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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health Care Reform Act wins SupremeCourt Approval

There are many acts in the new 2000 page law. Here are some which affect older Americans and those with limited incomes.

Title II. The Role of Public Programs
This title creates substantial changes to Medicaid, the federal-state program for many low-income persons. Beginning in 2014, all lower-income individuals will be eligible to enroll in their state's Medicaid program, not just those who fit into categories such as disabled, children, or parents. For the first time, Medicaid will become a more uniform national program with uniform eligibility and enrollment standards as well as quality improvement requirements.

 Title VI has a provision which will prevent elder abuse
The Elder Justice Act provides a national framework to combat violence, neglect, and financial exploitation of senior citizens.

Title VII. Improving Access to Innovative Medical Therapies
This title directs the US Food and Drug Administration to develop a regulatory pathway to permit the development, manufacture, marketing, and sale of biosimilar biologic products, generic-like versions of biopharmaceutical drugs. It also ends anticompetitive efforts to keep generic drugs off the market, and offers drug discounts to hospitals and communities that serve low-income patients.

These are all good progressive health measures. Our country will be better, our health will be improved and healthcare costs will come down. This is a long term process which will regulate and reduce the health insurance industry that for too long prevented people from getting the coverage they needed to fight severe illnesses.www.facebook/phylliswpalmphd

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I am on the radio--- Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Your Family's Health" 11:30am Professor Joan Buckley, Nursing Department talks with Phyllis W. Palm Phd on her new book "Put That Knife Away". Dr. Palm, Psychologist describes her journey as a full time caregiver for her husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2006. If you know anyone that has been plagued with the ravages of this disease tune into this special broadcast.  
And remember you can listen to any of these broadcasts in real time on your computer at .
Also don't forget about our podcasts. Most of the shows aired on WHPC can be listened or downloaded at You must have Itunes installed in your computer.
Returning to Arizona last night from a weekend wedding in San Francisco, I realize how lucky I am to have my husband in a safe, secure, friendly memory care unit where his needs are met and he is content. He was very happy to see me, Steve too, today when we he insisted we go to "a big store" where he could "touch some tools." Bob was not able to eat a chicken sandwich which he requested at McDonald's, having forgotten how to pick it up and hold it together, so we returned to Arbor Rose late, but the staff was happy to serve him his dinner anyway.
I play this game with myself, looking for any shred of evidence that my husband can relate in a recognizable way to any of life's small pleasures.I truly enjoyed it when we looked together at the mirror display in the store and Bob smiled, recognizing us standing together in front of the mirror. He even said, "I like having you here."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday's Continuing Challenges 6/19/2012

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." That is the test sentence for the keyboard as it contains every letter in the alphabet. Everyone liked reading about my technical  challenges on Sunday. Here are a few more. The woman in Bangalore is STILL working to fix  my Western Digital backup hard drive; the car dealership called to tell me that not only has the battery not arrived, a tow truck rammed my car and dented the rear door and they have to send the car to the body shop to have it repaired.
Steve and I took Bob out for Father’s Day dinner and he ate nothing; it is 107 degrees outside right now at 8 p.m.Monday, down from 112! The cursor on my laptop keeps skipping, making typing a huge chore. However, my Kindle Fire is working well and I am getting lots of thumb practice.
Arizona desert weather in the summertime is like blizzard weather back East. Although I was able to walk at 5:30 this morning and do a few chores afterwards, I have been “confined to quarters,” as Bob used to say mimicking his Army years, by the heat. By next summer my body will adjust and I will be cold when it is 70 degrees just like the native desert dwellers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

100 words for Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hardware, software, interference everywhere. My life is electronically challenged. In New York, my microwave’s motor burned out, costing me a GE visit plus a new unit to be installed. Then  my easy-pay Metrocard wouldn’t work until I changed the expiration date on the credit card. In Arizona my reliable car needed to be towed to the dealer because its battery dried out, the internet won’t connect to the wireless router unless I pay a woman in Bangalore, India and the laser printer needs a new ink cartridge.  I am so grateful  that the people part of my life is good.  

