Posts Tagged ‘elderly’

“Volunteers Supplement Not Replace Staff”

               During a conversation with a CEO of a chain of nursing homes, I steered the conversation towards, what I predict will be, the critical role volunteers will play in the long-term care of older frail adults over the coming four decades. As soon as I mentioned that volunteers can be trained to provide personal cares such as grooming, dressing, and even feeding residents, the CEO barked back “They can’t replace staff!” “Oh no! I don’t want to

Isolation and Community

Whenever I see the words isolation and community in the title, my radar lights up.  There are great and good efforts to change the way aging is viewed but we have a long way to go.  We created a mobile society that pushed older adults out of the workforce and into "retirement."  As a result, families are fragmented, so we have to create "surrogate" family, i.e., social workers, nursing home workers, and volunteers.  Ironically, at least

A Foe More Formidable than a Tiger

              A part of me did not want Richard Parker to die at all, because if he died I would be left alone with despair, a foe even more formidable than a tiger.  If I still had the will to live, it was thanks to Richard Parker (Martel, 164).             For those of you who have read “Life of Pi” these are familiar words.  As part of my summer reading,

Recognizing the Value of Volunteers

           When you think about a volunteer what comes to mind?  I see someone who is engaged, aware of his or her community needs and committed to helping others.  Not remaining mere spectators, they step up to the plate to contribute their time, skills, and their knowledge to meet those needs.  They have the ability to lend a helping hand without any expectation of payment for their efforts but they will likely walk

“Ever Onward!”

I hope that my good friend, Community 360° board member and University of Nebraska at Omaha colleague, Dr. Lyn Holley won't mind that I used her call to action for the title of this article.  Our conversations most often end with her smiling and saying, Ever Onward!   I usually chuckle and respond with a hearty Ok!  But as I was thinking about my writing today, those were the first words that came to my mind, Ever

Marti, Morrie & Bill

            I  love sharing stories and I know from experience people love a good story. This is one of those good stories.                       Last August, 2011, I received an email from Marti explaining that she lives in Kansas City and her father Morrie was living in a nursing home in Omaha. She went on to explain that he is experiencing several issues to include dementia but loves to play gin rummy; “...if he isn't engaged with

New Beginnings

I call my talk with you tonight, "New Beginnings" because for just a moment I will look back at where we have come from but then I will turn and look into the future to the next 20 years. As I look across the room, I see the faces of people who have stood with us, prayed for us, supported us, volunteered with us, and most important the people we


Several years ago, as I entered a memory unit in a nursing home, a woman was there to greet me. As I was closing the door to the memory unit, I noticed that her eyes were riveted on me. With a burst of laughter she said, "Count your blessings!" The look of shock on my face must have been priceless. Then as I was trying to understand what just happened and formulate some sort of response, once again, and

“Volunteers are as effective as antidepressants.”

Today my wife sent me an article entitled "For the Very Old, a Dose of ‘Slow Medicine" by Abigal Zuger, M.D.  (found at: The article reviews "My Mother, Your Mother: embracing slow medicine, the compassionate approach to caring for your aging loved ones," by Dennis McCullough, M.D.  Dennis McCullough is a geriatrician at Dartmouth Medical School. I have not read the book so I will reserve my comments about the book for a later time.  I have "one-click" at


At some point in our lives we are likely to face dependency. We can hide our heads in the sand and pretend that " will never happen to me." But after 20 years of observations, I'm certain that the odds are not in your favor, and it may happen suddenly and sooner than you think.  Of course,  entrepreneurs intuitively recognize an opportunity. Initiating a word search for anti-aging products produces millions of