Good advice for 5 essential talks

Waiting for my copy of Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation, currently featured on NextAvenue.org.

Am intrigued to see how the current “Sandwich Generation” tackles a challenge first faced by mine – – such conversations weren’t the norm in my parents’ generation because THEIR parents’  life expectancy didn’t extend far beyond  retirement age.

Many in my age cohort had to gird themselves up for conversations about finances, health & housing with older loved ones often raised in families who typically didn’t talk about such things.  How differently will such conversations go when WE are approached by our younger family members about the state of our current/future finances, our health & housing? About our end-of-life wishes?

Delighted to see the book included a chapter too often forgotten that is rich in meaning & multi-generation meaningfulness ~ ~ The Family Legacy Talk, how people want to be remembered, as well as what matters most to younger & future generations.  For all the talks Mom & I had over the years, this one never came up as a specific topic.  It would have made a difference to be focused on what did I want/need to know or have, what mattered to her to hand down.  Why didn’t I think to ask her to write out her Eggplant Casserole recipe?!

How will these essential conversations play out with olders who went through it with their parents?  Did that experience influence how they’re preparing for their “way up there” years?  Have they established open ways of talking with youngers  about once verboten topics like money, illness, dependency?  Did they learn from their earlier conversations & find ways to make it easier for their youngers?  Fingers crossed that they did.

This has me realizing, for the first time, that I’m now the bread part of the sandwich, not the filling!

Related Links:  https://www.nextavenue.org/have-difficult-conversations-with-your-aging-parents ;  https://www.amazon.com/Estate-Planning-Sandwich-Generation-Parents-ebook/dp/B07DM9DWDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533931499&sr=8-1&keywords=catherine+hodder ;  https://alzauthors.com/2018/08/07/meet-catherine-hodder-esq-author-of-estate-planning-for-the-sandwich-generation-how-to-help-your-parents-and-protect-your-kids/

Went to the hospital, got a cold

Coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But it’s enough to remind EVERYONE that hospitals are notorious for being hotbeds of colds.  I am not someone who normally totes around  a portable packet of sanitizing wipes but am wishing I had thought ahead & armed myself  before heading to the appointment- didn’t & came down last night with a sore throats that blossomed today into a nasty chest  cold.

Think ahead!  Be prepared!

Grow old along with me – – a thank you

It is my belief that humans are created to be tribal, multiple generations together providing the strengths natural to their ages, from wee small babes to grey-haired elders & all the ages in between.

This posting started out as an invitation to join ME in my continuing quest for deeper richer wilder moments days months years.  Writing the title – literally, typing it in – got me thinking about two women:  my mother, Katharine Reynolds Lockhart, & my mother-in-law, Marie Nice Murphy.  John & I are forever in their debt – they gave us life & showed us how to live it well.  We had their examples & those of their compadres, the older friends & family who were part of the fabric of our lives.

Olders – if we are blessed, elders – have as much to give the youngers in their lives as they gain in return.  Even ones that drive us up a wall ~or~ we drive whackadoodle.

In our mother’s, John & I were given superb templates for inching upwards – they lived fully, both of them, to their last.  Yes, the two of us provided core support , but both of them allowed us to be their apprentices in living from an inner core that remained unshakable, unflappable.

Mom, Mom M – – just taking a moment to shoot off my annual thanks for giving us a preview of these “senior” years.  The light of your lives continue to shine on us.  Would more people as blessed as John & I, seeing a generation up.  Your example of aging well gave us the wondrous gift of “the best is yet to be.”

Age, loss & JOY

Joy in the age of loss, an article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, went straight to my heart – there was a picture of an older man in a wheelchair having breakfast alone at  sitting, alone, at a table that sits six.  A breakfast setting well-known to John & myself, in Rydal Park’s café; until John his current Wednesday morning commitment, we were there regularly, enjoying breakfast with resident-friends.

I remember even further back, two years plus, when Anne, who lived at Rydal Park for years, & I would breakfast at a table in front of the pictured set up – – back then, there would have been at least one more table, making enough settings for eight or more friends to gather.  Every morning, there was the same group of friends, men & women, having a grand time carousing over eggs & pancakes, waffles or whatever.  The laughter, the high times, the great & grand spirits.  John & Ramie were the group’s Trivial Pursuit masters – – sometimes I’d butt in with an answer!

Over the past few years, first this person then that moved or had health issues that kept them from being part of the breakfast bunch, or died.  John & I know people who now sit – by themselves – in the same place they did back then.

Reading the lengthy & terrific article is a a goad to get back in the groove, to swing by – solo – on Wednesday morning’s for breakfast with dear friends I dearly miss.

And it’s a kick in the butt to get Cyber Access for the Technically Timid FINALLY up & running, because many elders let their social world contract,” too many shrink down when they could open up.  Unlikely?  Not to my mother, who marveled at 88 that – thanks to unimagined Internet connections – her circle of friends & friendly acquaintances was growing larger, not smaller.

My determination is not just for the olders’ sake – Mom’s online circle showed how youngers of all ages benefitted from connecting to her, learning first hand, real time, of her unabashed attitude toward & appetite for LIVE, her zest for living in spite of being considerably slowed down, her approach to dealing with life & family challenges, her value as a resource of “she was there” history & culture-rooting stories…  The reciprocal advantages between Mom & her devoted online followers, many of whom never met her but were among her most devoted friends, went on & on.

Perhaps what Mom showed more than told was the power of purpose, at any age, and the importance of flexibility, of living within THIS moment instead of bemoaning life is not as it was.

Whether twenty-something youngsters or readers inching well into their sixties, Mom’s honesty & humor blew preconceptions about aging out of the water, exemplifying what the article says about how it helps when olders believe life has meaning & purpose, whatever their age.  That life is fuller & infinitely richer through a well-cultivated spirit of gratitude, curiosity, continual personal growth.

Smiling, thinking of how much Mom would have LOVED today’s article by the always spot-on Stacey Burling.  Looking forward to printing out this treasure & sharing it with friends & family.  Even more, looking forward to heading to Rydal Park next week for Wednesday breakfast with David & Rob & John.

And, hopefully, Jerry, too!

 

 

RELATED LINKS:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/special_packages/493160931.html ;  http://mindwalker1910.blogspot.com/2010/05/velveteen-grammie-by-krl.html ; http://thegrannielistener.blogspot.com/2016/05/in-nutshell-cyber-access-for_19.html

 

Surgery after “a certain age”? Not so fast…

How ironic – the most common cancer operation for nursing home residents is one where the patients don’t fare all that well.   See, breast cancer surgery may be low risk for younger, healthier women, but for the typical nursing home resident “the surgical treatment for breast cancer may have been worse than the breast cancer itself,” per Dr. Rita Mukhtar.

About as MUST READ as you’re going to get if you or a family member or friend is elderly & dealing with a surgeon seeking to operate.

 

RELATED LINKS:  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/article-abstract/2697211;   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/health/breast-cancer-surgery-elderly.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Next Avenue’s “Top Influencers in Aging”

An eagerly awaited list is OUT!  NextAvenue.org’s “Top Influencers…” is worth your attention & time – – and check out all the related links!

 

Speaking of a RELATED LINK:  https://www.nextavenue.org/showcase/meet-our-2018-influencers-in-aging/