positional change is very important for maintenance of the best possibl

VISITING MOM - DAY 10

On this date in 1995, former Yankee baseball great Mickey Mantle died from liver cancer. He was quoted as joking that if he had known he'd live this long, he'd have “taken better care of himself”. I have heard this line from many thru the years. Mantle's father and son both died in their 30's from Hodgkin ’s disease, a fate he believed would befall him. Brother Bud returned from his vacation and appears rested. We are both thankful. He had a good and restful vacation and I had the opportunity to get first person experience of and reassurance that Mom will be able to enjoy an independent lifestyle with minimal assistance. It's been suggested that Bud continue adding commentary for this string

VISITING MOM - DAY 9

Here's to “Mork from Ork”, Robin Williams' character in his career TV career breakthrough. He and the characters he brought to life will be missed! Fortunately, Mom does not, and has not, experienced clinical depression in her lifetime. Many of the elderly population do, as the reality of life changes become apparent. Also in this mix are medications. Exercise and activity seem to be beneficial in helping to alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, many elders need medications that carry warnings such as "do not operate machinery" or "may cause drowsiness" in the side affects cautions. And those cautions translate to the medications having a depressing affect on the ability and desire to accompli

VISITING MOM - DAY 8

It is a beautiful August day in the Northeast. The August nights are already cooler here as compared to the longest days of summer. A couple of my friends from high school have already given me updates on how they are progressing with this winter's wood supply. Last winter was an especially cold one here, and those who utilize wood for at least a portion of their heating needs realize the need for heat is not too many weeks away. I'd like to comment on orthostatic hypotension. It is a concern for the elderly and infirm, and something that a care provider needs to understand. To simplify, orthostatic hypotension refers to a drop in blood pressure when the body changes from lying to sitting, o

VISITING MOM - DAY 7

Shortly before picking up my mother's niece, Edith, and going to lunch, Mom whipped me on the cribbage board. I barely made it beyond the “skunk” line (for those unfamiliar with the game, this line is usually marked on the cribbage board and denotes two things; 1) you performed very poorly; and 2) The game counts as two losses instead of just one, if one were keeping score . While Mom and Edith were conversing over lunch it occurred to me that with these two, I was eating with two women whose combined age was just three years short of 200! Hard to tell by the way they act and talk. Edith is 92, and Mom is 105. Their topics of conversation are current and no complaints of poor health, aches

VISITING MOM - DAY 6

Greetings from the Pine Tree State and day 6 of my stay with my 106-year-old mother, Phyllis. Today I’ll comment on one of the most important aspects of any person’s life, breathing. Oftentimes the older a person gets, the shorter and shallower their breathing cycle becomes, even if there is no specific medical cause. Then with exertion, it becomes proportionally more rapid. This can be improved. Mom has trended to an elevated number of respirations/min (15-18 measured at rest) We devoted some time to breathing awareness and reducing the frequency of her breaths/min. She decreased the number to 10-12 during practice, and I expect continued improvement in this number with more practice. Yeste

VISITING MOM - DAY 5

It occurred to me that one change I've noted in Mom, and that seems to be ubiquitous among the elderly, is her decline in initiating conversation. She responds to questions, be it regarding a past event involving family or friends, or other past events. In fact, her recollection of past events is quite accurate. She will also ask if we have a particular food that she wants for her next meal, or a similar personal request. And she always says “thank-you” for services provided. I attribute some of this to difficulty in hearing, or difficulty with her hearing aids. Sometimes they are not turned on or the volume is not high enough. Battery replacement is often an issue-a hearing aid with a dead

VISITING MOM - DAY 4

Sitting with Mom at the card table (one win/one loss) I had to marvel at the fact that I was playing cards with a human whose heart has beat in excess of four Billion times so far in her lifetime. If you have never stopped to think about this, you may be impressed by the fact that you heart has performed 38 million, plus or minus, beats a year, one billion for every 26-27 years of age you have lived. What a wonderful, regenerative machine we inhabit! The care provider, Cynthia, who gives my brother Bud some respite, came in today for several hours. I have not become stressed to any degree, but we wanted to keep her schedule regular. To my brother's credit, he recognized early on the necessit

VISITING MOM - DAY 3

On this date, August 7th, in 1908, the year my mother Phyllis, was born, nothing of historical significance happened. Henry Ford's company did produce the first Model T on the 12th, however. Also, New Years 1908 marked the first ball drop in Times square heralding the New Year. Mom is doing fine today. The weather is an ideal upper 70° Maine summer day. So much for the forecast of rain last evening. Typical Maine changing weather patterns that often fool the forecasters. This reminds me to mention how the elderly need to be dressed with respect to temperature. Seldom does an old, or old old, the designation for the 85+ year old seniors in my world of physical therapy, person feel too warm. T

VISITING MOM - DAY 2

An article today in the Bangor Daily News referencing Dr Levine's “Sitting is the new smoking-or worse”. This state of excessive sitting is commonly labeled as Sedentary Death Syndrome. You may want to "google" it for more information. Awareness is increasing, although the importance of movement as it relates to circulation within the body is still below the radar. The Treadwell® System's patented methodology increases the effectiveness of the body's circulatory system without increasing the body's pulse, blood pressure, respiration rate, or temperature. My mom is a prime example of the importance this innovative technology to health, especially those who are movement challenged, i.e. those

VISITING MOM - DAY1

“Well look who's arrived from North Carolina, Mom. Its Brother Richard” announces my eldest brother, Bud upon my arrival at my Mom’s apartment in Bangor, Maine. “Well hello, Dear” says my Mom. “Hi Mom” I replied as we exchange hugs. Mom is in her favorite chair watching her favorite movie Pride and Prejudice on DVD. She watches others also, but this is viewed daily. As Bud says, “There are not too many questions about this movie that we cannot answer!” Before you jump to conclusions, there is no dementia here, she's just old. One hundred and six and one-third (yes, in my opinion fractions are appropriate at both ends of the spectrum). We don't know if she's the oldest resident in the State,

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