Friday, July 31, 2009

Cruel; Cruel Summer

BananaRama song. I just love the eighties music.
The summer has gone by far to quickly for me, and for the girls.
My youngest just turned 15 two weeks ago. She was given summer homework; this is for those students who excel- ironic huh? when I was a kid, summer meant down time- our brains shut OFF. Kids who fell behind had to attend summer classes.
Three books and reports and two essays, as well as an online test covering Of Mice and Men. In addition, she must have her science fair project outline ready on the first day of school (August 19th). Did I mention the history project?
As an aside- her subject matter for the science project- flip flops and fungus- How will she gather data- used flip flops- with a control pair of unused( I bought them she hated them).

We as adults do not get summers off, so I am not the most sympathetic mom around. She did read two books, and has found her project subject. She has not written any reports. Her time is running out and she is upset about the interference with summer " activities". These activities include- sleeping A LOT, tennis, going to the lake, going to the movies( every week) and spending time with friends A LOT. She has been involved with church youth activities, and did spend a week with grandma. Next week we will be in Washington DC(Thursday- Tuesday, followed by family in town; (Wednesday, Thursday) followed by family out of town( Friday- Monday); followed by school beginning(Wed).

We as moms are so ready for school to start. Our kids can't imagine why...

Let me just say here- My daughter is a great student, and is in advanced placement classes, as well as the fact that she excels in sports and her involvement with our youth group at Church at Rock Creek.
For those looking for science fair project ideas , we have found ideas on sites such as science buddies, and ( NO I am not getting paid)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rugs- They are the Enemy

I took tap lessons as a child. Shuffle- ball- step- every tapper has heard this term. Shuffling takes on new meaning for those struggling to " get around" in the house.
Often families do not consider the hazards on the ground. I mean in the home on the ground.
Most falls( 72%) for those over 70 take place in the house. In 2001 in the United States, more than 11,600 people ages 65 and older died from fall-related injuries (CDC 2003). Why?

While studies show that many falls take place in the bathroom; the kitchen and entryway come in close at second and third. The living room is not a common fall area. Consider all the common characteristics of bathroom and kitchen.

Reducing fall risks is paramount to remaining independent and healthy. Try shuffling your feet around the rooms. You will quickly realize that rugs and items on the floor are dangerous- even for those quick on the feet. 80% of all hip fractures occur in women add to that; the fact that hip fractures in women are one of three leading causes of nursing home placement. Take care of the aging older adult in your life by keeping the floors clear of obstacles.

The following are risk factors associated with falls:

Muscle weakness: limited leg/arm/hand strength
Problems: balance, walking, vision
Poor Eyesight:Inability to see hazards and objects in the path, leads to trips or slips
Medications: certain types of medications; taking multiple medications

One last thought-If your aging loved one has risk factors consider a personal alarm system. They can be purchased for less than $20.00 a month.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My momma did it

As I get older I see more of my mother in my conversation and habits. Hmm, some habits are healthy such as going to church, and eating my veggies. Some habits, maybe not so much.
Within my clientele I often see that habits are carried(not all good) into the next generation; Without questioning how useful this might be.
An example I often see is related to hoarding food and condiments. Sounds crazy I know; but my own family has done the same thing. I bet my mom has enough ketchup packets from fast food stores to last several years. She also re uses sandwich bags and aluminum foil( habits I am now trying to break).
Sugar packets and salt packets- I do not remember ever going into a home of elderly that did not have the single size sugar or Sweet and Low packets in abundance.
Families may find this behavior difficult to change in those that show signs of dementia. Keep in mind that often they have a fear of catastrophic events occurring and they feel the need to be prepared.

There are a few things families can do to minimize hoarding.

*Declutter the home during in-home visits by a therapist or professional organizer.
*Limit choices, (e.g., keep, recycle, sell, give or throw away). Make clear decision rules for each choice, (e.g., keep only 10 plastic bags, dispose of or recycle others). Use broad categories instead of many specific ones. Accept that others, including experts, may do things differently.
*Help your aging relative organize and categorize possessions to help decide which ones to discard.

Keep these thoughts in mind :

Memory related concerns: They may hold underlying beliefs that possessions are needed as reminders.
Fear of making a mistake or not being prepared for crises play a role in hoarding among the elderly.
Another issue may be related to insecurity in making the decision to discard an item. Loss of cognitive function may affect the ability to make decisions.
Poor insight into the consequences( such as messy home or crowded living space) also play a role in hoarding.

