"Aging / Death / Gerontology" Essays

X Filters 

Tube Feeding Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,132 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … feeding tubes at the end of life. The writer examines literature with regards to patients who have dementia, cancer and other end of life issues and reviews what has been concluded about using feeding tubes at this stage. There were three sources used to complete this paper.

The past few years have seen many controversial stories played out in the news regarding end of life feeding tubes and their use. Society lines up on both sides of the issue and hotly debate whether or not using a feeding tube at the end of one's life is something that should be done even if the patient is not capable of consenting. Meanwhile patients all over the nation languish between the two sides of the debate with their families trying to make the most humane and compassionate decision regarding the placement of a feeding tube into their loved one. Many studies have been conducted regarding the use of a feeding tube on a patient who is at the end of life with differing results. With a small risk in the actual placement of the tube the question centers around whether prolonging life with a feeding tube is really in the best interest of the patient.


One of the more controversial issues surrounding the use of a feeding tube is with patients who have Alzhemier's Disease. Patients with dementia often refuse food and without the ability to communicate it is difficult to determine whether they feel hunger or whether they want the life sustaining measures of a feeding tube used in their care.

According to Doctor Thomas Finucane the use of feeding tubes in patients with the disorder varies from state to state. One study examined the use of feeding tubes for this patient population and found that in Maine only 7.5% of the patients had feeding tubes inserted whereas in Missouri that figure increased to 40%. Further study indicates that the two factors most often present in the decision not to use a feeding tube are (1) the specific request by the patient or the patient's family not to use one, (2) being of white heritage (Finucane, 2001).

In addition the study notes the economic differences in the two states as a possible reason for the differences.

Another study examined the survival rate of patients who had feeding tubes placed against patients who did not. The study included more than 81,000 patients and concluded that the use of a feeding tube provided an average of survival for six additional months as opposed to those who did not have one placed whose survival rate was just over a month.

Using a tube and not using a tube each have their benefits and their problems. The study reported a higher incidence of pneumonia with patients who had feeding tubes inserted, while those who did not have tubes reported a higher incidence of malnutrition.

In increase in pneumonia for patients with feeding tubes and dementia relate to aspiration pneumonia as well… [read more]

Family Assessment Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,079 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … family assessment on the Calhoun family, from the movie the Notebook, written by Nicholas Sparks. The writer includes all of the basic elements that an assessment is supposed to include.

The family members are named Noah and Allie Calhoun. They are both in their 90's and they live in a town called New Bern. Noah completed high school and then went into the military during World War II, while Allie completed high school and went to college while studying poetry and other things that would be useful to being a wife during those times.

While Allie never worked, she came from a wealthy family that owned tobacco companies. Noah had always worked and came from what was considered a lower class background in the early days of their courtship.

Both Noah and Allie are from a Christian background though they are not extremely active in any particular faith or church activities during their early courtship.

Both Noah and Allie are white.

Currently both Noah and Allie reside in the same residential nursing home. In the past no mental illness was reported however, currently Allie suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Physically both the Calhouns are above average looking even given their advanced ages. They reported that in their youth they were considered above average looking as well.

The family reports that the members have always had open and honest communication. The parents get along well and they raised their children to become productive adult members of society.

The Calhouns interact well within the residential nursing home setting, though they report that Noah snuck into Allie's room when they were forcibly separated due to Allie's deteriorating disease.

Until Allie became ill with Alzheimer's she and Noah were reportedly able to perform their own basic hygiene functions. When they got where they could no longer live on their own they moved into the nursing home. Until that point they reported they were able to fulfill family tasks according to societal norms of their era.

The family reports that the couple have what they need to sustain life. They are fed at the nursing home and prior to their entering their senior years Noah provided for the family through his employment.

These provisions allowed them to live at a normal healthy level.

While the couple reports they no longer engage in sexual relations due to Allie's condition, they report that they had a normal active sex life up until the onset of her illness.

There are no children under the age of 18 at this time. They did have children and raised them to adulthood where they now are productive in society.

At this point in their lives Noah and Allie are completely dependent on the nursing home staff for their well being and protection, however, Noah reports that for many years the family members depended on him when he was younger, and as he began to age he and his wife began to depend on their adult children. Noah reports now that… [read more]

Independent and Dependant Variables Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,618 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


On the other hand, if a longitudinal study were developed, the results could be slightly different. For a longitudinal study, the population would be the same, but the survey would be administered over a longer period of time; in this example, ten years. Over the course of the ten years, the data would be collected from the same population, and thus, could indicate a change in the data over time, as well as link together possible connections between length of time smoking and lung disease. Again, while cause and effect cannot be established, hypotheses about length of time smoking and gradual lung disease could be developed. In the cross sectional study, no relationship over time could be measured, but in the longitudinal study, these measurements could generate a number of new hypotheses.

Clearly, both the cross sectional and longitudinal design have their own advantages and disadvantages. For certain subjects, such as the study of attitudes and behaviors on experimental subjects, a cross sectional design would be the best alternative, since it is low cost, and can generate hypotheses to be used in a quantitative study. For other areas, such as how variables change over time, the longitudinal method is preferred. In both cases, however, a well-structured, well-planned study can easily generate the desired results.


Community Foundation, Silicon Valley. (2003). Giving Back: A Practitioner's Toolkit. Palo Alto, CA: Community Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Gliner, J. (2000). Research Methods in Applied Settings: An Integrated Approach to Design and Analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hoover, K. And Donovan, T. (2004). The Elements of Social Scientific Thinking, 8/e. Florence, KY: Wadsworth.

Hopkins, W.G. (2000). Quantitative research design. Sportscience, 4(1): 90-92.

