Resoureces | Entrepreneur, Business Woman | Aileen Brazeau

Resources | Entrepreneur, Business Woman | Aileen Brazeau

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.

Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all.

I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.

Maya Angelou

 Happy Valentine's Day! from Aileen Brazeau

 

 

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Isolation can be Deadly

Aging-in-Place is what we all hope to do, even through our “golden years.” Surveys have found that an overwhelming percentage of elders hope to do just that – live at home throughout their lives. We just can’t see into the future and anticipate how we will feel when our spouse is gone, or the neighbors we’ve counted on for years all move away.

Be active and socialize

So many factors contribute to a large percentage of elders who begin to isolate themselves. Sometimes it’s mobility issues, and the fear of falling.  Other health issues like incontinence or vision problems can exasperate the problem. Who wants to go out for a visit and have to deal with a bladder problem?  

More often the cause is depression from the loss of a loved one. Many older people have to give up driving and that can be enough to make them depressed and just give up their social lives. Many older women depend upon their husbands to drive. If they lose their spouse, they also lose their transportation. Whatever the cause, experts agree; isolation is a strong indicator of morbidity.

 

A depressed senior is more likely to suffer from dementia. Many isolated seniors will soon suffer a major health crisis. The body often follows the mind. Now, that’s scary!

 

Family members are the best defense in all these scenarios. As your loved ones get older, be more inquisitive about how often they are getting out. Encourage other family members to drop by for a visit or at least call them often on the phone. If you are a long-distance care giver, get your parent’s neighbors, friends and fellow-church members to be aware of the situation. They’re usually happy to help, but they need to be asked.

 

Even a daily visit from “meals on wheels” can help your loved one be a little more connected. If they are healthy enough, volunteering can be a way to get them out with other people while doing something worthwhile for others. Very few elders who volunteer suffer from depression and it even lessens the likelihood of dementia!

 

There are so many senior centers now located across the nation. Your loved one might be reluctant to “join in” but if you go with them the first time, they might just find they like visiting with people their own age. Many offer exercise classes that can help with mobility issues. If your loved one has more serious issues, including incontinence, it’s time to see the doctor.

 

Moving will likely be the last option you will consider, but perhaps it shouldn’t be. Most elders balk at the idea of assisted living, but most find that their lives take on new meaning and become richer for the experience. I met “Pat” while working on my degree in gerontology. She never wanted to leave her beloved home, but a health crisis forced the issue.

 

“I hated the idea of living with old people,” said Pat. “But my neighborhood had become a desert for company. Everyone had moved away. The first week here at the retirement community was hard. But now I have friends to talk to every day. I love the exercise classes and the social groups. I’ve even met a man! I never thought I could be so happy.”  

 

Is your elderly loved one getting out less and less? It might be time to get involved and help them to help themselves. We are all social creatures. People need people. Loneliness diminishes our quality of life, and yes, it can even hasten our demise.

 

By Karen Everett Watson- Gerontologist

 

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Who Can You Count On?

For the past 10 years, my mother’s been a caregiver to my daddy. After losing his bladder to cancer, his health has fluctuated from being pretty good, to not good at all. It’s been a long road for my mother and it’s not over yet. I worry about my daddy. I worry about my mother almost as much.

 

The stress of caring can be costly. Did you know care givers are at a high risk of dying, even before the ones they are caring for? This fact was emphasized over and over again in my gerontology classes.

 

If you are the primary care giver to an aging loved one, I’d like to give you a head’s up – If you don’t get help, you will burn out. It could cost you your health. There are a lot of good reasons to share the load of caring. First, if you don’t get help, you and your loved one will suffer the consequences. Second, caring has its own rewards.

 

My children love their gramps a lot. But when he gets sick, they seem to avoid even talking about the issue. They’re all grown people with children of their own, but they might as well be in grade school when it comes to facing up to my daddy’s problems. I’m working on them. They’re not there yet. They will have to step up very soon! I don’t want them to have regrets. I want them to cherish the time they still have with both my parents.

