Monday, January 20, 2020

Legal Duty To Support Our Parents -- Many States Have Laws

Since beginning this Blog in 2012 my journey through aging, medical challenges, dementia, family challenges and personal survival, I've found my entries often move in directions I wasn't directly exploring at the time.

Chance, luck, fate, meant to be....take your choice. Whatever it is, I feel the need to share and enlighten because these life's journeys will most likely be one almost everyone at varying ages and life circumstances will take -- in one form or another.


I focus on a subject and start detailing or remembering what's happened or currently occurring and then use this amazing social tool called "the internet " or conversations in my community.


This leads to my discovering often startling information that causes me even greater concern for myself and others travelling this ever changing personal life road involving ourselves, our family and the community in general.


A "legal duty to support our parents"?  Had no idea this existed. 


Morally, I agree with this concept; however, in reality, I question a society that has to make this law and doesn't recognize the importance of medical care as a "right" for all ages and stages.

And, one step further, do you go to a store to purchase something without seeing a price? 


We walk through the doors of medical services every day without a clear idea of what it will cost and without knowing what "the competition" charges.


Variable, you say. Depends on "what happens". 


I can accept that for some medical services but not for those that are "standard" and that includes shots, regular check ups (and what that includes), specific laboratory tests and others.


We're at the "mercy" of the medical system. Yes, they provide "free" and "reduced" care but they also could be more "transparent" in the care they charge.

Medicare has deductibles and for many Seniors, that is a challenge along with costs for "above" their coverage levels.

...OR at the very least a full disclosure of the medical costs and the ability to compare services as one can when shopping for other goods and services.


This topic really grabbed me because during my Mom's journey through Long Term Care facilities she had post hospital stays in more than one facility.


I mentioned being given a contract to sign -- ME -- not her -- and in the many pages was a short statement that I would be responsible for her bill. I refused to sign. I was not in a financial position after my husband's medical challenges to take on costs I had no idea what they would include and how many thousands of dollars could accumulate.


They were a "multi state" operation and apparently their "standard contract" contained inclusions that may or may not have been "legal" in my state.


If I'd signed the contract....an attorney friend told me I would have been responsible and could have been sued.


Even for a "short term" stay of 30 days, since they determined the services "necessary" and create the "paperwork" (and who among us wants to deprive someone we love of "medical care" )-- this could have been money we needed for daily living (and it would have been) or caused us to possibly even sell our home to "meet our obligations".

Frightening isn't it?  Our parents are growing much older and so are we. We are their children and at a time in life when our "resources" are limited or affected by our own medical and other life challenges it's possible we may be legally obliged to pay even when it could be a hardship.


Yes, the law states if you are "capable" but we all know that's an interpretation and depends on who's making the determination. At the very least, it can involve hiring your own attorney, time spent in this "legal matter" you don't have and money put out for your "defense".

Please note:  I see no reference to a date when the information below was entered on the internet. Suggest reviewing to ensure you understand any and all updates, changes and additions of other States by going to your own State's information in this area.


Also, don't know if there's "cross responsibility" -- not sure how an adult child living in one state and a parent living in another will be affected and by which or both state's laws.


"States with filial responsibility laws are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia." 


Not every State has a law; here's the reference:

Filial Responsibility: Can the Legal Duty to Support Our Parents Be Effectively Enforced? by Shannon Frank Edelstone, appearing in the Fall 2002 issue of the American Bar Association's Family Law Quarterly, 36 Fam. L.Q. 501 (2002). Lexic.com


https://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/health/NOA/30states.pdf

Your obligation to pay a parent's nursing home bill is another resource to read:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/your-obligation-pay-parents-nursing-home-bill.html


We took responsibility for my Mom's day to day living through being a multigenerational family where Mom retained all her Social Security and spent it when and where she chose and we paid all the "ordinary"expenses of living and some of her "extras" -- often providing additional money for her to travel or purchase larger items -- bed, furniture, room decor, etc. 

This was how we lived from the time Mom came to live with us when our first child was three months old until she went into a facility through the actions of Julia I've written about in several earlier entries. That was almost four decades.


Mom had no property and no resources aside from Social Security and that was at a very low level as Mom was a very low wage earner.


We finally applied for Medicaid as it provided Day Care. 

