Friday, July 1, 2011

Vicky selects "A Garden of Flowers" as a metaphor

Vicky selects a garden of flowers as a metaphor. She feels that flowers symbolizes and are the colors of life. However, she admits a garden of flowers also symbolizes the existence of resentment in her. The reason is that she logs to have a cheerful life. Vicky with her gentle voice, allows the interview to flow very well. Vicky eloborates that a garden of flowers always brightens her mood and makes her cheerful and happy.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some Programs Designed by Rev. Dr. Peter Abas

2004- present

Inter-generational Peaceful Hand drumming

1. To understand the use of hand drumming to enhance communication, concentration, listening skills, intimacy, and understanding of the self.

2. To gain some skills and techniques to work with elderly in how to encourage expression of feelings and increase socialization in the group process.

3. To give guidelines of specific approaches and strategies for maximizing participation, motivation and learning for older adults.

2005- present

Reminiscence Group with Elderly 65 and above)

(Reminiscence has a way of bringing people together, and this can be particularly useful in a group setting)

1. Promoting self understanding

2. Preserving personal and collective history

3. Transcending the material world and physical limitations

4. Allowing for identification of universal themes of humanity

5. Reinforcing coping mechanisms

2006- present

Sacred Stories - Healing Journeys for older adults (65 and above)

(An opportunity to express emotion in safe and supportive environments)

1. Enhancing sense of community among elders.

2. Creating and engaging positive experiences for elders.

3. Communicating the deep seated commitment to the spiritual being of elderly people.


Vision of Hope - Partner in Healing (65 and above)

(An opportunity to identify and experience your personal “Vision of Hope” while journeying with others)

1. Emphasizing their strengths, not weaknesses.

2. Developing independence while diminishing dependence.

3. Encouraging decision making and action taking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Help needed to build "Kahansanan Aging Gracefully Center

Help needed to build "Kahansanan Aging Gracefully Center" in Borneo
This picture is only been used as a sample of how the "Kahansanan Aging Gracefully Center" will look like! I do hope when someone sees this dream project, he/she will be able to contribute their time/talents and treasures to this KAGC.
I need assistance to build this KAGC.

It also has an adult day care center, located within the vicinity. Adult day care can render caregivers respite by providing a center where elderly parents can be taken for a couple of hours or the entire day and picked back up later. The day programs include social activities, meals and general elderly supervision

Proposed Kahansanan Aging Gracefully Center in Borneo


About KAHANSANAN Aging Gracefully Center

Kahansanan Aging Gracefully Center (KAGC) is committed to providing information, guidance and services that help older adults take on both the challenges and opportunities of their well-being. We provide community and professional education. We also continue to do research on the issue of aging.
It also has an adult day care center, located within the vicinity. Adult day care can render caregivers respite by providing a center where elderly parents can be taken for a couple of hours or the entire day and picked back up later. The day programs include social activities, meals and general elderly supervision.

Professional Education
General Aspects
Spirituality and Aging
• Aging and Sexuality
• Women & Men and Aging
• Nutrition and Aging
• Medications and Older Adults
• Economic Aspects of Aging
• Ethics and End of Life Decisions

Emotional, Physiological and Legal Aspects
Emotional impact of caregiving
• Physiological aspects of Aging
• Legal aspects of Aging
• Aging and sexuality

Functional Assessment
• Mental Health Assessment

Alternative therapies
• Coping with grief and loss
• Counseling Older Persons and families
• Communication skills
• Stress & Burnout
• Loss, Separation & Grief

Loneliness in the Elderly

By Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier

To get a handle on loneliness in the elderly, Father Peter Abas, parochial administrator at St. Anne Parish in Rochester, asked seniors he was counseling to describe their lives through art.
Together, they painted a picture. One woman contributed a cactus to the canvas.

“Life for her is a cactus -- so dry,” he said.

That was just one metaphor of many that seniors used to describe their lives to Father Abas as he researched his doctoral dissertation on how elderly individuals describe and interpret the experience of loneliness.

“Loneliness is the existence of a powerful void; the state of being overwhelmed with work and life; the state of emotional pain; and the state of no direction,” he said.

He earned his doctorate in education with a specialization in geriatric populations in December of 2007 from the University of Rochester’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development. In addition to the doctorate, Father Abas also has three master’s degrees and has worked in a variety of fields, including youth ministry with street gangs in the Bronx. At St. Anne, Father Abas has led several initiatives for the elderly, including discussion groups and an intergenerational drum circle.