My friends here welcome me warmly; some have by now read my book and know me a bit better. We hosted a Special Needs service yesterday which was so warm--and not from the 106 degree heat outside--that I will bring Bob to the next one.
He might like it, but mostly he likes going out . We went to the airplane museum yesterday. He marveled at the size of the space, the care being taken of the antique planes and the amount of money keeping this museum open must cost. He ate a slice of pizza and drank a coke for a snack and we completed his outing with a trip to Home Depot.
Happy Father's Day. Not  only did Bob participate in the day, he was verbal and relevant.
What an awful illness this is. When Bob is "here" it is so important to provide stimulating experiences for him so he doesn't get depressed and then agitated. But his life is lived in the moment with little or no recall so it is so hard to meet his fluctuating, demanding needs

Today it is reported to reach 111 degrees so remaining in the airconditioning is a must.Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, uncles and cousins who provide love and care for children of all ages.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012 Radio interview -Tune In

Yesterday, Dr. Joan Buckley who chairs the Nursing department at Nassau Community College interviewed me for her radio show. Here are the particulars on how and when to tune in to hear the interview.

Hi Dr Palm,
I thought it was wonderful of you to share the book with all of us!  It was nice to meet Bob through you. Keep in touch.
Your show should  air on WHPC 90.3 FM on June 27th at 11:30, June 29th at 3:30 AM (yes AM). and Sunday July 1st  at 10:30 PM .  It will be "live stream" at those times for those not in the immediate area on "" (The show is called Your Family's Health)  and the podcast will be available within two weeks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Transitions Tuesday June 12, 2012

June is generally a month of celebrating transitions, graduations, weddings in which I plan to participate. For many of us due to the loss we members of Temple Emanuel of Tempe have all suffered, the transition from being alive and vibrant one minute to not being here the next is also on our minds. For me the transition from East to West, from New York and my professional life to Arizona and my family life feels very special. I feel blessed by the warmth of the embrace I felt in my synagogue family at the SAJ in New York and delighted by the warmth of my reception back in Arizona.
My children and grandson Grant greeted me at the airport from where we all met working-college-grandson Austin for dinner.
And today, Bob looked up at me from his seated position, rose and inquired, "Who are you?"
I answered in my best rabbinical way, "Who AM I?" and he hugged me as he said, "Phyllis, my darling wife. I am so happy to see you. I love you so very much." Turning to my son, he said, "And you're her son. Now let's get out of here."
We spent the afternoon happily doing my transition chores which luckily for Bob included visits to Staples and Wal-Mart. I am so amazed at my son Steve who is so patient with my husband, showing him tools, naming them and eliciting from Bob how each is used. Steve and Bob converse about the size of the tool as well, which one is too heavy or too light for the purpose they discuss. Bob is happy to be with us and also happy to recognize his home when he arrives back to his welcoming, comforting care facility family.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

100 words for Sunday June 10 2012

Jim and I were study partners in November; the text was the cherubim at both ends of the tabernacle that God asked the people of Israel to create for him. We said the facing angels meant that relationships were our most important connections. Jim shared his regret that he was often too hard on his kids. He decided to ease up and enjoy his family more. Marrying a secular Israeli was difficult for him. On Thursday, after a gun and blood were found in his house, his car with all five bodies charred beyond recognition was found in the desert.

The whole story may never be known, but it seems that Jim had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. My condolences and those of the whole community go out to their extended family; such a loss is not understandable. Unless one accepts that brain illness can change the ones we love from the logical thinking, law-abiding people they once were and they become unrecognizable strangers whose behavior is as unpredictable as it is paranoid, psychotic and even violent.
As those of you who have read my book Put That Knife Away-Alzheimer's, Marriage and My Transformation from Wife to Caregiver know, my husband's personality changed dramatically during his decline from Alzheimer's disease. Those with Lewy-Bodies dementia which often accompanies Parkinson's disease often experience paranoia, delusions and psychotic behavior as well. Others lose their inhibition and say or do whatever comes into their heads.
Let us try to accept this tragedy as the result of a brain tumor which destroyed a good man's ability to judge his life accurately and drove him to the commission of these terrible, sad acts.

