The simple things

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Things I Think
Things I Think

In both life and long-term care, we tend to distrust the simple solutions. 

A golf-obsessed friend once bought a complicated contraption to correct his swing. It didn't, and neither did the next dozen gimmicks he embraced. His frustration has grown, along with his vocabulary.

“Why don't you try just keeping your head down?” I ask in my gentle way. But resisting the quaint simplicity of this obvious remedy, he searches for the next complex cure-all —and his ball. 

Our profession is at least as challenging as golf, but sometimes things aren't as difficult as we make them. For instance, we're all trying valiantly to reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics. 

A complicated program with matching binder could probably solve this. But what a relief to know that controlling dementia-related behaviors often means just paying attention long enough to identify and address a resident's unmet needs. It's really pretty simple. Perhaps I should be an expensive consultant.

Researchers with time on their hands are constantly re-proving the obvious; whether nurturing effective teams or contented clients, the simplest solutions could be best. 

Want happier staff and heart-healthier residents? Time for everyone to make a gratefulness list. A recent study confirms that writing down things we're thankful for can improve our moods, sleep and hearts.

Speaking of sleep, the right kind in the right amount has just been shown to improve memory problems. In fruit flies. And researchers don't know yet how to induce it in humans. But the point applies — sleep is good. 

And here's one final complexity-shattering epiphany — exercise is important. New research shows it can lessen age-related decline. What a concept!

These disturbingly simple solutions can make long-term care a better place to live and work, and help us grapple with the most complex challenge of all — life. If we let them.