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Observations and commentary on aging, caregiving, and the complex journey through the second half of life.

Second-Half of Life Blog

The Wrong Future

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in Boomers, Middle Age | Comments Off

Caregivers experience a wide range of stressful situations that require a singularity of focus. While hyper-focus works in the short term, in the long term it takes an insidious toll. Health, activities, friends and finally the future all fall by the wayside and with them the loss of hope. It’s akin to losing a paddle in white water. Caregivers wind up with a default future where events dictate the outcome. It may look like the wisdom of acceptance but it’s only half the work. It’s lacking the critical process of identifying...

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It’s about health span, not life span…

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Boomers, Middle Age | Comments Off

This charming six minute video from BBC radio restates the goal of healthy living as “health span” as opposed to “life span.” Preserving quality of life and avoiding financial ruin appear reasons enough for anyone to adopt a moderate lifestyle of healthy habits… View...

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Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 4

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

Adult children live in a bittersweet world of loss and gratitude regarding aging parents. Barbara Crooker’s poem All Saints Day captures this emotional mixture as it attends her mother’s leaving… All Saints Day By Barbara Crooker It’s one day past the Day of the Dead, and this has been a bad year, six funerals already and not done yet. But on this blue day of perfect weather, I can’t muster sadness, for the trees are radiant, the air thick as Karo warmed in a pan. I have my friend’s last book spread on the...

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The Art of Holding Space…

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

Heather Plett’s insightful and moving article on holding space, What is means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, is a primer on the dance of compassion for those who are leaving as well as for those of us, for now, who remain...

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Honor Their Words…

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

At some point you have to be their voice. No one else can do it. This article by Dr. Mikkael Sekeres director of the leukemia program at the Cleveland Clinic reminds us that we are called to honor the words of those we love amid heart break and fierce attachment… Deciding On a Parent’s...

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No Longer Safe To Drive

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

At some point it becomes painfully obvious. Maybe it’s the near misses, another fender bender, traffic tickets, getting lost on errands, poor night vision, or increasing confusion. Whatever the mix of warning signs, the message is clear and deeply concerning. An aging parent is no longer safe to drive, and something has to be done about it. Statistics confirm the urgency to act. Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among 65 to 74 year olds and are the second leading cause (after falls) among 75 to 84 year...

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When Everything Falls Apart

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity…….Socrates The world of aging parents is a complex system. This is not simply a scientific observation; it is a critical point that most of us gloss over on the way to getting things done. Not fully appreciating the nature of complex systems can crush expectations and implode the best intentions. Complex systems are based on immutable laws. One that is especially significant to adult children and their aging...

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Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 3

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Aging Parents, Boomers, Middle Age, Poetry | Comments Off

The loss of an aging parent is not an isolated event. Rather, their passing is part of the thinning social fabric of middle age and beyond. Siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins friends, associates and casual acquaintances all start to take their leave, so many quietly gone, so many to remember. Alan Shapiro’s poem Wherever My Dead Go When I’m Not Remembering Them conjures up the world of these departed souls who search to find those who remember them and why… Wherever My Dead Go When I’m Not Remembering Them By Alan Shapiro Not gone, not...

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Conversations Near the End Mind Map

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Aging Parents, Boomers, Middle Age | Comments Off

This is the companion mind map for the article Conversations at the End

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Conversations at the End…

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Aging Parents, Boomers, Middle Age | Comments Off

We wish it didn’t come to this, but it does. Someone you care about is at the end of their life. No one knows exactly when but everyone is clear about what’s happening. Now comes the hard part, the conversations that occur before they’re gone. What do you say to those who are leaving? How do you avoid stumbling into uninvited pep talks, dismissive assurances, awkward displays of grief, or embarrassing cliches? Maybe you don’t. None of us are really prepared for conversations near the end. Our emotional vulnerability alone leaves us at a loss...

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