Pages Navigation Menu

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

Second-Half of Life Blog

9 Ways to Comfort Aging Parents with Dementia

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

This is a compassionate and insightful article that all caregivers of older adults should read… 9 COMFORTING THINGS A DEMENTIA CARER DREAMS...

read more

Three Strategies for Preserving Relationships with Older Clients

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Advisors | Comments Off

It’s always an ambush. From Steve’s perspective, the estate settlement was going well. Beneficiary papers had been filed and trust provisions initiated. While he had worked primarily with Jim over the last 11 years on financial matters, Steve always maintained a friendly relationship with Jim’s wife, Ellen. Unfortunately, four months after Jim’s death, he received a request from Ellen to transfer the account to another advisor. No call. No email. In my 23 years of providing training programs in client communication to financial advisors, I...

read more

Best Possible Day

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

Atul Gwande’s article “Best Possible Day” is compassionate and articulate about asking the right questions, over and over again, in a world where time is running short… Best Possible...

read more

Poetry and Aging Parents

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

The drama of aging parents takes courage and poetry. Mark Halliday’s moving poem about the legacy of his aging parents reminds us that every life longs for a narrative, albums that celebrate the journey and comfort the hearts of those leaving as well as those left behind… Quite Frankly by Mark Halliday They got old, they got old and died. But first— okay but first they composed plangent depictions of how much they lost and how much cared about losing. Meantime their hair got thin and more thin as their shoulders went slumpy. Okay...

read more

Connecting with the Developmental Tasks of Middle Age

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Boomers, Middle Age | Comments Off

Building rapport with middle age clients requires a balance between collaboration and advisory. The goal is to resonate with the tasks. The temptation is to over emphasize advisory by focusing on traditional milestones as an on ramp for planning conversations. While milestones such as retirement remain important, they are a poor starting point for middle age adults. Instead of being proactive, they come across as unwanted advice that can quickly provoke discomfort or out right resistance. A more effective strategy is to lead with a topic that...

read more

Caregiver Conflict and Poor Outcomes

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

This article about conflict with family and friends isn’t directed specifically at caregivers but it should be: Common Form of Expression Doubles Risk of Death Here is what they found: “The researchers estimated that that a participant’s risk of death increased by 50 to 100 percent when children or partners caused frequent worry or made excessive demands. When the researchers then studied how arguing frequently impacted the participant’s mortality, they found that when participants argued frequently with anyone in their social...

read more

The Developmental Agenda of Middle Age

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Boomers, Middle Age | Comments Off

The primary developmental theme of the middle years is an emerging crisis. Rather than a sudden occurrence, it is an incipient shift in complexity and tone. As such, the middle years usher in a higher state of volatility as a list of daunting tasks arrive that soon leaves little time to plan, resolve, or recuperate. Externally the seminal event is usually sickness or death in the family, but it can also involve major upheavals with children, careers, and core relationships. Up to the early forties, the business of building a career, raising...

read more

Beyond Loss: Grief vs Major Depression

Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

With aging comes the loss of those who mean the most to us. There is no way to prepare for it. We are ambushed and swept away into grief and suffering. After some period of time, we slowly, unevenly crawl back to shore and regain our footing in the world. We are wounded but find a way to carry on. But not always. Sometimes we are lost at sea and can’t make it back. What others see as severe grief is really major depression, a condition that time cannot make better. How do we know what’s normal grief and when we have taken a turn...

read more

Caregiver Playlist

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

Below are the selections that make up the “Kind To Your Heart” playlist, a 40-minute mix of songs and instrumentals. The song’s lyrics give voice to the emotional challenges of caregiving. They also spell out the courage and profound love that flows amid the turbulence and messy outcomes. The instrumentals offer a meditative transition between the songs, a space to exhale and let go, and to remember the bigger story that surrounds even the most difficult moments… Can’t Go Back Now—The Weepies—A fitting opening in which transformational...

read more

The Medical Journey of Aging Parents

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014 in Aging Parents | Comments Off

We are not bystanders to the medical journey of our aging parents. No matter how daunting the language or specter of healthcare, we are obligated, to the best of our ability, to try and understand what we are being told and what’s in their best interest. This means we need the courage to question treatments and procedures that are not supported by medical evidence, duplicate other tests or procedures already done, may cause harm, and aren’t truly necessary. Below is a link from the American Geriatrics Society that offers ten examples...

read more