Monday, January 26, 2015


A couple of weeks ago my husband and I watched the movie "Nebraska".  To me it was a study on the dynamics of a family with aging parents.  The mother/wife thought her husband was losing his mind and wanted him institutionalized.  One of the two sons was in total agreement with his mother.  The other son wasn't sure.

Through much interaction, a journey, and FINALLY some conversation, we find out that the father/husband is not necessarily losing his mind.  He has just given up.  He has a nagging wife, apathetic children and no hope of anything changing.  All he wanted out of life was to help people, retrieve a compressor he loaned to a friend, and to own a new truck.  With these things he felt people would treat him with dignity.

I believe that's what we all want... to be treated with dignity and respect.  That's what we want, but somehow we seem to forget to give that to others... especially the elderly.  Even if a person has dementia or alzheimer's, they still deserve to be treated with dignity.

My dad was in a nursing home for several months before he left this world.  He had dementia.  The aides had a difficult time feeding him.  I was usually there at dinner time so they asked if I could help.  The only thing I did differently was that I didn't force him to eat and I always let it be his decision if he wanted to try to feed himself or if he wanted me to help him.  I allowed him to keep his dignity.

My point in telling these stories is to remind us all to treat everyone with respect and dignity.  Every human being deserves that.  If we desire that for ourselves, we HAVE to give it to others.  And we need to remember that one day, probably sooner than we want to admit, we're going to be that elderly person that wants to be able to keep our dignity.

Love, Paula

Monday, January 12, 2015


When visiting some hospice patients the other day, I felt so bad.  There was a husband and wife in the same nursing home, but in separate rooms.  These dear people were both in their 90s.  They've been together for many, many years.  They chose to spend their lives together.  They are obviously choosing to leave this earth at the same time since they are both hospice patients.  Why then can't they do it together?  Why can't they be in the same room?  It just doesn't seem right

In a perfect world they would be able to live out their lives in their own home - together.  Since they have to be in a nursing home, they should at least be able to be in the same room.  And how about pushing the beds together too so they know the other one is there.

There just needs to be more heart.  Dying and/or being elderly isn't a disease, it's a natural progression of life.  We are all going to die sometime.  If we're lucky, it will be when we are elderly.  Wouldn't you want to be treated with understanding and compassion?  Wouldn't you still want to be treated like a human being?  Wouldn't you like to feel that you mattered?  Of course you would.  I think these people would too.

I believe that most people that are taking care of the elderly are doing the best they can.  I also know that they have rules and laws that they have to abide by in order to receive compensation from government institutions.  But even with these restrictions, I think it could be done so much better.

It wouldn't take much to make this happen.  Most nursing homes already have two beds in each room.  It wouldn't take much effort to move one of these people into the other person's room.  We need to remember that we're ALL part of the same human family.  Let's start treating everyone - even the elderly and dying - with the same love, compassion, understanding and respect that we desire for ourselves and our families.

Love,  Paula

Monday, January 5, 2015

Change Is Good!

This year as my husband and I were taking down Christmas, it occurred to me how much things have changed.

When I was young, Christmas didn't start until a couple of weeks before the holiday.  We'd cut down the tree, get it home, and take at least a week to decorate it.  Once it was done, we'd clean and decorate the rest of the house.  Sometimes we wouldn't be ready until Christmas Eve.  It didn't matter though because Christmas celebrations didn't start until Christmas.  The week between Christmas and New Years you got company and you were company.  Everyone visited everyone.  There were always cookies, nuts, fruit, ham, potato salad, pop, beer, coffee and highballs.  It was so much fun and I hated to see it end.  I would be so sad when it was time to put it all away and go back to school.

I don't know exactly when it happened, but eventually Christmas started on Thanksgiving.  Trees are up and everything is decorated inside and out.  All parties and visiting seem to happen before the holidays.  By Christmas day, everything is pretty much over, not just starting.  But when I took things down, I'd still get kind of sad.  And when I would drive by a house that still had their tree up or lights on outside I'd feel melancholy.

For the last couple of years though, it's been totally different.  I'm so ready by the day after Christmas to take it down and put it away.  I have to force myself to wait until at least New Year's Day.  And once it is down, I'm not the least bit sad.  When I see others with trees and decorations up, I think to myself how lucky I am that I'm done.

So why have things changed so much?  Is it the fact that I'm older?  Is it the changing energies?  Is it a natural progression?  I can't answer these questions.  I just don't know.  But what I do know is that it's okay.  Things are constantly changing and evolving and that's okay.  That's the way it's supposed to be.  Change is good.

Love,  Paula