Sunday, April 30, 2017

Continuing Care for the Aging


About one of every six Americans provide unpaid care to an adult, according to the AARP. In many cases, this goes beyond custodial care and involves skilled nursing care.

Lately, three books have been published to help those who find themselves responsible for giving, selecting, or managing such care:

Douglas Winslow Cooper and Diane R. Beggin, How to Manage Nursing Care at Home.

Custodial care is the kind given to a highly dependent child or adult without major medical issues.

Nursing care is given by trained medical professionals, usually nurses.

Since care can be custodial or nursing, done at home or away, these alternatives produce four basic choices, four paths, discussed next.

Custodial Care at Home

A well infant or other highly dependent person needs help with the basic activities of daily living. Many of these can be provided by a sitter or a nurse’s aide, with instruction. Women who have raised children have many of the skills and much of the experience needed.

Encyclopedic coverage of the necessary activities is provided by the book by Tena Scallan, whose chapter titles cover the following topics: Patient Care, Communication, Hygiene and Personal Care, Medication, Patient Care Records, Vital Signs, Caring and Maintaining a Healthy Environment, Nutrition, Body Mechanics and Transferring, Infection Control, Safety, Emotions, Legalities, Expenses, Informational Document Planner, Resource Guide, Glossary.

In fact, Ms. Scallan’s book is so complete that it is useful in all four situations under discussion here.

Custodial Care away from Home

If your mother or father or spouse has Alzheimer’s, for example, you may not be able to handle it at home. Rick Lauber’s book comes from his experience with parents having, respectively, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

He focuses on the decisions surrounding choosing a facility and then optimizing the experience of the loved ones placed there. His chapter titles are informative, too: Defining Caregiving, Caring From a Distance, Finding Suitable Accommodations, Moving Your Parent, Organizing Your Parents Documents, Visiting Day, Maintaining Harmony When Working with Family Members, Caring For Yourself, Remaining Active, Men and Women Care Differently, Obamacare: What It Means For Seniors and Family Caregivers, Mobility Aids and Emergency Safety Devices, Finding Joy in Caregiving, Final Thoughts, Worksheets.

Nursing Care at Home

Based on our experience giving home nursing care for my quadriplegic, ventilator-dependent wife, Tina, our own head nurse, Diane R. Beggin, RN, and I wrote our book for those who contemplate managing nursing care at home. As an outline, its chapter titles are informative: Why Home? Not a Nursing Home, or Hospice; Where? Organizing Your Home; What? Equipment and Supplies; When? Starting, Scheduling, Stopping; Who? Hiring and Managing Nurses; How? Preventing, Prescribing, Charting, Explaining, Traveling, Hospitalizations, Infection and Contamination Control, HIPAA, Nursing Care Plan; Long-Term Care Insurance; Employer's Medical Insurance: Our Experience; Diagnosing and Reducing Your Medical Bill; Nervous System; Respiratory System; Cardiovascular System; The Lymphatic and Immune Systems and Cancer; Gastrointestinal (Digestive) System; Endocrine System and Diabetes; Reproductive And Urinary Systems; Integumentary (Skin) System; Musculoskeletal System; References; Five Tips For Empowered Caregivers; Custodial Care at Home; Acts of Kindness Toward Caregivers; The Successful Caregivers Guide; Nursing Care Plan Example; Exhibit Listing.

Nursing Care away from Home
In this situation, your loved ones are in a hospital or hospice setting. Each of these books has information you will find valuable, but the responsibility has largely been taken on by others. Still, understanding what is being done and how it should be done can empower you to participate in decision-making regarding the patient. Although “a watched pot never boils,” a watched patient probably gets better care than one not being checked on frequently.

Summing Up

We are each likely to be involved in providing care or making decisions about care for someone we love. The books described here can help.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed in his latest book.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Falling for Phil: Love at First Sight!


