Category: Anecdotes

A psychotherapy story: Mabel and Liza

Posted by Dr. El - October 4, 2016 - Anecdotes, Depression/Mental illness/Substance Abuse, Inspiration

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 […]

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Reflections on the value of psychology services

Posted by Dr. El - July 28, 2016 - Anecdotes, Depression/Mental illness/Substance Abuse, Personal Reflections

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 organization […]

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What’s not to like?

Posted by Dr. El - January 28, 2016 - Anecdotes, For Fun, Inspiration, Something Good About Nursing Homes

It was the third week I was meeting with Mr. Schwartz, an 85-year old man with a thick mustache and a penchant for suspenders. I found him watching TV in the dayroom, surrounded by some of his peers. I crouched by his wheelchair so I could speak to him at eye level. “Hi Mr. Schwartz, I […]

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A Second Look

Posted by Dr. El - January 11, 2016 - Anecdotes, Personal Reflections

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 […]

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Kind words from residents

Posted by Dr. El - November 23, 2015 - Anecdotes, Inspiration, Personal Reflections, Something Good About Nursing Homes

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 […]

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‘The Adventures of The Geropsychologist’!

Posted by Dr. El - October 14, 2015 - Anecdotes, For Fun, Personal Reflections

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: ‘The Adventures of The Geropsychologist’! “The Adventures of The Geropsychologist!” Starring Dr. El as The Geropsychologist! There have been thousands of movies and TV shows about the exciting work of cops, lawyers, and hospitals, but long-term care? Fuhgeddaboutit! Here, Dr. El aims to correct that oversight […]

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Radio for Visually Impaired People

Posted by Dr. El - August 29, 2015 - Anecdotes, Technology

Mr. Johnson was in his 90s and had lost his vision many years ago. His great joy in life now was listening to the radio. When I first came to see him, he had many different types of radios in his room. There were several radio alarm clocks and complicated boom boxes with too many […]

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The medical system may treat you well, but less so after you reach age 80

Posted by Dr. El - April 10, 2015 - Anecdotes, Communication

This Washington Post article by Louise Aronson, MD perfectly describes the failures of our current medical system to address the problems that affect older patients. The medical system may treat you well, but less so after you reach age 80 The clinic was in a dilapidated old building, yet the entryway retained a worn grandeur. Tapering, […]

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Establishing rapport (an anecdote)

Posted by Dr. El - October 10, 2014 - Anecdotes

“I’M THE NEW PSYCHOLOGIST,” I screamed. “DO YOU HAVE A HEARING AID?” “What?” Ms. Oakes replied. The rest of our first session went downhill from there. I stopped at the nursing station on the way off the unit. “She never wears her hearing aid,” the nurse reported. “I’ve got it right here but she refuses.” […]

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The Second Wind Tour

Posted by Dr. El - May 22, 2014 - Anecdotes, Books/media of note, Inspiration, Something Good About Nursing Homes

Last month I had the chance to attend the launch of Dr. Bill Thomas’ new book, Second Wind. Bill Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative and creator of The Green House, has written many books about changing the culture of care in nursing homes. In his new book, he shifts his focus to helping readers […]

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