Viki will be interviewing author, Sherry Lynn Harris, about Adapting to Alzheimer’s – March 9th, 10AM PDT

March 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Kind Ethics Radio

Join me as I interview Sherry Lynn Harris about her new book, Adapting to Alzheimer’s:  Support for When Your Parent Becomes Your Child, on March 9 at 10AM PDT on–adapting-to-alzheimers.

Sherry had the pain and privilege of caring for her mother from the beginning diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, through eighteen years, until her death. Sherry learned many valuable lessons and she felt it vital to share these discoveries “to inspire and lighten the load of others going through this challenging experience.” Her book, Adapting to Alzheimer’s: Support for When Your Parent Becomes Your Child tells her story, detailing many of these coping strategies, and has a five star rating on

Sherry has delivered highly acclaimed Alzheimer’s talks throughout Southern California, including presentations at Senior Concerns, Sunrise Assisted Living, Unity of the Oaks, the Jewish Home for the Aging, and the Motion Picture Television Fund.  She has been invited to go to Washington D.C. as an advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association later this month. Sherry’s blog to support caregivers can be found at her website

Sherry has a number of upcoming speaking events: “Adapting to Alzhiemer’s: Aging Gracefully with Memory Challenges” on March 30, 6pm at Simi Valley Library, open to the public. I have also been asked to do a presentation to the Nursing Students at Moorpark College on April 27 and to the Ombudsman staff and volunteers of Ventura County on May 21, 2015.

Sherry is available for inspirational speaking engagements, especially when she can offer her books for sale. Sherry presents a dynamic, informative power point presentation which she can tailor to your needs. She has an hour presentation appropriate for Seniors concerned about their memory which discusses what is normal aging of the brain and when it might be time for a geriatric evaluation. It gives proactive suggestions for developing and maintaining memory skills as well as ideas on how to help a loved one with cognitive impairment.

For groups with members who are caregiving a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Sherry offers a 45 minute presentation that includes a section on grief and ideas on how to move through it, as well as ways to create moments of joy, of calming connection, and activities you can share.

Sherry also has created a lovely CD, “Serenity Visualizations,” which can help relax, release, then renew and refresh the listener in just a few short minutes.  You can find it at Sherry’s website

Have a kind and respectful day.

10 Quick Tips for Crisis Decision Making

March 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Ask Viki

Here are 10 Quick Tips for Crisis Decision Making  from my new Resource Workbook and Visual Conversation Toolkit.  This is part of the extended Crisis Worksheet found in the workbook.

Do something to help yourself calm down. Breathe.

1. Ask how long you really have to make the decision.
2. Get the facts. Call a friend to do some research for you if you aren’t near a computer.
3. Ask about other options including the option to wait and see.
4. Ask what would happen if you chose these other options.
5. Ask about both the positive and negative consequences of each option.
6. Ask about the short-term and long-term consequences of each option.
7. Have someone else help you listen to what is being said and to take notes and/or record it. If nobody can be there with you, have the person call in and listen to the conversation over the phone.
8. Make the decision realizing that you are doing the best you can in this crisis situation.
9. Now that the crisis is over, get yourself some support. You just went through a lot.
10. Later on, after the crisis is over, think about whether you will need to modify or improve the plan now that you have more information and time to think.

Have a kind and respectful day.

New Book by Viki – Resource Workbook, Visual Tools and Conversation Guide

I am excited to let you know about a new book I have just finished which has uniquely designed visual tools to help with difficult conversations, lots of articles you can share with others, and a step-by-step conversation guide to help with issues such as denial, guilt and evaluating danger. – To order use the contact page or email Viki at

photo   New — Resource Workbook, Conversation Guide and Visual Toolkit
100 pages (8½ x 11) Full sized, photocopiable worksheets
Usually $40 – Book launch SPECIAL: $32.95 plus sales tax and shipping
(You can order it by emailing me at

Here are a few of the resources included the workbook:

    Section 1: Medical Decision Making Tools

Crisis Planning Article and Worksheet
Drawing an Option Roadmap Article and Diagram
Weighing the Options – Risks, Benefits and Burdens Exercise
Evaluating Treatment Options Article and Algorithm
Two-Hand Test for Making Medical Decisions Diagram
5-Step Process to Help the Person Get Out of Denial

