Apropos of Distracted Driving, Children, and Cell Phones

In light of my previous post about the apparent extra protective layer that grandparents have when they drive their grandchildren around, I decided to post this BMW distracted driving advertisement. I believe that telephones and texting play a big role in parents’ accidents these days.

I wrote a longer post about the this BMW video on my other blog, MediaTechParenting.

Aging Parents: Happy Mother’s Day!

My mom and me in late 1952.

Last January I wrote this post about my amazing mother. Not too many people read it then, so I am recycling it because I had so much fun writing it. It is also pasted in below. What an amazing woman!

Besides being one of the Obama super-volunteers in the Shenandoah Valley last year, she is active in politics, a book club, and church, and she is always ready to get in touch with a Congressperson or Senator about an important issue (right now that is health care reform). Currently she is helping to make hygiene kits for Church World Service to send to Haiti. My mom loves her computer, uses it judiciously, and was on Facebook long before I was because she wanted to keep in touch with the young people who worked with her on the Obama campaign.

Though she is 82 years old, last summer Mom took a stress test when her blood pressure was high, and the result is that she has the body/heart of a 64-year-old. Did I mention that she swims and exercises four or five times a week?

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Aging Parents: Bodies Slower but Same World View

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. Continue reading

Aging Parents: Recognizing Social Wisdom

Assisting parents with their health and other issues often keeps us focused on difficulties, so it is easy to forget just how much experience older parents have with the game of life.

Now research from the University of Michigan’s Culture and Cognition Program published in the April 6, 2010 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) (click here for the abstract) suggests that older family members offer significant perspectives and positive attitudes and may be uniquely suited to help solve problems in their communities. The authors found, “Social reasoning improves with age despite a decline in fluid intelligence.” In his Associated Press (AP) article, In Social Dealings, Being Older is Being Wiser, Randolphe E. Schmid describes the research in detail.

Is there something that has struck you about a parents’s social wisdom?

N.B. January 2. 2011: When this post was written, the article was not available as a PDF.  The full text of Reasoning About Social Conflicts Improves into Old Age can be downloaded from the PNAS site

Aging Parents: Research on End-of-Life Decisions

Researchers at the University of Michigan have published Advance Directives and Outcomes of Surrogate Decision Making Before Death (abstract link) in the April 1, 2010, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study included 3,746 participants and focused on their end-of-life decisions between 2000 and 2006. Another article about the end-of-life research is at Medline Plus.

Visit the media news study summary from the University of Michigan Health Systems which describes the findings about end-of-life decision making. In the accompanying YouTube video presented by the lead author, Maria J. Silveira, M.D., M.P.H. the cogent points of the research are covered, and this is also an excellent video to share with parents and to use in our own end-of-life planning. Interesting points include:

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Medicare Donut (Doughnut) Hole-Health Insurance Coverage/Young Adult Kids

See links to other posts related to Medicare at the end of this posting.

Many of us caring for the health of aging parents are simultaneously worrying about our children—young adults trying to enter the job market who have no health insurance coverage. Even before the recession we worried because so many of our young adult children had minimal access to insurance coverage.

The legislation passed by the House of Representatives last night will allow us to breathe more easily at both ends of the caregiving age range. See the March 22, 2010 New York Times article, For Consumers, Clarity on Health Care Changes.

Go to What Goes into Effect Right Away — from House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee for the full list of changes that will take place immediately or within months after the bill is enacted. Of greatest significance to aging children with aging parents and young adult children are:

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