April 23, 2009

The Final Strayer University Essay....

Thank you again to Prof. Abramson's Intro. to Sociology class at Strayer University for sharing their essays. Here is the final essay that we will be posting:

Student 3:

This Video was very impressive to me, it basically took me to a different level that made me think about how my parents were there for me when I needed them, and now someday they are going to need me. And the question I keep asking myself is what am I going to do about it? In the video the three things that touched me the most was: the children, the daughter and Mr. Herbie.

First, I would like to express my feelings about the children. The children played a very important role in Mr.Herbie’s life, they were like his medicine. They interacted with him by dancing, singing, brushing his hair, kissing and hugging him and also talking to him. The children made Herbie feel young again. This is a very special time in the children’s lives as well as Herbie. They will always remember the times they spent with their grandfather. It’s a special kind of blessing being able to be there for your grandfather. A lot of children never even meet their grandfather, never the less help take care of them and be in their lives. With Herbie in their lives this makes them more responsible and educated on the matter that their grandfather has a terrible illness called dementia and he don’t have much time on this earth. So every minute they spend with him is priceless. And that they need to get to know their grandfather.

Next, there is Herbie’s daughter who is a very smart and caring person, what she did I really admire her. Not all people are mature enough to handle a situation like that. Herbie is so lucky to have her as his daughter. She didn’t send him away and sell his house for his money. But instead she sold the house and took him in and used the money on his medical care which is awesome. Some children just wait until their parents are dead and gone and sell their house for their use only, and that’s bad. Even though she didn’t know how much of a hassle things were going to be, she still stuck her foot out there and made it happen. There were days when she wanted to just give up, but she hung in there and that’s what counts.

Last, there was my buddy Mr. Herbie, I instantly fell in love with him. Herbie was a very fragile and sweet person. He was suffering from dementia and could no longer take care of himself. Herbie really touched my heart he reminds me of my own father, once a healthy, smart and hardworking man providing for his family and living his life to the fullest. But suddenly gets ill. When I looked at Herbie I saw a person who wasn’t ready to give up on life. Herbie enjoyed and loved his grandchildren, his daughter, the caregiver, his son-in-law and his girlfriend. When Herbie died it was very emotional for me, it felt like I knew him.

In concluding, I have made up my mind. As a parent and daughter I will take my parents in and care for them like Herbie’s family cared for him. On Herbie’s last days I know that they were special knowing that his family surrounded him and that they took very good care of him. So with that in mind I know that Herbie went in peace.

April 21, 2009

Another Strayer University Essay....

Student 2, from Strayer University's Intro to Sociology class, questions Julie and Ed's decision to take care of Herbie at home. Student 2 writes, "Does she feel that way because her Father is surrounded by people who love him? Perhaps she feels that love is one of the better medicines out there, and that with Herbie being around people who love him will help him stay alive longer."

Student 2:


Losing Herbie is a short film that illustrates the joys and struggles of a family taking care of their elders when their elders can’t take care of themselves. Herbie, an eighty four year old man, is suffering from dementia, and his family has taken him in to their home to see that he is taken care of. His family consists of his daughter, son in law, and two grandchildren, all with their own part in helping Herbie throughout the day. While watching this story, a few things jump out at me that I find interesting.

The first thing that strikes me when I watch the film is when the daughter of Herbie says, “I have no questions whatsoever, that having Herbie live here means he’s getting the best care he can possibly have”. This quote strikes me because there are possibly other places that Herbie could live that he would get better attention and care, one being a nursing home. The assurance in her voice, though, proves to me that she believes what she is saying whole heartedly. Does she feel that way because her Father is surrounded by people who love him? Perhaps she feels that love is one of the better medicines out there, and that with Herbie being around people who love him will help him stay alive longer. Another theory of mine is that Herbie’s Daughter is afraid to lose him, so she wants to keep him around her as much as possible before he passes.

Another thing that pops out at me while watching this film are the children and the environment they have to live in. The two grandchildren of Herbie, one grandson and one granddaughter, are now living with an extra body that has to be taken care of by their parents. Herbie probably requires more attention, seeing as he can do fewer things for himself than the children. This means that the kids are getting less attention by their parents than they probably should. The son and daughter, even though they seem to notice the lack of attention, take it very well. They help out around the house, and seem to be very good to their Grandfather. These kids are being forced, in a sense, to act much older than they really are, and have to put the being kid stuff on hold to help take care of their Granddad and help out around the house. The question can be raised, what effects, long term and short term, will this have on the children? Will this help them become stronger people or will this situation cause them to have issues such as abandonment, trust, or self respect. Being in a home where the parents have to take care of someone else over their children has to be rough on the kids, and even though they show no signs of any problems now, one has to think about if this is actually helping or hurting these children.

The last thing that grabs my attention while watching Losing Herbie is the stress level that everyone seems to be under. The Daughter of Herbie said herself, “If I gave up my work to make all of our lives calmer, I would be suicidal.” This stress level in the house has me asking the question, what effects will this high tension have on the entire family? How will this affect the marriage Herbie’s daughter and son and how will it affect the children. With stress levels so high, and everyone running around trying to do their part, this family has to be worn out, not only physically, but emotionally. Taking care of the elderly is no small task, and this family didn’t realize what they were in for. We really don’t get to see an ugly side, where the family is fighting or arguing, all that much. Maybe there is no ugly side just yet, but this family is so on edge, that there are bound to be problems ahead for the marriage and the relationship with their children.

