rsb imageDo you recall the moment of your loved one’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s (or Lewy Body with parkinsonism)?  It is devastating because your loved one is told … you are the best you will ever be.  Your symptoms (the tremors, shuffling gait, balance issues) will only get worse.

When my husband received his initial diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic 9 months ago, I recall pushing the neurologist for an answer to “what more can we do?”  His answer, “intense exercise has been shown to help.”  I heartily agreed.  After we left, I realized how futile that idea was. My husband barely had the energy to get through each day.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  A colleague at University of Indianapolis told me, “you’ve got to check out Rock Steady Boxing.”  As I watched videos on their website, I was astounded.  A modified boxing program, founded 9 years ago in Indianapolis, is making a huge difference in “quality of life” for those with Parkinson’s.  I discovered that boxing offers an amazing opportunity for individuals to get moving, work on their balance, hand-eye coordination, focus and speed.  Inspired by their videos and wanting to bring this program to our area, I reached out to Executive Director Joyce Johnson and scheduled a visit.

I arrived, not knowing quite what to expect.  The video did not do it justice.  I saw a vibrant group of people that come together 3 times a week, 90 minutes a session.  In a gym environment with loud music and constant encouragement from the coaches, the class members were immersed in movement, totally committed to continuous work-out segments and having fun!  I immediately understood.  This is not just about the physical (which is huge), it is also about the camaraderie, the support and encouragement from coaches and each other.  Even the spouses (who sit outside the gym, watching through a window) come together and support each other.  One spouse told me when they were choosing where to retire, they chose Indianapolis due to Rock Steady Boxing for her husband’s health! [click to continue…]

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senior driving imageWorried about your aging loved one driving safely?  Don’t know how to broach the issue?  Fearing the conversation?  

Then consider  the “Enhanced Self-Assessment Program”, a tool that has been used by thousands of families across the US and Canada.  It helps guide families and older adults through the stressful, emotion-packed and often life-threatening issue of when it’s time to stop driving.

Driving is considered the last bastion of independence by many.  If we’re lucky, our aging loved ones decide to “retire from driving” on their own.  But, this is often NOT the case.  Instead, the older adult digs their heels in.  Family members worry about their loved one’s safety as well as their possible danger to others.  You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to take action.  You also don’t want to arbitrarily “take away the car keys.”

Then consider this unique program.  Developed by an Ohio ex-state trooper, Matt  Gurwell, and a team of gerontologists, the program is a self-assessment.  The older adult, guided one-on-one by a certified BDD (Beyond Driving with Dignity) professional is led through a process of self-awareness in their abilities and skills related to driving.

This process ensures that the older adult is treated with dignity and respect.  It is he or she, under the recommendation of the BDD professional, who decides whether it is time to “retire from the driver seat to the passenger seat.”  As the program founder Matt Gurwell says, we need to “limit driving, not living.”  Time is spent before and after the self-assessment with the family to ensure transportation alternatives are in place and to share the decision.  The goal of this program is a peaceful resolution to this difficult issue while acknowledging and respecting the older adult.

To get more information about this program for your loved one, contact Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe.  Click here.

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Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas 30 City Tour: Changing the Face of Aging

May 6, 2015

Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas asks, “What if nearly everything we think we know about aging is wrong?  Our culture tells us that aging will change us against our will, and for the worse.  What if we decided to change aging and begin to approach life’s most dangerous game with the skill and enthusiasm it requires?” […]

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Think You’ll Never Need Long Term Care? Think Again!

April 29, 2015

Do you know what you really can expect after retirement? 86% of us will use caregiver services 61% of us will use home health services 51% of us will use a nursing home And, the real eye-opener is that only 12% of the projected cost will be covered by Medicare! Take a bit of time […]

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Out of the Ashes: A Two-part Seminar Dealing with Difficult Life-Changes

April 5, 2015

Many thanks to Carol Swope, Stephen Ministry Coordinator at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church (Edwardsburg, MI), for the following guest post about a very special upcoming event as well as their ongoing Stephen Ministry.   Out of the Ashes:  A Two-part Seminar Dealing with Difficult Life-Changes   Tuesday, April 21st and 28th, 6:30 […]

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Pet Loss and Dementia

March 30, 2015

When it comes time to end the life of our beloved pets, it is hard enough when the pet owner is of sound mind.  But imagine having dementia, especially early stage! For more than 3 months, Zeus (our 11 year old Australian Shepherd) had been very ill.  At first it seemed to be bronchitis and […]

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How to limit Sibling Rivalry in Senior Care

January 31, 2015

Many thanks to Fay Wein, a content marketing and communications specialist at Senior Planning Services, for the following guest post.  (To learn more about Fay, see her contact information at the end of this post.) Sibling roles and family dynamics are usually aggravated when there is a nerve-wracking or stressful family dilemma to deal with. […]

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A Year in the Life of a Caregiver: The highs, lows & lessons learned

December 28, 2014

In past years at the end of December, I usually posted my “top five” most read blog posts of the year.  This year I will be writing a different kind of article. Many of you have noticed my lack of writing … due to another year of  intense caregiving challenge and crisis.  As I share a bit […]

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My top 10 List – Moving into a Retirement Community

May 8, 2014

Here is my list of the top 10 changes I saw in Mom after she moved into a retirement community.

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Aging Parent? How to Keep Your Support Network Strong!

March 29, 2014

Don’t wait for the next crisis. Take the time now to assess your support network. What changes have there been in your loved one’s life and in the lives of those who support you? Let me show you how to re-connect, re-engage and nurture those special people!

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