Tag Archives: Elders

How Can we Avoid and All-Out Family Feud over Mom’s Teapot?

I was very fortunate, for  when my sweet mom passed, no one else asked for “the teapot”.  It wasn’t particularly pretty, and certainly of no monetary value.  But to me it was priceless reminder of the tender moments we had together to talk about an endless number of topics that mothers and daughters share. Often accompanied by a scrumptious homemade sweet, we always had back-up favorites in the freezer so we were never without an accompaniment for our favorite Bigelows “Constant Comment”.   When we weren’t chatting and sipping, we would often play a quick game of Yahtzee, Gin Rummy or in latter years, our absolute favorite go- to game,   Rumikub.

Being the last of 5 girls, I suppose Mom had more time for girl time than the businesses of her earlier life.  The teapot symbolized was our shared, sacred time together that will always be treasured.

What happens when those special items are sought after by more than one family member?  All too often, that’s when the family fireworks erupt.  Surrounding that item may be emotional and sentimental feelings that a person (s) may long to hold onto.  There is nothing wrong with this… unless there is one item and multiple people who want it!

How can we avoid World War III?  As I remind aging parents, especially those who are downsizing or contemplating who gets what of the family heirlooms, you do have options in passing on your personal belongings.

The safest way (in terms of avoiding family feuds) is to gift it while you can make the decision to do so.  Talking to various family members about what they would like also helps narrow the choices.  Our parents lovingly started putting names on items that one of the children or grandchildren has requested along the way.  Of course, it was their decision, but for the most part, they did this fairly and with thought put into why the family member wanted certain items.  Most were tied to memorable occasions, special trips or life events which included that person.

When it came time for the “major downsizing” when they moved to a retirement community, for all other items, some which has value, my mom created a well thought-out lottery which had items grouped by approximate value.  We were each given an option to choose one from each category.  For the most part, this execution of non-titled property was brilliant!  They knew who was getting what, and each child was the recipient had at least one top item of the various groups.   My parents were happy to lighten their load, and us kids were thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the process, knowing both our wishes had  been fulfilled.

My parents also enjoyed many years of seeing their treasured things in our homes, knowing they no longer had to care for them or worry about what would happen to them when they passed.

Does this plan always work?  I can tell you most certainly that no it does not.   Maybe because no one wanted to part with the “stuff”, children couldn’t agree on anything, so parents gave up, or the topic was never broached.  There are many other reasons, like sudden illness, estrangement or unfortunately and sadly, children that announce they want nothing of their parents.  Personally, I think this is not very compassionate.  Many of our parents came from the depression-era, and they worked very hard to acquire what they had, and for the most part, these items were treasured, as it was before everything on the planet could be mass or re-produced at a fraction of the cost.

When I talk with families, I often ask what they are gaining, except hurt feelings, by wincing at the idea of taking mom’s “junk”.   Instead, encourage and even help your parents inventory their belongings, asking what they would like to keep and what items they would like to pass on now.  These treasures make wonderfully thoughtful birthday and holiday gifts, and with some coaching and ideas of how to creatively get this often insurmountable task done, take it one step at a time.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute, a passionate advocate for older adults and those that serve them.  

www.AGEucate.com

Creating Collages with Elders Living with Dementia

IMG_9448Our guest blogger is AGE-u-cate Master Trainer, Sue Wilson, LMSW, CADDCT, CDP  –  360 Elder Solutions (www.360eldersolutions.com)

In this article you’ll learn how to use collage making as a creative means to engage with your loved one living with dementia and enable their voice. You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of collage making. Making a collage involves choosing images, shapes, and ‘bits and pieces’, then arranging them, and gluing them onto a surface. Collages can be wildly complicated, beautifully simple, or anywhere in between. It’s the opportunities to make choices, express preferences and feelings, and create that empowers an individual and give them voice. Over time, brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s and other dementias diminish language abilities making it progressively harder to engage with others. It becomes more difficult to understand the spoken words of others and to verbally express personal preferences, needs, thoughts and feelings. Losing the ability to effectively communicate can cause frustration and isolation and lead to anger, loneliness and boredom. Art provides a positive and meaningful way to communicate when words are not readily available. Supplies Gather an assortment of meaningful items that communicate your loved one’s current and past interests and preferences. Collages can be made from just about anything and do not require a trip to the craft store. Step outside, into your garage, or look in your “everything” drawer! Gather items that are appealing and will help tell a story. Such as:

• Photos of family members, a favorite car, images and items related to past military service, employment and hobbies, school days, honors earned, celebrations, a favorite pet are elements of life stories for reminiscing and person-­‐centered care.

