“Hi, Mabel! Do you have some time to talk to me?”

Mabel, I knew, had all the time in the world, since she refused to go to activities. …


I settled down to talk to Pearl, eager to hear how she was faring in her new room.

Her voice was strained.

“Well, she’s not rummaging through my closet, like Beatrice did. But she told me everybody likes me better than her.”

“It makes you uncomfortable.”

“Yes! And she won’t…


When I arrived at Mr. Johnson’s room, he was sitting in the doorway in his wheelchair, frowning at the passersby. He was immaculately dressed as usual, in a button-down shirt and shorts on this hot summer day, looking much younger than his 90 years.

Lately he’d been frustrated that his…


Margaret was a plump 54-year old woman who was skeptical about psychological services when I first approached her. Three sessions later she sat quietly on the edge of her bed, staring down at her legs, her feet not quite touching the floor.

“I can’t walk. Every time I try to…


“I need you to see Eddie,” the social worker told me. “He keeps throwing himself out of bed and you know how the administration is about falls.”

Falls were bad. They get reported to the State.

“You hear that moaning down the hall?” she asked. “That’s him. …


There’s a hidden world inside each nursing home. Each center is filled with people striving to live their best lives despite age and disability. Family visitors arrive when they can to offer care and companionship. …


I’m Worried About the Emotional Impact on the Staff

Mr. Davis used to sit in the lobby and greet staff members when they walked in the door of the nursing care center. His wife had friendly chats with other residents when she came to visit; his children brought plates of homemade cookies to the nursing station during the holidays…

Eleanor Feldman Barbera, PhD

Eleanor Feldman Barbera, Ph.D., is a psychologist, speaker, educator and a leading expert on aging, behavioral health and caregiving. EleanorFeldmanBarbera.com

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