Giving Thanks To Family Caregivers

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersIn honor of November National Family Caregivers Month, I’ve written about the role that caregiving plays in our society. In “A Month To Honor Family Caregivers,” I reinforced what it was like to care for my mom as she aged and why I am so grateful for all the little things I can do each day, things that I used to often take for granted.

Last week, in recognition of November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, I shared some staggering statistics about this debilitating disease and it’s impact on family caregivers. Sadly, every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

A Celebration of Caregiving Event
On Friday, I attended “A Celebration of Caregiving Event” at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J., which was sponsored by AARP New Jersey. The event was attended by many local caregivers who told their stories of caring for their moms, dads, aunts, uncles and elderly neighbors.

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Jim Dieterle, AARP NJ State Director

Jim Dieterle, AARP New Jersey State Director, quoted former first lady Rosalyn Carter when he spoke about the lifecycle of caregiving.”Mrs. Carter said there are four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers. Those who are caregivers. Those who will be caregivers. Those who will need caregivers.” It’s a reminder that the role of the caregiver is bigger and broader than we may realize.

National Family Caregivers Month
Since this week is Thanksgiving and a time for family gatherings, I’m pleased to partner with fellow midlife bloggers at Midlife Boulevard to bring you additional public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.

Where are you in your lifecycle of caregiving? Even if you are not presently a caregiver, I bet as a boomer girl that you know one (or more) of the more than 42 million caregivers in the U.S. who provide an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care to aging relatives and friends. Be sure to reach out to these caregivers and thank them for all that they do. Offer them assistance if they need help. Be there to listen to them when they need a sounding board or shoulder to cry on. Juggling the demands of caregiving can be very stressful.

Resources For Caregivers
I applaud the new public service announcements from AARP and the Ad Council. The ads illustrate the changing roles of parents and children through the years. Have you seen these ads? Check them out Caregiver Assistance Spoon and Caregiver Assistance Bath. Let me know what you think. Do they strike a cord with you like they did with me?

AARP has also created a community of experts and other caregivers to help at aarp.org/caregiving. You can find great resources including:

 Prepare to Care - This booklet provides a comprehensive caregiving planning guide for families – with a general needs assessment and personal and health checklist, a medication guide, and financial and benefits toolkit.

 ♥ 12 Resources Every Caregiver Should Know About  - A handy list of support, services and tips for caregivers such as links to Social Security Administration, Medicare, and an eldercare locator.

 Juggling Work and Caregiving - Download this free ebook written by Amy Goyer, an expert on aging and families.

 10 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays - Helpful hints on ways to handle the stress of caregiving during this festive season.

Share Your Caregiving Story

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Melita Jordan, Director of Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Division of Family Health Services, NJ Dept of Health, shared how she cares for her mom with Alzheimer's disease.

At Friday’s AARP New Jersey event, Melita Jordan, CNM, MSN, APRN C, Director of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control of Family Health Services , NJ Dept of Health, spoke eloquently about caregiving for her mom who has Alzheimer’s disease. “Mom cared for me when I couldn’t care for myself,” Melita said. “Now it’s time to care for my loved one.” She added that “It’s important to tell the stories. The fun ones. The sad ones. Your stories may help others care for someone else.”

This month AARP is sharing caregiver stories on its I Heart Caregivers website.

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As I cherish time with my loved ones this week, there will be a special place in my heart for my late hubby M. Thanksgiving was one of his favorite holidays and I’m glad I can carry on his tradition as host of our family’s turkey day.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving!

Judi

 

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Raising Awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersWhen the team at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) asked me to get involved in spreading the word about Taking Action Against Alzheimer’s, I agreed to participate in this important campaign. While I feel very lucky that neither of my late parents experienced this devastating condition, I have seen the impact it has had on the families of close friends who have moms and dads with Alzheimer’s disease.

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

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Jessica Langbaum, PhD, is Principal Scientist at BAI and Associate Director of Alzheimer's Prevention Institute in Phoenix, AZ.