• For gardeners and nature buffs, gather fresh or dried leaves, dirt, seeds and blossoms to add life and texture to collages. Collect colorful and interesting treasures on a nature walk.

• Gather old magazines, color tissue paper, ribbons, fabric scraps and even old ties, large buttons, construction paper, crayons, and markers from around the house. Or, if needed pick some up at the grocery store.

• Sprinkle a few drops of vanilla, lavender, peppermint, or citrus essential oils on the fabric squares to engage the sense of smell. Apply favorite spices, perfumes or colognes.

  • Have glue sticks for paper, or glues for fabric or wood items.

• Stray puzzle pieces, scrabble letters, dominoes, playing cards and other game pieces.

• Poster board and construction paper work well as surfaces for paper collages, but use a sturdier surface when incorporating embellishments.

• Grow and vary collage supplies to meet and engage changing abilities, interest and preferences.

Set up

• Minimize distractions.

• Decide what you are going to glue the collage onto.

• Set out a variety of papers, images, bits and pieces and see what sparks interest. What is of interest today may not be interesting tomorrow.

• Items can be grouped into themes and placed in separate baskets and brought out on different occasions.

• Help get things started with positive comments and simple instructions. It can be difficult for individuals in later stages of dementia to get started so start by sifting through images and pieces, ask for help in selecting items and with arranging them onto the surface.

• Wait for a response and create the opportunity for reminiscence.

• As time goes on, an individual living with dementia is more apt to recognize faces and places from young adulthood, teenage years, and early childhood, which trigger early emotional thoughts and feelings.

• Images can be torn or cut from magazines and catalogues, same with strips or shapes of paper. Photocopies work as well as original photos.

• The possibilities are endless.

Do:

• Relax. It is as important for you to lay down sweet memories of your loved one now as it is for them to have your presence and company in the now.

• Pay attention to what sparks interest.

• Reminisce enjoyable moments and give compliments when looking at photos and images. For example: o How handsome or beautiful they look in a particular photo. o How proud you are of them for the award they received. o How well they played golf or when they got a hole in one. o Describe the smell and taste of the amazing chocolate cake they made – say something like “I think that was your mother’s recipe.”  How fun and exciting it was when you were out on the lake and they caught that giant trout. o Your compliments will help them enjoy their feelings associated with images, textures or scents.

• Pay attention to when your loved one starts tiring.

• Keep supplies handy and growing so art becomes a regular part of your rhythm and routine.

• Make note of items most enjoyed, changing abilities and moods.

• Display collages and share as gifts. These will become lasting treasures.

Don’t

  • Overwhelm with too many choices.
  •  Hurry the process or take over. It is all about the process and not the product. • Ask your loved one if they remember the name of a particular person or place.
  • Put your loved one on the spot by reminding them of what they do not remember.
  • For more ideas of using creative expression and art to engage your loved one in meaningful activities, contact Sue S. Wilson, LMSW, CADDCT, CDP at sue@360eldersolutions.com and visit her website at www.360eldersolutions.com.

www.AGEucate.com

Senior Living: Groceries on the Doorstep

Fresh produce in paper grocery bag inside kitchen
Fresh produce in paper grocery bag inside kitchen

Is it true that gone are the days of making a grocery list and physically heading to the store? Grocery delivery service is growing by leaps and bounds. Convenience and time savings are two reasons people seem to like delivery rather than tackling the task themselves. My reaction is mixed when I think about the possible impact on senior living.

I should note that I’m referring to relatively healthy older adults 75 years or better.  These folks have spent a lifetime making trips to buy groceries and I imagine most dismiss delivery as a luxury. Is going out to buy groceries time consuming? Yes. Does it take effort? Yes. Is it worth the trouble? I believe it is.

Sure delivery is convenient. But as a result, convenient may come with hidden costs: greater isolation, lack of variety and lack of physical activity. Grocery stores, especially in smaller towns or urban neighborhoods are social hubs.  Have you ever had the experience of running into someone you know at the store? I have. When seniors go to the grocery store, they stay in the collective consciousness of their community and remain a visible part of it.

As baby boomers age, they will likely take advantage of delivery from grocery stores and farm markets.  But I think we may be doing the elders among us a disservice to assume they want to jump on this trend.  There will still be plenty of senior living in our communities filling out that grocery list and heading to the market. At least I hope so!

Ann Catlin is a training and education consultant for AGE-u-cate Training Institute and the innovator of the Compassionate Touch® program. She supports AGE-u-cate’s mission is to create transformative change for an aging world by developing and delivering cutting edge training and education for senior care, healthcare, non-profits, and the educational community.

www.AGEucate.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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