People die without love: Why I prescribe the love drug

Great article from PAMELA WIBLE, MD

As a doctor, it’s my job to figure out what patients really need. Some need antibiotics. Some need pain pills. But everyone needs love.

During medical school I cared for burned children. One of my patients was a 3-year-old with severe burns over most of his body. His roommate, an older boy, had just burned one arm. Yet the older child withered in the corner while the younger one jumped all over the playroom despite his contracted and painful limbs. Why? The younger boy’s family kept hugging and kissing him. The older boy had no visitors.

People die without love.

My friend, Dr. Patch Adams, discovered that less than 3% of his patients have self-esteem. And less than 5% have any idea what a day-to-day vitality for life is about. The fact is most people are in pain. So what do we prescribe for pain? Painkillers, of course.

Recently, I attended a training on the safe use of opioid painkillers where I learned that the United States is 4.6% of the world’s population, yet we consume 80% of all opioids. But painkillers don’t seem to be killing our pain. Why?

In America, we overprescribe opioids while under-prescribing the most potent drug of all: love. And love IS a drug. How fabulous you feel with it. And how painful life is without it. So why are we so stingy about prescribing love?

The antidote for hate, neglect, apathy, misery, even sorrow is love. No prescription pad needed. No risk of overdose Love is my preferred potion. I give patients heart-shaped balloons. And hugs. Yes, I even tell patients, “I love you.” Some leave with my kiss on their forehead.

You don’t need a medical degree to say, “I love you.” Just three simple words can heal more wounds than all the doctors in the world.

Pamela Wible pioneered the community-designed ideal medical clinic and blogs at Ideal Medical Care. She is the author of Pet Goats and Pap Smears.

Scent and Dementia

Article from
How Scent Can Spark Memories and Good Moods for Someone with Dementia

By Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor

from How Scent Can Spark Memories and Good Moods for Someone With Dementia

Although someone with severe-stage dementia may seem beyond all interaction, you may be able to reach in and connect through smell. (The sense of smell tends to diminish with dementia, but many people retain some of it.) Memories (read more about the part of the brain called the amygdala) connected to scent tend to be deeply enduring. At minimum, familiar and pleasing smells can create a happy mood.  Some things to try:

  • Perfume or cologne. Know your loved one’s favorites? What old bottles do you see around? Spray a little Old Spice or White Shoulders in the air or the wrist.
  • Work-related scents. Ex-teachers may respond to chalk or crayons, farmers to fresh-mown hay.
  • Strong, distinct flowers. Hyacinths, lilacs, gardenias and roses for examples. Did/does your loved one keep a garden? Bring in fresh-cut flowers or find a potpourri to place in a bowl. Or light a scented candle during your visits.
  • Lotions.  There’s no end to options, from citrus to vanilla to musky scents. Explore a drugstore or chain selling inexpensive lotions and see if any remind you of your loved one. Or, mix it up; buy several small bottles and use a different one on your loved one’s hands or feet each day.
  • Spices and herbs. A cook may be drawn to cinnamon or nutmeg. Open a container to sniff, or shake some onto a potpourri. Or keep a plant of fresh basil or lemon balm handy.

Other homey food smells. Bake fresh cookies or lemon pound cake, sliced limes, a bar of chocolate. Bacon. Even someone who no longer likes to or is able to eat these things may spark to the scent. Ask other older family members about favorite foods, places and faces. Look at photo albums for events.

Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor
Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor

Taryn Dominguez, LMSW Joins Care for Life

TarynSocial Worker/Care Manager
University, BSW, 2007, Miami Shores, FL
University of South Carolina, MSW, 2008, Columbia, SC

Care for Life is pleased to announce that Taryn Dominguez, LMSW, has joined the geriatric care management and homecare agency. In her role as a Social Work Care Manager, she assesses the client’s physical and cognitive status, his ability to self-care, and whether proper safety measures have been put in place. She makes referrals to community resources when physical or other kinds of therapy are indicated. An important aspect of the assessment is medication reconciliation to prevent errors. Ongoing monitoring is critical to providing the excellent care that Care For Life is known for in the community.

She observes family dynamics to see how family members relate to the senior and vice versa. She creates detailed assessments based on information provided by the client and the family. When necessary she seeks information from the client’s physician and other involved parties with permission. She educates the client and family if there is any chronic disease management requirement.

Taryn worked for over four years at the pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina. She assisted low-income patients to find ways to obtain free medications from pharmaceutical companies.

She coached eligible patients with information about the various Medicare Advantage and Medicare part D plans. Some of her most gratifying work occurred when she helped organ transplant patients secure grants to help pay for their expensive transplant related medications.

Taryn understands the complex medicinal needs of the geriatric community and is a great asset to Care For Life in meeting the need for care management that involves medication reconciliation and appropriate use of medications.

Taryn enjoys presenting programs for community groups and other professionals to educate regarding issues that affect the older population. She is an active participant in her local National Association of Social Workers of South Carolina Chapter.

On a personal note, Taryn became a caregiver when she was just 17. Her father was 51 years old when he received the devastating diagnosis of esophageal cancer. Because he was at an advanced stage, the family’s daily life changed drastically. She experienced the stages of dying with her father as she helped her mother take care of him. Therefore, she knows firsthand the hardships a crisis brings when it hits when you least expect it.

Several years later, Taryn’s paternal grandmother fell at home and broke a rib. Taryn rushed to the hospital to be with her 84-year-old grandmother. She knew that her time with her grandmother was nearing the end due to pneumonia and cancer. Taryn and her sister honored her grandmother’s advance directives and comforted her to the end of her battle.

Through these experiences, Taryn is prepared to help others and to advocate for older, more vulnerable adults. She vows to be a voice they so desperately need in this fast-changing world.