Friday, October 21, 2016

Old Parents, Breast Cancer Surgery and Dental Work: Options–Do All, Less, or Nothing

Is it Better to do Nothing or--at least--Less?  
and A Woman Rejects Mammograms at a Certain Age

A friend just drove to upstate New York to be with her 70-some-year-old mother who was having a lumpectomy. While her mother didn't want her to make the trip, she was glad to do it so she could help out a bit. That's what daughters do, right?

I thought about Sr. Advisor, R, who in her early 90's, decided against any more mammograms--period. Her rationale: if they found something suspicious she wasn't going to do anything about it anyway, so why impact her life with knowledge that would only cause stress and concern--for herself and for those around her. When R died in her sleep at 101, it was assumed old age was the reason.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Lifting Aging Parents' Spirits in the Fall--6 Ideas

img_2293 Fall foliage and Walkers in Central Park 2015

Do we notice mood changes in elders when less daylight makes days feel shorter? 

September 22nd. The beginning of Fall-- the Fall Equinox. Hours of daylight lessen. Days feel shorter. Darker days darken some people's mood. Clearly the elderly aren't immune and may be even more at risk if they live alone or are inclined to "see the glass half empty."

The idea of cozy, apple cider, pumpkin pie and beautiful fall foliage may be off their radar--replaced by gloom, doom, and loneliness as they contemplate--literally--darker days ahead

Adding some spirit-lifting ideas for this group has become tradition for Help! Aging Parents. But we're a bit earlier this year and why is that?
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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Image result for "I get by with a little help from my friends sheet music image
Caregiving. Caregiver support. One size never fits all. We have our own ways of approaching and handling things.That said, a reference to this Kiplinger's magazine article, Pitching In When Caregivers Need Help, was glaring at me as I began moving older Newsworthy articles from the column at right, to "Newsworthy Archives" (above). Having just gone through months of what qualifies as "caregiving," I'm thinking the idea for finding additional help as offered by Kiplinger's  three listed sites below may appeal to many.
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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Help Aging Parents–and Us! PINs & Passwords

Picture this: Our with-it aging father banks online and has a smart phone. But we don’t know his PINS (personal identification numbers), passwords or where–or even if–there’s a list of them somewhere. This didn’t trouble us when we bragged about his ability to use new technology, but it becomes a gigantic problem when a health event that affects his memory occurs–namely: he can’t remember his PINS or passwords.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Help Parents Age Well--With Hugs and Love--Until the End

 Importance of Hugs and "Love You's" for Older, Hospitalized Adults
                                    (Seems obvious, doesn't it)

"Hugs" and "Love You"--two expressions generously shared these days.They make us feel valued, nurture our souls, support emotional and physical well being.  They're exchanged countless times by friends and family in our younger years, lessening in old age, and problematical for hospitalized elders and those who love them, especially at life's end.

Hospitalization makes hugs and personal sharing tricky. Aides come in to draw a drop of blood and take temperatures numerous times daily. Physical barriers exist between us and the person in bed. IV poles, monitors, drips, lines, tray tables, night stands--and those bed rails--defy making easy physical contact....unless one has super-long arms or is a contortionist. Hospital regulations, loss of privacy and constant interruptions interfere with that special, loving connection we ideally want with our love ones. And touching is a powerful part.

 The Question:
How do we convey our love and caring to one restricted to a hospital bed?

I'd forgotten how hard it was to give my mother a hug when her small body lay in that wide bed with bed rails up to keep her safe. I forgot how ludicrous I thought it was when elderly people are so weak they need help to turn over, yet have bed's rails blocking  access.

Here's the recipe to combat that isolation and bring some normalcy and love into the equation:

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Aging Parents: When We Invest Ourselves in Caregiving

When we work hard at something, expend great effort--perhaps even go beyond what we thought were our limits--we've invested ourselves. Indeed, when we've put a lot of ourselves into something it permeates us. Be it caregiving or whatever, it becomes a significant part of life; the major part of life; and for some individuals--their life. Over time it's easy to lose perspective and upset the needed balance to be emotionally and physically healthy.

                               "You've got to take care of yourself."

How many times do caregivers hear that? We needn't be geniuses to know that food and sleep are necessary for physical health and stamina; but there may be precious little of both due to circumstances beyond our control. It's also easy to get so caught up in the demands and decisions that we forget priorities. We may think about our needs, but other demands supersede.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

When We No Longer Have Aging Parents--or a Spouse

"I've stepped to the front of the line." Although R had been
widowed for years prior to her elderly mother's death, she often
said that after her mother died. It wasn't until later that it made
an impact and I understood the meaning. I sensed her feeling:
no longer was someone ahead of her to protect her.
Psychologically, did she still feel her 90+ year-old mother had
been  a protector? a buffer? a first line of defense? I wondered.

Indeed, she had us: her son and me, her daughter-in-law. We could and would share her responsibility and be there for her. That said, she cherished independence and was an intelligent, fully functioning, involved woman. Although grateful, she must have considered us back-up.

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