Finally: Have Patience

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sometimer's disease

In my quest to provide better services for my clients I have returned to college- I am working on my Masters in Counseling. I have completed most of the program on line. I have a few classes that require I must actually show up in the classroom and interact with at least moderately intelligent peers.
Summer seemed like the perfect time to take an on campus course- My workload is flexible- my daughter sleeps till noon.
I forgot one important issue- summer classes are only 8 weeks long. This means that I have twice as much work to do in each class. My Brain is tired. Very tired. I can't remember the names of my favorite childhood books any more, my friends laugh because I can't remember what I fixed for supper last night. I am focused on school and work. All the rest of life events are just fluff; entering one ear or eye and leaving quite shortly thereafter.

I have Sometimers disease- Sometimes I remember- sometimes I don't.

I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on campus 8AM -6PM. My daughter is off at grandma's for the week( I was getting cranky). The process culminated with a videotaped session of counseling a peer. We then received feedback from our professors.
I saw myself on tape- and did not care about anything but my disheveled appearance. It had rained- so my curls were frizzed, the shirt was unflattering- Why did I buy that? I look overweight. Not good.
My professor did tell me that I did well- and stayed on task with the client. That is nice- but my appearance overshadowed the session.
So this evening I start my diet.
I have referrals to call appointments to arrange, and now some health habits to change.

Wish me luck on this adventure of weight management.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Learning from clients

I think I learn more from my clients than they could ever imagine. I have been assisting a widow as he relocates to his daughter's home in another state( he is 80). He was educated at Princeton, and has traveled the world. This is a highly intelligent gentleman entering the time of reflection in his life.

This man has not let go of any tangible items in at least thirty years. He knows he has " a lot of stuff"- and sometimes laughs as we go thru his belongings "Why did I keep this?" We found his check statements back to 1972. He did let me put those in the shredder( to 2003).

I have learned about investing, traveling, photography and true love.

I told him last week- about my new effort to take less pictures. He laughed- " because of me".

Yep- I have packed away 6 large rubbermaid containers of his photos- most of which he admits he has never viewed. " I will get to it".

His daughter calls me- " please get him to get rid of some things". I was able to eliminate two boxes worth. I did get him to throw out old newspaper clippings- " I want to give them to the kids". I remind him that the kids have said that they would prefer that he did not keep these items. We are having an estate sale- he is not keeping his furniture.

As we go thru pictures of his wife- he shows me pictures from every anniversary. He still smiles when he looks at the pictures. I do not think my blog can do justice to his love for his wife. They met in High school, married had three kids and lived a "happily ever after life".

I feel so privileged to be a part of lives of older adults.

Next week- we take on the spare room and the " kids rooms"( the youngest has been out of the house since '88). I already did a quick look around- I found the silver in his daughters old room.

As a senior case manager at Senior Care Management ( I am able to work with aging adults and their families to provide service coordination and to work as liaison when families live out of state. I look forward to posting more adventures.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mid Summer Tan

I took off for the Water park Friday with my 15 year old and a friend of hers. Magic Springs, it is a 40 minute drive from my home.

The girls leave their belongings with me; I gather our towels and various accessories to create our space at the "leisure area". AKA mom placement. They disappear to the roller coasters.
I look around- moms every where- this is our delegated area of the water park. We get to sit by the wave pool and get some sunshine. Everywater park mom knows that our job is to be ready for emergencies- but not get in the way.

I tan fairly well- and so being the brilliant overseer- I put sunscreen on the girls- but did not put it on me. Do we see where this is going?

I head for the edge of the pool ( about ten inches of water lapping over my legs) and lay around for about two hours before the girls show up to get a drink. My daughter mentions my ankles look pink. I dab sunscreen and then flip over to my stomach. Another hour goes by- I notice other moms getting red, but I think I am getting a nice " glow".

It is hot so I head to deeper water for an hour. My ankles are burning- I mean they feel like they have a fever- I feel the heat coming from my legs. Not good. I talk to the girls and we are now heading back home- my flip flops are causing pain to my feet. I am burnt. The insides and tops of my legs and feet ARE BURNING. My skin is tight and hitting the brakes while driving is hurting my skin. I know better than this. I have grown up in the sunshine. The girls and I are back at the house, and I use cold water to clean off and then it is ALOE VERA for me.

This was yesterday. Today it is reddish brown- and this is a sunburn for the record books- not my proudest moment. I do have a nice tan on my face and arms.