Larkin, T. (1985, June). Evidence vs. nonsense: A guide to the scientific method. FDA Consumer, 19: 23-25.

Saint-Germain, M.A., PhD. (2004). Research Methods. Retrieved October 25, 2005 from California State University. Web site: http://www.csulb.edu/~msaintg/ppa696/696preex.htm.…… [read more]

Articles on Hoarding Behavior in Dementia Patients Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,377 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … articles on hoarding behavior in dementia patients and in the elderly. Compulsive hoarding is an interesting and compelling phenomenon in a wide variety of the population. The two studies investigate hoarding in the elderly, and in patients with dementia, attempting to find the causes of the behavior and some of the affects the behavior has on those who hoard, including psychiatric symptoms associated with the behavior.

Hoarding is characterized by a need to acquire and maintain a wide variety of possessions that eventually clutter and fill living areas until they can no longer be used for the purpose they were designed for. This behavior has come under scrutiny from the media in recent years, and several studies have been conducted to discover why people hoard, and what the consequences of the behavior can be. Hoarding does occur in the general population, but it is also quite prevalent in the elderly, and in dementia patients, as these two studies indicate.

The first study indicates hoarding behavior is relatively common in dementia patients. All the patients had been diagnosed with varying forms of dementia, and had been hospitalized for their illness. The 133 patients in the study were divided between those who hoarded and those who did not hoard. Twenty-two point six percent of the patients hoarded items, and the items varied from daily necessities to food, newspapers, and even cigarette butts. These items were stored in a variety of places around their homes, in boxes, in closets, or even carried with the patients (Hwang et al., 1998, pg. 286). Psychiatric symptoms of the hoarders included repetitive behaviors, hyperphagia, and pilfering (Hwang et al., 1998, pg. 287). The elderly hoarders collected many of the same items. The elderly study reports, "elderly clients commonly hoarded paper, containers, clothing, food, books, and objects from other people's trash" (Steketee, Frost & Kim, 2001, p. 179). Usually, the clutter was so prevalent that it prevented using certain rooms in the home, and clutter usually occurred in more than one room of the home. In addition, these elderly collectors often showed signs of problems with their own personal care, in addition to the cleanliness of their homes. The dementia patients usually had some form of nursing or aide care, but they also had problems with personal care. The study found that in the elderly, "home sanitary condition, odor, and physical appearance were all significantly related to clutter and impairment from clutter. More clutter was especially associated with poorer sanitation in the home" (Steketee, Frost & Kim, 2001, p. 180). Thus, because the elderly most often live alone or with a long-time partner, the clutter problem is worse, because it may have been going on longer, and there is no daily intervention to manage or attend to the clutter. Many of the elderly living in cluttered homes face sanitary and health issues that would not affect the same elderly living in a non-cluttered environment.

Both groups tend to hoard food and other items that can create… [read more]

Firelight in "The Night Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (690 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


That is firelight. It can burn you if you get too close, but it is oh so comforting if you can stay at just the right distance.

I think a good example of people who live in the firelight are old people. Often, when people get very old, they tend to live in their memories, and retreat into times past. They are in their own dream world of thoughts and memories that no one else really understands. Their future is uncertain at best, so they retreat into their past, where the outcome is certain, but dreams can change the facts. My grandfather was like that in the last years of his life. Often he would sit for hours, just staring ahead out of his nearly blind eyes, and he would obviously be lost in thought. He would not talk, but it was easy to see he was thinking about things, and remembering his life past. He could not really tell you what he was thinking about, but it was clear he was in that hypnotic state that comes from warmth, safety, and comfort. I did not understand his silences at the time, and now, it seems as if he had lived a long and good life, and he was eager to remember the good times. When you live in the firelight, you do not have to acknowledge reality, just as the young boy did not want to acknowledge his mother's voice. My grandfather was old, a widower, nearly blind, and dependent on others for his survival. In the firelight, he was young and vital again, and he did not have to face reality.

In conclusion, the firelight is a hypnotic and dreamlike state that can certainly become ambiguous. However, it is mostly a state of mind. They fire hypnotizes us with its warm and promise of comfort, and we are powerless in its grasp.


Wolff, Tobias. The Night in Question. New York: Alfred A. Knopf,…… [read more]

Physician-Assisted Suicide Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (720 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


He shows why people who are seriously injured, and have "no hope" of recovery should not give up; they have a lot more to give to the world and the people that love them. If people have the "right" to die, what is the difference if they take their own life, or take another life? How is one life more important than another is? What gives anyone the "right" to die? They were put here on Earth to serve some purpose, and it was not a purpose to be cut short because they do not feel like being here any longer. Life is not easy, but it is better than the alternative, no matter what.

There is another thing that many people do not think about when they think about physician-assisted suicide, and that is someone who cannot make the decision on their own, and their relatives make it for them. "How can we make sure that no one will be pressed to end his or her life by self-interested relatives, friends, enemies, or caretakers?" (Van Den Haag 140). If they are pressured into committing suicide, no one would ever know, and it would not only be morally wrong, it would be horrible. People that even think about that are monsters. There is also the question of terminally ill children. The right to die laws are "limited to adults" (Carter 143), and so what happens if a child wants to commit suicide? Do they have the right to die, too?

Now, many states are looking at laws to allow people to commit physician-assisted suicide in their states. I think states that do this are wrong. People will come there just to die, and then what will happen to them? Will the state have to pay for their funeral and/or burial costs? If they are so ill, how will they get there?

There are too many unanswered questions about physician-assisted suicide, and too many moral issues for it to be a simple decision. Helping someone commit suicide is a felony, and I think it…… [read more]