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

How To Talk To Aging Parents About Where To Live

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty, Housing Dilemmas, Magical Thinking, Planning Dilemmas

I was recently interviewed for an article entitled “Conversation vs. Confrontation: Guidelines for Effective Communication with Your Aging Parents.”

In it I discuss how often the insistence by older adults to “stay put” in their home despite deteriorating circumstances prevents them from considering more optimal living arrangements. While the refusal to move affirms their right to choose, it sadly ignores other options that may offer a longer run of independence and infinitely better quality of life.

I go on to outline a three part “how to say it” script for adult children to use in these delicate and emotionally charged conversations. The goal is to acknowledge control but expand its application for maximum impact in last phase of life. This is information you will want to share with family, friends and colleagues who are facing the same vexing issue with their aging parents.

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What do you do when aging in place isn’t working out for aging parents?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Boomer Dilemmas, Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, End of Life Dilemmas, Housing Dilemmas, Planning Dilemmas

I was recently asked this question by a professional in the senior living industry. Here is what I said:

While the need for control is a consumptive task for aging parents in the final phase of life, it doesn’t necessarily operate in their best interest. Poor control choices about any aspect of aging leads to poor outcomes. Choosing where to live is a prime example.

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Death Is Not The Biggest Problem

Posted by on Mar 26, 2017 in Aging Alone, Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Declining Health & Frailty, Dementia, End of Life Dilemmas, Miscellaneous

In her article Silicon Valley Would Rather Cure Death Than Make Life Worth Living Emily Dreyfuss takes Silicon Valley to task over their collective crusade to “cure death.” Not that curing death is a bad thing, but as Dreyfuss points out, it’s not the biggest thing that haunts our society. She asks:

What would it mean to design against despair or isolation or loneliness?

Indeed. Longevity in the hollow of despair and isolation seems a bitter gift. Our society is awash with large cohorts who feel untethered from any nurturing connections. This is especially true among its oldest members. While apps and games can’t restore this cultural breech, the brain power of Silicon Valley is capable of providing technological onramps for anchoring those in need of human contact.

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End of Life Medical Quicksand

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, End of Life Dilemmas, Planning Dilemmas, Siblings

We all know someone with a family member who has fallen into end of life medical quicksand and suffered an excruciating outcome. In his article ” I Know You Love Me–Now Let Me Die,” Dr. Louis Dr. Profeta, an ER physician, reminds us that there was a time when we treated dying family members with a communal dignity that was not focused exclusively on “death prevention” at all costs. Instead, it offered a sacred transition space to honor the expanse and contributions of a person’s life while we kept them safe and close to us until the end…

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Spousal Care

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty, Magical Thinking

Solo caregiving takes a toll on both parties. What starts out as an act of compassion and loyalty can deteriorate into a role the exceeds the best efforts of one person.

Reframing the situation from a new vantage point helps aging parents see how far out of control things have become, a reconsideration of the challenges as well as what could make things better…

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Wisdom Cards

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Boomers, Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support

Aging Parents Dance Cards are a deck of the 20 cards designed for anyone involved in the care of an older adult. Each card is an aphorism I created on a topic, issue, or situation common to the caregiving experience. They are my wisdom cards.

Cards on unknown or unappreciated “rules” about home, families, siblings, and driving help decode the underlying agenda of older adults and its profound impact on their perspective, behavior and priorities.

Cards on magical thinking, secrets, and dilemmas make a compelling argument for resetting expectations in line with reality.

Cards on reframing control, open questions and facilitating last stories provide prompts and strategies for establishing and sustaining rapport.

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