The Aging Push

Sometimes when a person is aging they don’t want others to see they are losing their faculties, so they push friends and loved ones away. I call it the “Aging Push.” As long as they are being cared for by their significant other, or reliable caregivers, it may be best to respect their privacy, and don’t push back.

Coming to terms with aging is difficult for many people and they have to do it at their own pace. It may be sad and difficult for the one being pushed away but sometimes the best you can do is to remain supportive, friendly, kind, and let them know that you are available when needed. “The Aging Push” happens at the beginning signs of dementia as well. They are trying to hide the fact that they can’t remember things, even your name. Watching for signs, working with your doctor, and catching dementia early can help slow the process.

Some may say that they want to push the issue and fight their loved one to remain heavily involved in their life but as a wise man once said, “Don’t go where you aren’t wanted.” When they are ready, they will ask for you. If, in the case of a form of dementia, they don’t, or aren’t able, do what you can before that happens. Think of what you can do today for your aging parent, friend, or associate, before it is too late.

Push yourself and your aging friends to stay social, and involved in life. Have them and yourself join a committee, take a class, or simply go out for lunch. Push “The Aging Push” before it pushes you.

Thanks for reading 😉

When An Old Friend Dies, “An Ageing Badge of Courage”

Death is never easy for the person that is dying, of course, nor the family and friends engaged in the process. It is especially poignant for friends that have made a significant difference in our lives. One such friend is currently in hospice as we wait for the inevitable end. We are no longer allowed to visit at the family’s request and those were also his wishes, we were told, and we respected it.

My last visit was last week. He gently told me that he hadn’t realized that he had such an impact on many of our lives. There had been a steady stream of visitors while he held court in the VA Hospital, truly a palace of hospitals. They all told him how he had touched their lives, and many were significant. Though he was terminally ill, he remained jovial and in unbelievably good spirits. He told me that the doctors couldn’t believe how his mental stability remained so healthy, while his body failed. I believed it.

This dear man has been a warrior, a pundant, and a fierce newspaper writer. He is a Rotarian and an author. Though he is in and out of consciousness now, his philosophy has been to always ask a person about themselves, and remembered what was important to that person, and ask them again when he saw them later. He liked to make people feel friendship, and happy, and loved. He was of great assistance to others when they needed his help. For me, he told the local newspapers to “print her stuff” when I was writing press releases for work and charity. And, they did since he had requested it. Once when I wrote an article, he critiqued it so rigidly that it almost wasn’t mine anymore but he encouraged me take the credit because he wanted me to learn to write better. I think I do because of him. He said to look for the good whenever you can because people really do want to hear what is good. It made me smile since he wrote publically very critically of politicians using the many historical references that he was so famous for. Learning from this person in his eighties, was a gift he gave to many. How lucky we were to sit with him and bask in the glow of his knowledge.

He remembered to me how much he enjoyed dancing with his wife as if he would be seeing her soon. I touched his knee as I gave him the new Rotary pin for the year, and left it where he could see it. When I was walking out the door he quietly said, “Come again anytime, I am always glad to see you.” I am sure that he said that to everyone that visited him. I would expect nothing less.

As we wait for the end, we still consider the living that he touched, made better, and changed us for his having been here. His grace in dying should be a lesson to us all to not regret anything as we live our best life, and be thankful that we lived it.

The ageing process is inevitable and all generations should understand and expect it bravely. We shouldn’t let the fact that someone is old or infirm deter us from making contact to enjoy their company and learn from them. We should look at their wrinkles and gray hair as an “Ageing Badge of Courage” and try to be like them…because we inevitably will.

Thanks for reading;)

Aging Healthy is Diverse

We are all aging from the time we are born but managing aging is diverse. For different cultures managing recuperation from illness varies especially as it relates to pain. The Brits are taught from an early age to “Have a stiff upper lip” while we Americans have heard over and over, “No pain, no gain.” Italians just started discussing some medical issues within the family like breast cancer within the last generation, and they pray about it.  Collective societies like the Chinese all pitch in to get the best result. Mexicans tend to take care of themselves, and along with Blacks, look to their places of worship to get through difficulties. My source for this information, besides my own experiences, came from Mehrotra Wagner’s book, “Aging and Diversity.” Of course there are differences among many within their own ethnic groups but the point is that we should be considering their differences.

Too often we see medical practitioners and long-term care agencies handling everyone the same way. There are movements to change this within the Ageing field. For instance, The Jewish Home in San Francisco is a good model. They not only cook for their clients’ cultures and beliefs but offer counseling and religious services within the perameters of their Jewish faith.