    Section 2: Evaluating Danger and Risk Tools

Protecting vs. Respecting – Managing the Danger Article
Evaluating Risk for Those Without Capacity Diagram
Evaluating the Dangers Worksheet

    Section 3: Caregiver Conversation and Support Tools

The Ladder Diagram – The Caregiver’s Needs Count Too!
How is Your Relationship Now That Illness Has Come Into Your Lives?
Viki Kind’s 4-Step Process for Asking For and Accepting Help
How to Say “No” Handout

    Section 4: End-of-Life Conversation Tools

Quality of Life Statement Template
Guidance for My Decision(s) Maker Worksheet
What I Want My Doctor to Know About My Faith and/or Culture
Two CPR vs. DNR Articles

Will your family be able to find your Advance Directive?

March 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Ask Viki

While it’s very important to create advance directives, its equally important to make sure they’re available when they’re needed. You wouldn’t believe how many times doctors are told, “I know my mom has a healthcare directive but I don’t know where she keeps it.” Without access to your documents, how will the healthcare team know what you want?

DocuBank is a service that makes sure a person’s advance directives and emergency information are immediately available 24 hours a day, worldwide by fax or the Internet. Each member receives a plastic wallet card, and then they, their family, or hospitals can use that card to obtain their important documents.

Have a kind and respectful day.

Viki’s New DVD available – Why the healthcare directive you wrote might not work in the hospital

End-of-Life Conversation Kit
A Bioethical Perspective and Toolkit

    Includes: 80-Minute DVD, the Go Wish Cards, and my Award Winning Book

Holiday Special for entire kit: $55 plus sales tax/shipping (Usually $70)
Items can be ordered separately. Email/call to order: or 805-807-4474

    1. 80-minute DVD presentation and 13 articles and worksheets:
    “Why the Healthcare Directive You Wrote Might Not Work In the Hospital”
    A Bioethical Perspective and Toolkit to Protect Patients

    A practical, in-depth presentation for you and those you work with:
    •Specific ways healthcare directives fail in the healthcare setting.
    •How to create a document that will be personal, meaningful and will work in the hospital setting.
    •Discussion of CPR, feeding tubes and other life saving medical treatments from a medical point of view.
    •Conversation tools to facilitate these difficult end-of-life discussions.
    •Insights regarding the unexpected financial costs at the end of life.
    •An algorithm to help your client’s decision maker make better medical decisions when the time comes.
    •How to increase the chance that the doctor will honor the directive.

    DVD also includes the following documents:
    •A Template to Use to Create a Qua
    lity-of-Life Statement
    •Viki’s Quality-of-Life Statement
    •Guidance for My Decision Maker(s) Worksheet
    •A List of Questions to Ask When Making Medical Decisions
    •Crisis Planning Worksheet for Urgent Decision Making
    •An Algorithm for Evaluating Treatment Options When You Know the Patient’s Long Term Goals
    •Three Easy to Understand CPR Articles
    •What Do I Want The Doctors To Know About Honoring My Faith and Culture Worksheet
    •Steps to Follow When Having My Doctor Review My Advance Directive Worksheet.
    •Insider’s Guide to Filling Out Your Advance Directive
    •Quick Tips $45 if purchased individually.

    2. Go Wish Cards: An easy way to talk about your client’s end-of-life wishes by sorting the cards into piles: What do you want? What don’t you want? Do you want to be free from pain? Do you want your family with you? Do you want to meet with clergy?

    $10 if purchased individually.

    3. The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decsion Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can’t. The unique, award-winning book on how to make the life, health and end-of-life decisions for those who have lost capacity. Ethically based, it alleviates a lot of caregiver angst.

    $15 if purchased individually.

    About Viki Kind:
    Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, medical educator and hospice volunteer. Her award winning book, “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can’t,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity. She has lectured across the United States teaching healthcare professionals to have integrity, compassion and to improve end-of-life care through better communication. Patients, families and healthcare professionals rely on Viki’s practical approach to dealing with challenging healthcare dilemmas. Viki provides bioethics consultation and support for many hospitals in the Los Angeles area. She holds a master’s degree in bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Viki is an honorary board member of the Well Spouse Association. She has also been a caregiver for many years for five members of her family.
    Have a kind and respectful day.