Ginny Nodhturft

I fell in love with six men:

The warm, loving supportive man, always putting his needs and ambitions on the backburner to provide me with opportunities to advance my education and career.

The romantic man who sends me love notes in every birthday, Christmas, and anniversary card, with a bouquet of flowers and an invitation to go to my favorite restaurant for dinner.

The sentimental man who has tears running down his cheek when we reminisce of our fond memories.

The adventurous man who with excitement travels with me to cemeteries, court houses, historical societies, museums, and civil war battlefields as we research my ancestors’ history.

The handyman who fixes everything around the house that breaks down and makes little special items for me.

The fun man who laughs so hard that he almost strokes out on me. A man who sees the humor in the simplest things.

All of these men are wrapped into the one man I fell in love with at first sight when I was in high school: Phil Nodhturft, Jr.

Phil moved up from the New York City to attend Walden High School when he was a junior.

The word spread throughout the three local towns (Walden, Maybrook, and Montgomery) that this handsome hunk of a guy from The City was now attending Walden High School. He was called the “The City Slicker.”

The girls were absolutely wild over Phil. Not only was he the most handsome guy in his class, but he was athletic and one of the best football players on the team.

Word spread through the towns that he was also a great dancer, doing splits and dazzling the girls like crazy. No one ever saw anybody dance like that before. All the girls prayed that he would invite them to the school dance. You achieved instant status if you danced with him and even more status if you had a date with him.

I couldn’t wait to see this Phil Nodhturft who “Barrel Assed” into town. One night I was out with my boyfriend, Bobby Pulver, and I asked him if he knew Phil.

He said “Yeah, sure, he’s in my class. We call him ‘Pearly Whites’ because he has such beautiful teeth. He told me he works in the ‘Pig Market.’” (Like a pre-Walton Wal-Mart). “Do you want to meet him?”

I said, nonchalantly, “OK.”

Meanwhile, I was over-joyed at the prospect of meeting him. So, Bobby and I drove down to the Pig Market to buy a blanket because we were going to the drive-in movie that night, and we went in looking for Phil. We went up and down all the aisles looking for him.  Lo and behold, Bobby found him by the canned vegetable aisle, stacking cans on the shelves.

I took one look at this gorgeous hunk of a man and fell in love with him instantly. First sight, and I was in love! My heart was beating fast, my face flushed, and I felt uncontained excitement. Bobby introduced me, and Phil checked me out from head to toe during the introduction. All I could think of was what a good looker he was. I’m not fooling! My heart was pounding as we talked. I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends that I had met the “famous Phil Nodhturft!”

A week after meeting Phil, I was driving through town with Bobby Pulver in his convertible car (Bobby was one of the few kids that had a car). When Bobby stopped at a stop sign, Phil came out from nowhere, ran out into the middle of the street, holding up traffic, and jumped in the car. He put his arm around me and starting singing the song “Only You,” by the Platters, which was playing on the radio. Not only was Phil so good looking, but he had a beautiful voice and he smelled so good. As he sang to me, I was melting and feeling exhilarated.

At this point, Phil was flirting with me, and I was giggling, and Bobby was getting royally ticked off.

Bobby finally said, “OK, Phil, out! Ginny and I are going for a ride.” 

So, Phil got out and said goodbye. I was disappointed that Bobby told him to get out.

Shortly after that encounter, I saw Phil at a school dance and I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was out on the dance floor in the gymnasium with all of the hottest chicks in the school, doing splits and all kinds of fancy moves. It was almost intimidating to dance with him because he was so good.

I remember thinking what will I do if he asks me to dance with him? I was afraid if he asked me to dance that I’d look like a “klutz” out there making a fool of myself. So, I tried to avoid him, but I could not take my eyes off him. On one hand, I’d give my right arm to be able to dance with him, but I was too scared to take the risk of making a fool of myself. I never danced with him that night.

