Category: Anecdotes

A psychotherapy story: Mabel and Liza

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

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, Role of psychologists

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 […]

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Seeing Virginia (an anecdote): Part Two

Posted by Dr. El - February 25, 2016 - Anecdotes, Common Nursing Home Problems and How Psychologists Can Solve Them, Personal Reflections, Role of psychologists

Seeing Virginia: Part One Like many of my residents over the years, Virginia had been a nursing assistant prior to her retirement. In our early sessions, I encouraged her to discuss how it felt to be “on the other side of the stethoscope,” as I put it, but she was too focused on the plot […]

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Seeing Virginia (an anecdote): Part One

Posted by Dr. El - February 11, 2016 - Anecdotes, Common Nursing Home Problems and How Psychologists Can Solve Them, Personal Reflections, Role of psychologists

The first time I met 87-year old Virginia, it was immediately apparent why the nurses had made the referral. She spoke too quickly, words pouring out one after the other without pause. She had vague theories that a staff member was trying to steal the house she’d vacated a few months ago and attempting to […]

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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, Role of psychologists, 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, McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Personal Reflections, Role of psychologists

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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