    How to Say No – Handout

    November 25, 2013 by  
    Filed under For Patients & Families

    How to Say “No” Handout – author unknown but very much appreciated.

    When you need additional time to think about your own needs:
    1. I don’t have an answer on that so I’ll have to get back to you.
    2. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for. Let me check in with myself for a moment.
    3. Let me check my calendar and get back to you.
    4. I’ll have to see about that. How about I give you a call in a week of so?
    5. I may have something else planned that day. I’ll let you know.
    6. I feel overwhelmed this month. Can we talk about it again in a few weeks?
    7. Let me do some thinking about it first. When do you need an answer?
    8. That merits serious consideration. I’ll make a few calls and let you know.
    9. That sounds good, but I’ll have to see what ___________ has planned for us first.
    10. You’ll have my answer by five o’clock tomorrow.

    When its time to say “No”:
    1. I’m just not available next week.
    2. I think I’ll have to take a rain check on that.
    3. I won’t be in town. Can I help you come up with some alternatives?
    4. I’ve decided I need a rest from that sort of thing, but thank you for asking.
    5. I’m afraid I just can’t afford to right now.
    6. I promised my family to spend more time with them. I am sure you understand.
    7. Have you asked ___________ or ___________? Either one seem perfect for that job.
    8. I’m flattered you asked for my help, but I am a bit overcommitted right now.
    9. It’s been a rough week and I’m just not feeling up to it.
    10. I’m taking myself on vacation. I’m sure you’ll find good volunteers for that.
    11. Tomorrow? Oh, that’s short notice. I’m afraid I can’t make it.

    Keep in mind that:
    1. No excuses are necessary.
    2. No apology is necessary.
    3. It is quite possible to say, “No,” while being both courteous and polite.
    4. Saying it like you mean it tends to prevent the other person from trying to talk you into it.

    Join Me for Book Signing at Comfort Keepers at Westside Pavillion in Los Angeles

    September 23, 2013 by  
    Filed under Ethics In Action

    I am delighted that Comfort Keepers is hosting a book signing for me at the Westside Pavillion on September 29th, 2013 from 1pm-3pm.

    Come by and see their new location and discover the services that they offer.

    Comfort Keepers
    10800 W Pico Blvd #280
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
    (2nd floor, next to Nordstrom)

    The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making:
    Making Choices for Those Who Can’t by Viki Kind offers practical tools, techniques and support for making informed, respectful decisions for those affected by Alzheimer’s, strokes, brain injuries, developmental delays, mental illness and other mental limitations. Caregivers will find peace of mind knowing they are doing right by the person in their care. . . Come get your copy signed by the one and only. See you then!

    Hope to see you there,

    Have a kind and respectful day.

    Groundbreaking Dementia Wristband for Use in Hospitals

    August 31, 2013 by  
    Filed under Kind Ethics Radio

    Wednesday – September 4th at 11AM PDT/2PM EDT on
    Listen live or download later.

    Join me as I interview Gary Joseph LeBlanc and Margaret Doerr about the groundbreaking dementia hospital wristbands which are designed to help healthcare professionals to know that the patient has a cognitive impairment and that special care and patience needs to be given. This new program is launching in Florida. Find out how you can bring this program to your hospital and community.

    Gary Joseph LeBlanc, is the author of “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness,” “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors” and co- author of “While I Still Can”. Also, a weekly columnist of “Common Sense Caregiving” published in the Tampa Tribune and Hernando Today and many other health publications.
    He also founded the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project
    His writings and speaking events utilize his 3,000 plus days and nights of personal caregiving experience to help other Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers cope with the everyday challenges and emotional struggles of caring for the memory-impaired.

    Margaret Doerr is the Chief Nursing Executive for Brooksville Regional Hospital (Health Management Associates) and brings 21 years of nursing experience to the Hernando community. Brooksville Regional is located in Brooksville, Florida (less than an hour north of Tampa).

    Margaret received her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix Arizona. She is a patient advocate and sits on the Patient Advisory Council, which consists of residents in her community.

    As a hospital administrator Margaret’s vision is to assist with the implementation of processes that provide quality care and a safe environment for the patients in her community.