In January, Father Abas left to take a seven-week journey back to his native Borneo, where he grew up in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Speaking in an interview prior to his trip, he said he intends to continue his research by interviewing the elderly in Borneo as well. He said he plans to compare whether a different cultural background changes how people describe loneliness.

He said work on his doctorate “Loneliness and Lived Experiences of Elderly Individuals Living Independently: A Hermeneutic Phenomological Approach” took two years to complete. He recruited volunteers from throughout upstate New York who were 65 years and older and living independently. All were from different professional backgrounds, and his research subjects included a retired social worker, a retired English teacher and a retired professional truck driver.

Father Abas had the seniors describe their everyday lives, then he was able to interpret the meaning of the phrases they used and the words they said to him.

“I couldn’t jump to the conclusion of whether they were lonely or not,” Father Abas noted.

As he began to explore the theme of loneliness more, Father Abas asked people what they did when they were lonely, how they would explain the reason for their loneliness and how they would describe their experience with loneliness.

“Some of them found it easy to speak, and they were very open with their story,” Father Abas said. “Some found it really difficult.”

Although he was confronted with initial reluctance, Father Abas did have success when he asked the elderly to describe a favorite memory, which led to disclosures about loneliness.

“I could even see some of them really feel a burden in their lives,” he said.

Many used metaphors to describe their lives, such as a flowing river, a flower, a cross, a sunset, an oak tree, an entangled circle or a spinning top.

After a while, though, as participants continued meeting with Father Abas, some began to look at the world in more positive ways. For example, the person who described life as a flowing river amended the statement to say the river was not that treacherous.

“It’s flowing much better,” Father Abas recalled the person saying.

Sue Murty, director of social work at St. Ann’s Community in Rochester, said isolation and loneliness in the elderly can be caused by the loss of loved ones; the loss of independence, such as the loss of driving abilities; and the loss of physical abilities, such as hearing or mobility.

She said seniors often are reluctant to talk about being lonely, so neighbors and friends should keep watch for signs of changes in routine, reclusive behavior or depression. Another sign may be an eagerness to talk for a long time, she said. Friends and neighbors should begin asking questions if they see signs of loneliness, she noted.

“Start by saying, who else do you get support from? Are there other persons in your life?” Murty said.

Father Abas said other ways to cope with loneliness include having a strong faith, acknowledging the importance of prayer, accepting loss and coming to terms with the fact that a person is alone.

It also is important for seniors to take care of their health so that a loss of mobility does not isolate them, he said. Seniors also should consider the time and talents that they are able to give, and they should maintain social connections to counter loneliness.

“Within the church parish level, they can join a social-programming group or some involvement in their church,” Father Abas said.

Most importantly, seniors should turn to others if they are feeling isolated, he noted.

“The way to work through it is to ask for help from people,” Father Abas said.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Palliative Care vs. Hospice care

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Although the term "palliative care" is closely associated with hospice care, this type of care is not just for the dying. Palliative care is sometimes confused with hospice care since one of the main goals of hospice care is comfort and most hospice patients are dying. Here are the differences between palliative and hospice care:

Palliative Care

  • focus is on pain and symptom management

  • patient does not have to be terminal

  • may still be seeking aggressive treatment


  • focus is on pain and symptoms management

  • patient has a terminal diagnosis with life expectancy of less than six months

  • not seeking curative treatment

In both hospice and palliative care, the focus is on quality of life of the patient. The goal for both types of care is to address any adjustment to illness or end-of-life issues.

Taken from:

Are we receiving and giving proper Palliative Care in Borneo Island, Sabah?

An Expert Committee of the World Health Organization in 2002 approved this revised definition of palliative care:
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

Palliative Care:
• provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
• affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
• intends neither to hasten or postpone death
• integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of care
• offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
• offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement
• uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated
• will enhance the quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of the illness
• is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Workshop and Training Empowering the Caregivers of Older Adults

Workshop outline:

a. Facts about caregiving: Who's involved and what's the cost?
b. Cultural perspective on caregiving.
c. Care burden: What it is and how to assess it.
d. Caregivers and the risk of abuse.
e. Crisis intervention applied to the caregiving experience

Trainer: Fr. Peter Abas

Date: August, 2011
Place: TBA