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A Creative Solution

Posted on January 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM Comments comments (0)
They were all ready for the wedding. Flight itineraries were in place, bags were packed, guest rooms were prepared and a week of festivities planned. The bride had arranged for this milestone event for more than a year.

It had been almost eight years since the family was last together for Auntie Meta's passing. During that time, so many things had changed. The "kids" were now teenagers. A few more relatives had moved out of town. One thing for sure, the family was spread out all over the U.S. How great it will be for the family to be part of this joyous occasion. The youngest Jeffrey was two, the oldest Aunt Betty was 87...three generations of relatives. 

Then it happened, a few days before departure Aunt Betty began having a problem with her balance. She became very concerned and feared that she would fall if she tried to go to the wedding. Like a house of cards, everyone's plans began to change. Now the entire family would not attend. Some would stay behind to help Aunt Betty,

But, all was not lost. Aunt Betty remembered her friend Lillian had just returned from a family vacation. Lillian took a non medical caregiver with her on the trip. Her family was relieved of their caregiving responsibilities and Lillian didn't feel like she was a burden. Everyone had a wonderful time. Lillian said it was one of the best vacations they ever had. 

It was a light bulb moment for Aunt Betty...she would do the same!
The moral of the story: Whether you are being cared for or if you are the caregiver, know that circumstances can change. When "life shows up" you don't need to change your plans, just look for a creative solution."

Autumn Is Here

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)
It's here! Today we turn over a new leaf and enter into autumn at 10:49. I must admit, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I am grateful for changing rich colors, pumpkin bread and harvest fests. For chipmunks that scamper in between the crunching leaves, for the smell of my neighbor's fire pit as it burns brightly in the early evening, and for the gift of an extra hour.

So, when you turn your clock back today, take a few minutes to be still and lean into this seasonal transition. Change is inevitable, it's how we deal with it that matters!

Perpetually Positive,

A Labor of Love

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 9:31 AM Comments comments (0)
Happy Labor Day Weekend!

It's a time to relax, enjoy family and friends, fire up the grill and just kick back. However, when you are caregiving, this may not be possible. For many, caregiving is a 24/7 responsibility. It truly is a "Labor of Love." For me, there is nothing more personally rewarding and more challenging than caregiving for a loved one" It's a daily workout of trying to achieve a balance that ensures that you have the time to love yourself and recharge your batteries so that you're in the game for the entire race, not just the sprint. 

So, when family and friends visit this weekend, be sure to let them help you. Ask them to each bring a dish. Make it a Labor Day Potluck. Let them assist with caregiving tasks which may include: preparing a plate, assisting with eating and other personal care needs. Allow your guests the pleasure of engaging your loved one. You can aid this process by having a few photo albums at the ready which are great conversation starters.  Or how about a deck of cards or love letters to stimulate interaction.

With a little fore thought, you can kick back, and get a much deserved break. Giving others an opportunity to become involved now and in the future.

Wishing you a great holiday weekend!

Halleen Kia - A Not So Senior Friendly Car Dealership

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM Comments comments (0)
I'm in the market to purchase a car and when I saw a newspaper ad that caught my eye I asked my Dad, (Papa Dale) to follow up for me. After all, he knows the questions to ask, has a mechanical inclination and most of all is a very happy owner of a 2012 Kia Optima which he acquired earlier this year.

When he made the phone call on my behalf, he put the call on speaker, because I was still at home getting ready for work. What should have been an information gathering call, including setting an appointment for a trip to the dealership to sign an agreement, turned into something that disturbed me enough that I am now writing about the experience.

I found the salesman to be rude and very disrespectful. The salesman's comments were condescending and he treated Papa Dale as though he was feeble-minded  and just didn't understand. When my Dad got off the phone, he could see that my feathers were ruffled. He said, "Oh, it's no big deal, the guy's probably just having a bad day." My response was, it's not okay to treat people in that way.