I was coping with 24/7 caregiving for two and Mom deserved to have a more stimulating and social lifestyle than we could provide when my husband was basically "home bound".


Most of his time after spending 100 days in the hospital, almost all in Critical Intensive Care, was in a medical bed with as many as four bags taped across his abdomen as his skin constantly broke open and the contents of his "processing" of what he could tolerate to eat dumped into the bags which constantly needed to be changed.


What if my state would have decided I "had" the ability since we had a home when Mom started needing medical care (before my husband had his medical challenges) and we were "held responsible" for her bills .....?

And then there's the consideration of the responsibility to care for "parents" and that would have meant, if they were living, two people for each of us, my husband and myself, bringing to our lives the "responsibility" of paying for care IF each of them could not pay or did not have assets or other means OR if we were seen as "having the ability"......

Where are we headed as a society? 

What can we do?

This is not just a discussion among Seniors and their children.

GenX, Millenials and the GenZ's and those who come after are facing these challenges and they have no idea they exist, have no idea what "responsbilities" are being "thrust" upon them.

Each generation deserves to know more about decisions and practices that not only limit their daily activities and actions but also those in place that are silently and behind closed doors affecting the future they work so hard and often struggle to create.

Life happens. Medical expenses and other life challenges can take away what you've worked for decades to provide. 

In a heartbeat life can change. 

In a heartbeat you find out about laws and practices taking you from independence to interdependence.  

It's a system that's only going to change when we realize how critical it is to watch, to speak out and to move forward along with positive change in other life practices.

You hold the keys not just at the Polls when you vote but everyday when those you elect or appoint, those who make decisions governing your daily life create these and other laws.

If you do nothing else, at least shine the light as I'm trying to do through raising awareness of what's "out there" and find a way to make a difference.

Raise your voice towards those who are heard and especially those who "control" your present and your future.

You are the key to the many locks in life you encounter.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Odds Are There's Always One Spoiler In The Deck

As Parents, we're given one chance, one lifetime, to do "our job" of raising those helpless, dependable infants who arrive in our lives and over whom we have little to less control as the years pass.

I really thought, given the same parents, lifestyle, advantages and possibilities, the mold would shape each offspring similarly.

Didn't happen. Not surprised now that I'm into grandchildren.

People are different. What they experience, how they interpret life, decisions they make -- are variables.

We tried to "equalize" and ensure no child was "left behind"; there were no "perks" for one over another; each was encouraged in their unique or similar interests and abilities.

Then they were "grown"; developed; matured -- or at least in the ongoing process of each life step.

But how, some of us "parents" ask, can one be so "different" towards them as the "others". How can they talk about their life in our home and afterwards and twist truth about daily life -- as they "experienced" it.

Enter other influences. Especially those with the ability and capacity to "move" this once upon a time "family member" out, away from and beyond, even believing they'd had a "horrible, miserable and controlling" lifestyle BEFORE finding this person who put blinders on with nonremovable straps.

Watching our children grow, accept responsibility, move forward in creating their lives while maintaining connectivity and support of other family members, especially parents and grandparents -- is most people's "family dream".

What do you do when your son or daughter "turns" on you?

What do you do when they "mis" remember or choose to "twist" their lives and those of other family members to conform to what they believe NOW?

You honor their request even when it hurts you and others when the mandate is "no contact with the grandchildren".

Five years and counting. A new grandchild arrives; no announcement; no contact.

Wait! Intercession. Wife of other son asks "them" to come to their home while you're visiting. It's a long trip, you're only able to make it once a year. 

Concerned about meeting the youngest who was born after the "dictate" of their father regarding "no contact".

Concerned about the younger two and the older two -- you are almost speechless when the time arrives, they walk through the door, approach the chair where you're sitting and one by one, they lean over, hug you, you hug back, wanting to spend more time in that way but concerned about being "watched" and "measured" and "evaluated" not just by "him" but also by "her" and all you can say to each grandchild is "Any time", "Any time".

You wanted to talk with each one but fear if you do you'll have them removed from where you are and take them --- away-- so you hold back tears, of joy and sorrow, and simply say "Any time" -- meaning whenever they can, whenever they're able, they can connect with you.

You understand. None are "of an age" when they're not dependent on their parents. 

