Thursday, August 14, 2008

Passing of an Era

My dear aunt, Aunt Pat, has died.

I deeply loved Aunt Pat and Uncle John, having spent many a weekend with them either in St. Vincent or Bemidji, and later on a bit in New Mexico. My memories will always be of a smart, capable, FUN lady who was warm and loving in her own unique way. She was an inspiration to me of living life to the fullest - friends and good times - what else is there?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sex and the Older Adult

Why are nursing-home administrators so queasy about sexual expression? They're afraid of getting sued. An estimated 50 percent of elderly residents suffer from some degree of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, which, depending on its severity, can make them confused, forgetful, or unaware of their own behavior. Even in the best cases, many of these patients may not be able to provide clear consent to a sexual advance.

So what happens when one of these patients with dementia starts sleeping around? According to federal law, nursing-home residents are guaranteed some small degree of privacy, as well as the right to "psychosocial well-being"—which can be taken to include free sexual expression. The administrator must balance these rights with the possibility that the patient isn't able to consent to sex at all, and that his every encounter amounts to an elder version of gray rape.

How can doctors make it easier for their patients to have safe, fulfilling sex in their twilight years? To begin with, they might allow sex between two seemingly willing residents with dementia, in the same way that "age gap" laws allow for consensual sex between age-matched teenagers. Nursing homes might also consider formal exceptions to the consent rules for spouses or long-term partners. Perhaps the safest solution would be to encourage residents to designate a "sexual guardian" in advance of their cognitive decline. That person—whether a spouse, a friend, or a close relative—could serve as the elder-sex cop, or elder-sex partner, for their loved one.

- From Naughty Nursing Homes: Is it time to let the elderly have more sex? by By Daniel Engber

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Harriet, Second from the Right

Serving at a friend's wedding reception; her sister Clara is on the left...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fuzzy Wuzzy

My Mom taught me what I thought was a tongue twister, but now I learn is not...well, it IS tough to say fast, but there's more to it than that!
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very
Fuzzy, was he?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Memorial in Fabric

Each morning, gran would bring out the over-size sketchbooks and we would sit in the garden perfecting our drawings for the end-of-summer show, which was expertly modeled by a melange of trendy dolls. Once our designs were ready for production, we would spread newsprint on the cutting tables and gran would instruct me on garment construction. When we eventually stitched the outfits together, the quest for the perfect trims and buttons would ensue. This was my favorite part of the process, as Gran would permit me to search endlessly through the drawers and drawers of beads, trims, sequins, pearls, ribbons, feathers and buttons...

Read Catherine's entire remembrance of her summers spent with her great grandmother, immersed in the world of fashion.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


"You get a hell of a perspective on life when you get old. I found that when I was in my twenties, thirties and forties, being a female by myself on the streets, I always found myself being looked at, whistles and all that.

"Now when I am by myself, in a restaurant or in other public places, I have the same invisibility that a child has so that I can really observe things much more openly. You’re freer. A target is gone. All it takes is white hair and wrinkles and to most people you are just invisible. And infinite wisdom, of course. Don’t forget that! I am much more aware of patterns in my own behavior, because I have been living with them for so long.”

From: Our Elders, Six Bay Area Life Stories, by Janet Clinger

Friday, February 15, 2008

Aunt Pat Update

From Cousin Delphine...
My mom is still hanging on. I really do not know what keeps her alive. She is so thin and every time the phone rings I jump thinking this is it. Saw her the other day and she told me she hadn't heard from Harriet in a long time so she called her as she wanted to tell her that Del was real sick (my Aunty Del she was talking about...) Then she said Johnny must be mad at her again as she hadn't heard from him in a long time and she should call him but she was tired of always making the first move.

She fell out of bed and cut her forehead real bad again and she must get sort of a concussion every time she hits her head too as she is always way more spaced out than usual every time she bumps her head.

The week before she thought the dining room was a wedding chapel and everyone was there for her wedding. I didn't ask her who she was marrying. It has been a long haul as mom's mind has been going for over 10 years now as I had to take over her check book and pay all her bills before Bob died and he has been gone 9 years now. She had no idea she had bills to pay or that mail she was getting were her bills and I would have to look all over the house where she would lay the mail down to find the bills to pay. She has already been in the nursing home going on 5 years and been on Hospice for almost 1 1/2 years and hasn't had any of her medications, thyroid, blood pressure, plavix etc. for over a year as they don't force them to take meds when on hospice they just do comfort care. She has survived no meds all this time and I was told that is why people die sometimes is because Hopsice won't stress them by trying to get them to do things they refuse to do it is just a comfort care in their lasts days weeks or months.