I started to see him regularly at the football games. I was a JV cheerleader, and he was a varsity football star, first-string impact player. All the girls just drooled over him. He was totally oblivious to how the girls perceived him. One time at a football game there was a huge fight between the players of both teams. Fans started getting into it too. There was a massive pile of people in nearly a pyramid formation on the ground. The referees started peeling the people off the pile and, lo and behold, there was Phil’s father on the bottom of the pile.

Phil and I started to date, but we never went anywhere fancy, like to a place for dinner, or to a bar or to a pizza joint, because he never had any money to participate in those kinds of dates. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be with him. Usually, he’d find someone who had a car, and we’d double-date just riding around town or going to someone’s house or just hanging out or to a school dance. I’d invite him to some of my friend’s house parties, and on a rare occasion we’d go to a movie.

Phil gave me his ring to wear around my neck on a chain, which in those days meant you were “going steady” and were a couple.

He graduated and went off to the military when I was a junior in high school. He wrote to me, telling me how much he missed me. One time he was home on leave and his mother dropped him off by the school, so when I came out he’d be there in his uniform. I saw him, and he looked so handsome in his uniform! I was very proud to be his girlfriend. His leave was up, and he had to go back. We said goodbye, and eventually broke off due to the long distance between us.

The next time I saw him, I was in college, and he was dating a girl who was actually in some of my nursing classes. He became engaged to her when I was in a relationship with a boyfriend, Joe Falvela.  In 1964, after my first year of nursing at Horton Memorial Hospital, I went to the Albany VA to work.

I lost track of Phil at this point in my life, although I thought of him often and wondered what he was doing. 

Reunited With Phil

Eight years after I graduated from high school, I went back to college to get by Baccalaureate Degree. Little did I know that Phil was out of the service, not married, working at IBM, and going back for his Baccalaureate Degree at the same school, Mount Saint Mary College, too.

One day, as I was walking down the hall, I saw what looked to be Phil. I didn’t want to see him, because I looked awful that day, so I ducked into a chemistry lab and knocked over a tray of laboratory vessels filled with liquid. The vessels fell off the tray onto the floor and broke. Glass and liquid was everywhere. It made a deafening sound that bellowed through the entire floor.

Of course, Phil was “Johnny on the spot” and came in to see what the commotion was. He said, “Is that you Ginny?”

I said “Yes, how are you, Phil?”

He replied, “Let’s get some coffee and catch up with each other.”

We had coffee, and I learned that the girl Phil was engaged to had cheated on him, and that was the end of his relationship with her.

We dated regularly during this time and the bells and whistles of that love feeling that hit you in the gut were still there, as strong as  in high school.

We married in 1970, and I have been in love with him ever since, 47 years later. I still love him today as I did back in high school, and I still wonder how I was the lucky gal that won Phil’s heart and mind.


Published with permission of my dear friends Phil and Ginny Nodhturft, a friendship that goes back over a half-century and has remained true.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

FRUSTRATED WITH LIFE? Chapter 3, Relationships

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“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
Groucho Marx

“I’m so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.”


Pew Research Center (2014): 66% of adults are married or in committed relationships. 10% of them say the Internet has had a major impact on their relationship, 17% a minor impact, and 72% no real impact on their relationship. Of those who said it had an impact: 74% found it positive, 20% negative, 4% both. Younger respondents found the Internet more impactful than did older.

Chapter 3:

Relationships are about sharing. When there is give and take, and mutual care for each other, you’re in a good relationship.

How do you define your relationship? Is there care, trust, unity, relatedness, communication, motivation, enjoyment, contribution, certainty, security, challenges, love, and respect?

I’ve found over the our past 29 years of marriage and 2 two wonderful children that the more trust, honesty and understanding you give in a relationship, the more you get.

I’ve also learned that the more rules you create in a relationship, the easier your heart will be broken and your frustration frequency will escalate.

When the relationship becomes about rules, and not about love, your relationship may suffer.