I could go on and on, but, I'll give you the "Readers Digest" version. Despite voicemails and emails to Halleen Kia's customer service department and management over a two week period, I received no follow up. So today, I got back on Halleen Kia's website and emailed that I was interested in a car. You guessed magic I received a follow up phone call in less than two hours.

A delightful saleswoman named Kris, responded to my email by phone. I am sure that she was not expecting to get an ear full. After listening to my concerns, she asked if I would like to speak to the sales manager. Of course, I said yes, and she said she would have him call me.

Within another fifteen minutes, I was on the phone with the Sales Manager. I was expecting to speak with someone who cared, who understood the need to treat all customers with respect, to listen and respond with understanding and sensitivity.  Most of all, I expected to speak with someone who appreciated the correlation between sales and a positive customer experience.

BOY WAS I WRONG! the manager listened to my story, and said, "I'll tell the salesmen that he always needs to be on his best behavior no matter what. We have great customer satisfaction most of the time. Unfortunately, you were one of the times that fell through the cracks. That's what happens when you have the volume we have. If I can ever be of service to you or your family give me a call."

Now, I will let you the reader decide for yourself. For me, HALLEEN KIA goes on the NOT SO FRIENDLY TO SENIORS LIST. My dear friend quoted this adage, "The fish stinks from the head down."


When is it time to bring in some help?

Posted on July 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM Comments comments (98)
I’ve been speaking with a family for about four months now about the possibility of adding non-medical services which would allow Mom and Dad to stay in their much beloved home. Everyone agrees that this is a necessary step however, no one is willing to make that final decision.

In the meantime, tensions are rising. Mom and Dad are blue, stating “we’re waiting for this final passage in our lives.” This could and should be a time to enjoy a round of golf, or two and more with some planning.

It saddens me to see seniors facing each new day with such a bleak point of view. Yes, it’s true, time is short, so, let’s make the most of it. How about focusing on maximizing each day with vim & vigor? Let’s laugh until our sides hurt! Let’s plan that game of golf, the lunch with friends, or a day of antiquing.

The bottom line...don’t hesitate to ask for help when each day is a burden, when chores seem overwhelming, when the spark in life has gone out.  Better yet, be proactive. Seek out a non-medical professional whom you trust and whose company you enjoy. Then jump in with both feet and hire that person to come over for an hour or two and you help garden, or with other chores. Ideally, start building that relationship early on. Think of this as an investment in a positive, bright future for yourself and for your entire family.

Here’s to a making the most of each day,

Having a Purpose

Posted on May 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM Comments comments (93)
I am sure you will agree,no matter our age, we all need to have a purpose. A reason to get up in the morning. A passion that fuels each day and moves us forward.
Sometimes, as we age that purpose can be more difficult to find. I meet with many seniors who say they have lost their reason to live. Their family is grown, perhaps moved away and friends are passing, There is nothing that drives them to a higher quality of life.
Here's what I suggest to them and what I suggest to you should you find yourself or know someone in a similar situation.
  • Find a cause that motivates you. Animals, babies, children, homelessness, literacy. The list goes on and on.
  • Jump in, where you fit in! For example, if babies gets your pulse racing, how about cutting coupons out for disposable diapers, baby formula, food, and more? Send or deliver these valuable items to a local shelter that helps Moms and babies. Do you love to read? Then share your love and skill with a child or an adult that can't. Your local library will have a list of organizations that help people learn to read, such as Seeds of Literacy.
  • Do you feel strongly about a Presidential candidate? Get on board with their campaign. Go to their headquarters and volunteer, or call them to see what you could do from home.
  • Contact your church and ask them about their needs. Could you write cards to members who are shut-ins? How about helping with the church newsletter? Teach a Sunday School class or assist with a Bible study.
The list really is endless. What matters most is that you make a decision to Make A Difference! That will make the world of difference in your life too!
Celebrating the Power of One,