They don't understand this isn't the first time their father has "removed" connectivity -- not at all -- either three or four other times before -- I've lost count.

It isn't me. It's who I am. It wasn't his father or his grandmother or his sister. It's that we were his "family of the past" and he doesn't NEED OR WANT connectivity.....with reality....with reminders...with truth. And so he strikes out each time with the only weapon he believes will do the most harm, be the most hurtful -- as others don't seem to work.

When you learn of this "plan" for "re-meeting", you feel sick to your stomach worrying about how it will affect "the children" after so long a time without "talking with" their Nana and their Aunt.

How does your son who mandated and enforced this "no contact" ruling from his position of power and ability to control the minor children approach this meeting?

No way to know. Only to experience. To see how he and his wife "handle" the "meeting".

The hardest meeting was the "first" meeting of the youngest, now almost five, being told by his mother, "I want you to meet someone. This is your Grandmother." As if ... as if ...

What did his little mind think; how will he remember this meeting...will he remember...it's been many months and, of course, no other contact.

What brought on this "separation".... it started a few months after my husband's death...or the latest "separation", that is. 

The other times it was striking out at all the adults in the household: his father, myself and his grandmother -- although my son, of course, points the finger only at me now because I'm the only "adult at the time of his life" still living.

Writing about these family challenges is draining and brings up more than I can cope with in one sharing session.

It's a dark story. It's a sad tale of how a family that was so close for so long, started and continues a journey where deception, abuse and control are so prominent.

There's so much I don't understand how people can put on a "face" to the world while being so very different in who they are and how they treat others.

Enough for now. 

As I grow, as I go, I feel possibly sharing some of the "challenges" of these past years, especially those within the circle of the last years spent with my husband before and during his passing and my mother in the same way, will take my life's journey where it should go rather than where it's been directed by other forces.

I will also return to sharing information and enlightening about Elder Care, Dementia and Safety issues in Long Term Care at future times.

For now, looking from the present to the past I still believe it's been worth the journey, the effort and all of the challenges when two out of three are capable of loving and caring about those who loved and cared for them and do not share a life that includes exclusion, elimination and false, misleading and deceptive "rememberances", or at the least, very misinformed rememberances based on "retellings" of experiences by others with "life agendas" to be met.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Children Valued, Aged Devalued

What is one of our greatest accomplishments in life? 
Being able to go from one place to another.

When we're babies, parents talk about all the "accomplishments" and can't wait (at least with the first child) for them to walk. 

It's a "brag right" for parents when a child "walks" at an early age; they equate it to intelligence and other socially valued abilities

Why did Mom's facility work so hard to take away her ability to walk?

Why do most Long Term Care Facilities move new residents who may arrive "walking", albeit with a walker, work to remove the walker for a wheelchair and welcome the "bedridden" as an asset to their facility?

Mobility requires more observation, being vigilant, responding to people directly instead of to a "call button", having to "find them" to check vitals, administer meds or do one of a dozen things to "check on and "service" the individual.

Wheelchairs need to be pushed or the resident has to have strength, coordination and determination to move a wheelchair any distance. Limiting mobility reduces the amount of "space" they can get to and through, the chances they will "wander" or "go where they need to be located or removed from. 

Facilities see Self Driven "Chairs" providing a hazard to residents, staff and visitors. A resident who arrives with a motorized "transporter" will have to have arrived with it and prove frequently they have the physical, emotional and mental ability as measured by the facility to continue to have the "right" to use it.

There is no "standard" of measurement for evaluating and no LTC Facility guidelienes as a part of recognized systems and procedures I've found outlining, as some States have for residency in Independent/Assisted/LTC facilities

Those 'in charge" constantl usually seek the "assistance" of family members to "encourage" the elderly to "give up" their wheels -- much the same as when they were driving a car.

Often the "powers" at the facilities "pad" reports and find ways to use language that seeks to discredit and minimize the true capabilities in LTC facilities.. 

Bedbound is highly desireable for those "in charge" in a Long Term Care facility. 

If you can medicate and keep as many residents as possible  "comotose" or "awake and aware" at disignated times with drugs prescribed by the Doctor to a "competent" resident -- you can have a lower staff to resident ratio, cut expenses and limit need to hire or employ.

