Elder Care

A Short History of Hospice and Palliative Care

By John F. Tomczak Hospice is a philosophy of caring that respects and values the dignity and worth of each person and good hospice care is the practical expression of that personal and professional commitment. Hospices are for people approaching death, but hospices cherish and emphasize life, by helping patients (and those who love and care for them) to live each day to the fullest. My book “Shared Knowledge” is…

Read More

Elder Care

Celebrate a Life

By John F. Tomczak Every year since 1987 Victoria Hospice Society, a few weeks before Christmas provides a space in a mall where people may come to remember a loved one.  The space is decorated in the Christmas Spirit, volunteers are there to provide assistance and those that wish are encouraged to write a remembrance of a loved one and place it on the Hospice Logo. A book of remembrance is provided…

Read More

Elder Care

Visiting Endless Thoughts

By John F. Tomczak Now and then a newly bereaved person will tell me about a recurring thought or dream they have about their loved one that never seems to end. It is as if a video or CD is playing in the background all the time. They feel possessed by these thoughts or dreams and they seem powerless to stop them. No one has told me that they are…

Read More

Elder Care

Shared Knowledge Walking Groups

By John F. Tomczak For some time I have been at a loss to explain why the Walking Group Program at Victoria Hospice has been so successful. I have been involved in this Program since 1988 and in all that time I have heard nothing but appreciation from the more than 750 bereaved folks that I have met. It has always been a mystery to me how perfect strangers can…

Read More

Elder Care

Beautiful Goodbyes

Families need not be alone when loved ones are ready to pass on. By John F. Tomczak Death can be beautiful. Collette Tomczak’s death was quiet and respectful as she lay in the arms of her husband and partner of some forty five years. In the couple’s bedroom their five children stood silently with their spouses. Collette knew they were all there: knew she was loved. In her last week…

Read More

Elder Care

The Thursday Night Bridge Game

By John F. Tomczak It wasn’t long after I joined the Bereavement Self Help Social Group at hospice that I discovered that my fellow members were a very interesting group of people. They were also very kind and went out of their way to make newcomers welcome. They came from very diverse backgrounds complete with many interesting stories and experiences. The frustrating game of bridge had a great following and…

Read More

Elder Care

Just Who Is The Caregiver?

By John F. Tomczak This is a story about a couple that Claire and I know. We had noticed for some time that Rae seemed in ill health but our concerns were brushed aside However, you only had to look at her husband, Vince, to realize that her health problems were serious. After we learned that she had cancer of the lungs, we suggested to Vince that perhaps Hospice could…

Read More

Elder Care

Stolen Money and Stolen Health

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse reported by older adults. From The Canadian Health Network My grandson is taking money from me. Every time he comes to visit me at home, some money goes missing. I suspect that it must be him. I do not want to cause any problems between us since we have always been very close. I might even give him the…

Read More

Elder Care

Your Aging Parents

What you need to know in case mom or dad has a medical emergency If your parents were to have a medical emergency, could you provide the vital information doctors would need to care for them? Do you know the names of your parents’ doctors? Is your mom taking any medication? Has your dad ever had any surgery? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know the answers to…

Read More

Elder Care

Supportive Housing For Seniors Glossary

Abbeyfield is a type of shared supportive housing based on a model developed in Great Britain, that has been adapted in British Columbia and other parts of Canada. Usually residents have a private room, perhaps their own bathroom, but other living spaces are shared with 10 to 12 other residents. A housekeeper usually provides meals, cleaning and other support. The term group home is also used to describe this type of…

Read More