Stop & smell the roses, whatever that means to you. For me….today it means to hug my son & tell my husband how much I deeply treasure him. Whatever it means to you please share & tell!
Read the full article »
Excerpt from: “A Bittersweet Season”
I sprinted when I should have cautiously watched my step, rushed when I should have ruminated, barked orders when I should have discussed things with my mother. I heard what I wanted to hear, not what doctors or admissions directors of long-term care facilities were actually telling me. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does, slow down. Get your bearings. You can’t bulldoze your way through this like a work project. Still, you can take comfort in knowing that this precipitating crisis, for many of us, is the hardest part, because you probably still think you can make it right, that you can stop the clock.
It takes a while to learn that some decisions are far more important than others; some things are actually in your hands and some not. What is vital, and well within your control, is being present in a consoling way and respectful enough to bear witness to the inevitable. This, too, is about slowing down. At first it’s hard to walk at a snail’s pace beside your mother or father when they can no longer keep up, at least without impatiently rolling your eyes. Or to kneel at their level when they’re in a wheelchair. But the pace and the vantage become more natural and annoyance softens into tenderness if you let it.
I keep saying that this experience can become something other than desperate and bleak, if you let it. It really is a choice. We all know grown children who have bolted when the moment arrived. But imagining running away doesn’t make you a bad person. I fantasized, usually in the hypnagogic space between sleeping and waking, facing another day of ignorance and exhaustion, about pointing the car west and driving, driving, driving. I’m glad that I didn’t, because instead I learned what I was made of; I found my better self. I found my mother. I found my brother. But all of that came later.
From A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves by Jane Gross, pages 14-15.
I have just finished watching the movie, “A Time to Remember”. It is the story of a struggling artist & single mom, Britt Calhoun, (Dana Delany) who returns home for Thanksgiving to face her wealthy mother, Maggie (Doris Roberts) and the troubled history they share. Britt gets more than she bargained for when a dramatic secret comes to light about her mother’s health. This touching movie sensitively explores the power of family ties. Some lines from the movie follow -
Britt: “Mom, I know. Aunt Billy told me. We will get through this”. Aunt Billy: “Britt, you are already helping. You came home!”
Britt: “Mom, I am glad that I came home. I love you & I want to help you. You need to let me help you.” Maggie: “Children aren’t suppose to take care of their parents. I’m afraid! I have no control over this & one of these days I won’t even know who you are.” Britt: |”Just know that I love you.”
Britt gives her Mom a photo album, carefully compiled by her & says, “now you can find the past whenever you need to”.
Maggie says to those gathered at the Thanksgiving dinner table, “with family we have the capacity to forgive & be forgiven as in no other place in life. Time & memory are so fleeting. We must savor every moment because it could slip away without our noticing it. Here’s a toast to my family!”
The Art of Caregiving: How Jewish Tradition Can Inform Our Caregiving Journey features a talk by Rabbi Richard Address, founder of the Sacred Aging Project. This will be followed by The Journey of Caregiving panel with local guests participating. Rabbi Address consults on how faith and community can support those caring for a parent or other aging loved one, what “honoring our parents” looks like today and other contemporary issues of aging, spirituality, family and community.
Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn from a nationally renowned scholar!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
REI Seattle Store
Reservations are recommended as space is limited. Tickets are $5 per person. To get tickets to The Art of Caregiving, to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/164148.
If you would like to help us spread the word, share a flyer about the event using this link: http://www.jfsseattle.org/uploads/pdf/3-14-ArtOfCrgving_color.pdf.
NOTE from Toby & Norma: This post was submitted to us by a local Adult Family Home owner in response to the Seattle Times article dated January 30, 2010
The recent articles in the Seattle Times are a last ditch attempt by nursing homes and their lobbyists to stop the massive exodus from their facilities to the non-institutional environment of Adult Family Homes. Adult Family Homes are the nursing home industry’s worst nightmare. They are intimate care facilities where a senior receives a higher level of physical and emotional care than a nursing home can offer, but the resident actually pays considerably less than they would in a nursing home for that privilege. This industry has been hurt by the rise of a more effective model. I understand why they feel that they have to fight for their very existence; however, I find it inappropriate to [misrepresent] the Adult Family Home industry in order to do so.
I would like to address a few of the inferences that were allowed to be printed in the Times series. It was implied several times throughout the articles that Adult Family Homes have little to no regulation. [Quite to the contrary], Adult Family Homes are heavily regulated – so much so that even the licensors that inspect the homes have trouble keeping current on all of them….
Dottie Snow was shown in the Seattle Times’ videos promoting her placement agency and others like it, while making the Adult Family Home industry appear to be an unregulated, group that sells seniors to each other for profit. The irony is that the industry that actually sells seniors for profit is her industry. Placement agencies charge a large fee to match up a family with an Adult Family Home.
Also, the author of the article apparently has a problem with the state of Washington’s push for more Adult Family Homes because it saves them money. The state recognizes that this is a sound alternative to nursing homes that offers superior care yet is significantly less expensive. Adult Family Homes are the long-term care facilities of the future, and the seniors in our communities are blessed to have such a wonderful alternative to the institutional settings they have had to endure for decades.
A rave for Olga Kotelko of West Vancouver, who at 91 years of age, received a lifetime athletic achievement award during the North Shore Sport Awards. The multiple world champion and world record setting masters track and field athlete is not alone in providing a great role model for seniors. Betty Jean McHugh is 82 and holds several records in both marathon and half-marathon. In an interview in the North Shore News (May 16, 2010), I loved Olga’s quote: “It’s not how old you are; it’s how you get old,” she said. “Use it or lose it.” How can we encourage more seniors to “use it” and stay in good health much later into their golden years?
This tender, painful love story starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent, rates a RAVE as it looks back on a decades long marriage now clouded with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Fiona and Grant appear to be soul mates. As they head into their later years, she begins to forget a word here or an action there. At first, written off as the senior foibles that come with aging, she eventually comes to feel “I think maybe I am beginning to disappear”. As time passes, Fiona begins labeling kitchen drawers as a reminder of the contents and is heartbreakingly unable to answer a social worker’s question regarding the date.
As the movie jumps from past to present, echoing the uneven progression of the disease, Fiona – out of her love for Grant – sets in motion the steps that eventually take her to Meadowlake, an assisted living facility. There she meets and closely connects with a patient named Aubrey, fracturing Grant’s heart as she fades in and out of recognizing him. This film gives a clear perspective not only of the disease but also the havoc it wreaks on the person who means the most to you in life, your partner.
We want to “rave” about London’s progressive approach to elderly fitness. A new senior playground just opened in Hyde Park with fitness equipment aimed at the 60+ set. Locals rallied for more facilities to help elders keep fit. The added bonus is that the seniors mix & mingle while working out. WHAT A CONCEPT!