Friday, April 17, 2009

I am finally getting around to another posting. The Aging in America conference was great, there were so many sessions to choose from it was hard to make a decision. I was fortunate to attend a session given by the psychologist for The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation. They have copyrighted the term "compassion fatigue" for professional and family caregivers and gave us a copy of the Ten Commandments of Caregiving. I want to share those with you.
1. Take the oxygen first, 2. Never assume, 3. Have ongoing family conferences, 4. Do not isolate, 5. Do not take anything personally, 6. Plan ahead and have a contingency plan, 7. Do not fall prey to shame and stigma, 8. Use community resources, 9. Honor sacred memories and 10. Find humor in many places.
I was also able to attend a full day workshop given by the Rosalyn Center for Caregiving and heard of many exciting programs that are being designed to assist caregivers with education, skills and support. More on that in my next posting.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aging in America Conference

I am getting ready to leave for the Aging in America Conference this Saturday. It is 5 days of programs for those of us who work in the elder care field. I am especially excited to be attending a program sponsored by the Rosalyn Carter Center for Caregiving. I hope to have much to report on my return.
Today's Dad quote of the day: When encouraging my father-in-law to drink more water, he responded, "Why, is my stomach dry?"

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bills Target Long-Term Care Staff

I wanted to share some exciting news for those of us in eldercare. Two pending bills, one in the Congress and one in the Senate address the need to prepare for the aging population and the lack of geriatric prepared staff. The bill is titled the Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging American Act of 2009. It will ask for studies to look at the aging service network, ways to reduce turnover and improve staff retention in long-term care, and track the NIH's spending on illness affecting the elderly.
Provisions of the bill would create a Geriatric Career Incentive Award and expand the Geriatric Academic Career Awards. It also creates stipends for long-term care nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal or home health aides wanted to earn higher degrees or take classes in gerontology.
Please write your senator and representatives and ask them to vote for this important bill as part of the comprehensive health plan in the works.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Today's entry is a short one but hopefully a powerful one. Caregivers are faced with many choices everyday. The choice to be a caregiver, how to accomplish the tasks of caregiving, deal with issues and when to let go. No matter what choices you make, remember that they are the right choices for you. No one can fully understand what you are going through and the choices you make have to work for you and no one else.
Seek advice, read about others experiences, find support and pray but in the end the ultimate decision and choice is yours alone. Celebrate you choice and make it your own. Take it to heart and always tell yourself that it was the right choice even when it doesn't seem that way.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today I would like to share some of my favorite quotes about aging and life in general for caregivers and nursing students.
1. Sign seen in a store: Don' t let aging get you down it's too hard to get back up.
2. Gloria Pitzer: About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.
3. Mark Twain: Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Each day brings its challenges, but looking for the bits of humor scattered there can be helpful. Let me share a chuckle my husband and I had recently.
We were driving to a local restaurant for our weekly family dinner. (We try to take Don's parents out each week for socialization and a different environment). We were using the drive time to remind my father-in-law why is was important for him to drink more fluids. Using his long-term memory to help this endeavor, my husband asked him if he remembered that water was a universal solvent. Getting a positive response, I queried "do you remember the periodic table of elements?" He thought for a second and responded "the periodic table of elephants?!"
We all had a laugh and he moved on to reading billboards and store signs oblivious to what we found so funny.
It's moments like these that balance out the hard times.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why did I start this blog? Here are the statistics that should speak for themselves. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by 2010 there will be 5.7 million people over the age of eighty-five. One fourth of all American families are full-time caregivers, 26 million to an adult family member and 5 million to a person with dementia.
People over the age of sixty-five account for 234 million medical office visits per year, 15.7 million emergency room visits and 13.1 million hospital visits per 1000 visits per year.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, more than one million nurses are needed by 2016. Hospitals currently have 116,000 job openings. In 2007, 40,285 qualified applicants were turned away from schools of nursing due to insufficient faculty.
The ratio of trained nurses to the people most likely to need care in 2010 and beyond (the elderly) will decrease by 40 % in the next 5 years.
Time to talk about some solutions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome to the first entry in Nurse Nan's Notes. I will be posting regularly and discussing elder caregiving and nursing education in Geriatrics, my two favorite topics. Stay tuned for my first note.