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

Predicting The Boomer Future…

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Boomers

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Alan Kay It’s 2026. The future is here, 14 year later. We are taking a sneak peak into the lives of two baby boomer couples that are now well into their late seventies. Both couples live in Southern California. Both couples have worked hard and saved diligently for retirement. Despite the similarities of location and financial dedication, decisions each couple made in their mid- 50s have created very different futures they are now living 20 years later. Couple number one, Linda and Ted, live in a retirement community north of Los Angeles that offers many levels of care. They have lived their lives using the “coping” approach, which meant adjusting to health problems as they arise but not venturing far from a lifestyle they chose 20 years ago....

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The Wrong Signals: Shutting Down Change Before It Starts

Posted by on Jul 30, 2011 in Aging Parents

How do we help our aging parents consider making positive changes in their lives? We want to help, and feel we have good ideas that could improve their quality of life. For example, we would like for them to consider: New support services to enhance their “aging in place” environment New lifestyle changes to protect and improve their health New living accommodations to put more fun back to their lives as well as reduce isolation and loneliness New long-term care options to better prepare them for major setbacks But many times our attempts to discuss these and other “change topics” are met with extreme push back that includes indifference, rejection, and hostility. Despite the constant media prompting to have “the talk” with our aging parents and despite our best intentions, we wind up sending out the wrong signals that...

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When Am I Going Home From The Nursing Home?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2010 in Aging Parents

This is one of the predictable dilemmas of aging we all wish we could avoid. We can’t. At some point we run out of aging-in-place options and a parent winds up in a place they never wanted to be, a nursing home. It is a painful transition that in most cases is irreversible. But they continue to ask us when they can go home. So how do we respond? How do we help them come to terms with this new reality? Start with the truth. Tell them the painful truth. Tell that you have run out of options. Their health and care issues requires a new level of support. It’s not what either of you wanted, but it is the new starting point that both of you are going to have to use going forward. You wish it wasn’t...

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Caregiver Stress? Try Inspirational Walking

Posted by on Dec 13, 2009 in Aging Parents

Caregiver stress is well documented and extracts a heavy toll on both caregivers and their families. In the heat of trying to keep everything together, it is hard for caregivers to find effective strategies that offer some respite from the natural tendency to obsess and feel overwhelmed. Caregivers need a way to take their brains “offline,” to momentarily disengage for anxious, closed-loop thinking, catch their emotional breath, and come back renewed. But how? Here is my solution: Inspirational Walking. This is a simple, effective strategy that combines walking with a personalized soundtrack. It combines two powerful strategies that change thought patterns: exercise and music. Exercise clears the mind. Even when we start out feeling overwhelmed, a simple thirty minute walk makes our thoughts clearer, gives us new ideas that help us cope, and leaves us feeling physically and mentally...

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What I Know Now: Lessons From Looking Back

Posted by on Nov 1, 2008 in Aging Parents

Last June I was interviewed by Nell Bernstein, Senior Editor at about what “I would have done differently” in caring for my mother based on what I know now. Below is my response: Talking With David Solie June 2008 Nell Bernstein, senior editor advisory board member David Solie has spent his career of helping seniors navigate their final years — as a geriatric psychologist, CEO and medical director of a life insurance brokerage corporation, and author. His book How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders is a wise and insightful guide to helping adult children understand and communicate with their parents, based on an understanding of old age not simply as a “loss of faculties” but as a unique developmental phase with its own tasks and challenges. Just as parenting...

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