Losing Herbie is a classic tale of any average family trying to balance life. When something so big as taking care of an older relative comes into the mix, that balance becomes much harder. This film shows the stresses and the joys of any family in this situation struggling to keep the balance in their lives without going insane. This family may look like they are keeping a good balance, but questions can still arise about the long term effects of what it is like to be Losing Herbie.

April 20, 2009

Strayer University Student Reflects

Again, thank you to Strayer University's Professor Abramson and her Intro. to Sociology class for sharing their essays on Losing Herbie.

This student's personal account with dementia provides a unique perspective to the topic of caregiving.


STUDENT 1:

The video clips of losing Herbie was an eye opening experience that I was not ready to face however, one day I could be in the same situation as Herbie or his family. “Dementia affects about 1% of people aged 60-64 years and as many as 30-50% of people older than 85 years. Many people with dementia eventually become totally dependent on others for their care”. (Dementia) Growing up I always said I would never put my mother in a nursing home no matter what but after seeing all of the responsibility that comes with caring for someone with dementia makes me think twice. To watch someone you love decline and not be able to care for their self nor make a sound decision is sad. “It is the leading reason for placing elderly people in institutions such as nursing homes”. (Dementia)

One thing that struck me the most was how courageous and tolerant Julie was in taking care of her dad. In spite of all the responsibilities associated with taking care of him Julie was determined to stick it out because she made a promise to him and because she loved him so much. It was evident at how much she loved him because she could have easily given up or placed him in a nursing home because he became unaware of what was going on around him and would have never known what she has done. I have such a close relationship with my mother and I would want to do the same for her. I love her so much but will I be able to endure to the end as Julie did is a question I asked myself. I am an only child and the idea of raising my children while caring for my mother who would have infant like qualities in an adult body scares me. “I was asked if sibling relationships suffer when a parent has dementia. Often, siblings have varying opinions about how to deal with decisions they are faced with at the present time, as well as those down the road.” (Dementia) Would I be looked upon as selfish if I could not sit around and watch my mother decline or watch the lady I admire the most in this world slip away. On the other hand after working in a nursing home I could not image placing her in a facility that I consider depressing.

I was a bit surprised that his lady friend did not want to care for him but after seeing him decline and not having that spark she was use to I totally understand her position in caring for him. My husband and I share such great times together and trying to image being in that position to have to care for him or even watching him not be able to hold an intelligent conversation is completely mind boggling. However, because of the love we share and in my current state of mind I would have to remember the vow’s we took until deaths do us part and stick it out with him.

Julie’s husband was in agreement in the beginning and after seeing what he was faced with started feeling a bit of resentment towards Herbie. I love my in laws but I feel a little selfish because I would want my husband to be in agreement with me in taking care of my mother. However, I am not sure I would agree with him wanting to do it for his mother. He has other sibling and I would want one of them to take the responsibility. I would probably use the excuse that I am an only child and I do not have options as he does. I would be willing to help out but I would not want the full responsibility of taking care of his mother. “There can be family conflict and less cohesiveness. Yet, sometimes on this journey families come to a place where they say the disease has brought them closer than ever.” (Dementia)

I use to work at a nursing home when I was a teenager and it was easy to get attached to a lot of the elderly folks. However, I remember a time I was afraid of the people who suffered with Alzheimer’s and dementia because you never knew what to expect from them. It made me depressed watching families come and visit their love one and how hurt they appeared to be watching them decline. I also reflect on a time when the head nurse smacked a patient in the face and made her nose bleed because she could not tolerate the patient’s behavior. Although the patient had symptoms of dementia she was able to remember what happened to her. I was glad the nurse was charged with assault, locked up and her nursing license was revoked. However, dealing with this stressful situation could result in such behavior and a fear what may happen if someone lose their patience. This is the main reason I could not place my mother in a nursing home because she could not receive the love we would give her at home. I thank Julie for allowing us to see how much responsibility it would be caring for your parent and for keeping her promise to care for her dad although he was unaware of what was going on, I believe it made a difference.

April 16, 2009

WELCOME STRAYER UNIVERSITY STUDENTS!

Exciting news from the world of academia!

Thank you to Strayer University's Professor Terry Abramson for incorporating Losing Herbie into the curriculum for her class "Intro to Sociology." Below are excerpts from three essays written about the film. In the following days, I will post each essay in its entirety. (For privacy, the students will remain anonymous.)

So welcome Strayer University and thank you again to Prof. Abramson and her students for allowing us to post these heartfelt essays!

Student 1:

One thing that struck me the most was how courageous and tolerant Julie was in taking care of her dad. In spite of all the responsibilities associated with taking care of him Julie was determined to stick it out because she made a promise to him and because she loved him so much....I have such a close relationship with my mother and I would want to do the same for her. I love her so much but will I be able to endure to the end as Julie did is a question I asked myself.

Student 2:

The first thing that strikes me when I watch the film is when the daughter of Herbie says, “I have no questions whatsoever, that having Herbie live here means he’s getting the best care he can possibly have”. This quote strikes me because there are possibly other places that Herbie could live that he would get better attention and care, one being a nursing home. The assurance in her voice, though, proves to me that she believes what she is saying whole heartedly.

Student 3:

This Video was very impressive to me, it basically took me to a different level that made me think about how my parents were there for me when I needed them, and now someday they are going to need me. And the question I keep asking myself is what am I going to do about it?