For Better, And For Aging Worse, Try Aloha

When one spouse starts having a decline in health due to aging, the other spouse usually has to pick up the slack. Not only do they do the caregiving, but also the other person’s share of household duties, billpaying, gardening, shopping, pharmacy runs, getting the mail, taking care of the pets, all the transportation responsibilities, and any other myriad of things that come up. Once married, we agree to a lifelong decision of caring for each other for better, and for worse. Unfortunately, the worse part usually comes at the end of our lives when we don’t have the strength and vitality of youth to energize us for the caring. Imagine if you were 70 or 80 years of age and suddenly had a new baby to care for. That is what caring for a partner feels like to the older adult. There is a drastic change in life that happens unexpectedly. It shouldn’t seem unexpected because we all age, but, we all think, it won’t happen to me.

There may be adult diapers and adult formulas to buy. There may be caregivers hired to be there when the spouse can’t be, or wants to go out for respite. A baby monitor may need to be purchased to listen if the person has to sleep downstairs becuase they can’t physically make it up to their bedroom. Their life has come full circle.ย 

Living with Aloha is what we, in Hawaii do and would like to see others practice its meaning of kindness, unity, and agreeable, with humility, and patience. Understanding and patience is needed for all in the family circle that provide care and companionship for the loved spouse and relative. Children should be instructed about how to be compassionate, without pity, to the older adults in their lives. Every life is worthwhile to the end. Until death do us part.

Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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.ย 

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.

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Laura Guluzzy, M.A. Gerontologist/9-11 Survivor

Laura Guluzzy, M.A. Gerontologist

Me, 12 years after surviving 9-11. I believe that I was spared because I had more work to do and a long life to live. I became a Gerontologist so that I could help further the quality of life for today’s seniors.

We Gerontologists believe that the first person to live to 140 is 60 years old today. Are we ready for the aging tsunami that includes you? The choices we make will determine how well we age. Are you ready for old age survival?

A basic understanding of gerontology should be in everyone’s perview so that we will do our best to stay healthy, and independent in our aged years. Eating healthy food including green leafy vegetables help. Staying hydrated with any exercise that you can do, even simply rotating your shoulders and ankles while watching TV can help keep the blood flow, and walking is truly good, breathing fresh air and keeping those joints moving. Swimming is also beneficial. Stay independent by your very mobility through good balance and gait to reduce the possibility of falls.

Are you ready?

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Maintaining Social Ties for Optimal Aging

We all may assume there is importance to maintaining social ties for eldersโ€™ well-being and the latest edition of The Gerontologist acknowledges just that.ย  The article, The Importance of Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Social Capital for the Well Being of Older Adults in the Community by Cramm et al (2012) concludes that โ€œโ€ฆsocial capital of individuals, neighborhood services, social capital, and social cohesion are beneficial to the well-being of older adults.โ€ They specifically noted obtaining support through direct ties of communication. However this may be accomplished, should be considered by families to support optimal aging. This is especially important to maintain with single and less affluent older adults. The study showed that more affluent and married older adults fared better through their own natural social affiliations. Neighbor social cohesion for each other was particularly acknowledged for the support aspects especially when one was sick and needed minor assistance such as transportation, picking up the mail, etc. When one has a feeling of social connectivity there are also psychosocial aspects attributed to their well-being like higher self-esteem and enhancing mutual respect. There are also the benefits of intergenerational communication within families and friends to be considered. Historical information is protected and sharing between generations may improve familial relationships. Communicating with friends who understand may help maintain feelings of self-worth. Staying socially active whether it is through in-person visits, friendly phone calls, photo or video sharing, video chats, texting or email correspondence are all options for optimal and successful aging. Elders can live their best life maintaining communication with others.

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Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and Blue Monday

Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and Blue Monday

All the advertising thrown around lately about catching sales on Grey Thursday or Black Friday makes one pause to think about Blue Monday. That is the day after the weekend when many of our aging seniors are getting up after a long and lonely weekend. Sure most may have had Thanksgiving lunch or dinner where they live, or with friends or loved ones on Thursday, but what about the ones that didn’t? Let us take a moment and ponder about the older people we may know and give them a call just to say “Hello” or stop by for a visit and brighten their day.

Bring the kids with you when you visit an older person. It is important to share wisdom of all ages throughout generations. If you are an older person, welcome the younger ones that come into your home because there is much you can share with them. I still remember going into my Italian grandmother’s house and smelling the fennel she was preparing to cook with. It is a fond memory. Make some of your own sense memories with your relatives. You will be glad you did when one day much later and they are no longer here, you walk by some fennel in the store or the Farmer’s Market, quite caught by surprise, as you think of them fondly, and just for a moment, you remember.

During this holiday season it would be good if our older friends and family members don’t have any Blue Mondays. Take time out from shopping. If we have the time to spend the night in line for some fantastic sale or get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds to the store, certainly we can make a phone call. Maybe even while in line.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ˜‰