QUESTION:  Ever ask yourself who reviews the medications a resident is "prescribed" by a Doctor -- one who is basically "employed by the facility"?  

Over all these years I've never been able to find any documentation, State or Federal, mandating disclosure to those with Medical POA's. 

But I do know from personal experience, how easy it is for a person focused on manipulating and controling how easy it is to gain their confidence over time and showing "interest" through "private talks" how a person, a Registered Nurse, can control and ensure the elderly does what they want, when they want and how they want. I still carry the scars from the mental and emotional damages done by Julia.

MOST DESIRABLE RESIDENT?  The one who is placed on Hospice when the facility only allows "their own" Hospice program to be given to residents.

IS THIS LEGAL? That's a great question. 

As are so many other actions taken by LTC's but are practiced because WE DO NOT QUESTION, WE DO NOT RISE UP AND SPEAK OUT LOUDLY AND TO ALL Local, State and National organizations and legal departments responsible or interested in Our Aging Population -- how their lives are managed in living arrangements where they are under supervision by a group, organization or entity.


Back to the comparison of the "child" who is encouraged, supported and rewarded for actions that involve movement and "independence":

I realize the answer now, several years later, but let's start the questioning process:

The small child is encouraged -- it's a "rite of passage for parents" -- LOOK....WE HAVE A WALKER....NO LONGER AN INFANT.....NOW A "CHILD"...getting ready to move about in the world, still needing help, needing assistance, but we've achieved their progression....unless, of course, there is a physical challenge...but then parents start to move heaven and earth, go anywhere and everywhere, whatever it takes...to gain some form of mobility, of independence...

KEY WORD ---  INDEPENDENCE  Wanted for a child; discouraged and removed from our aging population.

Read your State Laws and Definition of Long Term Care. The System. Those who write the Laws. They have determined "who can" and "with what needs" reside in LTC -- also Assisted and Independent Living. And, honestly, they're obsolete and as archaic as many other laws we once lived with and now see how detrimental they were for human beings.

It's about Fire Codes and Safety --  they'll tell you. 

Before my first child was born, I saw a poem in a Reader's Digest written by Helen Lowry Marshall:  Children Learn What They Live.

Adults also learn what they live and when they are denied independence, made to believe they are incompetent and live lives of more and more isolation and lessening of providing actions and activities that build self worth and ability -- they wither and .... 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Beneath The Surface: Look, Listen, Touch When Visiting

Moving "up the ladder" on the age chain.
As we age so do our relatives and family members. 

We transit through the "joining together " and "moving apart" that comes with and through the circle, the cycle of life.

Unless there's a serious illness or other disrupter, we hardly notice the days turning into weeks, month and years except to mark the seasons and the occasions for gathering, sharing and often celebrating

Then comes the day, the week, the month and the year of making decisions turning life inside out when we face the closest generational change when we notice our cousins, with whom we grew up or aged together, experiencing health changes and looking so different in the pictures we take -- more like our Aunts and Uncles.

Early Onset Dementia.  It arrives like a thief in the night, under the cover of darkness -- light seeming to be drawn slowly as through a pin prick and leaving behind a developing and ever growing darkness.

I didn't "grow up" with my cousin who's now in the memory care wing of an Assisted Living facility. I don't know her except through select memories.

Seeing change doesn't require being close to someone -- it's visible when it's noticeable and recognizable when you've been through it.

We often measure life by goals reached and achievements made -- if we're fortunate -- or by overcoming challenges, obstacles, set backs and life crises. 

If they're younger, say not into their fifties, it's a "life challenge"; not welcomed or wanted but we see mostly hurdles to jump, times to get through and progress to make towards.... "that" time...when we'll "be there"...but not now, not here...later...maybe...

Next comes the "between time'. We're between the front and the second row at funerals; not having babies usually and struggling with teens and early "adulthood" in our offspring or family additions. 

Suddenly...we find ourselves having "achieved" some of our life's goals of having a family and all it entails and now we're....what....still moving in the direction of the unknown, the unexpected and sometimes the unwanted.

LOOK, LISTEN, TOUCH WHEN VISITING A LOVED ONE IN A FACILITY... we continue to need recognition as a valued individual person, not just someone to "visit", to "spend time with". 

