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Articles Posted in Resources for Seniors and Caregivers

handcaregiver-300x200There is a compassionate and hard-working army of heroes working in our midst, and they are not being fairly compensated for the critical work that they do.

We’re talking about home care workers.

These people—mainly women, many of whom are immigrants—fill a vital role in helping care for our aging loved ones, and yet many of them cannot even earn a living wage based on our current systems.

Aging-Quote-300x200Aging isn’t easy, but we all have to do it. Contrary to the myth our culture tries to sell us, there is no escaping the march of time and the changes it brings to our bodies, minds, and lives. And these days, understanding how to age well is increasingly important since our golden years stretch out for much longer than they used to. In the last hundred years or so, the average life expectancy has increased by almost thirty years.

The key, as it turns out, to being happy during the latter part of life is to discover and embrace the concept of positive aging.

This can be tricky, especially in a country like the United States, where getting older is something most people either ignore or fight. But science is proving that while aging may not be a bed of roses, there are lots of things we can do to make the process more enjoyable and ensure greater happiness and better health along the way.

pinecone-300x300All across the country, the pandemic numbers are trending steeply in the wrong direction. Epidemiologists have long warned of a difficult winter season, and we certainly seem to have arrived on the threshold of that prediction.

Sadly, this rise in cases coincides with the winter holidays, traditionally a time for friends and family to gather in year-end celebrations that begin at the end of November and run through the New Year. This means that families will be facing some very hard decisions about get-togethers in the upcoming weeks.

The problem is that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize holidays. And while people may be exhausted by the grueling experience that we’ve all been in since March, now is not the time to relax our guard.

AdobeStock_41168140-300x225By Esther Corcoran

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, as many people seem to think. It is a disease that impairs memory and intellectual abilities to the point where their daily life is being affected. When people notice things in their daily life changing, there are 10 early signs to be aware of and to keep into consideration before seeking medical help. 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially forgetting recently learned information. Other instances include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

downsizing

“Downsizing” is one of those words that seems simple, but can be wrought with overwhelming and emotional baggage. While it’s easy to embrace the concept – a smaller space, fewer possessions – actually getting rid of stuff is often harder than expected.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since we spend most of our lives accumulating “stuff.”

Year after year, we buy and collect, receive gifts, and save mementos, and it slowly fills up every drawer, shelf, attic space, closet, and corner of the garage. And then, in the course of a few weeks or months, we’re faced with undoing decades’ worth of acquiring.

It’s not easy. Continue reading

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This is the first in a 3-part series about the process and practice of becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In this part one, we talk about how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. 

As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

It’s also not something that anyone should have to do alone, especially when it comes to navigating the exhaustingly complex and sometimes downright intimidating territory of personal healthcare.

AdobeStock_125116470-300x200Even if you usually have an excellent sibling relationship, the stress and strain of caring for aging parents can bring up all kinds of issues and conflict. And if your sibling relationships are already less than perfect, you’ll be in for an even bumpier ride. 

The complex and often heart wrenching challenges of managing and coordinating care for an aging parent can create all kinds of problematic scenarios that result in disagreements. In a recent post, we outlined several of the common ones, including:

● Who will take on which responsibilities

AdobeStock_97938605-1-300x200It’s never too late to explore your artistic side. In fact, many people discover that the second half of life is the perfect time to learn an art or craft.

Whether you decide to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, sit down at a potter’s wheel, or strap on some dancing shoes, the arts offer countless opportunities for enrichment, fulfillment, and joy.

Many of our most beloved artists got their starts later in life. Monet didn’t get serious about painting until he was in his forties. Forty may be young by today’s standards, but in Monet’s day the average life expectancy hovered around the early sixties, making forty almost “venerable.”

men-sticking-tongues-at-each-other-300x211Sibling relationships can be fraught even in the best of times. Under the stress and strain of dealing with the needs of aging parents, they can deteriorate swiftly and dramatically. It’s a common issue faced by families from all walks of life. But it can be easier to manage if you know that to expect.

It’s important to make the distinction between knowing what to expect and having expectations.

Most people, if they are honest, have an idea of how they’d like their sibling group to handle the various financial, emotional, and day-to-day needs as parents get older. But reality doesn’t always line up with those expectations. With the added pressure and anxiety of having to make important decisions and sacrifices, adult siblings often fall into old childhood patterns, triggering each other in unhealthy ways. Emotions run high. The concept of what’s “fair” gets distorted.

Brendan-mug-shot-e1595015692932-281x300By Brendan Daly

As an elder law attorney, I’ve been advocating for my senior clients for twenty years, but I recently discovered that my 78-year-old dad still has a few things to teach me.

It was a lesson I maybe should have seen coming.

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