Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Five Faces End of Life Concerns & Issues

The Friday Five is our weekly roundup of links to smart articles and helpful resources across the Web.

1. As parents age, there comes a time when their adult children might have to start encouraging some difficult decisions. We're all familiar with stories of children looking for ways to take away the car keys from elderly parents, or conversations about the safety of an elderly parent living alone. But these aren't easy conversations to have, as roles seem to reverse, and aging adults recognize a slow loss of independence. The Los Angeles Times had a nice article this week, "Talking to aging parents about changes," about this very topic. The article includes a relatable personal story as well as some tips from experts in the field of gerontology and caregiving.

2. As a hospice, we're always striving to educate others and make them aware of all of their options. We have learned that there are still so many misconceptions about hospice care, and that there are also so many of us who are afraid to openly discuss death. A key player in this discussion should be your physician, and it's exciting to see this article and its accompany video from Boston University, "Teaching doctors how to close life's last door." Training students how to have difficult conversations with patients, about listening to patients' needs, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, will make them better doctors and means the rest of us will experience an improved level of care.

3. If you've filled out your Arizona advance directive (and we hope that you have), consider registering it with the Arizona Advance Directive Registry. Participants and their loved ones, and healthcare providers, can use the directory to look up registered directives. The website also offers a Guide to Filing Advance Directives in downloadable pdf format. There are no fees for the service.

4. Advances in technology help caregivers too! Coordinate care for your loved one using a website such as Lotsa Helping Hands. The site allows caregivers to create personal websites to help coordinate care needs and scheduling, post status updates about your loved one, share photos, and more. Lotsa Helping Hands offers plenty of support through monthly newsletters and webinars so you can get the maximum value out of your free website.

5. I became a fan of The Atlantic several months ago when my sister decided we should start subscribing to it. In the new March issue, already available online (and must be the issue on my kitchen table), is a piece by Sandra Tsing Loh titled "Daddy Issues." Loh and her siblings must manage care for her aging father and his second wife, also elderly and suffering from dementia. The article is a little darkly humored, and a bit irreverent, but I thought it would strike a note with any family caregiver who has thought, "I have reached the end of my rope."

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