    The dementia initiative is important because “As health care workers we must provide safe quality care. Through the identification process and staff education our health care team will be able to provide optimal care for our patients with dementia.”

    Have a kind and respectful day.

    Improving Our Nursing Homes Through Community Engagement

    August 31, 2013 by  
    Filed under Ask Viki

    An article from Hayes Rowan about improving the nursing homes.

    Reclaiming Our Heritage

    In his quixotic campaign to save Cleveland’s John Marshall High School from demolition, a dedicated soul (forgive me please for mentioning him) declaimed “The right of the community to hold onto its heritage is a basic one.”

    Landmark buildings are good. Our greatest legacy though is in the nursing homes (or hopefully in their own homes) – our elders, who taught us to tie our shoes, cheered us when we sang the blues, made us breakfast lunch and dinner years through and through; who know us often better than we know ourselves, and that’s true.

    There are many ways of turning the nursing homes, our living heritage, into centers of civic activity – meeting places for block clubs, scout troops, library reading circles, leagues of women voters.

    For that heritage, and our right to hold onto it, is imperiled.

    A few years ago, Clevelander Steve Piskor had to put a video camera in his mother’s room at our county’s nursing home to uncover the abuses she was enduring.([1]) Raised her son right, and lucky she did.

    A study in an Atlanta GA nursing home, cited in the June ’06 Ladies Home Journal, found nearly half the residents had been punched, kicked, or choked.

    We can and really must build new bridges between nursing homes and neighborhoods – bring movies in to enjoy with the residents; hold sewing bees with them, helping them mend their favorite clothes. Create indoor gardens, and outdoor. Those of you with affectionate dogs – a great opportunity for truly meaningful engagement with your community.

    Attention: families who protest abuses often find themselves barred from even visiting their loved ones. Patricia McGinnis, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform: “We’re seeing more retaliation like this than ever before against families who try to protect their parents.”

    For some long-term residents – especially those without strong family ties – it can be a form of imprisonment, as Mike Bright told a Texas jury recently. Walk some halls and you will see the truth of his words.

    MacArthur Fellow Marie Connolly says abused elders receive little or no protection from any system or agency. It may be one reason she resigned from justice department, DOJ.

    Many of you know the poster in the 2nd Police District lobby, circulated years ago by our county’s Adult Protective Services. It portrays the photograph of an elderly woman in a picture frame; the glass is shattered.

    The caption proclaims: “THE ABUSE NO ONE TALKS ABOUT”.

    What to do? Jesus told us, “Visit the sick.”

    Your mission … should you choose to accept.

    Improving Our Nursing Homes

    Published in Acorn Press, Ridgefield, CT.

    “The Cards I’ve Been Dealt” Resource Helps to Manage the Transitions That a Senior Faces in a Positive Way

    March 23, 2013 by  
    Filed under Ethics In Action

    The Cards I’ve Been Dealt is a wonderful new resource available for facilitating conversations about the important transitions in a senior’s life or for creating your own amazing second half of life. If you like the Go Wish Cards ( for end-of-life decision making, then you are going to love The Cards I’ve Been Dealt ( There are three different decks of cards to help you facilitate important conversations with your clients. The first deck is called The Daily Activities cards which can be used as a need’s assessment tool to help you discover and discuss what the senior can still do and what he or she needs help with. I will be using The Daily Activities cards in my work because my clients include families who are caring for cognitively impaired seniors and people with disabilities. I really like that the cards use a positive approach to talking about this difficult subject matter. The family caregiver will understand the changes that need to be made and can begin to develop an action plan for the senior’s needs.

    The Wishes and Values cards, which contain 50 open-ended question cards, focuses on uncovering what matters most and what brings that individual joy and satisfaction. I can see these cards being used by professionals such as therapists, probate and elder law attorneys, financial planners, etc. who are talking with seniors about building good life plans. The Life Practices cards include 50 positive aging skills and practice cards which can enhance senior’s lives. (I need to begin to use the Life Practices Cards since I turned 49 this year and want to get a head start on aging positively.) Also included on the website are worksheets and downloadable tools to use as you navigate these important conversations with your clients or for yourself to use.

    Have a kind and respectful day.

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