In addition to National Family Caregivers Month, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. I learned a lot about this disease during BAI’s blogger briefing. Jessica Langbaum, PhD, Principal Scientist at BAI and Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative in Phoenix, AZ, shared some staggering statistics which are only going to increase as baby boomers get older.

 Every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
 More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
 Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death.
 Alzheimer’s is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, treated or cured.

Sadly, Alzheimer’s has a far reaching impact when it comes to caregiving.

 One in 10 adults cares for someone with Alzheimer’s
 Between Medicare, Medicaid, out-of-pocket and other costs, 2014 costs of Alzheimers will equal $214 billion (yes, that’s billions) and these costs are projected to increase to $1.2 trillion in 2050.
 In 2013, caregivers provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care which is valued at over $220.2 billion.

Boomer girls I want you to especially listen up because women are at high risk. “Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s because they live longer,” said Dr. Langbaum. “Plus, women are more often shouldering the burden of caregiving for those with Alzheimer’s.”

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

What’s being done to prevent Alzheimer’s?
As I listened to these numbers my heart started to beat faster. I wanted to yell and scream that something must be done to STOP this disease from multiplying. I’ve planked for pink to raise dollars to fight breast cancer. I’ve poured ice water over my head to support the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now it’s time to pop on my favorite color purple to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease – a very devastating form of dementia.

A new era of research aims to focus on prevention.  ”Alzheimer’s develops in the brain years before symptoms appear,” said Dr. Langbaum. “Research has progressed to the point that we can detect changes in the brain associated with the disease one or two decades before the first signs of Alzheimer’s.”

According to BAI’s website, “research into Alzheimer’s prevention is now at a crucial turning point. With Alzheimer’s research a government priority, some of the nation’s most respected research organizations have formed collaborative relationships to accelerate their work.”

Unfortunately, 80 percent of research studies fail to attract enough participants. “Researchers must screen dozens of people,” said Dr. Langbaum. “We may screen 30,000 people to get 2000 to launch a study.”

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

For more info visit www.endALZnow.org

How Can You Help?
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry is  a platform for those who are ready to take part in prevention research. The Registry is currently made up of a growing community of 44,000 members who are passionate about combatting the disease. Members are provided with updates on the latest scientific advances about the disease and can learn about study opportunities in their community.

Joining the Registry is easy. To enroll click hereNote that you will not have to give personal information and you don’t have to have a family history. As one member said, “I joined the Registry in honor of my husband, who was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s at age 50. I can’t bear the thought of one of my son’s developing this disease also.”

Has your family been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease? Please share a comment. Then pass along this post so others can understand the sense of urgency with Alzheimer’s awareness.  It’s about our future and our children’s future too.

Judi

Note: Although Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is a nonprofit organization, I was compensated for this post. 

* All stats are courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report 2014

 

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Diane Keaton Imparts Her Wisdom On Aging

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI’ve always adored actress Diane Keaton’s individual style from the moment I saw Annie Hall. When I was in college in the later 70s, I tried to emulate Annie. I went to the thrift store and bought a navy man-tailored vest and tie and wore the combo with a long-sleeved shirt and baggy khakis (also from the thrift store). I even copied her mannerisms with phrases like “la de da, la de da” – just like Annie would say.

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Diane was interviewed by newscaster Monica Malpass.

Last month, Diane was a keynote at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women in Philadelphia, PA. She looked amazing wearing her Annie-style attire. The brim of her hat was so wide you could barely see her face. At 68, she is still as bold and bubbly as ever – just like the mature female characters she has played during her post 50 career – with movies like Something’s Gotta GiveBecause I Said So, And So It Goes.

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A Month To Honor Family Caregivers

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersNovember is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to honor the millions of caregivers who help loved ones stay in their homes as they age. As a member of the AARP Kitchen Cabinet on Caregiving, I’m pleased to celebrate family caregivers and share news about the huge role family caregiving continues to play in our society.

