Stop Saying These Three Things to Elder Adults!

day lillies

When they speak to elderly seniors, middle-age children and and other adults tend to say things, often unintentionally, that demonstrate a lack of respect and empathy.

Sometimes it happens when a person tries to solve a problem quickly; at others the goal is to move along getting to work or school on time. Not infrequently adult children are frustrated when they need to repeat things which they have already said multiple times. Unfortunately, every time we make one of these comments, the elders in our lives grimace, sigh, or merely shake their heads, making allowances for our rudeness. We don’t mean to say unkind, disrespectful, and yes slightly nutty, things to our elder family members and friends, but we do.

As I’ve talked with elder adults that I know, I’ve discovered three phrases that they dislike hearing.               Continue reading

Alzheimer’s Drug Researcher Becomes a Patient – Loses Job

This short article over at Caring.com reminds us that Alzheimer’s is not just a disease for older and elderly adults. Moreover the story reminds us that our stereotypes and dysfunctional thinking, when it comes to people who are coping with serious diseases, can do much harm.

Helping Aging Parents (and Ourselves) Avoid Scams

Read the FBI senior fraud prevention suggestions.

Read Prime Targets for Spam Artists, Paula Span’s April 20, 2012 column over at the New Old Age Blog. The fact that victims may not report fraud due to embarrassment is troubling and of special concern to adult children. Span posted her second column on the topic, with fraud fighting suggestions, on Monday, April 23, 2012,

In response to the huge number of phone calls and strange e-mails received by my parents and my husband’s parents, I’ve written a number of times about scams and seniors. Our family’s most irritating scam interactions are the phone calls made by Rachel at credit card services, though I suspect “she” has changed her name, given the large amount of venting about these calls on the web.

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Senior Parent Hospitalization, #4: Observations from My Dad

Dad, Mom, and Me!

I have more posts to share about Dad’s time in the hospital, but today, when he arrived home from the hospital, Dad sat down with his iPad and wrote these thoughts about his time as a patient. You may also enjoy the iPad for Dad series on this blog. Read more of the Senior Parent Hospitalization series. (MW)

…comments from my Dad…

On May 12, I was admitted to Rockingham Memorial Hospital (RMH) with complications from congestive heart failure (CHF).

It happened that I was invited to provide a Bible meditation for a study group at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community at the fourth floor apartment of another retired couple. They provided us with a delicious supper in the dining room and took us to their lovely apartment.

I was able to lead the study session until the final five minutes when a sense of strain affected my voice, and I struggled to complete the rest of the presentation. I excused myself from the session and went into the hallway to find a drink of water.  Continue reading

Aging, Respect, Caregiving, and Honor: How Many of Us Could Do This?

For Mr. Bronson, a Neighbor’s Kind Act Led to a New Family tells the story of a couple in the Washington, DC area, John O’Leary and Nadine Epstein, who became friends and shared a home with Mr. Bronson, a 90-year-old man who had lost his home. What began as a spontaneous offer of a bedroom 25 years ago, when O’Leary offered Mr. Bronson a place to live, developed into a caring relationship for all three individuals. Over the years, the couple helped him find a subsidized apartment, shared nights out, celebrated holidays, even took vacations. In turn, Mr. Bronson gave many gifts to O’Leary and Epstein — gardening, storytelling, enjoying Epstein’s son, Noah, and even attending  Grandparents’ Day at Noah’s school.

Washington Post reporter Annie Gowen describes how Mr. Bronson’s new family added extra support as needed as he grew older. Dementia and balance issues required additional care, and he is currently living in a rehabilitation community, but O’Leary and Epstein, who both work full-time, continue to live nearby so that they can visit, share meals, take trips, and manage transportation and appointments at doctor’s offices. Next they need to figure out what to do when Mr. Bronson no longer needs rehabilitation. In article Epstein commented, “We want for him what we would want for our own parents.”

The amazing thing is that O’Leary never needed to get involved 25 years ago — but he did. This is an extraordinary story about aging, intergenerational gifts, caregiving, respect, and honor, and O’Leary and Epstein are clearly extraordinary people.

Caring for Aging Parents…Balancing Life… Podcasts

Take a few minutes to read the post Striking a Balance: Eldercare and the Workplace over at Changing Aging, the blog of geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas (his bio at As Time Goes By). The post discusses how to balance parent caregiving with the rest of life. He was joined in a presentation by Dr. Judah Ronch (both men are on the faculty with the Erickson School at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, UMBC), and a short video provides some highlights. I’d definitely like to attend a presentation like this in my area.

Also at the post is a link to an hour-long Baltimore NPR radio show, hosted by Dan Rodricks, during which Thomas and Ronch discuss family dynamics of caregiving and answer questions from listeners. I listened to the entire program, finding it compelling and definitely worth the time.

Dr. Thomas is the founder of the Green House Project. Here is a link to another podcast with Thomas discussing the Green House Project ideas on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.