Category Archives: Activism

New York Times Article on Ageing and Creativity

Nice NYT article on Ageing and Creativity.

It starts with research that shows how young minds are much more imaginative, but older folks are more traditional and limited when asked to explain things.

Buit, how about this:

But there was a different pattern when it came to the social problems. Once again the preschoolers were more likely to give the creative explanation than were the 6-year-olds or adults. Now, however, the teenagers were the most creative group of all. They were more likely to choose the unusual explanation than were either the 6-year-olds or the adults.

At least an argument for multi-generational input!

The explanation offered might help us think our way into a new vision of ageing:

The answer: Childhood and adolescence may, at least in part, be designed to resolve the tension between exploration and exploitation. Those periods of our life give us time to explore before we have to face the stern and earnest realities of grown-up life. Teenagers may no longer care all that much about how the physical world works. But they care a lot about exploring all the ways that the social world can be organized. And that may help each new generation change the world.

I like to think that, at our best, we are often just like teenagers, precisely because we are no longer responsible for everything.  We can dream and imagine — but with the benefit of a lifetimes of learning, including our mistakes and unfulfilled dreams.  So, as we move our community into a broader outreach and learning mode, maybe we are more ready than we realize.  All we need is the practical support.

Any ideas for how to do the research to explore this?  In our strategic plan?

Collington Resident Joan Zorza Honored For Domestic Violence Work

As described in the Summer 2017 issue of BC Law, Collington resident, my wife Joan, was given one of the five Law Day awards this year by Boston College Law School for her lifetime of dedicated work in domestic violence and sexual assault.  She saved thousands.

Here is the video of her being introduced for the Hon. David S. Nelson Public Interest Law Award and her speech.  (I apologize for the quality of the video at the beginning.  It gets much better at about 2 min, 25 secs.)

Tool to Invite Patient Engagement May Be Helpful for Retirement Communities

The BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) has just published, An Invitation to Patient and Family Engaged Care for Consumers: What it is, Why it Matters and How Patients and Families Can Engage.  I think we may find it very helpful here at Collington and in other retirement communities as a way to think about patient engagement and partnership.

This short document, of which I am listed as a co-author, explains the concept of patient engaged care, describes and briefly summarizes the Planetree – National Academy of Medicine framework synthesis of the research into the impact of this approach, and perhaps most importantly, then specifically welcomes and invites patients to become engaged and partnering team members. (Note that my blog, attempting to summarize the very rich and detailed original Planetree-NAM paper, into which I had some input, is here.)

The BMJ response includes our offered model “Dear Patients & Families” letter, which could be used generally by medical institutions to explain, welcome and support full engaged participation.

For example, it references and summarizes the research as follows:

The good news is that research shows that patient and family engaged care leads to better relationships between you and your healthcare providers. It helps keeps patients safe. It reduces healthcare costs and keeps people from being unnecessarily readmitted to the hospital. Patient and family engaged care makes healthcare staff feel more connected to the work they do, which makes for a better experience for everyone.

Some of its specific invitations and suggestions to patients are as follows:

  • On your next visit to your healthcare provider, ask them if they have seen the framework for patient and family engaged care. If not, direct them here: https://nam.edu/pfec.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if there is a way for you to be involved in improving care. For example, ask if they have a patient-family advisory council.
  • Ask to be part of the organization’s leadership or government team. Ask if patients are included as board members, for example.
  • Ask to be with your loved one at all times, if they want that. Question why there are restrictions to visiting patients. If having visitors is not beneficial to your healing process, enlist the support of your care team to set parameters for guests.
  • Ask that a Care Partner or family member be present and engaged for all conversations about your health.
  • State your feelings. They matter just as much as your physical condition.
  • Get involved in research. Ask about how your condition is being studied and how you can help.
  • Let your care team know how you like to receive information.
  • Ask to see and contribute to your medical record. If you don’t understand what you read in your medical record, ask questions until you do.
  • Tell your care provider what your health goals are – in your own terms (for instance, being able to walk up a flight of stairs, being able to play with your grandchildren without getting winded, etc.)
  • Come to doctor’s appointments prepared. Bring a notepad with questions, your medication list and any other pertinent personal healthcare information.
  • Create a medical biography about yourself. What conditions and medications have you had in the past? What are you currently experiencing? What are your goals for the future?
  • Act like you belong. Be a teammate, not a subject.