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My sister N and I were caregivers to my mom until she passed away in 2013.

Caregiving used to be a major part of my life until almost two years ago after losing my mom. She was 91 when she passed away. While I am no longer a caregiver, it’s still an important issue to me as I see many post 50 friends juggle caregiving for their aging parents. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, “more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.”

Being Thankful For All You Can Do
As I reflect on my previous days as a caregiver, I’m reminded to appreciate basic tasks in life that I sometimes take for granted. My feet can still take me where I want to go. My legs are strong and well balanced. My mind is not confused. I can hear music whenever I want to listen. I can see the trees change their beautiful colors during autumn. I can get in and out of a chair, the shower, and my car. I can drive to the supermarket and go shopping and I can ride long distances to visit my family and friends near and far.

At the beginning of each yoga class my teacher N encourages us to “be thankful for all that we can do in this moment.” It’s a note to enjoy the present because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, especially as we age. Continue reading

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Jane Pauley Shares Insights For Reimagining Your Life

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersEarlier this month, I attended the Pennsylvania Conference For Women along with almost 8000 other women. It was an impressive showing and an important audience. I learned from the media kit that not only do women make up 50.8% of the U.S. population per the census, but the largest demographic of women are between the ages of 50-54 (7.1%). Go boomer girls go!

I was excited to have a press pass to cover the event. There were many keynote speakers and one of my favorites was Jane Pauley.

Pennsylvania Conference For Women

Who Is Jane Pauley?
“Who is Jane Pauley?” asked my son D when I picked him up at the bus stop. D was visiting for the weekend. “How could you not know who Jane Pauley is,” I replied. “She is a former co-host of The Today Show.” Then I realized that Jane Pauley was the co-host from 1976 – 1989. She ended her reign the year before D was born.

I told D that Jane Pauley had been a mentor from afar (actually not that far since I was a summer intern at NBC News in 1976). She was the person I woke up to on the news every morning when I was his age. Soon Jane will be 64 years old and she recently took a job as correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning. She also is the author of a new book, Your Life Calling, about people who are reimagining their lives during their second act. (Check out Jane’s show on AARP.com too!)

Jane Pauley, Pennsylvania Conference For Women

Jane Pauley shared her wisdom during her keynote.

Jane Shares Her Wisdom
Jane had very inspiring things to say about baby boomers during her interview at the opening session:

 ”People in their 50′s are more vital today than 10 years ago,” said Jane. (I agree Jane. I feel more vibrant, spirited and active these days. I get more exercise and so do many other boomer women I know.)

 ”Exit used to be what retirement was. Now it’s a different world,” said Jane. “We are going to live a lot longer than we’re thinking we’re going to live.” (I hope so Jane. I retired from my full-time corporate job a year ago. I don’t feel retired from life. If anything I feel more invigorated.)

 She shared insights from her book and talked about Barbara, a former stay-at-home mom and volunteer, who during her life after 50 started a non-profit organization called Fresh Artists. “It’s okay to be scared. The future is unknown. Don’t hold out for that perfect someone,” said Jane. “You have many someones inside of you.” (I do? Oh Jane, it is a bit scary, but this is wonderful news.) Continue reading

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Skin Fitness For Women Post 50

boomer beauty, life after 50, makeup for 50+ women, over 50Whenever I’m asked to try new skin care products, I usually say “yes.” In fact, if you looked in my bathroom cabinets since I’ve been blogging, you would find dozens of skin care samples.

During my life after 50, I’ve been on a mission to find a magical cure that might ultimately keep my face and neck forever wrinkle-free. It’s challenging to always keep my chin up, especially during days when I’m lacking sleep.

Created for Women 50+
Last spring, I was invited to try Truist™, a new line specifically created for women over 50.* The skin creams are manufactured by Kimberly Clark, a company that says “it knows first-hand about putting ingredients next to skin.” KC is the creator of Huggies diapers. My boyfriend L likes to say that my skin feels as soft as a baby’s skin when I come home from a visit to my esthetician. Is it possible to create this same softness with at-home products? I wondered if Truist™ might provide the answers.

