In my town there lives a gentleman named Gus, who lives a life of partial retirement. While his age entitles him to Social Security and Medicare benefits, he also rises at 5:00 a.m. daily in order to be ready for his morning drive to a nearby hotel, where he reports to work from 7:00 a.m.-noon, five days a week, minimum. His business card credits him with sales and marketing; and while yes, he does book large groups in need of a hotel in which to stay for an upcoming engagement or celebration, this gentleman also runs errands for hotel management, assists with payroll, manages the front desk, fills in for errant employees, acts as the go-between for guests in crisis and high-up management, and drives the occasional guest to the airport using the hotel van. He also comes running in the middle of the night when there is an emergency at the hotel, as his is the number overnight employees are directed to call in a pinch. When the owners of the hotel are on vacation, he is put in charge of the staff and the hotel, as his decades in the industry (60) and his unusual aptitude with language (at one time in his life he was fluent in seven of them) make him invaluable for the staff as well as the management, and he is as much appreciated for his skills as for his true love of the work. Continue reading “Working Late” »
I was speaking with a friend who’d attended the most fascinating service the other day, certainly one which got us both to thinking, in which a young man was formally given his Hebrew name in front of an entire congregation of worshippers. Continue reading “The Secret” »
(This is the second half of my most recent blog post. Read Part I)
- Get yourself a spiral notebook
(A memo pad or journal will work, too–whatever suits your style–just so long as you keep it handy.) Use it to jot down questions you’d like to ask the head of marketing during your tour. (It’s important to remember that this person is trying to close a contract.) Whenever something comes to mind, write it in your notebook. Ask for an appointment time which coincides with a meal, so that you can not only taste the grub but also see how the residents take to it. Do they get to plan their own menus? What if your parent has dietary restrictions (medical or religious)? What if Mom is under the weather and can’t get out of her apartment for a meal? Will someone be available to bring it to her? Is there 24-hour access to a physician? Who dispenses medication, and what’s the process to ensure it’s done in a timely and safe manner? Speaking of assistance, the staff—from janitorial services to front desk to kitchen to counselors—are the frontline, day to day faces your mom or dad will see. A smile, a nod, a greeting, etc., these small acts of kindness make all the difference in another person’s life. Greet all the staff members you see with a smile. What reaction do you get? If you’re able, break away for a moment and ask about their job satisfaction. “Would you bring your mother here?” is the perfect question to ask any residential employee.
Continue reading “Get Ahead of the Game When Selecting a Longterm Senior Care Residence for Moms and Dads. Part II” »
Entrusting your aging parents to the care of someone else is one of the toughest decisions an adult child will ever face. It seems we cannot escape the media accounts of innocent senior citizens falling victim to the “caretakers” tasked with providing them the safety they deserve. What if something like this were to happen to your own parents? The thought alone is panic-inducing.
How can you ensure that Mom or Dad will be wholesomely cared for in the facility you select? Continue reading “Get Ahead of the Game When Selecting a Longterm Senior Care Residence for Moms and Dads (Part I of II)” »
Time-honored techniques for coping when your aging parents are stressing you out
The parent-child relationship… To say it’s complicated is as understated as saying the world is a big place.
Let’s face it, even in their younger days, your mom and dad had a special way of grating on your nerves—something which has nothing to do with how much you love them. Continue reading ““If you don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…”” »
As is the case with so many of us living in the sandwich generation, we are separated from our aging parents and our other adult siblings by miles, states and even coastlines. If we’re lucky, this means that Grandma and Grandpa are doing a great deal of traveling on their own in order to be with us, our own kids and other loved ones. Not one of us wants to imagine our aging mom and dad worried, or heaven forbid, stranded on the road during any leg of their travels because they’re suddenly strapped for cash. Continue reading “When Your Aging Parents Hit the Road: Tips for Handling High Hospitality Hold Fees” »
Last November, I wrote a blog post featuring 10 tips for a successful transition when moving an aging parent into one’s own home. Reviewing this post myself today, I can’t help but notice that the premise seems entirely senior-centric. The bulk of the effort seems to fall on the adult child and his or her own nuclear family, who are all expected to make the elder Mom and/or Dad as comfortable as possible in new surroundings.
In fact, no topic in my line of work hits harder than the subject of aging in place. Almost all elders wish to do it, while few have the luxury of choosing to do so, thanks to safety concerns and the often painful reality of growing old. To add insult to injury, their fate is being decided by someone whose diapers they used to change. Continue reading “Avoidance is Not the Answer” »
No matter what the situation a member of the sandwich generation may face, be it the realization that your aging parent is no longer fit to drive a car or needs help remembering when to take his or her medications, or that one or both of your parents needs to be moved to an age-appropriate living facility, it is never easy to broach that discussion with your folks. Continue reading “How to Empower Your Aging Parents” »
I have a question for those of you in the sandwich generation–that demographic of adults who are trying to strike some measure of balance between your life as a mother, wife, sister, husband, career-person, etc., and as a caretaker of your aging parent(s).
Do you have an updated medication list for your parents? Do your parents even have one? If you answered yes and yes and figure you can stop reading now, just answer one more before you go: Do those lists match up?
If not, it’s time to take care of this—pronto. Continue reading “The Medication List: a (not too) Bitter Pill” »
Recently, I worked with a family in a state of physical and emotional transition. The adult child had finally convinced her aging mom, who had begun suffering from dizzy spells and resultant falls, and even fractured a wrist, to make a permanent move to a safer place: her household—which included a husband and three active kids.
For this adult child and her husband, both working full time and raising their own family, moving Mom into their home seemed the easiest solution for keeping her safe.
But as everyone soon discovered, this endeavor would be anything but easy… for anyone. Continue reading “Tips for Moving Your Aging Parent into your Home” »