You go. They stay. They wait. So much time to think, to consider, to wonder but not to dream, to really "dream" as when we grow old -- older---we've made it or not, we've had it or not, we've known it or not -- according to the worldview on aging.

Few see the real human being who is aging. They see what they're told to believe, what they're supposed to know and what they should do and how it should be done.

For many it's an "obligation" -- something to work into "our schedule. For some they're the "only ones" in the area and those "outside" call occassionally but find "communication" difficult so they tend to make those calls less and less frequently.

Then there are those who "passed" on really staying connected and aware and certainly didn't find time let alone any financial ability to "help", even when grave illness and severe challenges created severe financial challenges.

These are the ones who usually "rise up" when someone, who they see as "concerned", connects with them to "complain about" or somehow find fault with the primary family/friends who make time, create ways and include the Senior in their lives.

It's always so easy to look at something from a distance and find fault when you want there to be fault either because of "self guilt" of many years of "neglect" or walking away because this was one thing they didn't have to "deal with" in life.

We experienced this "disconnect" and "accusations". Strange how even the one son who could have seen more did not consider how his grandmother was "aging". He who is known for being so "informed" and "capable" did not apply his skillsets to investigate and understand. But then, few do.

If you call, connect with, or in any way "enter into" or "remain" a part of a loved one's being in a Long Term Care Facility, you need to recognize what you see is not what they're getting on a daily basis and there are many challenges those of us who are frequent visitors see with the loved one and other residents.

Step out of your comfort zone for you too are moving in the same direction -- towards needing caregiving. Life is a circle, you enter dependent, become independent and often return to one or more levels of "dependency".

Look, listen, touch and most importantly do not take anything for granted. That "bandage" may be concealing a very serious problem. Those Dr recommended "compression" socks may hide bruises or worse.

Be Aware. Do more than accept what you're told.

And, take pictures. Make notes. Keep records.


Do not be afraid to report what you see, what you hear and what you smell including calling the DHSS Hotline to report the facility.

You are the gatekeeper of the present and the future for as the tree of life grows and develops it bends and breaks with the pressures it endures.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Reaching Out, Touching Lives, Making A Difference

Met with another daughter of a mother with Lewy Body Dementia earlier today. Julie was her name. 

How strange. Julia -- with an "a' was the name of the woman who abused Mom and claimed I was the abuser -- see many entries about this nightmare created by a woman who is still licensed as an RN and to my knowledge is still "providing care giving services" to Seniors. 

Wonder if she's still focused on working with those whose children live out of State -- or did her experience with me and Mom show her she could "expand" safely even into families that were multigenerational?

Julia reapplied to the State of Missouri and reactivated her expired RN license -- it made her a "required" and UNQUESTIONED mandated reporter of "elder abuse".

She'd told me once...well before the time when she came into our immediate family life.....she often helped them "get rid of things" and even helped to "move them into facilities".

How convenient, I think now.  Get their and their children's trust and confidence, then you can move in to move on to your next "conquest"?

Julia decided, in my opinion,Mom was a "good mark" to exploit and I, who had the same name as her mother, someone she did not have a good relationship with, "deserved" to be separated from my mother. 

Those are the conclusions I've drawn with the passing of years since Mom's death.

I've had a slight "aversion" to that name ever since -- know I shouldn't but if you read about how she manipulated, controlled and destroyed the life we had as a multigenerational family for almost four decades -- you'll understand.

Checking this Blog; wondering if it's still "being read" meaning reaching someone, somewhere who is struggling with understanding and going through the "jello" of LBD or even other types of Dementia, I saw someone had just read the entry dated Sunday, April 20, 2014 (wow.....over five years ago) and titled: Constructing Change: Teepa Snow, Whoopi Goldberg, Kelsey Grammar

Although there have been new discoveries about the brain and about Dementia, including Lewy Body Dementia, in the more than five years that have passed since I wrote the entry, it's still relevant and useful as are my other varied entries to date spanning over seven years.

I met with Julie today after she reached out to me from an entry I made on line in a "local" Neighborhood chat site where people ask for help with many things including care giving for loved ones.

She'd been to a Neurologist and so many others who had no real clue about what was going on or misdiagnosed what they saw as so many other afflictions.

We sat and talked about where she is with her Mom. She'd just been told by their Primary Care Doctor her Mom had Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinsons.

