Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Help Aging Parents With Simple Creativity on Valentine's Day

Think Valentine's Day. It's the opposite of aging parents--youth, lovers, girlfriends, boyfriends. Do you remember how exciting Valentine's Day was when you were a teenager and young adult?

Perhaps the following, from a grandmother in her late-80's, sums up most older people's expectations for Valentine's Day: "In my younger days I sent Valentines to my 4 children and their children--my grandchildren.  I'd put a few dollars in the grandchidren's Valentine. But I haven't done it recently--there are so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren now."

When I asked what she'd like for Valentine's day she laughed and said, "Any time someone thinks of you--it's nice. It would be nice to get a Valentine in the mail, but I'm not expecting any."

To read the entire post go to my other site: http://helpparentsagewell.com

Sunday, January 29, 2012

10 Edible Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Aging Parents

Older people--aging parents and grandparents--welcome something special to please their taste buds--especially when they no longer drive, have less money for luxuries or just enjoy indulging. That's why serious indulgences (things they probably wouldn't buy for themselves) plus a few healthy indulgences make perfect Valentine's Day gifts.

Visit my other site: http://helpparentsagewell.com to view the rest of this post.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aging Parents: Over-stressed, Caring Children

“Stop the world, I want to get off.”
A feeling of over-stress? A cry for help? A need for respite?
A needed vacation from aging parents?

Are caring readers of Help! Aging Parents as good to themselves as they are to their aging parents?

Often, it seems, the time when we are most stressed and need a break is when aging parents are in a somewhat “ify” state (but not in crisis), especially if it’s going on and on.

To read entire blog please click link to my other site:http://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/01/25/aging-parents-over-stressed-caring-children/

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Pushing" Aging Parents to do More Than They Can or Want To Do

Do we force/cajole/implore/push our aging parents–more than we should–to do what we’d like them to do to maintain their quality of life…ignoring the  possibility that they’re weary of coping and depleted of energy?

Visit my other site http://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/01/21/pushing-aging-parents-to-do-more-than-they-can-or-want-to-do/ for the rest of this post

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aging Parents and the Airport Body Scanner

Having parents and grandparents come for a visit is usually very special for far-away-living children and grandchildren. To ensure the travel process isn't derailed by unpleasant experiences, we want to be certain they are aware of the bulleted facts above... travel information to help parents and grandparents age well.

To view entire blog, visit my other site:http://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/01/17/aging-parents-and-the-airport-body-scanner/

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Aging Parents and Airports: Happy Flying or headache-producing Part 2 (of 2)

 Body Scans and Body Searches

I worry about old people, who must endure a body search, for several reasons: First, they can easily have a crunched-up, forgotten Kleenex (if not their boarding pass) in a pocket that puts them into the body-search mode........ 

......continued on my other site: http://helpparentsagewell.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/aging-parents-and-airports-happy-flying-or-headache-producing-part-2/

(if not their boarding pass) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aging Parents: What's Elderhood

We know childhood and adulthood; but do we know "elderhood?"

The goal of Help! Aging Parents is to enable relatively healthy, aging parents--who live independently--to stay that way as long as possible and age well. But I've wondered when "as long as possible" ends. Clearly it doesn't end the moment aging parents are incapacitated by health issues....

I'd never heard of "elderhood," a term coined by geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas (MD from Harvard Medical School) --until I watched and listened to an almost 26 minutes New Hampshire PBS video interview with him.

"Elderhood" follows adulthood and involves further growth that so many fail to recognize. Understanding the concept can help us help our parents age well. That's why I'm including the video link, which I urge you to watch and listen to.

Dr. Thomas's philosophy challenges the traditional concept of institutional care centers and home care. His ideas encompass relationship changes (mother-daughter, husband-wife etc.) and liberating ourselves by getting past our idea of being the indispensable caregiver; acknowledging the value of caregiving as a partnership; opening our eyes to the untapped richness of elderhood.

To view entire post please visit my other site: 

Aging Parents and Airports: Happy Flying or Headache-producing? Part 1 (of 2)

 Announcements, Baggage, Body Scans (and screening), Check-in

It's always heartening when most older parents want to visit. It's especially so when we can share our lives with them on our turf if we are far-away-living children. But we all know airline travel has become more difficult. As airport security changes, even the most seasoned old travelers can find themselves flustered. Understandably feelings of insecurity accompanied by rising blood pressure can't help parents age well.

I'd like to be clever, calling this the ABC's of happy flying, but chronologically the process goes in reverse--beginning with check-in; ending in announcements, with baggage and body scans (and screening) in the middle. That said three experiences illustrate some of the problems, accompanied by ideas for damage control.

Please view my other site:
http://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/01/10/aging-parents-and-airports-happy-flying-or-headache-producing-part-1-of-2/ for the rest of this post.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Help Aging Parents: Their Private Thoughts as 2011 Ends and 2012 Begins

"With the new year approaching, what are your thoughts about the past year and the upcoming new year?"

This question was asked of a sampling of aging women, whose introspective, candid responses offer insights into sadness, concerns, resignation and hopes. Some live independently in their homes; others in assisted living.  While the contrast is understandable, it surprised me initially.

  • "It was a wonderful year because I kept well and mobile, which is important not only to exist, but to live. I hope I get through to another new year--the future can close in on you. Not everyone can live to be 100." (86)
  • "All I know is you have to hope and pray things will get better. The country is so torn apart. I try to live my life in such a way that I still am in charge and I'm still involved. But there's a certain amount of fear that I will lose this independence." (90's)
  • "Christmas (December) isn't the greatest time to be an older person. Cards come in from friends--some aren't well, then a card comes from only Jean--not Jean and Richard and I realize Richard had been ill and has obviously died....
        There's a melancholy about the past--you have more memories than you 
        have plans. You know certain things aren't practical, possible. Big chunks 
        of things that make life happy aren't there any more...I push it out of my 
        mind, telling myself how lucky I am...I must draw on the resources I have.

         So I look forward to the new year when things return to normal and I 

         volunteer at the church and do another volunteer job. A big part of life is 
         plans and future. Without plans, a date on a calendar doesn't mean 
         anything." (early 80's)
  • "The world is---ugh! I don't like listening to the news. And lately I've heard of so many people I know falling. You don't know what's going to happen next." (89)
  • "It's not comfortable living in this world with all of its problems. Some nights I go to bed and don't want to wake up. Looking forward: I'm concerned about my children--will they remain close, how will they be after I go." (83)
  • "My husband is very ill." Looking forward: "I'm hoping he passes away before I do because he couldn't handle things alone." (78)
  • "I feel like I've been put here by my children." Looking forward: "I worry about my grandchildren's future...the kind of world it will be."
  • "I'm lucky I got this far (after serious health issues) and got to meet my new great- grandchild...and hope I'll be around to watch her grow next year. I'm feeling sorry for myself--I ended up here. I don't like feeling this way. Then I look at the picture of that beautiful baby and I'm glad I'm here." (86)
As we make our New Year's resolutions, the above may provide ideas when thinking about helping our aging parents. There's uncertainty ahead as always, but perhaps more of it in today's world for both young and old....but then again, there's also hope.  May 2012 be a good year for you and your aging parents as we try to help parents age well.

(PS. The first 4 responses are from people living independently; the last 4 are from those in assisted living.)