Friday, June 8, 2012

An Investment Friday, June 8, 2012

The show is over; we sold or distributed all of the copies of the book we brought, we received two offers of contracts to distribute Put That Knife Away nationally, we entered into a Mom Awards project, made a video to use for marketing, have many new leads to follow up for marketing and speaking engagements and learned SO much about the publishing business.
We met many people; some who came to our booth shared their stories about caring for or losing someone dear to them from Alzheimer's disease. All were sure this book serves an important function to support caregivers today. One reviewer said upon merely glancing through the pages of the book that it seemed to him to be " a caregiver support group between the covers of a book."
For me personally, the show was a success; it validated my decision to self-publish. Even learning how to navigate the showroom floors and the huge venue of the Javits Center was an achievement that looked daunting on the first day. Nora and Diane and I worked well together as I researched the booths we needed to visit, they found the folks and I went to speak only to the ones they had pre-screened for me. Adele helped too, sitting at the booth when both Nora and I were speaking with others away from our booth which was located in the far back of the showroom.
All of the leads we gathered into a notebook with business cards attached. This will be my airplane reading --to sort and to organize my responses--- on Monday when I fly to Arizona to be once again with my family.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Last Day of BookExpoAmerica

What a week this has been. So exciting, so full of  interest in my book Put That Knife Away. I will have a contract for book distribution by the end of next week! Books will soon be available in your local bookstore!!
The reading last night at the SAJ was so comforting.  Bob and my friends from the past 10 years were on hand to listen to me read from the book, to ask questions, to offer words of praise and support --- and to buy autographed books.
Nora, Adele, Herbie, Joan, Chester and Diane have been such remarkable helpers, running around the show bringing the promotional materials to distributors, small publishers, e-book marketers. I have so much follow-up work to do, but it will be a pleasure to thank all of these folks for their interest in our efforts to support caregivers.See my page at

Sunday, June 3, 2012

100 words for Sunday, June 3, 2012

Into all of our lives come disappointments and challenges we are loath to face. Everything was going too well; I borrowed not one, but 2 two- wheeled hand trucks in order to deliver the furnishings to Booth 4190 for the BookExpoAmerica show on Monday. The reception for my book reading is good; my adventure on the C, the E to Sutphin Blvd. and the LIRR air train successfully ended with meeting my cousin who arrived from Switzerland. And now, that allergy sniffle has turned into a full-fledged summer cold. I sound like Marlene Dietrich, but the show will go on!

What do we do to lift ourselves from the depression that wants to set in: as, for example, to really want to stay home, do nothing, not put on make-up because my nose needs constant attention?

What do we do not to disappoint others who are counting on us no matter how we feel?

For today, I decided to change the linens on my bed, shower and dress, drink plenty of hot HOT tea and speak as little as possible to preserve my voice for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

100 words for Friday, June 1, 2012

There is bird turd on my cap; how lucky for me it is not on my head. Today I learned of an old superstition with a positive spin which could actually help people cope with the events of daily life. Many believe their dead relatives communicate with them; this story holds that finding a coin indicates a message. If the coin is face up, the message means something good is about to happen; look for it. If the coin is face down be reminded that something bad will occur, but since you are now prepared, it will work out well.

Many good things are happening for me this week. I had an opportunity to engage with friends whom I have known since graduate school some 34 years ago. We enjoyed a long lunch to celebrate a milestone birthday and restore the “invisible thread” which ties us to each other. The day before, the daughter of the fourth member of this group, who passed away several years ago, phoned to say she will be in NY from California this weekend. We will connect with her on Monday evening.

  Of course I am so excited about the upcoming week; my cousin Nora arrives from Switzerland tomorrow. Since she was so instrumental in uploading the book to she feels Put That Knife Away is “our” book. I am happy to share ownership with her. Chester, one of the super-friendly doormen from our apartment building will help me set up our BookExpoAmerica booth 4190 on Monday, which is his day off. Nora and I will work the booth for the three days of the fair. My friends, Diane, Joan and Adele will provide a third person to hand out postcards and business cards, visit other booths to invite other exhibitors to meet with us and help me figure out how to get the most from this book fair.

The goal is to find a distributor for the book, perhaps a small publisher will want to pick it up; we will see. I would like the book to be read by students learning how to be geriatricians, or internists or neurologists. It will be important for social workers or others working with the aging baby-boomer population. Folks don’t know that these dementias affect other processes than memory—that aggressive behavior, sexually inappropriate behavior, even violent behaviors often accompany these dementias.

I feel it is important for the book to be available to libraries where caregivers with limited funds could read it, stores where people browse, such as big box stores where folks could see it and say, “I know someone who needs to read this book.” I want caregiver groups, both professional caregivers and family members to have access to this book which has been praised by Quill reviewers as “ a survival manual for caregivers.” I also want as many people as possible at this show which will attract several hundred exhibitors and several thousand visitors to know that 5.5. million Americans now have Alzheimer’s disease or other life-limiting, mind-destroying dementias and that currently three-fourths of them are being cared for at home by family members who need our support. Wish us luck!