FASCINATING. And he was with one of the three associated hospitals of the main hospital where I first saw the words as a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia, possibly mid to late, after Mom was hospitalized with a urinary tract infection.

PROGRESSION.  
     WORD IS SPREADING. 
           KNOWLEGE IS GROWING. 

We are succeeding in raising awareness about this debilitating medical challenge.

I asked her where her Mom had been "placed" in the measuring of "how far along" with the challenge and she said he hadn't mentioned.

I encouraged her to reconnect with the Dr and ask for a further diagnosis as to whether it was, in his medical opinion, early, mid or late stage.

IT'S TIME ... MEDICAL COMMUNITY.  

THIS IS A CRITICAL AREA OF NEED FOR INFORMATION, DIRECTION AND GUIDANCE.

We live with it every day. It's at the top of our life's list.

We need your "engagement" in our challenge.

We need you to "become involved" more directly, with greater consideration of OUR NEED TO KNOW, TO UNDERSTAND...so that we can shift this burden to a more manageable load as we continue to walk with and beside family members and friends as they walk this ever varying road called LEWY BODY DEMENTIA.


SCARY, TOO.  Misdiagnosis can lead to providing medications that can cause severe damage and bad reactions and unfortunately.....even death.

i realize Lewy Body Dementia is difficult to determine but you, the medical community simply need to put more value on this disease as has been previously placed on others and we'll have more ability to manage, if not control, its effects and affects.

It's time to be informed about ALL the  "TYPES" of Dementia. 

IT'S TIME TO FIGHT DEMENTIA AS WE ONCE RECOGNIZED AND JOINED TOGETHER TO FIGHT CANCER AND HEART DISEASE.

And....I have to admit....

What surprised me was when Julie told me she had to wait a year to "get into the program" at the hospital to go through more analysis of the disease.

WAKE UP AMERICA!  

WOULD WE DO THIS TO A CANCER PATIENT?  

Or maybe we do? Although my personal recent experience has been medical facilities for two friends acted quickly when they were discovered to have Cancer.

Or, is it because Julie's mother is fortunate. She's in an Assisted Living facility, a nice one -- although as Julie said, she's not really sure how "hands on" and "capable" they are.

We talked about the three levels of living for Seniors -- Independent, Assisted and Long Term -- and the State requirements for residency by individuals in their levels of capability or need.

Julie's Mom is one of the more fortunate as she has good Insurance Coverage -- few people do -- for these services.

Perhaps the Dr. felt there were limited spaces in the program and because the mother was in a residential care facility the "immediate need to know" the level of the Mother's Dementia and any "assistance" was perhaps not as "urgent" as for others.

OR.....perhaps the Doctor believes the woman is really doing better than she actually is.

Although he could see the LBD and noticed the symptoms of the shaking (labled as Parkinson's), he might not realize TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

People with LBD who are provided with mental stimulation, environments providing levels of mental challenge that works for the individual with physical activity and interaction that stimulates -- even attempting new skills or additional skillsets -- CAN POSITIVELY AFFECT THE  DISEASE PROGRESSION AND STAVE OFF MORE RAPID PROGRESSION.

Yes, it works. We watched it work. 

We didn't realize it at the time because we did not know about LBD but daughter and I now know we effectively helped Mom to live longer and a better life because of what we did for and with her.

And -- quality of food and types of food

And -- keeping mind and body active.

We could not stop the disease that is Dementia -- and that is what it is, just like Cancer which we're told "lies in wait in our bodies".

We gave Mom an environment that stimulated her mind and body and we found that even when she had periods of Aphasia, as mentioned in another article I wrote, she retained more independence and capability.

It was a difficult journey. The memories still present challenges. 

I would not have asked to live many times in life I've been given but I am grateful I was also, somehow, provided then and now with the ability to find ways to be of service to others who walked, are walking and will walk this disruptive life path.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

World Of Differences: RIP Jesse Combs: a lesson she continues to teach

Media sets the pace in the length of our strides and often tries to determine whether we walk or run and in which direction.  

Ever so slowly over many years the "personality newsperson" has edged into the industry and now appears to be, at least on the national level, the rule rather than the exception.

There are thousands of "media influencers" many of whom we can carry in the palm of our hands or out into far corners of the world; they have great power to wield.

