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Director's Message

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

I write this month as we return from the Christmas holiday. The holidays are often an occasion for families to get together, whether for a meal or a longer visit. This is when we notice changes from the last visit in parents, friends, and extended family members.

It may be that you notice that someone’s balance or mobility is worse, or that they don’t seem to see the dust kitties in the corners, or that the piles of mail are overwhelming the kitchen table. Maybe there are burn marks on the counter by the stove or more obvious signs of memory loss. I don’t want to be all negative because it can also be reassuring to find out that things are going well, that a person is doing fine on their own, or that there is a very special caregiver in place.

Often this visit is a difficult experience for family members. It is never easy to see people you love and think of as vital and fully independent experiencing challenges. Some people are also good at covering, especially when visits are brief. Family members often say to me “it isn’t really so bad” when telling me about someone falling or getting lost driving. But it is important to watch for, and respond to, signs of risk to prevent more serious harm. I remember when I realized that my father-in-law was not using any proper nouns although he was participating in the conversation in a way that seemed appropriate. It was hard for his children to consider the cognitive loss implications I saw in this. Digging deeper revealed unpaid bills and poor decisions based on confusion. I see an important part of our job as the care coordinators at PSRC to help families learn what to look for, how to respond, and what may lie ahead so they can plan.

Many people come in to see us in the weeks after these family holidays. PSRC is a tremendous resource. Care coordinators can help you through consultations and assessments (by appointment) to identify options, make a plan and connect with support services. It is our goal to help people preserve self-determination and independence as long as possible. It is important for them to be a part of this planning whenever feasible.

These holiday visits are also a wonderful opportunity to have “the talk” between generations. “The Talk” is about how you want to spend the rest of your life; where you want to live, how you’ll finance it, where you will find support, your end-of-life decisions. Often several family members are gathered and have time for conversation at these visits. Either parents or children can initiate the talk. Use the Five Wishes document or an anecdote as a springboard: “my friend Mary just moved to a smaller apartment in the center of town…” or “Mom, I noticed new dents on the car…”

I experienced this personally this holiday. I had more time to spend with my parents, and I was able to notice and dedicate time to tasks that have become hard for them to complete. I found ways to help that respected their need to feel in charge of the processes. I had time to slow down and explain how I was helping set up the new phones. We had fun reviewing photo albums and scanning favorites. This also gave us an opportunity to talk about those who are gone, and what it feels like to be nearly the last cousin or friend. And there is little that my mother enjoys more than dinners with her grandchildren!

 

We drove my parents to visit my aunt and uncle who live in their home, but both have mobility and health problems. Conversations with them about available services are met with declarations that they are doing fine, mixed with tales of recent visits by the first aid squad in response to falls. My cousins shrug and tell me they try to visit every couple of months or so. This is a sharp contrast to my parents’ gratitude!

I use my personal experiences and those shared by the dozens of people who have attended my caregiver support groups over the last 10 years to support family caregivers who attend these groups or consultations. Spouse/Friend Caregivers meet on the second Monday of the month at 1:30 and Children of Aging Parents meets on the second Wednesday at 4:30. Both groups are free and open.

Please remember that you are PSRC’s best ambassadors. Tell friends and family about our Partners In Caring Princeton services, which includes caregiver support, consultations, planning, education and linkage to services. Ongoing care coordination is also available if eligible.

 

Susan W Hoskins, LCSW

 

 

Previous Messages

Recharging

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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