Knock, Please

Regina and I were sitting alone in her room with the door closed. “I was thinking about John last night.”  Tears began to well in her eyes. “Yes?” I was immediately alert.  Regina had avoided discussing her husband’s death for the past three months of psychotherapy.   Suddenly the door opened and the day shift aide poked … Read more

Memory Loss

Many years ago, when I was a new psychologist in long term care, I worked with a woman whose Multiple Sclerosis had impaired her memory to the point she couldn’t remember where she was. I gave her an ID holder with her room number to wear around her neck, but she forgot to look at … Read more

Guest Blogger, Rosebud, age 97

97-year old Rosebud, whom I mentioned in my 11/15/08 post, was a social worker, raised two children, and now lives in a nursing home.  She would like to share with you the following thoughts about recreational activities: “Old folks know a lot and need to have their minds stimulated.  We residents can’t speak back and … Read more

The Critical Period in Nursing Home Placement

I couldn’t wait to go to college.  I was ready to shake off the old me, and begin a brand new self.  No one would know who I’d been, and I could therefore be whomever I wanted to be.   In my Psych 101 textbook, there was a picture of animal behaviorist Conrad Lorenz, followed … Read more


“I need you to see Eddie,” the social worker told me, “He keeps throwing himself out of bed, and you know how the administration is about falls.”  Falls were bad.  They get reported to the State.  “You hear that moaning down the hall?” she asked.  “That’s him.  He’s driving all the other residents crazy.”  She … Read more

For Families: The Initial Transition

I recently met a new resident who demanded almost constant attention from her loved ones. Her family visited daily for hours at a time, and she’d call them soon after they’d left and tell them she was lonely. Trying to please her, they were exhausted, frustrated, irritable, and terribly sad. I reminded her tearful daughter … Read more


I’ve been treating two women who have suffered and survived with Bipolar Disorder all their lives. Sara, in her mid-seventies, has been struggling with deep depression, trying to find her way out of a depressive swing. She sits very still these days, watching the people in the hallway. From a closet full of colorful matched … Read more

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas…

And 83-year old Albertha assured me her family was planning to take her home for the holidays. “Have you talked to them about it?  Have they called the social worker to arrange a pass, and meds, and transportation?” “No,” she replied, “but they’re coming to get me.”   ‘Twas the week after Christmas, and Albertha … Read more

The Internet As Therapeutic Tool: Guest Column in   The Internet as Therapeutic Tool in LTC   On November 4th, 2008, McKnight’s reported on a study that Internet use stimulates the elderly brain. Perhaps you’re wondering what your residents would do on the Internet and whether or not it’s worth your time and investment to establish access for them. As a psychologist … Read more