I think the last one, “Act like you belong. Be a teammate, not a subject,” sums the whole approach up perfectly.

I very much hope that medical institutions will want to include this letter in their intake, on-boarding process for new patients, and to encourage staff to use its suggestions as a framework for discussions with patients about a team approach and its specifics. It, together with the underlying NAM framework, could also be an excellent too for staff training at all levels on how not just to have an engagement discussion, but to make all discussions team discussions.

If this approach because a standard in most institutions, then we will truly be on the way way to a greatly improved system.  And the same is true of Collington!

P.S. This post is an edited version of one I did in my Patient Partnering blog.

AREN’T WE LUCKY! By Nancy and Lois Brown

An article in the Sunday, July 9 issue of the New York Times addressed aging and housing as they affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Not having some of the options available to many family members, L.G.B.T. adults often worry about where they will end up, and wonder about their ability to afford getting old and possibly sick in a society that is not totally accepting of them.

We are fortunate that as a married lesbian couple we do not have to depend on our families. And, we can afford to live within a community that practices its nondiscrimination policy. We interviewed only Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRs) that were welcoming. Only at one CCRC were we introduced to another gay person. We shared meals and histories with all the residents we met before we signed on to live at Collington Life Care. Here we met people who were friendly, curious, of course, and encouraging that Collington would be a good match for us.

The article spoke about gays and lesbians who had to go back “in the closet” or remain there in order to find a retirement community. That is a particularly sad state when individuals cannot be themselves and have to live a lie, mostly to protect the discriminator! We have no bias against those who are not like us. We are “out”. We have had a good life and continue to have a good life in the Collington community where there is diversity, friendship, intellectual stimulation, fun things to do, cultural activities, and paths through lovely woods inhabited with wild life.

The picture for older adults is not always this pretty regardless of sexual orientation. But for the L.G.B.T. adult, the choices can be limited and less clear. Communities such as Collington provide the safety, security and variety of activities we all want to enjoy during these elder years. We could have selected other communities, but Collington provides us with the best of many worlds.

We are grateful for all of you!

Editor’s note:  Thanks Lois and Nancy, you have already added so much to our community.

Healthcare Expert Resident Grant Bagley’s Presentation (With Colleague) to the Trump Team Last Year

Grant Bagley is a longstanding leader here at Collington with achievements than I can remember, but they include law and medical degrees.  As he explains below, he and a colleague (Wes Chapman) were invited last summer to make presentation to senior Trump staff on how to deal with our healthcare problems.  In the paper below, they put their very best foot forward.

Hey, President Trump,

To fix the Healthcare mess, listen to the dog that didn’t bark!

Dr. Grant Bagley & Wes Chapman

July 4, 2017

Preface: This is the first in an occasional series of articles looking at selected healthcare policy issues best addressed by the famous conundrum of the “Dog that didn’t bark” in the 1892 collection of short stories, Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story “Silver Blaze,” is a mystery about the disappearance of a famous racehorse and the murder of the horse’s trainer. Sherlock Homes solves the mystery in part by recognizing that no one he spoke to in his investigation remarked that they had heard barking from the watchdog during the night – the absence of the expected is the clue to the mystery. We propose, and hope to convince the reader, that to solve the mess unfolding around the repeal/collapse of ACA (Obamacare), don’t listen to the howls of partisans and media. Instead look for policy solutions in the silence – where the dogs don’t bark.

In the late spring of last year, just before the Republican convention, we were invited to present to the Trump campaign (at the Cabinet Secretary level) regarding the best healthcare policy for the Republic under a Republican Administration. This was a treat to put together, and a fun presentation to make – it’s not often that you can imagine a White House beholden to nobody, with a clear but inchoate mandate for change. And we were proposing the framework to contain and direct that change – for over $3.0 trillion in annual expenditures.

Our initial premise was pretty simple, US healthcare is the most expensive among comparable nations, with the lowest quality. In simple terms, we spend 17% of our GDP for healthcare, and rank dead last among 11 comparable countries in terms of quality. Our suggestion was pretty simple, let’s take a look at what these other folks are doing and learn from it.

Here is the full Barking-Bagley paper.  Simple, crisp, clean and right.