Judith B. Paul Law Blog

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

November 2016 The Netherlands Trip

I attended a thought provoking challenging visit to the Netherlands learning about their  concepts of elder care, dementia, end of life care and assisted suicide.  

The Dutch, I was informed, feel their elderly should stay home as long as possible and cared for by their families, friends and neighbors and some public nurses, health care givers.  The support is simply expected and apparently provided.    Anyone who has had to have a elderly relative or friend hospitalized, especially someone with dementia knows that the individual never fully recovers his memory to the same point as before going into the hospital.   And if the individual has had surgery, their memory loss seems so much greater after the surgery which is why we worry so much about falls and broken bones.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Mom and I were chatting about nothing significant when suddenly she took a deep breath and said, " I saw daddy today."  

"What?" I asked. thinking a lot of people look alike and everyone has a twin somewhere. Must have been Walmart.

"He was in the sky, on a sailing ship, just as happy as he could be,"  she said. "I saw him the clouds." 

"Well, imagine that," I said. "How was he?"

"He looked wonderful, and he was so happy. and guess who was sailing with him?" she asked.

"Umm, I don't know," I said.

"Jesus Christ," she said. "So I know he's okay because nothing can happen to him."

At least it wasn't another woman I thought silently and I agreed, what else could I do?  She was seeing good things, and they made her happy.  I guess things could be worse.  That was a premonition of things to come.

Friday, March 4, 2016

There are leprechauns in the palm trees

Mom calls me shortly after my father passed away. "Guess what?" she asks and I notice she's a little excited.

"What?" I too start to get excited for her.

"There's a leprechaun in the palm tree out by the pool."

"Really?" I try not to sound skeptical.

"He's living out there, so I told him he could come into the garage to keep dry when it rains," she said.

"That makes sense," I agree wondering what the heck she's going to let live in the garage and feeling somehwat helpless at 900 miles away.  "When did you start to see him?" I ask because by now I'm wondering what she saw.

"This morning," she says firmly. "I was sitting by the sliding doors watching the birds when he just jumped down from the palm tree and waved.  So I waved back." 

"Ah ha, " I said with limited conviction.

"He gave me the lottery numbers for Friday night," she said. "I bought the tickets this morning."

Saturday morning she called me.  "Leprechauns lie and I'm closing the garage door." 

Apparently she didn't win the lottery.  Whew, I thought, one disaster averted. What's next?



Monday, February 29, 2016

Do The Pills Help her Memory Loss

My mother was takinig the memory improvement pill, or the pill that was suppposed to help her retain what memory she had left. She got a little canny and started tounging the pill and sticking it in her cheek and then spitting it out. She couldn't remember what she was taking it for and thought she was either being funny or getting attention. We know this because the pills were hidden all over the house, under bed, in drawers, in her jewelry chest and in her books. Yuk, that was a mess.

So the next visit to the doctor I mentioned that she needed another prescription. The doctor asked my mother some normal questions about taking the pills, and whether theywere helping. To each question she replied,"Yuh, " even if that specific answer was inappropriate. "How's the apartment working out?" "Yuh,"  nod, nod. "when are you going to see the eye doctor?" "Yuh" nod, nod. 

The doctor was a pleasant woman but she looked at my mother, and me and said, "Really? Why?"

At least she didnt have to hide the pills anymore. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

He Ran Over Himself With the Car

Mom calls me one day - not too long ago. After we get through the report on Florida weather, the neighbors, the dogs, and Bingo she says. "Your dad just came back from the hospital," and she giggles. I surpress my anxiety. "Really, what happened?" "He ran over himself with the car," she laughs. 

I wasn't sure I heard that right. How does one run over oneself with a vehicle and what was he doing driving? He has macular degeneration, no driver license, can't see for beans, and shouldn't be behind the wheel.

"Oh, you're kidding," I say as I immediatley go to the computer and start looking for flights to Florida.

"No. He was driving the car around to the back yard, forgot to put the thing in park and got out. It was in neutral and when he got out it rolled over his foot as he was running along side it to get in and put it in park."

"Well, how's he doing?" I ask.

"Oh, fine," she says. 

"I have a flight lined up for tomorrow at 6AM. Don't pick me up, I'll rent a car, okay?"  I pay for the ticket with my credit card, take a breath.  

"I didn't know you were comiing down this week," she says. 

"You must have forgotten, remember I told you a couple of weeks ago?"  

We just hope we live longer than they do, so we can take care of them.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Packing for Your Trip (Part 2)


Planning in advance of your trip will make things go more smoothly, whether your traveling for business or pleasure.  If you don't take a laptop, computer or other electronic device, take paper copies of your itineraries with you and give a copy to a neighbor, send to family and let people know in advance that you will be away.  You don't have to post a note on the front door, but make it obvious to your neighbors so that anyone seeing an unknown person, vehicle or truck in your driveway will notify the authorities. 

Notify th enewspaper, the postal station and any automatic deliveries. You may also want to  notify your credit card holder so they'll be prepared for charges coming from your destination.  

Write down all the numbers where you may be reached and keep your phone on.  It may be a vacation but if you need to be contacted about an emergency at home  it's best to know as soon as possible rather than finding out too late.

Some people tell me that they ask the sheriff or police to add an extra visit to their neighborhood while their away, especially if they live in the country.  



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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Using a Computer

Found this on line and wanted to share. Sounds like my mother.  

C’mon Ma you have got to try it” I pleaded to my elderly Mother. I don’t know how my Mother lasted this long without ever using the internet, but enough was enough! I thought. “Ok” she said reluctantly settling down by the computer and slowly putting on her reading glasses “what do I do now?” “Now I’m going to open the home page of google”, I explained. “OK here it is! Now type in ANY question you want into the bar over here and you will find an answer to your question.” I confidently assured her. My Mother looked at me warily, thought for a second, and slowly began to type,

"How is Gertrude doing this morning?"

