A truly healing yarn

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: A truly healing yarn “No,” Diane said when I showed up at her door for our Thursday session. “I don’t want to talk to you. I’m too aggravated.” She turned her head and looked out the window for a moment. “I’m surprised.” I replied. “We had … Read more

Elder love

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Elder love I lost one of my two mothers-in-law last Monday, five weeks after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We had expected Audrey to reach 100 years of age, like her mother, but she died shortly after her 91st birthday, having spent her 90th year … Read more

Disaster communication: A tale of two mothers-in-law

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Disaster communication: A tale of two mothers-in-law Both of my mothers-in-law live in long-term care communities in Florida. (I’ll keep the backstory about having two MILs a mystery.) One MIL lives in a place that was excellent about how they communicated with family members before, during … Read more

A psychotherapy story: Mabel and Liza

Mabel was in her late 80s, had lost a leg to diabetes and didn’t hear well. She’d been suicidal upon her admission to the nursing home, but the team had worked hard to stabilize her mood. Months later, she wasn’t exactly happy, but she and Liza, her young private aide, attended activities together and she no … Read more

Reflections on the value of psychology services

When psychologists provide direct care services to long-term care residents, a note is required for every session, documenting symptoms, therapeutic interventions and other information proving that each and every session is medically necessary. The goals and progress of treatment are reviewed every three months. Audits and case reviews by insurers are not uncommon. Other disciplines in the … Read more

Seeing Virginia (an anecdote): Part Two

Seeing Virginia: Part One Like many of my residents over the years, Virginia had been a nursing assistant prior to her retirement. In our early sessions, I encouraged her to discuss how it felt to be “on the other side of the stethoscope,” as I put it, but she was too focused on the plot … Read more

Seeing Virginia (an anecdote): Part One

The first time I met 87-year old Virginia, it was immediately apparent why the nurses had made the referral. She spoke too quickly, words pouring out one after the other without pause. She had vague theories that a staff member was trying to steal the house she’d vacated a few months ago and attempting to … Read more

A Second Look

As I was rushing past the nursing station, Sophia, a 93-year old woman wearing a red velour sweatsuit, was sobbing and calling out for help. She was sitting among a row of other residents who were watching television and passersby. “What’s the matter?” I asked, stopping to kneel by her wheelchair. “I want someone to … Read more

Kind words from residents

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Kind words from residents At a conference last week, I remarked to my audience of recreation therapists, “None of us went into this field for the money — we did it for the juice.” And by “the juice,” I mean the good feeling we get from … Read more