Also know that if you ever feel that you’re not enough and may not be loved, it is you who needs to believe that you are enough and that you have plenty of love to share. Since you can’t control other people’s perceptions and emotions, it’s up to you to show them, so that they can emulate you and return the love.

Above all, love yourself first. Then share the love.

Read through these postings with the above in mind, and think of what you would say to each of these individuals.

Edison R. Guzman

My boyfriend wants to take a break after 2 years, he says he needs space. I've heard he's been talking to someone else :(

how do you fix a broken heart *sigh*

People don't understand me and it makes me sad and depressed.

Why do women bitch about not finding the right guy when they do nothing but hook up with assholes??? As far as I'm concerned those who do complain deserve to suffer the bullshit that they deal with from any asshole that mistreats them.

My boyfriend wants to have a 3way wit me n my befriend
Wat should I say I don't want to lose him

tired of being taken advantage by men they just can’t appreciate a good woman

Poeple who play games get played.

i m very frustrated from my life ,i got married one year back my mother in law is very dominating by nature she always imposed her wishes on me she interfering all the time i cant live this kind of life what to do

frustrated with one side love i try to hate that girl but i can't what can i do she sucking my blood...............

The worst part of wanting to submit something here is that I'm afraid to speak freely because he might be surveilling me. Fun. But yeah, my life sucks, and yeah, I could change it, but it's not easy, and I'm scared. And every day the stuff that sucks becomes more irreversible. It's such a waste because I have so much to give, but it just sits here rotting.

I am frustrated. Four to five months I've tried to make it work and he just doesn't want it but he's been too lackadaisical to just call it off. He doesn't want to come off as the bad guy but he really is one!! I've given so much and he hasn't.

I want to date, but I don't even know how to get started!! I'm almost at my breaking's been 2 years and I'm only 21!

I've waited my whole life for this: I was unemployed for over a year, but finally got a good job (a career! at last!), my own apartment, and some good healthy hobbies... but I'm SO frustrated with the dating scene! I broke up with my bf- even though he was a nice guy, he has issues he wouldn't work on and I couldn't change, even though I told him they bothered me. I've gone on all sorts of mixers, speed dating, websites, ect... NOTHING! I know I'm not a drop dead gorgeous girl, but I'm good looking enough for my friends to ask me to give them makeovers. When is it ever going to get better? Why does it feel like I'll never meet someone that's got it (somewhat) together like me?

I can't get ahead financially, though I've been working 2-3 jobs at a time for the past 4 years since college.

When I share my frustrations, all I hear is "be thankful for what you have," "keep your chin up," etc. As if being thankful or keeping my chin up will help me buy an engagement ring, or save up for a car and house.

I appreciate the support my family and friends give me, but what the fuck? Is that the best advice out there for what no matter how hard you work, you'll never come out ahead? Perhaps I should just be happy and thankful that I have a support system to tell me to "just be happy" and "be thankful."

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all colors have turned gray. The world is an ugly place.

Will there ever be someone who will just purely judge a person from their heart rather than their appearance????

I turn 21 this weekend and want to have a drink for it. My fiance flipped out and against drinking. I love her and want this relationship to work... but I want to drink. I've known she was against drinking but I never thought it was as big a deal as it appears to be, because even one drink is too much. Wish it just wasn't a big deal.

I am getting frustreted with my own self.........i have many girlfriends........and dating atleast 3 at time.......and i had sex with more than 5.......actually every day i need to be indulge in sex and......due to that i lost all my interest in life ........and moreover i cant be one girl its badly effect my mental health and my belief for relationship and its status.............whats the hell........i cant understand whats happening to me.........n what to do........

It's been 3 years now in my long distance relationship with someone I deeply care about. We haven't met in person yet but I really need to be with him this year if possible since a lot of things are keeping me from making a trip out towards his end. I know this isn't as bad as most people's posts on their problems, but I can't help but to let some weight off my chest and keep moving forward towards my goal to meet someone I love.