When I bought my mother a computer and set up her account and password she promptly wrote the log in and password down and put it on the refridgerator, the face of he computer, the office door and in her purse (I'm still not sure why she did that).

When she told her friends all about her computer he felt compelled to share her log on and password information with them to show them how easy it was to use.  I think however that she only used the computer for card games.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Password is Incorrect


Two women on a bench :  

“My memory is gone Mildred, so I changed my password to “Incorrect.” That way when I log in with the wrong password, the computer will tell me… “Your password is incorrect.”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Travel Trip Checklist Preparing the Home

It's  time to thinnk about the holidays whether we're ready for them or not. Many people travel over the Holidays and inevitably, except for a very few, find that when they get to their destination, they've forgotten something. Here's a travel checklist to print out and put inside the suitcase you take most often. Then when you're ready to go, the checklisst is right inside when you pack.




1. Newspaper - stop delivery

2. Mail - place a hold on the mail until you return or if this is an extended trip, forwawrd the mail to your new address

3. Clean out the refridgerator

4. Arrange for child, pet and plant/lawn care

5. Turn down the thermostat. 

6. Use light timers to have your lights and a radio go on and off in different rooms at different times.

7. Notify a lcose friend or neighbor that you will be away and have not authorized anyone to clean out the house.

8. Leave your itinerary, house keys and car keys with the trusted neighbor or friend and a phone number wher you can be reached for any emergencies.

9. Lock windows, garage doors and house doors and close any drapes or blinds.

10. Make sure your trash and garbage is out before you leave.



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Social Security Changes 2015

I received this from one of my contacts through Elder Counsel, David Lillisand in Tampa.  I'm sharing with you all because of its importance to you and any Social Security Retirement Strategies you are considering. 

Read more . . .

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hot Weather Alerts for the Elderly

                                          July has arrived with fireworks and hot weather!  


Warm weather and outdoor activity generally go hand in hand. However, it is important for older people to take action to avoid the severe health problems often caused by hot weather. "Hyperthermia " is the general name given to a variety of heat-related illnesses. The two most common forms of hyperthermia are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Of the two, heat stroke is especially dangerous and requires immediate medical attention (see Definitions).

Health and Lifestyle Risk Factors

The temperature does not have to hit 100° for a person to be at risk. Both one's general health and/or lifestyle may increase a person's chance of suffering a heat-related illness.

Health factors which may increase risk include:

  • Poor circulation, inefficient sweat glands, and changes in the skin caused by the normal aging process.
  • Heat, lung, and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
  • High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt restricted diets may increase their risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first asking a doctor.
  • The inability to perspire, caused by medications including diuretics, sedatives and tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
  • Taking several drugs for various conditions. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight.


Lifestyle factors that can increase risk include:

Unbearably hot living quarters. People who live in homes without fans or air conditioners should take the following steps to reduce heat discomfort: open windows at night; create cross-ventilation by opening windows on two sides of the building; cover windows when they are exposed to direct sunlight; and keep curtains, shades, or blinds drawn during the hottest part of the day.

Lack of transportation. People without fans or air conditioners often are unable to go to shopping malls, movie houses, and libraries because of illness and/or the lack of transportation. Friends or relatives might be asked to supply transportation on particularly hot days. Many communities, area agencies, religious groups, and senior citizen centers provide such services.

Overdressing. Because they may not feel the heat, older people may not dress appropriately in hot weather. Perhaps a friend or family member can help to select proper clothing. Natural fabrics such as cotton are best.

Visiting overcrowded places. Trips should be scheduled during non-rush hour times and participation in special events should be carefully planned.

Not understanding weather conditions. Older people, particularly those at special risk (see health factors), should stay indoors on especially hot and humid days, particularly when there is an air pollution alert in effect.

Heat Stress occurs when a strain is placed on the body as a result of hot weather.

Heat fatigue is a feeling of weakness brought on by high outdoor temperature. Symptoms include cool, moist skin and a weakened pulse. The person may feel faint.

Heat syncope is sudden dizziness experienced after exercising in the heat. The skin appears pale and sweaty but is generally moist and cool. The pulse may be weakened, and the heart rate is usually rapid. Body temperature is normal.

Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs following strenuous activity. The skin is usually moist and cool and the pulse is normal or slightly raised. Body temperature is mostly normal. Heat cramps often are caused by a lack of salt in the body, but salt replacement should not be considered without advice from a physician.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that the body is getting too hot. The person may be thirsty, giddy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, and sweating profusely. The body temperature is usually normal and the pulse is normal or raised. The skin is cold and clammy. Although heat exhaustion often is caused by the body's loss of water and salt, salt supplements should only be taken with advice from a doctor.

Heat stroke can be LIFE-THREATENING! Victims of heat stroke almost always die so immediate medical attention is essential when problems first begin. A person with heat stroke has a body temperature above 104° F. Other symptoms may include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behavior, faintness, staggering, strong rapid pulse, dry flushed skin, lack of sweating, possible delirium or coma.

How is hyperthermia treated? 

If the victim is exhibiting signs of heat stroke, seek emergency assistance immediately. Without medical attention heat stroke is frequently deadly, especially for older people.

Heat-related illnesses can become serious if preventative steps are not taken. It is important to realize that older people are at particular risk of hyperthermia. Many people die of heat stroke each year; most are over 50 years of age. With good, sound judgment and knowledge of preventive measures the summer can remain safe and enjoyable for everyone. 


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