Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

More family advocacy needed for elder care

In Children and Family, Health, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on April 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm

DIH LOGOCaring for an aging parent is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult and often painful experiences life throws our way. Providing a safe, healthy environment for an elderly family member is just as taxing as doing the same for a child.

What makes this process even harder is when the parent is resistant to help or simply won’t accept that they are no longer in a position to take care of themselves. Poor decisions, an inability to recognize when driving has become hazardous and, worst of all, when they will listen to anyone’s advice but that of their children, complicates the care process and causes serious damage to the parent/child relationship.

It’s hard to watch parents age and knowing you’re headed the same direction only solidifies the reality of it all. It’s harder still when they resist every attempt to maintain their health and sometimes doctors undermine your efforts by telling them they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to.

I understand that people need to make their own choices, but some shrink in a hospital cannot possibly know an individual’s mental status by talking to them once for three minutes and asking a half dozen pointless questions. “Do you know where you are? Do you know what day it is? Can you draw this box? Write your name.” “Draw this box,” are they kidding?

How about we ask them what their checking account number is, or the name of their insurance company? How about asking when they last paid their phone bill? These are vital questions to someone who is supposedly “competent” and yet this is not what is included in a psychiatric evaluation for a senior’s ability to make his or her own decisions.

Then there are those who are intent on taking advantage of the elderly person’s desire to feel “needed” and useful. These individuals worm their way into the lives of the elderly, showering them with compliments and creating a rift between the senior and his or her family. These unscrupulous people are trying to get money and property away from the senior and alienate children and others who are trying to protect their interests.

Deer In Headlines author Gery Deer is helping his brother Gary Jr and sister Cathy to take care of their father, Gary Sr. and it's rarely easy work.

Deer In Headlines author Gery Deer is helping his brother Gary Jr and sister Cathy to take care of their father, Gary Sr. and it’s rarely easy work.

Laws addressing the rights of seniors, as well as those regarding patient rights, seem to take no account to dementia and speak only to protecting them from family members bent on securing money or locking them away in a nursing home. What about those of us who are trying to protect our parents and provide a safe, secure life for them in their own home as long as possible? Where is our protection and support? There is none.

Preserving a person’s dignity is difficult enough without being able to handle even the most basic decisions absent a mile of legal documents in place only to provide more money for lawyers. Power of attorney documents are meaningless unless the person is thoroughly incapacitated and no one will help without signing over deeds and financial statements.

Believe it or not, sometimes money has nothing to do with it! There are actually situations when families are trying to preserve an aging parent’s lifestyle, dignity and financial security. Someone should be out there advocating for us, not making it harder. Unless you’re loaded with money, there is just no support for people dealing with this kind of problem.

So what is to be done? Good question. I am all for protecting the rights of the elderly and maintaining their ability to make decisions, but there are many degrees of incompetence between fully cognizant and Alzheimer’s dementia and that should be taken into account.

My mother lost all of her reasoning ability as Alzheimer’s set in and it nearly bankrupted my family to get her under a guardianship so we could keep her safe and well-cared for. But when a senior has some competence but not all, that needs to be addressed and the family should be able to have some advocacy for protecting the interest of that individual without so many roadblocks.

Legislation should be put into place for the varying degrees of dementia and stop relying on the ‘one size fits all’ psychiatric evaluations that prove nothing more than the person can read a calendar.

 

Gery L. Deer is the editor and publisher of The Jamestown Comet.com an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

 

Crafters Lodge to host two-day t-shirt quilt workshop

In Business, Children and Family, Education, Entertainment, Health, Holiday, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on April 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm

CLLOGOSugarcreek Twp., OH – Nearly every event a student attends as he or she goes through school is commemorated by a t-shirt. Crafters Lodge in Sugarcreek Township, is providing a two-day course on transforming those keepsake tees into a cherished family heirloom – the t-shirt quilt.

On Sunday April 27th and Sunday May 4th, Crafters Lodge, located at 6056 Wilmington Pike, just behind Fazoli’s, will host a t-shirt quilting class. The two-day class will provide complete instruction, from start to finish, for a fee of $35 for both days, not including materials. Participants must purchase their own supplies and costs vary based on the materials chosen.

A t-shirt quilt is made up of the artwork from cherished t-shirts commemorating everything from a student’s first day of school or high school prom to concerts and extracurricular events. The artwork is cut from the fronts and backs of the shirts and sewn together to make a quilt. Jo Beth Bryant is co-owner of Crafters Lodge.

“Registered students should stop by the store at least two or three days prior to the first class for instruction on how to prep the T-shirts,” Bryant says. “Having the shirts prepped prior to class will allow the student to begin the layout and design process sooner and thus finish the quilt in a shorter amount of time.”

