Sunday, September 30, 2012

Aging Parents: Discouraged Caregiver-Children

Helping Aging Parents
How Often Do We Wonder If We Can Go On?

While trying to help parents age well we often find ourselves overworked, unappreciated, and physically exhausted. Sometimes it feels like we’re in a hole that’s too deep to climb out of. We question our efforts; we wonder if it’s worth it.

The statistics and information in Tuesday’s NY Times Science Section should, at the least, make caregiver children realize that what they do out of love, caring, or duty has great value.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Aging Parents: Lifting and Energizing Spirits With Gifts Appealing to the Eye


Being able to see–and watch. What pleasure! Accompanied by hearing, touch, smell, and taste, vision completes the 5 senses.

How do we decide on gifts that lift the spirits and delight the eye? The first step is to know what constitutes “visual delights” for aging parents, whether they are healthy and independent and able to come and go at will or are among the frail and isolated elderly, many of whom look mostly at TV and “the four walls.” Then think about–

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Help Aging Parents: Lifting and Energizing Spirits With Gifts Appealing to the 5 Senses-Hearing

Most of us with elderly parents realize there’s often age-related diminishing of 2 senses: hearing and vision. It seems to me that hearing loss doesn’t seem as scary as vision loss, possibly because technology can pretty much alleviate the hearing problem for most. Yet the hearing problem remains because so many older people balk at doing anything about it.

That said, music lifts everyone’s spirit whether: 1. CD’s or 2. old fashion tapes with 3. simple technology to play them on and 4. possibly excellent quality headphones to enhance hearing– these are lasting and valued gifts for elderly music lovers at home or in care centers.

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Help Aging Parents: Using the 5 Senses to Energize and Lift Older Peoples' Spirits

Gifts Emphasizing Taste, Vision, Hearing, Smell, and Touch
Add Enjoyment to Older People’s Lives

                                                Taste, Smell, Touch, Vision and Hearing

Gifts that make use of the 5 senses–our basic way of perceiving and interacting with our environment–are no doubt welcome. Especially for older people who live in assisted living, rehab, other facilities, these kinds of gifts may help combat the dreary, shorter days of autumn that will soon be upon us. Note: summary gift list is at end.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Autumn Ideas to Energize Aging Parents: A Focus on the 5 Senses

The 5 Senses: Apple Cider, Autumn Leaves, Crackling Fires, 
                                                 Pumpkin Pies Baking, and a Hug
                                               Taste, Sight, Hearing, Smell, Touch

If it seems like I’m rushing autumn, blame it on the school calendar we used to live by. I don’t know how old I was before I realized the day after Labor Day was not the end of summer.

Trying to be prepared, I’m thinking of creative ideas to raise older people’s spirits in autumn. Realizing the importance of the 5 senses, I’m wondering if we can energize and lift aging parents’ spirits–indeed any older person’s spirits–by bringing gifts or arranging activities that incorporate at least 1 of the 5 senses. I’m guessing you’re getting the idea.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Caregiving, Cancer, Computers

My brother's very good friend, age 75, has cancer. A biopsy taken today may not be back for 3-5 days, but scans show 2 highly suspicious tumors. He's in the VA hospital.  Should he come to NYC where the experts are--to Sloan-Kettering? Can I recommend someone? While I do know someone who "lives" the medical field and does thorough research, added information before action is needed.

I'm also aware that the sister whom I've never met and I assume is in her 70's, is already caregiver for 2 sisters. One, 82, is confined to a wheel chair; the other has major health issues. The caregiver sister has been the sole caregiver for several years with a little help from her 75-year-old brother. Since all the siblings live together, it's probable that she will soon have additional caregiving responsibilities because of her brother. I offer to phone her.

The sister was appreciative, basically clueless about support. Visiting nurse services? She'd never heard of them. Social services? Her mobility-challenged sister was receiving physical therapy each week--had been for at least a year--but she didn't know who arranged it and knew nothing about social services. This caring, giving woman has been caregiving in a vacuum.