This is the beginning of Chapter 3 of this book by Edison R. Guzman and Douglas Winslow Cooper, published this year and available in paperback and ebook formats through It is based on the entries to the blog Edison Guzman managed for several years. These entries have not been edited.


  Product Details

Part Two

The Transition

“Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self – will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking, but a full-on metamorphosis.”
Martha Beck




Section 2
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin
‘You know that retirement is coming. It isn’t as though it just shows up one day and takes you by surprise, so you need to get ready for it!’
Batya Shevich,

It isn’t my goal to talk down to you in this section, dear reader; but I’m assuming that you’re capable of the same oversights that I myself am – in a way, I’m writing to a stubborn, childish part of my own mind.

It’s the part of the brain that can’t be woken with subtlety; it just needs a good slap.

Why Plan?

We all know the fable of The Ant and The Grasshopper; the ant diligently works all summer, storing food, whilst the grasshopper, under the illusion that summer will never end, fails to prepare.

The basic moral of this fable is as true today as it ever was: We cannot just pretend the summer will always last. We need to prepare for our winters, whatever that may represent for you.

We all know that! I hear you say.  Of course we do; this fable’s message is a very simple one. 

To know this message and to act upon it are quite separate things.

You can know something in theory, but fail to act with the seriousness it demands.

It is very difficult, necessary task to plan out our savings for retirement.

For one, we have to ask ourselves the question: Well, how long do I imagine myself living?

And what the fable fails to emphasise is that in real life there is no fixed date for ‘winter’– as we have said, increasingly, retirement is not voluntary; it can be thrust upon people, either overtly or perniciously - It sneaks up on us from our blind spots; sometimes it slips in when we are at our weakest.

And although you have to make a prediction for when you will stop working, and as we have said – unfortunately, this is not always under our control.

Nor, strictly speaking, is your health.

This issue goes beyond your salary: again and again in the research we encounter the terms planning along with financial literacy regarding those that have made it work. 

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about it is about learning to dance in the rain.”
Vivian Greene

The Question:
Are you going to do your best to allocate sufficient time to plan for your retirement?

The Dark Side

And yes there are real drawbacks or aging - These can’t be shied away from -

It hurts even to see the words, but there they are.
You will be impacted by these things. We all will.

In some ways, death might be one of the easiest amongst the list; at least, we feel that we have dealt with it. We know, and we have always known, that this can’t go on forever. And maybe your own mortality doesn’t upset you, but we are all mortal, and none of us immune from tragedy. Have we at least lived in a way, that if it were to end at any moment, we would have no regrets? 

Disease. Health will become a great concern, not only to you yourself, but to those around you.  You will feel burdened, mentally, emotionally, financially; but what’s more is that you may feel like you yourself are burdening others. 

Disability - That which you could once do easily may become difficult, or even impossible without assistance. You might become frail, and many aged people lose autonomy, and with it a sense of dignity is lost, as it needs to be.
Retirement is a disengagement from the world of work, but there are dangers that we may become isolated in other ways.

Generally, people’s health improves after retirement [7],  perhaps due to them then having more opportunity to invest in health.

But there are exceptions to this generalisation. To some unluckier individuals, transitioning into retirement can be harmful to one’s health. [10]

Even the most reasonable of us are prone to relying upon an unfortunate assumption, one that may have lay quietly in the background of our lives: that given extra time, we would spend it wisely.

And what can be more disappointing than to find that what we lack was never opportunity, but discipline.

Some researchers have noted an increased risk of heart disease in retirees - particularly in the first year. (Although this may be due to people with health problems retiring as a response to them.)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in some cases, retirement can make people more vulnerable to stresses they felt at home - increasingly, grandparents are relied upon to look after grandchildren, especially with the baby-boomers experiencing a longer life expectancy that coincided with the economic recession. [8] To some, grandchildren bring a new meaning to life, but to some (particularly women [9]), this can provide a form of household strain and depression.