Teaching the upcoming class is life-long needleworker, Wendy Crawford. A veteran of 4-H and Girl Scout sewing competitions, Crawford started making baby quilts while in junior high school.  She turned to hand quilting after inheriting a quilter’s estate and is now a certified Gammill (Long Arm) operator with more than 350 quilts under her belt. Today, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with the local community after an absence from teaching.

Crafters Lodge opened in September of 2013 and offers high-end supplies and expertise to the serious crafter. In addition to the t-shirt quilting course, the store also offers classes in fiber arts (knitting, weaving, tatting, etc.), tole painting, stained glass and more.

Registration for the t-shirt quilting class is limited and participants are required to bring their own sewing machines. Crafters Lodge is open Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 am to 8:00pm, Sunday noon to 6:00 pm and closed on Monday. For more information and a schedule of classes, visit the store’s website, http://www.crafterslodge.com or call (937) 470-2649.

 

CFL bulbs save money, but threaten safety

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Environment, Health, Home Improvement, Opinion, Politics, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on April 7, 2014 at 8:40 am

DIH LOGOThe incandescent light bulb was developed in 1876 by Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric. But as more energy efficient technology is introduced, even Edison’s greatest achievement has been all but extinguished forever.

On September 24th, 2013, it was announced that the last of the incandescent light bulbs had rolled off the GE assembly line to be replaced by compact fluorescents, or “CFLs.” The spiral-twisted tube bulbs use low-energy, fluorescent technology and there is really nothing cutting-edge about them, except for their size and the potential fire risk when they go bad.

Fluorescent lighting has been around since the late 19th Century, but wasn’t developed for widespread use until the 1930s. Less expensive to operate than their incandescent counterparts, most of the bulbs last longer and are safe for everyday use. But as the environmentalist lobby pushes for more energy-efficient or, “green,” technology, has the heightened concern for the environment surpassed that for human safety?

Recently I went into my kitchen and switched on the light over the sink, as I did countless times throughout the week. I left the room for a moment and when I returned it was dark, the familiar morning glow of the light fixture having just been replaced with the smell of burned ceramic and melted plastic. Upon investigation I discovered that the CFL bulb in the overhead light had quite literally burned out.

20W CFL Bulb from Gery Deer's kitchen.   Photo by Gery L. Deer

20W CFL Bulb from Gery Deer’s kitchen. Photo by Gery L. Deer

Just before it went dark, the 20-Watt, General Electric CFL bulb I had installed a few months earlier had gone so hot that it flamed through the plastic and ceramic base, causing it to melt and crack at the bottom of the glass tubing. The discovery of such a potential fire hazard was, to say the least, surprising, but apparently the problem is well-documented and manufacturers have been aware of it since the product’s release.

In a Snopes.com article John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager at Underwriters Laboratories (UL), said about how CFLs expire, “People expect to see the bright flash and to hear the popping like a traditional incandescent bulb, but the burn out of a CFL is different. The light dims over time and might produce a more dramatic pop, emit a distinct odor, and maybe even release some smoke.”

Drengenberg is referring to the Voltage Dependent Resistor (VDR). The CFL burns out when the ballast overheats, causing the VDR to open the circuit like a blown fuse and prevent any hazards. Instead of resulting in a mild puff of smoke, however, the heat generated can, as in my case, burn through the base. As I dug deeper into this issue, I discovered countless articles, videos and online debates regarding the safety of CLF lighting and how there might be more to their compulsory introduction than simply reducing energy costs. It’s important to note here that Underwriters Laboratories is not a government agency but a private company paid by manufacturers to “certify” the safety of their products.

In the early 1990s, I worked for a major appliance manufacturer as an engineering technologist following UL guidelines in operational and safety testing of ovens, ranges and cook-tops. In my experience, a bit of heat and smoke being released from a popping resister is, by itself, not enough to cause the kind of damage apparently so common with this product. I am well aware of UL testing practices and it is beyond my comprehension how anything short of political pressure could be responsible for the approval of a consumer electronics product that literally lets flame out of its casing.

From a consumer standpoint, it’s baffling to me how UL, or the Federal Trade Commission – the governmental agency responsible for consumer safety, can justify the approval of a device that clearly presents a fire safety hazard under “normal use” conditions. Incidentally, the CFLs also contain mercury, another potential environmental health hazard often conveniently overlooked.

It is entirely possible that these products were rushed to market, not so much to help reduce pollution or save money for the consumer, but to further a political agenda. Whatever the reason, the consumer should be aware of the inherent dangers and always be careful when using CFL lighting.

 

Jamestown Comet Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program. More at www.gerydeer.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 641 other followers