Staying Connected Bulletin - May 22


Faculty Member

Dear Colleagues:

I was very much looking forward to joining all of you this past March at the Geriatric Services Conference. My workshop was to have revolved around the theme of truth-telling and deception in the care of the cognitively impaired elderly. The fragility of this population has of course become even more magnified in these challenging times. The spectre of elderly loved ones dying, alone and frightened, often in unfamiliar environments, has cast a haunting and lasting shadow. We must learn and do better going forward.

One of the significant contributing factors to the heartbreaking morbidity and mortality we are now witnessing in the cognitively impaired elderly has been the requisite isolation. As one of the case reports I was intending to present at the conference revolves around the theme of loneliness in a person with dementia, I thought I would share the following scenario with you now and invite you to reflect on how you might respond. READ MORE.

B. Lynn Beattie, MD, FRCPC
Geriatric Services Conference Planning Team Member
Professor Emeritus
Division of Geriatric Medicine
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

Mary’s situation is not unusual. My friend is in care. The admission occurred after her husband died in hospital and it became obvious that she could not manage at home independently. In fact, many of her activities were dangerous both to her person and her financial situation. In care she continues to believe that he is still in hospital and should be home soon. When she repeats these statements, she appears to reassure herself that all is well and moves on to another topic. When Mary is looking for Tom and very distressed, what is her real need? Joanne Rader, geriatric nurse who pioneered research in dementia (University of Oregon) spoke at a conference some years ago and her focus was Agenda Behaviour. READ MORE. 

Dr. MaryLou Harrigan
Education Consultant

Different ethical theories concentrate on different features of patient-centered care, but all can agree that patient-centeredness is morally valuable.

One way to understand personhood is as a narrative proces-to which all contribute. We are all narrative beings and, simply put, we are our stories. This perspective helps us recognize the value of learning the history of the person with dementia and to recognize more fully "fragments" of the life story that a person with dementia is able to share. "The more one knows about narrative components or different sections of a story, the more easily he or she can identify and follow-up on story fragments offered by a person with dementia." READ MORE.

John O'Donohue (1994)
Echoes of Memory
Dublin: Salmon Publishing

"Beannacht / Blessing

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

 And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight."


The Canadian Mental Association’s Mental Health Week webpage provides a variety of articles to support Canadians in communicating about their mental health. The website also offers suggestions for feeling connected with others during the Pandemic. This article titled ‘Your Social Distancing Survival Guide’ offer some advice:  

Anxiety Canada
The website provides a variety of resources about anxiety.  A special section has been created to provide COVID-19 resources

Bounce Back BC
Bounce Back is a free virtual health skill-building program that helps people 15 and up who are experiencing mild to moderate depression or anxiety. It is available anywhere in British Columbia with a referral.