As I get older, I hear more from friends and colleagues about their struggles with their aging parents. A close friend is headed to Colorado to meet with her siblings to discuss care arrangements for their declining 90 year old father. Her dad doesn’t want to hear about obtaining help, assisted living, or any plans for hospice. He’s an independent, strong-willed, self-reliant cowboy who likes being in control. His 10 adult children see the writing on the wall. His quality of life is going to spiral downhill in a hurry. They worry that a crisis will force his hand. They want to come up with... Read More
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Turning 40 is a big birthday. The worst thing you can do is give your partner a surprise 40th birthday party! It heralds a new decade that “20 something’s” think of as “getting old”. I remember when I was growing up in the 60s we talked about “never trusting anyone over 30”. We were the original wise guys! My 40th birthday was great! I was about to move to this terrific new place, Seattle, and I was starting a new adventure in my life. I finally felt more secure in my profession. I was enjoying my children, who were a little older, and required less heavy lifting. It was a good moment in... Read More
I have been home for two weeks, having spent another week with my elderly mom in Florida. When I was there, I arranged for around the clock care and helped her get stronger. I was her cheerleader, encouraging her to move her body. She was able to walk down to the dining room, unassisted, with only a walker! Sadly, the day I left, she contracted a 24-hour virus, which in her frail state, set her back. In the last two weeks, she has continued to slide downhill. When the social worker from hospice called, I knew that her condition was deteriorating. Her condition has slowly declined.
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I am in the air again, flying to see my mother.
But this time, it’s because she is in the ICU.
My brother called me Sunday night and told me that she was admitted to the hospital because of breathing problems. She had another heart attack, developed pneumonia, and is now on a ventilator. My brother is already there, waiting for me.
One week earlier, our entire extended family was in Florida spending a week at a beach house. My mother sat on the beach, watching her three great grandchildren play in the sand; her adult grandchildren care for them, and her children... Read More
On New Year's Eve this year, a group of retired Alvin Ailey American Theatre dancers performed Ailey’s signature piece—“Revelations.” For those of you that haven’t seen it, watch it on YouTube. It’s a dance piece that soars.
But for this performance, the artistic director asked their retired dancers, ranging in age from 43 to 75 years old, to perform. One of the dancers (With Willing Spirit, a Reprise for Ailey Dancers, New York Times, 12/24/2013), Ms. Fisher-Harrell... Read More
It’s a fact. Many of us are growing older—especially the lucky ones!
A colleague of mine, who is turning 60 this year, was surprised at how big that number seemed to him! What did it mean? Why was he so rattled? After all, isn’t 60 just a number?
Milestone birthdays have significance. Turning 21, 30, 40, 50, 65, 70 and beyond bring forth a stream of feelings and concerns and can precipitate an emotional crisis. Most of the upheaval occurs during the year before, in preparation for the big day.
Turning 30 was a big deal for me! I didn’t want to be there. Somehow, I... Read More