Loss of a Loved One

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 1:03 PM Comments comments (0)
The anniversary of my Mom’s passing occurred just a few days ago. I can’t believe it’s been three years already. What I find really astounding, is the feeling of serenity that has replaced the emptiness.
My Mom and I were best friends. Rarely did a day go by that we wouldn’t at least talk. For many years we worked together and played together. There was no greater shopping partner than “Choo Choo.” We enjoyed many a trip and sale. In fact, some of my favorite memories were of our shopping excursions in Seattle and Chicago.
Now, that’s not to say we didn’t have our moments. We drove each other crazy at times, but, we were always there for one another.
It was a privilege to be with her during her final hours. Even though she knew she was dying she never complained. For six months she faced each day with the grace, determination and sometimes stubbornness for which she was known.  
With the help of a wonderful hospice team from Cleveland Clinic, Mom was able to die at home, with dignity, surrounded by her family and the things she cherished.
With everlasting love and serenity,

Happy Spring

Posted on March 29, 2012 at 8:54 AM Comments comments (0)
Have you heard the good news? Spring has arrived!  The other day, I was shopping with a client, whom I'll call Millie. We both giggled with anticipation as we saw crocus and daffodils breaking through the ground.
We decided to bring that excitement indoors and started a few plants utilizing the sunlight that comes through her kitchen window. It took us the better part of the day to plan, decide on which soil to buy, to select just the right seeds and plant these tiny treasures. What a great time we had!
That day we started more than just plants. We established something that we could both look forward to, such as watching to see when the seeds started to germinate. We also planted the seeds of hope and purpose, for without Millie's daily nurturing, the seedlings will surely die.
Today, consider starting some plants of your own. Perhaps some early producing plants such as Early Girl tomatoes and Spring Cabbage if you like fresh veggies.  For the flower lover, try your hand at colorful zinnias and nasturtium. How about sharing some of your plants with a neighbor? Donate your seedlings to a church, your local senior center or community garden. Then your plants will beautify these important resources, or provide much needed food for the less fortunate and everyone will enjoy your handiwork.  
Encourage your family and grandchildren to get involved. Make that part of your next visit. Remember, life is about living! It's about having purpose, no matter what your age or infirmity.
Happy Spring,

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Posted on March 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM Comments comments (0)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
My prayer for all who visit.
“May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows,
Like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come

and warm himself at it, as well as the friend.
And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the windows of a house,

Bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you - the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up,

And shed their sweetness on the air.
And may the blessing of the great rains be on you,
that they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean,

and leave there many a shining pool, and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you - the great round earth;
May you ever have a kindly greeting for people you pass

as you are going along the roads.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.”

Happy New Year

Posted on December 31, 2011 at 9:17 PM Comments comments (0)
Like many people, I too make New Year's resolutions. On the top of the list are usually to exercise more and eat healthier.
As a caregiver, I've decided to do something completely different in 2012. Here are a few of
my thoughts.
  • I will say no more often. I like to volunteer and serve on committees at church and in my community. A good friend of mine gave me some sage advice. She said, "Don't give up the things that you enjoy, just rethink your involvement. When someone asks you to lead or join a committee, say I am unable to make that kind of commitment right now. But, I might be able to volunteer the day of the event."
  • I will be more mindful and present. I don't know about you, but caregiving days just seem to fly by. Days turn into weeks, then into months and before you know it, another New Year will be here. In 2012 I will reach out to family and friends more often and ask for help. I
      will look into other caregiving tools that will give me peace of mind. That will result in more   
      time to myself which will lead to quiet moments and the ability to be present. TADAH!
  • I will laugh until it hurts. With my stress level reduced, I know I will have more time to enjoy life and a good belly laugh. I will read the "funny papers" watch more comedies, and seek out things that tickle my funny bone.
With all this said, I'll be on my way now. I have said yes to a New Year's Eve party, where I will be present, celebrating the beginning of a new journey, and laughing it up with family and friends.
May 2012 be a wonderful year for you and yours and may the joy and peace of Christmas remain with you.