Category Archives: The Faith Community

The AGE-u-cated® Care Team, Family Member and Organization

No misspelling here.   Who needs  AGE-u-cation?  Our care teams, family members, elder care providers, hospitals,  business community, churches, non-profits need to be MUCH better AGE-u-cated®!

It’s no secret that the world’s elderly population is soaring, with the number of people aged 65 and over expected to more than double by 2050.
The global population is aging at an unprecedented rate with 8.5 per cent of people worldwide – or more than 600 million – now aged 65 and over,  a report from the US Census Bureau showed.
If the trend continues, then nearly 17 per cent of the global population – 1.6 billion people – will be in the 65-and-over age bracket by 2050.
Many experts agree that we are facing a public health crisis, and we’re just starting the steep climb in numbers.  Frightening?  You bet!  Are we moving fast enough?  Not even near…

I was inspired by our group of new Master Trainers last week who are passionate about training and education for those caring for this vulnerable population.  Bringing new, innovative tools to the hands of direct care staff who are in desperate need, we are aiming to do our part in creating change in attitudes, actions and thinking for a world who needs to better communicate and care for our elderly population.

We applaud those on our team deeply committed to advocacy at the state and national levels,  fighting for pay and benefit increases for those we are entrusting to care for our loved ones, patients and resident; for helping to change policies for the betterment of a healthcare system that is inefficient and wrought with inefficiencies.

AGE-u-cation?  Each and every one of us needs it.  We must train up our young people to understand that caring for elders will and should be a part of their life;  that careers in this field are desperately needed and highly rewarding.

I’ve quoted the wise words of Nelson Mandela before – “It always seems impossible until IT’S DONE”.

We on the AGE-u-cate Tea, want to be a part of GETTING IT DONE!
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3513167/Global-elderly-population-exploding-US-report.html#ixzz4ZEPcuuVs

You Know What They Say About the Weather…Wait Five Minutes

Dramatic Image of Scruffy Man Freezing in Cold Weather

At least that’s what they say here in Texas, when it’s 80 degrees one day, and hitting the freezing mark the same night.  We’ve barely had a winter to speak of this year, so my recent trip to experience the Boston blizzard was an adventure and a treat.  So what does the weather have to do with aging and dementia you ask?

Yikes –  I think it’s a great analogy!  Have you walked the floors of a Memory Care Community lately?  The sun is shining and people are happy.  But wait 5 minutes… maybe 5 seconds… and the weather  can all change.  The blizzard can move in quickly and chaos panic and disorder can soon be the order of the day.   Time for deep breathing and some quick meditation.    Person centered care… what’s that?!

I love the term  PERSON-CENTERED THINKING. That takes person-centered care to a whole new level.  To me, person-centered thinking implies that our first response, our actions, our thought process is focused on another’s well being.  When we have tools in our belt that allow us to respond to behavioral expression that look like rain, snow, blizzard or tornado – we’re ready.

Are we equipping our care partners in senior care with the right tools to weather the storms?  

I’m going to venture to guess that most of “us”, because we’re all in this together, could do a better job.  After all, there is always room to grow, right?  Innovation, creativity and the will to want to be better at what we do is a part of life.  We all want to be better equipped to weather the storms.

That blizzard that hit Boston a week ago was followed by a bright beautiful sunny day.  Everyone got back to work and life.   I was able to do what I had travelled there to do (training), flew home the next day….

…and the storm hit again!

For information on the University of Minnesota’s Person-Centered Thinking program:

http://rtc3.umn.edu/pctp/training/intro.asp

 

 

 

Wake-up Call for Faith Communities: Don’t Forget your Aging Members!

Photo of business hands holding blackboard and writing FAITH diagram

Through the years I’ve had the great privilege to work with thousands of elders and families as my professional career in senior care began in educating families and faith communities.   I will never forget one of my earliest conversations with a couple who had attended a caregiver support group in which I was facilitating.  Emotionally, they shared how their parents had served faithfully in their church for over 40 years and now that they were homebound, the they felt as if they had been forgotten.  This tugged at my heart, as I remembered how vitally important the church was to my own aging parents and how much that care and compassion for our parents comforted us as adult children.

Members are aging quickly in virtually every faith community.  Adult children and their parents are struggling with the emotional, physical and spiritual toll that illness and the complications of aging creates.   As federal and state resources for the aging decline rapidly, needs are increasing even faster.  The cost of long term care across the spectrum is out of reach for a growing number of Americans.   Where does this leave the church and it’s role in the societal challenges facing all of us in our fast aging world?

I’ve witnessed how incredibly effective it can be when faith communities, local agencies, non-profits, service providers and volunteers come together to meet urgent needs of homebound elders, especially those needing food, housing, medical equipment, and services.  Support groups for caregivers, meal delivery, in-home and nursing home visitations,  companion ministries are all vital outreach efforts that can make an incredible difference in the lives of our elders, their families and our communities.

Strong leadership, education and champion volunteers are the thread of success in faith communities stepping up to meet these complex needs.  When implemented successfully,  everyone wins.  Active retirees find purpose, the younger generations of the church experience giving in action, and the church becomes an integral part within their surrounding community that helps agencies that desperately need more assistance.  Senior care providers can provide knowledge and assistance in navigating services and supporting caregiver programs.

I have provided caregiver education and support services to one church in particular for many years.  They took on the challenge over 8 years ago to start a day respite program for those living with dementia.  Thousands of volunteer hours from dedicated, passionate people have poured their lives into providing this no cost service to members of the community and their care givers.   It is one of the most successful respite ministries that I have seen.  I recently was with this group and was so moved by their consistent dedication.  When I asked what kept them going, it was without hesitation that they pointed to their group of elders and replied ” they  need us but not near as much as we need them. They brighten our days and give us back so much more than we are able to give to them.”

A perfect example of faith in action…

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute whose mission is to provide worldwide aging education and training that changes attitudes and actions to improve the lives of our elders.  She remains passionately dedicated to helping faith communities transform their aging adult and caregiver ministries through leadership training.