 

So here’s to educating our family and friends –

 

Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen. Write down the names of your family members who live close enough to help. Leave some space between the names. Now, write down the close friends of your loved one who also live close enough to help. Then write down the names of church members and neighbors who could help you in a pinch. This is your network of caring. Get them involved. They will be better for it, and you will to.

Who can you count on?

 

Let them all know that your loved one would appreciate a visit, a phone call, or just having lunch with them once in a while. Whether or not they are living alone, or in a retirement community, they still need to be connected to people they care about. Don’t let people forget them. Encourage your family members to make time for them.

 

While you are at it, ask them if you could count on them for helping you. Sometimes you can’t juggle your life to take mom or dad to the doctor. I bet someone in your network of caring wouldn’t mind helping out. But you have to ask. E-mail is a great way to connect with your network of caring people. Keep them updated on what’s going on in your life and your loved ones’. I started a family facebook page, so all my kids and relatives can get updates from me. It’s been much easier than calling them all and they can also let me know what’s going on in their lives. Only my family members can see the updates. I like that.

 

Moving them might be necessary – and good for them!

When your folks just have to have more help than you can give, it’s time to have that talk. Most good communities encourage you to visit and have a meal. I’ve interviewed many elders in retirement communities and most of them say it’s the best decision they ever made. The activities and social connections are a new leaf on life. Boredom can ruin anyone’s quality of life. So, don’t die a martyr. Get the help you need so you can be a cheerful care giver!

By Karen Everett Watson

 

 

 

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About Aging

“You can’t reach old age by another man’s road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you.”

~Mark Twain

 

“Long gone are the days when hospital stays and surgeries made up the bulk of seniors’ annual medical expenses.”

~Jim Gerlach

 

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

 

“You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older.”

~Anouk Aimee

 

“There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.”

~Carol Matthau

 

“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.”

~Frank Lloyd Wright

 

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. ”

~Franz Kafka

 

“Everyone is the age of their heart.”

~Guatemalan Proverb

 

“Age has whitened the hair of some men while leaving their hearts unaffected, which remain fresh and young and beat just as strongly for every good and beautiful thing. ”

~Ludoviko Zamenhof

 

“You’re never too old to become younger.”

~Mae West

 

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”

~Mark Twain

 

“I am not young enough to know everything.”

~Oscar Wilde

 

“The years teach much which the days never knew.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“When you have loved as she has loved, you grow old beautifully.”

~W. Somerset Maugham

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About Friendship

“One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.”

~Euripides

 

“Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

~Muhammad Ali

 
 

“Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”

~Aristotle

 

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.”

~Thomas A. Edison

 
 

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.”

~Thomas Jefferson

 
 

“When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.”

~Edward W. Howe

 
 

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”

~Henri Nouwen

 
 

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

~Saint Thomas Aquinas

 

 

 

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About Compassion

“The act of compassion begins with full attention, just as rapport does. You have to really see the person. If you see the person, then naturally empathy arises. If you tune into the other person, you feel with them. If empathy arises, and if that person is in dire need, then empathic concern can come. You want to help them, and then that begins a compassionate act. Compassion begins with attention.”
~Daniel Goleman

 

“Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.”
~Arthur Rubinstein

 
 

“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.”

~Benjamin Disraeli

 
 

“To care for anyone else enough to make their problems one’s own, is ever the beginning of one’s real ethical development.”
~Felix Adler

 
 

“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.”
~Confucius

 
 

“A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.”
~Abraham Joshua Heschel

 
 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~Albert Einstein

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About Kindness

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” 

~Jesse Jackson

 

“A fellow who does things that count, doesn’t usually stop to count them.” 

~Albert Einstein ( a variation)

 

“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”

~Samuel Johnson

 

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. 

~George Washington Carver

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

~Philo

 

“Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.”

~William Menninger

 

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

~Albert Schweitzer

 

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.”

~Albert Camus

 

“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”

~Amelia Earhart

 


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