I turned on the location part of the map program and then showed my father how look over maps of his neighborhood and town. Next we put in a few favorite places from the — Carnegie Hall in New York City, Branch Brook Park in New Jersey, Rochester, New York, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a town where he went to college and more. We even visited the Library of Congress.
Each time I showed Dad how he could enlarge the map to a point that allowed him see actual neighborhoods and streets that he remembered. He was just delighted to connect with so many familiar places. As we played together, we probably looked up eight or ten locations where Dad had visited, lived, or worked. Now I know that we can also do this on Google Earth, which not only gets to the street but also to a picture of the actual house or building – but a year ago, pre-iPad — when I demonstrated Google Earth to my parents, it required way too many steps.
Information about the conference is from the Changing Aging website and more information is available there. Because of continuing interest in the Green House Homes movement, and after posting four Green House Homes pieces, on this blog, I am planning to listen in to these presentations, and you can, too. See the information below.
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You can view the conference livestream from The Green House website here. Here’s a schedule for the sessions that will be broadcast live, including Dr. Bill Thomas and panels featuring elders and shahbazim:
September 29th@ 9:00-10:00a EDT
- Elderhood: on Being and Doing,Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder of the Eden Alternative and The Green House Model
September 29th @ 4:15-5:15p EDT
- Elders Rule! Panel of Elders Talk about a Life Worth Living!
September 30th @ 1:30-2:30p EDT
- In a Different Voice,Panel of Shahbazim
As Our Parents Age has published a series of articles on the planning and building of Green House Homes, a concept developed by Dr. Bill Thomas. The series includes: Green Houses for Older Elders, Replacing a Nursing Community with Green House Homes, Nuts and Bolts of Green House Planning, and Building a Green House Home – The Inside. To learn even more about Green House® Homes go to the web site and request the DVD and/or guide-book.
Take parents who like to use the Internet, are interested in history, and have lots of memories from earlier times in their lives, on a visit the American Memory Project.
This amazing site at the Library of Congress has digitized exhibits — pictures, postcards, letters and music, and much more. Browse the collection by such topics as sports, religion, maps, and literature, to name just a few (see list graphic of collections from the LOC website).
The site is easy to navigate, and by clicking on the “list all collections” button in the right corner (on the site, not on the image to the right), a user travels to a huge alphabetical list of topics. The library is constantly digitizing and adding to its collections, so returning to the site frequently is a must.
Sometimes an aging parent unexpectedly shares a story from years ago — in this case nearly 75 years.
Long before Mother’s stroke my husband went to Cincinnati on business, staying downtown at the Netherland Hotel, a National Historic Landmark recently restored to its 1930′s grandeur. A few months later we traveled to South Carolina to see his mother, an Ohio native. Our young adult daughter came along on the trip.
After hearing about my husband’s trip, his mother began reminiscing about her childhood visits to the Netherland. She began by explaining in detail how in those days people often spent time socializing in the hotel lobbies and how on one trip Amelia Earhart was also there, in her leather aviatrix jacket and long billowing scarf. Read more »
People experiencing dementia, even those with loving family members nearby, are often bored, frightened, and agitated. Rarely do they get enough socialization. An April 14, 2010, Chicago Tribune article by Ted Gregory, Elderly Dementia Patients and “At-risk” Students Create Friendships, describes a successful activity in Chicago that builds relationships between teens and elderly people living with dementia. Sponsored by the Memory Bridge Foundation, the program encourages young participants to help their elderly friends communicate and share memories. In the process students increase self-esteem and confidence while discovering that their new friends have intact personalities and memories to share.
The Memory Bridge mission, its programs, and its video, There Is A Bridge, are dedicated to helping people — those with a family member experiencing dementia and those who merely fear it — to understand how the essence of each person endures far longer than even many experts imagine. Read more »
So interesting to read the about the research, Sustained Experience of Emotion After Loss of Memory in Patients with Amnesia (abstract), published in the April 12, 2010 early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The University of Iowa researcher, Justin Feinstein, found that patients, while they could not retrieve memories, were able to feel and express emotions (more article links at the end of this post). While the research was conducted with amnesia patients, we had similar experiences with my husband’s 91-year-old mother during the later stages of dementia — right up to the day before she died.
Before each daily visit we would search for something, a picture, a cartoon from The New Yorker, a short piece to read to her, a picture or department store ad from the New York Times, something to do with Broadway musicals – anything from her past. Read more »
Aging parents, we should all understand, have frustratingly aging bodies, yet many are seeing and perceiving the world just as they always have. In fact, I’ve heard them say how curious it is to look in the mirror and see themselves staring back. Some wonder, “Who is that old person looking back at me?”
About 25 years ago, my mother was helping to care for her mother, and I was clueless about caring-for-aging-parents responsibility. Not anymore. I remember, in detail, an incident with my mother’s mother.
Late that summer my husband and I visited the assisted living community where my 91-year-old grandmother lived. Read more »