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Director's Message

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

 

I am writing this month from the Oregon Coast. I can see and hear the Pacific Ocean between the houses behind us. My in-laws have lived here full-time since retirement, in a home built as a summer cottage by his father when they first developed the area in the 1920s. My father-in-law was a college professor, enabling them to spend summers here for years, and the family has continued to gather in August almost annually.
 
My father-in-law is 92 and my mother-in-law is 91. Over the past three years, it’s been increasingly challenging for them to live independently, though they want to stay here in their home. The family has explored several options, which has been difficult from the distances of Hawaii, California, Boston and Pennsylvania. One sister-in-law has been with them full time since early December. She felt so strongly that family care was the only acceptable choice that she has put her life on hold. We are giving her respite by covering June, while the other sisters will cover July and August, and then she will return.
 
When I arrived, I knew I had a lot to learn about their daily routines, dietary requirements, medication regimens, etc. But what I observed with awe is the delicate rhythm of the dance of their lives. My sister-in-law has been so dedicated and tuned-in that she met many of her parents’ needs without their notice. She has fine-tuned how she helps them find their way with dignity and a sense that they are making choices. In the few days we had together, she showed me how their lives flow like waves, so she senses when to move in and out just when needed. They, in turn, have been more open to assistance and guidance. There is a new feeling of being at peace with their lives, genuine gratitude for the gift of family care, and a tenderness I have not seen in the 30+ years I’ve known them.
 
I have slipped into this routine as seamlessly as I could. Life here goes at a different speed than I am accustomed to. Meals are leisurely, a time for connecting as well as nourishing. Decisions evolve from lengthy deliberation and frequent repetitions for hearing and cognition. I am reminded to slow down, and to make sure they know where I am going when out of sight. I listen to poems and letters written long ago and look at pictures of people I’ve never known.   I find time to read and walk on the beach daily amidst the tasks of daily living. And I open myself to feel the rhythm of when to move in or out.
 
I think that one key to successful aging at this stage of life is continuing to find purpose. This has been more challenging as they have less mobility, fewer living friends and spend more time reflecting inward than connecting outward. My mother-in-law happily finds purpose in reviewing (“sorting”) letters and photos. My father-in-law finds purpose in monitoring events in the neighborhood, from the roofers across the street to the latest building development. Together we weed, tidy up and prepare meals.
 
Being a part of this stage of their lives has been a gift that I know strengthens my ability to help other family caregivers. I am grateful to my sister-in-law for showing me the rhythm of this life. Now I hope to share what I have learned with my husband when he joins me this weekend, who will pass it on to his other sisters, each of whom will also adjust the dance to fit who they are.
 
Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW
 

Previous Messages

GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

Multi-generational Households

No One Ages Well Alone

Help at Home

Gratitude

November 2016 Family Caregiving

October 2016 Annual Report

September 2016 Corporate Healthcare

Strategic Planning

Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 Director's Message Part 2 - We Need Your Help

May 2016 - Part 1 - Going Solo

April 2016 - Volunteering

March 2016 - Partners In Caring

February 2016 - PSRC's Strategic Plan

January 2016 - Hope

December 2015 - Gratitude

November 2015 - Helicopter Children

October 2015 - Is Princeton An Age Friendly Community?

September 2015 - Annual Report

July & August 2015 - Family and Community

June 2015 - A Gift that Keeps Giving

May 2015 60 Is the New 60

April 2015 - Spring

March 2015 - Being Mortal

February 2015 - Mentoring

January 2015 - Winter Blues

December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy

October 2014 An Age Friendly Future

September 2014 Annual Report

July - August 2014

June 2014 - Romance After 50

May 2014 - Your Virtual Estate

April 2014 - Memory and Forgetting

March 2014 - Aging in Community

Observational Stay

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

January 2014 - Attitudes about Aging

December 2013 - Giving

November 2013 - Healthcare Marketplace

October 2013 - Annual Report 2013

September 2013 - Total Brain Health® Fair

July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape

April 2013 - Becoming Visible

March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions

February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton

January 2013 - Men as Caregivers

December 2012 - The Safety Net

November 2012 - Going Solo

October 2012 - Documenting Your History

September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation

July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving

June 2012 - Diversity

May 2012- Aging in America

APRIL 2012 - TEN YEARS

March 2012 - Patient-centered Care

February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?

January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities

December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?

November - We need YOU!

October - Chocolate for Memory

September- Looking Back and Looking Forward

July - August 2011; Ageism

June 2011 - Accessibility

May 2011 - Paper retention

Knit Wits, April 2011

Lessons and Legacies, March 2011

Independent Living February 2011

Home Safety January 2011

Witness to my Life December 2010

Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010

Retire in 3D!

Strategic Planning September 2010

Am I Old? July 2010

Memory Clutter June 2010

Aging In America May 2010

Volunteering April 2010

Spirituality March 2010

Estate Planning February 2010

Encore Careers January 2010

Hiring Home Care December 2009

Annual Giving by Sharon Naeole November 2009

Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009

Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind September 2009

A Personal Perspective on Caregiving July/August 2009

TRANSPORTATION May 2009

Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity April 2009

Write your own obituary March 2009

Hobbies February 2009

Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January 2009

Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look! December 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning October 2008

September 2008 Caregiver Dilemmas

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

Spring Cleaning II June 2008

V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008

Spring Cleaning April 2008

Have You Had the Talk Yet? March 2008

Get Moving with FitRhythms™! February 2008

My Condolences January 2008

Advocacy December 2007

What Are Social Services? November 2007

Sensitive Topics October 2007

Plan for the Future September 2007

The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007

Volunteering June 2007

Strategic Plan May 2007

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

Brain Health March 2007

Resiliency February 2007

Transportation January 2007

Season of Giving December 2006

Medicare Part D November 2006

April Hill McElroy October 2006

Civic Engagement September 2006

Change June 2006

White House Conference on Aging May 2006

Hearing Loss April 2006

GrandPals March 2006

Lets Talk February 2006

Eldertopia January 2006

Hoarding December 2005

Annual Report: November 2005

Are You Prepared? October 2005

Planning Ahead October 2005

Watch Your Language September 2005

Medicare Part D Summer 2005

Sue Tillett June 2005

The End of the Journey May 2005

Clutter March 2005

New Dietary Guidelines February 2005

Transitions January 2005

Funding December 2004

Caregiving November 2004

Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004

A New Look September 2004

Safe Driving Summer 2004

Food Safety June 2004

Communication June 2004

The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004

Seniors On The Move April 2004

Depression March 2004

McGreevey February 2004

Medications January 2004

Random Acts of Kindness December 2003

Civic Engagement November 2003

Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003

Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003


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