Category Archives: Activism

Collingtonians Join Tibetan Prayers for Worldwide Peace

mandala 3On Sunday morning I did something rather unusual.  I joined 2 other Collingtonians and went to the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda.  I was motivated by the opportunity to participate in a spiritual experience that was offered by the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery.  The Monastery was reestablished in South India by escapee monks after the Chinese invaded Tibet and killed or imprisoned others.

The monks, endorsed by the Dalai Lama, are touring the country to promote world peace and healing.  At Cedar Lane they laid down millions of vibrantly colored grains of sand to create a mandala sand painting. Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.  The monks constructed the mandala between August 23rd and and August 26th.

mandala 2

The day included an incredibly moving ceremony that included blessings, chanting, a guided meditation, gleanings from ancient and contemporary wisdoms, and a dedication prayer.

 

Perhaps most moving for me was the deconstruction of the mandala. This was done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands were swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half was distributed to the congregation while the remainder was carried to Rock Creek where it was deposited. The waters then carried the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.  I can say that this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and that it was both mystical and transforming.  The grains of sand I received will always be a reminder of the preciousness of each moment of this fleeting life of mine.

Mandala 4

If you would like more information or would like to see their schedule you can visit their website at https://www.mysticalartsoftibet.org

 

Collington ED on Helping Harvey Victims and Beyond

Here is Marvell Adams statement.

Among other things, it shows the where the heart of this community lies and the value of being part of a larger community.  It also suggests some of the ways that emerging themes in our strategic planning process will deepen our ability to add to, in the words of the Kendal Values Statement, “the potential for fulfillment and continuing contribution during the later stages of life.”

Greetings Friends.  Undoubtedly you have all seen the tragic images coming out of Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. 

I am certain we all share in the heartache being experienced there right now.  As an organization committed to serving older adults, Collington and the Kendal System have a duty to respond when events such as these occur and greatly impact communities that share in our mission.  As such, Kendal has collaborated with LeadingAge, our national provider association of which I’m a board member, to provide assistance.  First and foremost, donations are needed in order to provide supplies and support for residents and staff of affected communities.  Each of us can help this effort by visiting Collington’s website, www.collington.kendal.org  and donating to the LeadingAge Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.  There is a link there that will allow you to make an online donation as well as instructions on how to send in a check.  All proceeds will go directly to member communities, their residents and staff.

Secondly, Kendal has reached out to communities we assisted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in order to understand what might be the most helpful for our friends in Texas.  With this feedback and that of LeadingAge, the Kendal System will develop ways to provide further support beyond donations.  When we have more details on this I will share.  In the meantime, please keep those affected by Hurricane Harvey in your thoughts and consider making a donation to the LeadingAge Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.  Thank you.

 

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.