Took a few minutes to watch CBS several mornings ago and listened to a report on the female race car driver who was killed trying to break the women's land speed record.

On line and on screen Jesse Combs was referred to as the "fastest woman on wheels". 

CBS made a point of showing how "different she was" and citing how she did many usually "male" activities like repairing cars.

This comparison to what is typically "male" and typically "female" continues the division and the separation of men and women in STEM and in the work community in general.

Media who continue to use terminologies and comparisons from "another century" fail to serve the public for whom they work and often cause continuation of past practices of discrimination and lack of inclusion.

Competition. Sports and activities throughout our early lives build into us the NEED to "rise above, stand out, be first".

Less time is devoted to Team Work, supporting others in achieving goals, with more time devoted to those who "stand  out" rather than building the skills of those "with ability" being not chosen, not selected, overlooked and undervalued.

Our educational system is based on individual achievement and measurement and so is the majority of our work evaluation. 

The most admiration seems to go to the "winning team" or the "top achiever". We're not taught enough to value the experience, the "working together".

Even in sports that are "team oriented" we seldom see the team as a group lauded for their achievements -- we feel a need to "single out" and "find" one or a couple of "outstanding athletes" giving awards, higher compensation and recognition.

However, a few months ago when the St Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup, we saw how teamwork wins -- they were a unit, they worked together. 

There were outstanding plays and exceptional players but the focus each one gave was of the group and the people who supported and believed in them.

And, today at all levels on rinks around America you'll see some young girls and young women out there, showing how they can move alongside, with and independently to "bring home the gold" as a team.

When the St Louis Blues "brought the cup home", they didn't "hide it" -- they took it and continue to take it around the St Louis area allowing more people than ever before to be a part of the "achievement", to feel "they too" had participated and "brought home the cup".

Young boys AND girls have touched, felt the pride and seen the possibilities of hard work individually and as a team. 

Way To Go Blues!

Even their "image" of "Gloria" and "Stanley" sets a new level of recognition for a sports "mantra" to be shared.

While singular achievement is critical to a society, working together is also critical to asking questions and finding answers. 

One person may discover but it often takes a community, a group, a team to bring the idea to fruition.

In my current search for enlightenment in the Senior Long Term Care "industry" I believe it's not just the facilities but also society, groups and organizations and especially laws and practices at all levels that are the challenges to ensure we grow older and walk our live's path not dreading or fearing what's "to come".

I cannot look and not seek to learn when I  find a problem.

It often sets me on another journey I'd not seen or preplanned but life is not always as we'd planned, as we wanted, as we believed it would or should be.

And it often brings me and those who choose to learn....enlightenment.

It's our choice, yours and mine, individually, if we accept and simply wait our turn or if we choose to recognize and shine the light for others to follow and understand. 

It's when we build awareness, foster involvement and encourage action we teach a lesson and learn from it at the same time.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Generational Shift; Moving The Bar To My Level

A death of someone close or closer in age reminds us of our own mortality. 

We listen, watch and learn as we see others move along the path of life, dying and death.

A funeral. Same Church Mom was taken to; her choice; our love of her to fulfill, to participate, to ackowledge her departure.

A cousin by marriage. Close in age but not really close as we lived "in the city" and she and her husband lived "in the country" far enough in time and distance and leading their lives having and raising a family as we were.

My time. But it really wasn't. Thinking back. Yes, there were occasions, events, special times. 

The direction was always "moving ahead" against odds and challenges purposely moved aside in order to move ahead -- education, activities, family times -- prioritizing the positive while dealing with the negatives life hands out without any respect for to whom, when, where, how many times and how much disturbance is given.

Now I supposedly have "my time". 

Desires to continue to become -- before my time not to have choices, preferences, capability and capacity enter my life's door and that final curtain is drawn.

Life isn't selective although it often feels like it is; we are born, we live and we pass through this life.

No matter what you believe about here, now, there, whenever, as we walk, run, stand and wait watching others and ourselves move through life challenges, it's always a learning experience.

My cousin is now faced with "the process" of the absence and change that accompanies losing a spouse of many years.

Remembering the "period of adjustment" most in our age group went through as we married and started "cohabitating" -- so different from many today who chose to live together.

