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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

Poetry and Adult Children, Part 3

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Poetry and Adult Children, Part 3

Below the perpetual buzz of our busy caregiving lives is another channel, softer in tone and kinder in character. We sense it in vertical moments where rushing and worrying get sidetracked, the chance second where life sparks back a fragment of wonder and joy. Annie Lightheart’s wonderful poem The Second Music captures the mood and impact of this restorative melody. It is a poem that should be read every morning before we are so easily swept away… The Second Music by Annie Lighthart Now I understand that there are two melodies playing,...

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Clinical Frailty Scale

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Clinical Frailty Scale

(Click on graphic to enlarge) Frailty occurs by degrees. It is helpful to have system to quantify it for the patient, caregivers, and health care professionals. The Clinical Frailty Scale found in the 2008 Canadian Study on Health & Aging is an excellent frailty assessment tool. It is also useful in identifying which older patients pose a higher risk for post-hospital...

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Post-Hospital Syndrome and Aging Parents

Posted by on Jun 7, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Post-Hospital Syndrome and Aging Parents

Hospital stays are stressful for anyone but can turn out tragic for frail seniors. Arriving with diminished physical reserves, they are subjected to a world of frequent needle sticks, unappetizing food, sleep deprivation and long waits for doctors. Even if their treatment is deemed successful, frail seniors often leave the hospital deconditioned, malnourished, stressed and utterly exhausted. Within days or weeks after being discharged, they can wind up being readmitted or dying. The majority of those readmitted are not having a relapse of...

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Toxic Parents and Adult Children

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Aging Parents, Poetry | Comments Off on Toxic Parents and Adult Children

It’s the luck of the draw as to which childhood any of us inherit. Sometimes it’s filled with toxic parents who leave abusive tattoos that last a lifetime. Remarkably, they wind up under our care with the same bag of tricks that got us the first time around. Aside from the painful irony that our roles are strangely unreversed, there is the disappointing ending that death changes nothing. Here or gone, the toxic departed are up to their old tricks again and again. Toxic Tango By David Solie Something was always Wrong in our house,...

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New Boomer Epidemic: Aging Alone

Posted by on May 30, 2015 in Boomers | Comments Off on New Boomer Epidemic: Aging Alone

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. …Aristotle As the age wave arrives at the land of old, it carries with it a substantial population of childless and unmarried Boomers characterized as “elder orphans.” Aging alone, they face that last phase of life unsupported by no known family member or designated surrogate to act on their behalf. The link below to an article by Janice Wood outlines the challenges of trying to provide community, social services, emergency response and educational resources to...

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When The Last Parent Is Gone

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on When The Last Parent Is Gone

When The Last Parent Is Gone By David Solie When the last parent is gone, Your heart cannot right itself, Things that should help, Heeding warning signs Repairing loose ends Bracing for impact All prove shallow comfort. For the end of having parents Activates the orphan gene Endlessly looping you between Just here and never coming back, Releasing a fog of regrets Choices unable to settle Moments still getting away. When the last parent is gone, Your brain cannot right itself, Death moving you to the Head of the line marked Next to leave,...

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Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 5

Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 5

Aging parents face an uneven future in which one will be left behind. FD Reeves’ poem “Home in Wartime” contains two elegant and inspiring stanzas of instructions for both possibilities… From “Home in Wartime” By FD Reeves If I die first, gather the lost years with the late September apples. At sunset ghost me beside you on the steps to watch the tangerine-lavender clouds turn gray. Go on, go on. If you die first, the sheets as cold as fish, the dogs whimpering their loneliness each morning, the old walls cracking the silence— I’ll lay...

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Is the doctor a “good fit” for an aging parent?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Is the doctor a “good fit” for an aging parent?

Navigating the healthcare system involves dealing with a wide range of physicians and support personnel. Not all physician partnerships are successful. Issues like difficulty reaching the doctor, hurried office visits, confusing medical jargon, limited explanations, and inefficient billing support can undermine an aging parent’s experience. The challenge is not to find the perfect doctor with the perfect support staff, rather to find a way to evaluate the experience, identify what’s working, set realistic expectations, and explore work...

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Boomer Pedal Bike Option: Kinder Mechanics

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Boomers | Comments Off on Boomer Pedal Bike Option: Kinder Mechanics Older bodies need exercise options. The bikes of youthful riders, thin tired road machines and rugged mountain climbers are a poor fit for bad backs, worn knees and stiff necks. Boomers have come to a point in their lives where they need a bike with kinder mechanics. Enter The Townie from Electra Bicycle Company. I’ve ridden a Townie for over ten years following back surgery and can attest to its comfort, stability, and fun factor. Yes, it is first and foremost...

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The Wrong Future

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

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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