Monthly Archives: December, 2014

“An Oasis of Care and Caring for People With Intellectual Disabilities” – The New York Times

by Dan Barry | The New York Times

“LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A mother needs to get her son out the door. Thick white socks cover his contorted feet, a coat drapes his twisted shoulders, a water bottle with a straw nestles in the concave of his chest, and black straps on his wheelchair secure his wrists. He is 33 years old, and she has to get him to an appointment.

life on edge A home care aide, David Stodghill, helps get Trey Kramer to the clinic. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

“‘I always forget something,’ the mother, Mimi Kramer, says, looking about her small, immaculate house. ‘Oh. A change of pants, just in case.’

“Her son, Trey, has intellectual disability, autism and cerebral palsy. He was a joy as a child, she says, but with puberty came violent acts of frustration: biting himself until he bleeds, raging against sounds as faint as a fork scrape on a plate, lashing out with his muscular right arm. He nearly bit her finger off one Kentucky Derby Day when she tried to swipe away foam that he had gnawed from his wheelchair’s armrest.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day


Click here to see the “estimated” actual, up-to-the minute clock for US and World Populations.

“Flu hits local nursing homes” – Lancaster Online

“For nursing homes and their residents, flu season has terrible timing this year.

“‘We’ve had a few cases over the past two weeks,’ said Stephanie Hoffman, director of quality improvement and risk management and compliance at Landis Homes on East Oregon Road.

“Residents look forward to connecting with friends and family over the holidays, Hoffman said, but sharing the love often means spreading the germs, and the virus seems to be spreading pretty quickly this year.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at Lancaster Online.


“States Where People Live Longest” and “States With the Shortest Life Expectancies” – 24/7 Wall St.

This 24/7 Wall St. article, “States where people live longest” says “The United States has a health problem. Across the country, life expectancies routinely fail to meet the standards set by other developed nations. Differences in life expectancy between the United States and other developed nations, such as Switzerland and Japan, are dramatic.”

The Website also lists those states with the lowest life expectancies.

Pennsylvania, evidently, lies somewhere in the 30 remaining states because it did not make either of the lists. We might be average or “the worst of the best or the best of the worst.”

“Confronting an Ugly Killer” – New York Times “op-ed” column and the comments

Almost two weeks ago, this column, “Confronting an Ugly Killer – Alzheimer’s, Awareness and ‘Still Alice’” appeared in The New York Times.

Yesterday’s New York Times published several letters about that column; here is just one of them:

To the Editor:

Fifty-three years ago, in love, I soulfully asked my boyfriend, “Are you behind those eyes?”

Four years ago, this brilliant man, now my husband, developed dementia. I look into his (same) beautiful eyes, and there is no one home.

I learned to tell myself that though it’s sad, it’s O.K.! He’s still here, one way or another.

Piermont, N.Y., Dec. 17, 2014

Read more letters in response to that column here.

“Cold cuts: eating, food and being disabled” –

“Enjoying food is something most people take for granted but it can be a fraught issue for disabled people. Food lover Mike Shamash reflects on the reasons why.”

disability cold cuts

“There are academics who would argue that the human being’s skill in cooking food of using fire to change the taste and texture of raw food is what distinguishes human beings from any other species. Cookbooks are bestsellers and chefs are media stars but as  disabled people we may  often appear to be rendered invisible by this process.

“As well as being  a vital part of life, food is also a rather inclusive activity. Eating is a sedentary, sensuous experience open to all comers. Cooking is only slightly less so. Why then is no mention made of disabled people on cookery programmes?

“There are a  range of factors. Disabled people have tight financial budgets and can feel uncomfortable in an environment that says ‘you don’t belong here’, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of disabled people unwilling to eat out. We  often have to filter eating through the historical mist of institutionalisation, eating horrible food in a bleak environment at a time not of your choosing.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

191 years ago …


night before christmas[NOTE: The above image and other Favorite Illustrated, Antique versions of Twas The Night before Christmas are available here.]

“Clement Moore, the author of the poem ‘Twas the night before Christmas,’ was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous. The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry. Clement Clarke Moore came from a prominent family and his father Benjamin Moore was the Bishop of New York who was famous for officiating at the inauguration of George Washington. The tradition of reading “Twas the night before Christmas” poem on Christmas Eve is now a Worldwide institution and tradition.”

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”



“Choir of Alzheimer’s patients sings tunes from memory” – USA Today

Chorus2People with Alzheimer’s and dementia sing their favorite tunes.(Photo: KARE)

“‘We know that music is stored in a part of the brain that’s last affected by Alzheimer’s disease,’ says Lenard, a former executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association for Minnesota and North Dakota.

“‘The emotions, the joy, the fun, the humor, that came with singing when they were 18 or 24 or 40 comes back,’ Lenard say.

“Among those who joined the choir is Doris Sterner of Edina, who sings next to her daughter Anne.

“Sterner’s medical condition, primary progressive aphasia, causes her words to jumble – a frustrating block to communication.

“‘She can’t say it, but she can sing the songs,’ says Anne Sterner, who exchanges happy glances with her mother, sometimes holding hands, during rehearsals.”

Click here to continue reading this article at USA Today.


“Who Says Elderly Dogs Aren’t as Cute as Pups?” – nextavenue

“This photo project shows these canines have an aging message.”

old faithful jackson

Puppies steal people’s hearts. But then they age and cease to elicit as many “awws” as they once did. Canadian photographer Pete Thorne wondered why.

“So the 35-year-old set out to photograph elderly dogs in a project he’s titled: “Old Faithful.” The goal is to show the beauty and grace of older pets. Along the way, Thorne makes you think about how we see these traits in people, too.

“‘All the telltale signs point to a life lived, and there’s a history behind those eyes, even if they are clouded over and aren’t working too well,’ Thorne says. ‘I just think there is so much character to these old doggies’ faces.’”

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

Feeling frazzled … ’tis the season. Relax.

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.” – The Mayo Clinic

frazzled has compacted a number of research topics to help understand and cope with holiday stress:

A little stress can make brains sharper

To deal with problems, avoid them (for a little while)

Can 25 minutes of meditation calm you down?

Exercise makes brain more resilient to stress