And a particularly pernicious type of depression: one where people feel they’re supposed to be happy, and out of social pressure they feel ashamed to spark up about it.

A recurring theme of this guide will be:
We have to be open. We have to be blunt. We have to be brave.

Curving Expectations


Throughout our life, we often, innocently enough, create opportunities to be disappointed, and retirement can be a particularly devastating one, because it is both a huge milestone, but has no real procedure to it: a wedding has an invitation, a birthday is a fixed date each year - but a retirement celebration, just as profound as these other occasions, isn’t so easy to pin down.  
Nobody knows what you’re supposed to do at this point - and you can’t expect them to.

Other people have an offensive habit of failing to read your mind.

Let’s say you had always expected a leaving party. Well, there wasn’t one – for example, you and another employee are quitting at a time that the (recently employed) manager feels puts the department in turmoil, so they don’t shell out for one. 

These things happen; others fail to give us the dignity we feel we have earned, because they haven’t put themselves in our shoes.

The Transition

Transitioning into retirement can be harmful or beneficial to one’s health. [11, 12, 13]

Large-scale longitudinal studies indicate that around 25% of retirees in the USA and around 10% of retirees in Germany experience a significant drop in health and well-being in the retirement transition.

In some cases, the retired feel 8-10 years younger in terms of their health. [12] Not surprisingly, those retirees whose jobs had high physical and psychological demands whilst failing to bring them fulfilment gain the most from retirement.

The Holes We Dig Ourselves

Perhaps you haven’t saved.
Perhaps it wasn’t possible to save, given your circumstances.
Perhaps time just slipped from your fingers. 
Or maybe you did everything right, but it didn’t matter this time:
Perhaps life wasn’t fair.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have lived through an economic recession. The sad fact is that even if you do everything right, things can still go wrong. We can’t prepare for all possibilities. We can’t cover all bases and blind-spots - any of us can be hit hard, seemingly at random.

If you are behind others, you have to make greater sacrifices. You will have to think outside of the box - and weigh up some options that may not make you so comfortable - but remember the severity of the alternatives.

In what ways can you use your existing assets to generate an income? Could you rent a room of your house?

Consider Semi-retirement - This needn’t necessarily be in the same capacity and location of your previous work. You could make use of your experience and time to work on a freelance basis.
( and are good starting places, although you might do better with local ads.)

“Things do not just happen; they are made to happen.”
John F. Kennedy

The Question:
How well will your future self feel dealing with things that have snowballed just because you didn’t want to think about them?
Case Study: Sandy 

Sandy worked within healthcare for all of her life, starting as a midwife, and despite looking after two children, she was able to study for a degree and become an occupational nurse – first, for the offices of a large telecommunications company (she knew that repetitive strain injury caused by improper seating and elbow position is avoidable with knowledge and foresight.)

Sandy’s husband had already retired and both children had grown up and started families of their own. Sandy would babysit on weekends until these babies grew into children.
Sandy herself was still in her late fifties when she decided to retire; at first, she stepped down to only part time (2-3 days a week, although they can be sprung on her.), but even then things at work began to upset, not only Sandy, but the whole team.

Firstly, a new manager took over, and from the start showed signs of incompetence. He was perhaps too strict on language, and began policing speech far more than seemed necessary to the staff, who now thought they were walking on eggshells. A certain beloved member of staff was let off, and in place, conveniently, came the manager’s cousin.

What upset Sandy though was that there was no retirement party for her: She had worked at that particular branch for two years at that point. The manager reasoned that she had handed in her notice at an inconvenient time - other members of the team had also quit weeks before.

Sandy invited these team members out to have their own party - out of their own pocket - but the wound remains.

The Question:
Imagine the disappointments we may face in these occasions: What would somebody who had real mastery of attitude do to roll with the punches of life?


This is the continuation of a weekly serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Wamala and Cooper, which book is available through for $0.99: