On Being a Caregiver

By Kevin Brown | Bio

It is my experience that caregiving is fast becoming another role that adults will take on in the communities in which we live. In fact, Statistics Canada reports that seniors made up 13.1% of the general population in 2005.  The Ottawa-based Institute of Marriage and Family, in their recently released report titled ‘Care-Full’, states that between 2005 and 2056, the average Canadian’s life expectancy will rise by seven years. One could assume that the statistics for the United States will be similar in nature.   

It seems to me, therefore, that even if you have not assumed the role of a caregiver in the past, it is a role that you will likely assume sometime in your future. As with any new role, a definition is usually helpful. Wikipedia defines ‘caregiver’ as “unpaid relatives or friends who support people with disabilities”. Another online source ‘The Free Dictionary’ gave this definition: “An individual, such as a parent, foster parent, or head of a household,

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Poverty or Pension?

Many retirees these days are revisiting their retirement and pension plans to see if they’ll have enough funds to weather the global recession. In Canada, 35% of seniors receive the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement benefit, which ensures that individuals receive a minimum annual income (including Old Age Security benefits) of at least $13,683. This level is still below the level set by the government as the deemed poverty level ($15,336 for 2008). CARP is now proposing that the government

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Simplifying Uncertainty

By Shae Hadden | Bio

Spring flowers bloom passionately on this sunny West Coast day, birds are preparing nests for their young and people run madly by me as I sit by the ocean and ponder what it takes to survive in these times. My search for a place to live has not yet been entirely successful, and the conversations I’ve had reveal both desperation and gnawing hesitation in myself and others to actually put a stake in the ground—metaphorically speaking—and declare that this is the future we are committing to. It’s almost as if, with so much uncertainty about so many things in our lives, we are afraid to take a chance—whether on an investment, a potential tenant, a business expense or a relationship.

What do we lose when we put aside possibility and focus on surviving?

I think that we lose touch with our courage and creativity. When things look difficult, change is tumultuous and our internal sense of balance is thrown off kilter, we often forget there is a silver lining to the economic doom and gloom. We now have an opportunity to return to the heart of things, to simplify our lives, to free ourselves from practices that might have had us living beyond our means.

There

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The Little Voice

By Jim Selman | Bio

For no particular reason, today I am more conscious than normal of my ‘little voice’—you know the conversation in our heads. I talk about this phenomenon a lot in my work. People laugh when I challenge the conventional view that they can control it: “Try to turn it off” or “Don’t think about what I am about to say”. Then I suggest that this conversation we are always having, what we call thinking, is in fact an endless stream of thoughts that may or may not be

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Eldering and Volunteering

By Jim Selman | Bio

Tough times can bring out the best in people. In these days of financial, environmental and social challenges, more and more of us are stepping forward and asking “What can I do?” Wherever we look, people and organizations are taking on problems and working hard to create a better world. Older people are volunteering more that ever. From an eldering perspective, they want a chance to make a difference.

People have an extraordinary capacity to go beyond what is reasonable

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Caregivers: Servant Leaders of the 21st Century

By Kevin Brown | Bio

In my last post, I shared my observations concerning the ability of my mother-in-law to embrace change. This week I thought I would focus on the challenges faced by her primary caregiver, my wife. Rather than address the challenges in the relationship between adults and their aging parents, I will share some of the challenges caregivers (family or friends) increasingly face from healthcare providers. Some of these challenges may indeed be unique to our province and country of residence (Alberta, Canada), but surely some will exist in your community as well. One of the third-party challenges my wife faces in caring for her mother pertains to her mother’s doctor. My mother-in-law is 91 years of age and, not surprisingly, has a number of medical concerns. She is a diabetic, has a bladder that is tipped and does not fully drain (therefore she experiences periodic bladder infections), and while she can walk on her own, she does benefit from the use of a walker as her balance isn’t all it used to be. 

My wife books her mother’s medical appointments and shuttles her mom back and forth to her doctor.  Recently, my wife picked her mom up to take her to the doctor to receive the results of some blood work as a result of a previous bladder infection. On the way to the doctor, her mother explained her toe was bleeding (not a good thing for a diabetic), and so upon arrival at the doctor’s office my wife asked them to check her mom’s foot.  The response

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Youthful Idealism and Boomer Resignation: Two Sides of the Same Coin

By Jim Selman | Bio

There was a wonderful article in USA Today by our new First Lady extolling the importance of ‘youthful idealism’ in these uncertain times. I couldn’t agree with her more and am happy to see her taking on this kind of generational motivation as part of her platform on behalf of the new Administration. Her call brings to mind JFK’s challenge to our generation: “Ask

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Age is No Excuse

Richard and Louise Guy, a couple in their 90s who live in Calgary, Alberta will be celebrating this Earth Day by climbing the 802 steps of the Calgary Tower. These 91 and 92-year-old participants in the annual Alberta Wildnerness Association’s fundraiser (the Climb and Run for Wilderness) will be honoured by the organization this year with the establishment of the Richard Guy Award for Most Climbs by a Senior Male. Read more about their inspirational story.

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