Healthcare decisions made easier

Aren’t online customer reviews wonderful?

They are those postings by people who invest time and energy to give their feedback on a recent purchase experience on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List or Amazon. Reading those reviews often helps us decide if the item or service is right for us.

Customer reviews have helped me determine if the hiking poles I planned to buy were light yet sturdy enough for my use and whether the new restaurant in town was worth trying. Online customer reviews can even help us with purchases that are more a matter of personal choice, like vacation destinations, music or books.

Remember the old-school way for gathering information on a potential purchase? We’d talk to friends, read Consumer Reports or ask questions of salespeople. That was it.

Help with making decisions is much more accessible today with customer review systems.

Ending well

ALZHEIMERS CAREIn advance of California Healthcare Decisions Week, Oct. 23 to 29, Dr. Lanyard Dial, CEO and medical director of Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurses Association, has written this week’s The Other Side of 50 column. Unlike earlier generations, odds are that many of us will die a slow death, often mixed with periods of isolation and loss of personal dignity. Would this be your choice? Is there a way to end your life well? It is my belief that we have a choice to alter this path and find an alternative end to our life, an end that we choose. How? With the help of the medical professionals in Palliative Care and Hospice. The American healthcare system today is magnificent. We have access to many vaccinations, antibiotics and medications that can treat virtually any disease that afflicts us. We have superior techniques to provide surgical cures and treatments for many illnesses. We can transplant new organs into our bodies when ours are so diseased that they no longer work. We can...

The Many Dimensions of Loss and Grief

alzheimers-s2-woman-blinkingDuring this season’s first episode of TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” actress Jennifer Grey surprised herself when she broke into tears upon hearing the song she and her partner would be dancing to. It was a song from the movie “Dirty Dancing,” which evoked strong memories of her friend and co-star Patrick Swayze, who died last year of complications from pancreatic cancer. Grey’s strong reaction, more than a year after her friend’s death, was normal. The song may have brought her back to a time when she and Swayze worked closely together on the film, allowing her to grieve the loss of her friend all over again.Almost everyone who’s lost someone they care for can describe a moment where a song, object or even a smell triggered a memory of the deceased and reignited feelings of loss and grief. As humans, our grief knows few boundaries. How well or long we knew the person cannot predict the intensity of our grief. We might grieve for someone we have known for a long time, such as a...