The Equalizer: A holiday story from the ‘Before’ time

Louise, a petite, 79-year-old woman, was the roommate of another resident I was seeing for psychotherapy at the nursing home. Louise sat by the B bed watching TV and working her needlepoint, anchoring the tapestry frame against her chest with one arm while she slowly pushed the needle through with her good hand. “Hello! Please … Read more

Managing a bah humbug holiday season

By now many of us have viewed the viral video of residents gleefully shooting soft foam balls at laughing staff members dressed as reindeer dodging through a pine-tree “forest.” It’s the kind of merriment suitable for the 2020 holidays — one that uses humor and playful defiance to release pent-up frustrations. Under normal circumstances, spending … Read more

Fostering post-traumatic growth in long-term care

The COVID-19 pandemic has been taxing for virtually everyone in long-term care, from the C-suite to direct care providers. I’ve written about my own experience with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after working in a pandemic epicenter earlier in the year. While crises often have short- and long-term negative effects, psychologists have found that there also … Read more

From blame to education: Rethinking the nursing home survey process

The treatment team sat around the table calculating the approximate arrival date of the surveyors based on rumors, past years’ experience, and sightings from colleagues at other facilities in the city.  “If they approach you,” the director of nursing advised, “try not to say too much.” The young social worker remarked, “If I see them … Read more

Nursing Home Love Story #6: The Case of the Reluctant Resident

“Hi, Mabel! Do you have some time to talk to me?” Mabel, I knew, had all the time in the world, since she refused to go to activities. She sat across from the nursing station, her hefty frame filling her extra-large wheelchair, watching the nursing staff, the other residents and the passersby. Her greeting hadn’t … Read more

Geropsychology in the News

Nursing homes and eldercare have been in the news more frequently recently and I’ve had several opportunities to contribute a psychological perspective. Scripps National News: Washington Post: With video calls and an army of volunteers, this 15-year-old is battling pandemic loneliness in nursing homes Chicago Tribune: Nursing home staffers face stress and their own COVID-19 … Read more