Dorothy said it best, “there’s no place like home.” With age, often needs for care change, which means assessing living options. Yet we can all agree that the comforts of home are always beckoning.
For that reason, many seniors make “aging in place” a high priority even as they feel their functional abilities – and sometimes their health – have begun to fade. Thankfully, with the help of home care services and home health care services, many people are able to maintain their independence in their own homes for quite some time.
The Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) is one of the few research institutions in the country translating clinical and health services research discoveries into interventions that improve the experience of aging.
“Most advances in medicine come from clinical trials,” says Susan Mitchell, M.D., M.P.H., senior scientist and director of Palliative Care Research at IFAR. “But many of the interventions that we are examining can be more complex than testing a pill,” she explains.
Every morning I wake up and stare inquisitively at myself in the mirror. And every morning, someone who looks alarmingly like my mother stares right back.
Now to be fair, I’ve always born a striking resemblance to my mom, though it seems to intensify with each passing day. She and I also share similar voices, similar handwriting, and the same inability to turn down anything made with chocolate.
And now, according to researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) along with several other institutions, my mother and I will most likely share similar chances of developing sarcopenia in our later years.
It’s the summer of 2017 and a new group of students has arrived on Hebrew SeniorLife’s Boston campus. They are part of HSL’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, and all are eager to learn about spiritual care as it relates to aging, illnesses of aging, family caregivers, bioethical decision-making, dying, and bereavement and share their newfound knowledge with their local communities.
Visiting a long-term chronic care hospital is always a good idea. Daily activities and group programming are some of the first things family members ask about when exploring long-term chronic care at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston or Dedham, MA. They want to know how their loved one will spend his or her days. On tours, visitors can explore the amenities available and witness seniors and staff engage. They can join patients taking part in group activities, including exercise programs, creative arts, expressive therapies, and discussion groups.
You’ve been with Hebrew SeniorLife for several years. Can you share a little about your background and your career at HSL?
I came to Boston from Spain on a Fulbright scholarship to do a masters-level viola performance degree at New England Conservatory. In Boston, I discovered the incredible world of music therapy and the field fascinated me. I found that the combination of science and art was a calling and a home for me in a way I never experienced as a performer or teacher. I then earned a second master’s degree in expressive art therapy at Lesley University and became a licensed mental health counselor.
Eileen began searching for senior care for her mother with one goal in mind: To find the best, high-quality medical care to meet her mother’s needs. Senior care presents many options, each offering something slightly different. Eileen was vaguely familiar with nursing homes and assisted living. Further research introduced her to long-term chronic care. Would this level of care be the best choice for her mother, who could not return home after a hospital stay? How is it different from nursing home care?
Long-term chronic care is a higher level of medical care not found in traditional long-term care settings or nursing homes. It combines comprehensive therapeutic programs and clinical services for seniors with chronic and sometimes complex diagnoses.