Why Aging Education?

Recently, someone asked me again why I continually give of my time to aging education. It is a simple question really, with a complicated answer. Why do any of us give with our time, talent and treasure? To help make another’s life better, of course!

Typically, as a former salesperson, I know to find the customer’s needs, and fill them. Learn what someone desires, and give it to them. Know that a question needs an answer, and give it. We must do anything we can to quench the thirst for knowledge in the aging arena. That was our mandate in our Gerontology Masters Program, Give aging education wherever, whenever and however you can to our aging tsunami of 78 million Americans. Teach them to build their own networks to aging quality. There will not be enough care for all of us in the future.

For too long doctors didn’t give answers with transparency, government only answered what absolutely needed to be answered, families have kept their problems behind closed doors. None of these practices have served to educate our aging population.

The internet has opened a world to “stay-at-homes”, the under-educated, and the under-estimated. We can Google any question we have and get peer-reviewed and evidenced-based research articles. we read them and can make educated decisions. There isn’t any reason to not educate ourselves on the aging matters of the day. We don’t need to rely on Wikipedia like many of our youth have in the past.

Aging education outreach is another way to socialize with other aging persons and learn at the same time. Whenever there is an opportunity to attend a program on any aging subject, it behooves us to go…and learn of our future. We want to age at home and have an excellent quality of life so let us arm ourselves with the tools of our new trade…aging!

Thanks for reading!

Kindest Regards with warmest Aloha,

Laura ;-))

Advertisements

Caregiving, a Granddaughter’s Perspective

Caregiving, a Granddaughter’s Perspective

Many of us have cared for a loved one, a friend, a relative but nothing seems as intense as watching disease progress through the aging journey of your beloved grandmother. For many, it is the first time seeing death looming in the future and its undeniable effects, especially of our own mortality. Nobody wants to face that but we all must. We caregivers work so hard to stave of the inevitable. Accepting the sadness we feel can be the first step to doing a good job of caregiving. Recognizing when you need others and utilizing them to help when you need respite can be important for your own health. You need to stay healthy so you can stay strong for the job of caring. Respite is good for both the caregiver and the cared for. Getting a break from each other is important for both of your well-beings. You come back a little more refreshed on both sides. Seeing the same person day in and day out can be tiresome. There are many benefits to having a primary caregiver who knows the ins and outs of the cared for person’s condition and treatment. 

There is also work to be done by the one who is cared for. Don’t be that person that is making the caregiver’s job more difficult because you are holding on to the negativity of why it is happening to you. Aging will eventually get all of us. Aging isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. If we live long, we will most likely get some ailment that will need to be addressed. It would be good if we can be gracious to the person who is easing our way through the aging journey. My own grandmother was gracious until the end and I loved her for it. The very hard job was made easier.

Thanks for reading! 😉

Dinner of the Seven Fishes for an Older Generation

DSC04927

It used to be that when the Sicilian custom of the Dinner of the Seven Fishes was held on Christmas Eve, it was so it would pass the time for waiting to go to Midnight Mass. Today, many of our seniors go to bed before they could possibly stay up to go to Midnight Mass. Having said that, last year after our own Dinner of the Seven Fishes, I was in bed by 10:00pm myself and I am not yet quite in the senior category, at least by Social Security standards.

Speaking of Social Security, I sure hope it is there by the time I need it since I have been paying into it since I was 15 years old. This Baby Boomer, at least, wants what I was promised. I am concerned that the promises made to our generation by the generations before us will not be kept. We must also promise the generations after us that they will be covered too. Conditions need to be assessed now and provisions put in place so that worthy American citizens get the respect they deserve and the quality of life they expect in the latter years.

Watching our nations elders lose their retirement in stock dives is, and has been extremely disconcerting. That is why I agree that the wealthiest Americans should step up and help pay for Seniors in their retirement years. Companies that can help out should also, after all many of them were built buy the very seniors that can’t afford to put food on their tables judging by the rise in Food Stamps usage.

So as you enjoy your Christmas Eve dinner, even if it isn’t the Dinner of the Seven Fishes, think of the senior citizen, possibly diabetic (judging by the rise in Type II Diabetes), that may be eating day-old pastry picked up for free at their local community center, and remember our duty to protect our citizens, especially the nation’s elders.

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 😉