Other considerations to be made are that some have hearing and sight deficits, but not all. Simply because a person has gray hair isn’t a reason to talk louder, for instance. I say it all the time that we shouldn’t assume anything. If a person can’t talk doesn’t mean that they aren’t in pain. Stroke victims may be able to blink once for “yes” and twice for “no.” We shouldn’t assume that they can’t communicate because they can’t talk.

By learning about the ethnicities of the diverse people we are caring about, and caring for, we may be able to take te pain threshold down a notch. At least we can all try.

Working with Seniors, Check Your Ego at the Door

I used to fancy myself a somewhat “cool” person, “in the know,” and had the right contacts, the right friends and went to the “hip” places. Then I began working with seniors. They have seen it all, done it all, and usually know it all…really. They really do. I began to feel like a “poser.” Once I realized that I could learn from these wonderful people, I began to listen, and actually gain knowledge from their wisdom. Instead of seeing them as someone who is “doddering but dear” as one of my gerontology books put it, I realized they were of substance and great value. A commodity in the aging field to be worshipped! Don’t get me wrong, this realization didn’t happen overnight. I began as early as childhood, going to my Great Aunts and Uncles, and Grandmothers and Grandfathers for advice that I could count on. This blossoming understanding continues every day. Seriously, I would love to listen to anything that many of today’s seniors have to say. Today’s seniors include people that many of us don’t think of as seniors because they are prominent like David Letterman, Gloria Steinham, your doctor perhaps, and we listen to them. So why don’t we listen to the guy next door with just as much attention? He might have advised his son who started Google, for all we know. Why not take the time and listen? Why not indeed!

Recently, I was a guest at a meeting where there were all these people supposedly “in the know” about seniors. They talked around in circles for 2 hours and couldn’t make a decision to do something for the public on the month that represents what they are all about. I finally had to ask them why and another guest backed me up. They finally did decide to do something for community outreach but not without insuring that their party for themselves could be done as well. I was stunned that these people professed to understand working with seniors. I’m not naming names because many of them serve spectacularly away from this group, but please people check your ego at the door when you go to help seniors in any manner! Every one that gets helped is probably worth ten of you! No kidding! You only have to listen to them, be patient, and leave your ego at home. You might be surprised at what you can learn and it might even help you in your business. Remember, they were once too busy to take the time to listen too!

Thanks for reading;)

Senior Services Volunteers Need To Be Nice

Who doesn’t love someone that volunteers to help seniors? Well, maybe not everyone. Many of us get caught up in the idea that it is good to give back to our community by serving the older generation but then they don’t look like they are happy doing it. They may act gruff and impatient when the seniors move a little slower, or don’t hear them at first, or some other infraction known only to them. Seeing the sad dissappointment on the faces of the seniors they are hurting is saddening to me.

Recently, I participated in volunteering at an event that many of the volunteers seemed to just want to get the job done quickly and get out of there. We must not lose sight of the fact that socialization is key for the personal well-being of our seniors. The time they spend sitting and chatting together is sometimes the only enjoyment they might get in a day, so why rush it? If the volunteer has somewhere else they need to get to, go ahead and leave the rest of us to help the seniors enjoy their time at the event. We all must also realize that we can’t let our impatience show and be nice to them because after all, that is why we are there in the first place to provide senior services with a smile. If your passion isn’t making their lives a little bit more pleasant, than hit the door and don’t come back.

Senior Services volunteers need to be nice or go volunteer somewhere else that is their passion, and make the seniors’ lives a little better just by not being there.

Thanks for reading 😉

“The WIN” In Business with Intro to Geronotology Mandated In Higher Education

With four generations working together in the workplace today, an Intro to Gerontology course should be mandated in higher education. When working together on a day-to-day basis it is imperative that all generations understand one another. It could be as simple as deleting one elective and creating the mandated Into to Gerontology course. I see it in the MBA course study, as well.

The state of the US economy needs all the help it can get so we should start with each other’s successes in communication. We saw what happened in this country after 9-11. I know because my husband and I were there and we survived it. Everyone banded together to get through the loss. So, why can’t we band together for the win too? The “Win” in business is what we need. If we all pull together for the common goal, we can work our way out of this depression and toward a brighter future. It starts with putting down that cell phone and stop texting long enough to simply talk. Getting to understand one’s body language will tell the truth on an issue and you can’t do that through a text! Taking a moment to hear an older person’s experience on a problem issue may save time and money in the long run. We can learn from previous mistakes and experience if we just take the time to hear it. As one of my university professors used to always say, “Take a moment and ponder” and the answer will come to you. The same goes for older people taking the time to understand the differences of their younger co-workers. If we can take the time to understand each other’s ethnic backgrounds and diversities, we can do the same for our different generations.

Dont’ forget “The Win!” Thanks for reading. 😉