I wonder....if/when they marry and one or the other departs this life...will it be the same....I think the loss will be but the memories will be slightly changed.

How do we react to the loss? Each of us has our own tape measure; each of us has a life affected in different ways and so reacts at the moment and each step along life's continuing road very differently.

Some judge. Some evaluate. Some decide. The "some" being family, friends, acquaintances even. 

Sad but true; others are really thinking either been there, done that or glad it's not me or what now for her/him.

We are residents of the here and now asked to consider, evaluate and conclude about today, the future and the hereafter -- meaning our leaving this life.

Best we can do, in my opinion, is stop judging, start talking and above all live today as it will soon be tomorrow built on yesterdays.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fence Sitters....It's Time To Read, Write and Speak UP!

Do you question your Doctor? Do you question their recommendations, services, communication?

Think what it's like when you have limited ability to communicate let alone be heard.


Let's do some research. 


Here's a website providing State by State "regulations"


The report is from 2010---does that mean the regulations and practices have not changed since that time?


Here's the website:


https://theconsumervoice.org/uploads/files/issues/Harrington-state-staffing-table-2010.pdf


Here's the top of the first page:


FEDERAL STAFFING: 1 RN 8 consecutive hrs/7 days/wk & 1 RN/LVN for 2 remaining shifts. 


Must have 1 RN who is full-time DON (5 days/wk); if fewer than 60 residents, DON may also be Charge Nurse.


 (For 100 residents, LN .30 hours per resident day (hprd) would be required.) SC= State Code SAL = State
Administrative Law (Rules and Regulations) SDP = State Departmental Written Policy


The State of Missouri info is here:


MO SUFFICIENT STAFF: to attain or maintain the highest practicable level of physical, mental and psychosocial well-being


LICENSED STAFF (RN, LPN/LVN) 1 DON RN included in 1 RN Day and 1 RN/LPN Eve & Night and 1 RN on call if only LPN on duty 

When DON is LPN, an RN should consult 4 hours per week.

DIRECT CARE STAFF No minimum requirement (RN .08) LN .24 SAL: MO Code of State Regulation 19 CSR 30-85 (34)- (38) Eff. 1-30-04. http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr /current/19csr/19c30-85.pdf

SAL: Intermediate Care Facility: 1 DON RN/LPN. If LPN is DON, RN must be a consultant 4 hrs/wk included in 1 RN/LPN Day on duty and 1 RN/LPN on call 24hrs/7days.

Online Updates: Missouri Code of State Regulations: http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/csr.a sp Legislative Updates: Missouri General Assembly: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutesearch/

Missouri, for some reason, and other States as well, created "loopholes" most probably to "benefit" donors/supporters with vested interests -- I "bolded" the specific words that allow LTC's in Missouri to operate without sufficient ON SITE Medical Personnel:  "1 RN on call if only LPN on duty".

"on call" -- not in the facility, not able to assist with a life or death situation (this is an LTC and emergencies are constant)


We listen to reports of the 60's; we give vocal "honor" to our Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam. 


We value families and many support valuing the unborn. 


WHERE DO WE SHOW WE VALUE OUR AGING POPULATION -- THE MOST VULNERABLE?


Do you write your Congressperson?  Time to put in a word about how people, many of whom still vote (LTC's often serve as Polling Places or bring Absentee Ballots to residents) are "in harms way" without GOOD HEALTHCARE IN LONG TERM CARE & GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE.


Remember.....not everyone in LTC is a Senior---laws vary.


Speak Up! Speak Out!


There are members of a Generation who have been labled "The Silent Generation" -- YOU ARE THEIR VOICES and those moving up in the age brackets or the medical needs statistics


You are the voices of those removed from speaking out, who are being silenced by drugs, who have advanced Dementia or who have no means to make private calls or use a computer to contact their Congressperson.


YOU ARE THE VOICE FOR EACH PERSON as we move along life's road and often find ourselves in places we'd prefer not to be in ways we wouldn't consider and with people who are "doing a job" without realizing how very low the standards are and how very high the needs remain.


Remember the history lessons....they came for.... I didn't speak up....


Think your time in LTC is far in the future?  Think about medical conditions where you'll need at least a short term stay...or possibly longer -- say 100 days. 


Read, write, share the information and advocate....advocate and bring about change!