Happy Holidays! Even within the predictable fast-paced holiday tempo, may we all find moments to focus on the things in our lives for which we are grateful.
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In this month's article, Caregiving, I offer some thoughts about what to consider before discussing "difficult topics" with your older parents.
In Tips for Your Holiday Well Being, I suggest simple, "go-to" ideas for maximizing YOUR holidays.
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As our parents age, many of us will be in positions of increased responsibility and caregiving. This may create or contribute to anxieties, stress, and challenges for all involved, and eventually we will need to broach some "difficult topics." The topics can include driving a car, finances, medical issues, or lifestyle changes. These conversations require planning so it is essential to consider what we should assess before starting them.
We need an objective assessment of our relationship with a parent. Granted, this is not easy. But we can attempt to examine whether there is tension within the family dynamics. We can ask, is the relationship open and trusting? Might having a family doctor or good friend present when we talk about things be helpful? Might they be the better messenger? Understanding the relationship can guide us in how we approach the conversation, as well as in selecting the time and place.
We need to be mindful of changing roles and how we view ourselves. Are we "dictating" to our parents? The whole idea of "imposing rules" is a challenging concept. What we are addressing is deeper and more complicated than taking away a person's independence. It is about changing important aspects of their life (many of which are closely tied to their identity), while maintaining their dignity and respect. Even though we adult children assume more responsibility for our parent's care and/or well-being, it is essential the older person continues to feel valued, respected, and encouraged to do what they are still capable of doing. This is essential even as these capabilities may diminish over time. Each of us, regardless of our age, must feel important and that our life has meaning, and that we matter.
We need to be aware of how we communicate. Let's focus on these four ways to communicate with respect and compassion:
1) Tone of Voice
3) Facial Expression
4) Body Posture
In addition to our presentation, we can listen to their response. Is it fearful? Angry? Try to sense what they are feeling. Is there insight into underlying fears of losing their independence and role in a family and in the world?
For many older people, it is a RELIEF to discuss some of these topics because they are fully aware that they will not live forever or that they may be compromised in some ways. So, this can be an important opportunity to initiate and continue ongoing life discussions.
A Good Daily Habit
Meditate on Love Each Morning
Artist and poet Roderick MacIver suggests why meditating on LOVE each morning is worth doing:
"I meditate on love in the morning with the thought that that will help me bring more of it to my work and life. Sometimes it works. Sometimes the complexities weigh the whole thing down and I forget." (Roderick MacIver, 2011)
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Your Holiday Well Being
The song lyric reminds us, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Is it, really?
What makes this time of year wonderful for one person may make it awful for someone else. To help ourselves during the holidays, we can each try to figure out what works for us and what doesn't. Only then can we try to maximize what works and minimize or eliminate what doesn't.
At holiday time, many of us respond anxiously to the thought of how much there is to do as multiple tasks pile up. We become keenly aware that there is limited time to take care of all that we think we need to do.
Without appreciating the toll these "extra" items on our to do list take on our well-being, we feel pressure to accomplish them all. In response to this, the most important thing we can do is to take care of ourselves in small ways, every day.
So here are some tips for your HOLIDAY WELL-BEING (And whatever you do, avoid thinking of this as another "to do list"!):
Before getting out of bed, breathe slowly and deeply, feeling the air around you.
Mentally greet the day as you take a moment of appreciation that you have this day in front of you.
Focus on one thing you want to be mindful of throughout the day to help keep you calm.
Create spaces throughout the day to return to that thought, visualization, intention, or state of being.
Make eye contact with people and connect with them as many people are feeling pressured and a shared smile or knowing laugh eases tension.
If things do not go as well as you had intended, remind yourself that you can always restart your day as you BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE.
TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Dec. : TBD, with Laura Posada; Q&A with viewers.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
Center for Hearing and Communication Educational Workshop (Parent U)
Dec. 8th, 6-8PM: Parenting Your Child with Differences, facilitator.
42 Broadway, 20th Floor Conference Room,
New York, NY10094.
Please call 917-305-7840 for more information and registration.
Sixty and Me Interviews
Four interviews with Dr. Atkins, conducted by Margaret Manning, covering the following topics: stress and worry, care-giving, downsizing, and friendships.
http://sixtyandme.com/elderly-care-how-to-be-a-caregiver-while-taking-care-of-your-own-life-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/, and http://sixtyandme.com/how-to-deal-with-loneliness-in-retirement-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/
Experience Life Magazine
The Cares of Caregiving, by Jon Spayde. Interview.
I hope you enjoy my chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.
Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Read for the Record, which mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. On October 21, 2014 people across the country united in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between to read the children's book Bunny Cakes, by bestselling author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells.
"Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose."
Viktor E. Frankl
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on NBC's Today show.
She has more than thirty
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, creating and maintaining healthy relationships, parenting, aging well, caregiving, and managing stress, life and work transitions.
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings From the
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works