A Unique Approach To Skin Care
Truist, skin fitness for post 50 women, boomer beautyI perused the brand’s website where you can purchase the products and liked what I read: “Truist™ takes a unique approach, focusing on your skin’s true purpose, which is to keep healthy moisture in, and harmful elements out. Our products help your skin get in better shape to do its job. That’s the true measure of your skin’s well being and we call it skin fitness. We believe that women over 50 are strong, wise, and beautiful. We know that you don’t want products that promise to make you look 30 again; you need products that will make your skin as vibrant and as resilient as you are.”

I knew why they selected me as a tester – “strong, wise, beautiful, vibrant, resilient” – moi, moi, moi. “I’ll try the entire line,” I told the team. I put a basket on my bathroom counter to hold the bottles and readied for my daily beauty routine: Continue reading

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A SoulCycle Experience

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessCelebrities are doing it. Oprah just had an arena-wide session at her “The Life You Want Weekend” in Newark.  It’s called SoulCycle,  ”indoor cycling re-invented,” as the company’s website says.

“Do you want to take a SoulCycle class?” asked my daughter A since I had planned to visit NYC this past weekend. “I’ll register us for Saturday at 10:45 a.m.” “Okay, let’s go for it,” I replied. I had taken a spinning class once before but never done SoulCycle. “Maybe we will see some celebrities,” I said. I had heard that Jake Gyllenhaal was a cycler in the city. My son’s girlfriend J joined us too.

I dressed in my artful gray and black leggings and black tee. We arrived early for the sold-out session. We checked in at the front desk and were given cycling shoes and instructed to go downstairs to put our things in a locker. I signed the waiver, since I was a first time rider.

Ready To Ride

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I watched as previous class attendees exited the exercise room – each sweating more than the next. I peered around the crowd to see my fellow comrades. Millennials were in the majority, most with ponytails and sweatbands. Was I ready for this 45 minute choreographed workout? Would my body and legs survive the intensity?

I entered the dark room with mirrored walls and wallpaper filled with impelling words. A staff member helped me adjust my assigned seat. He fixed the pedals and locked in my shoes. No escaping now.

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A Vacuum Fit For Cleaning and A Work Of Art

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenAs a blogger, I often receive a variety of promotions and products to review. Each day I never know what fun pitch is going to appear in my inbox. Here’s one of my recent favorites:

“I’m reaching out from Dyson’s PR team. We’ve released new cordless vacuums that I think would be a perfect fit for folks over 50. Rather than dealing with bulky upright vacuums that are heavy, difficult to maneuver, and involve cords that you need to bend down to wrap, plug and unplug, ours are under 5 pounds, docked to the wall for easy access, and their performance actually rivals traditional corded uprights. In fact, the latest model – DC59 Motorhead – out-cleans the top 5 full-sized uprights across carpets and hard floors. Plus, they convert into powerful handheld vacuums for cleaning car interiors, upholstery, etc.

Would the newest cordless vacuum cleaner be something you’re interested in testing out? Happy to send through a sample.”

“Are you talking to moi?,” I shouted and jumped up and down when I read the invitation. “You want moi to try out the new Dyson Digital Slim™ DC59 Motorhead vacuum valued at $549.99?” I have long admired Dyson’s high-quality vacuums from afar but never purchased one. “Are they really worth the cost,” I wondered. Now was my chance to find out.

“Send the vacuum my way,” I responded. While cleaning does not rank as one of my top activities on my bucket list during my life after 50, I was game to try out this new innovation. My only worry was that I would be technically savvy enough to put it together. Continue reading

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JudiBoomergirl on “Boomer Generation Radio”

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I had an opportunity to be interviewed on Boomer Generation Radio which airs in the Delaware Valley including areas of Southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware. The host of the show is Rabbi Richard Address, who is the founder of jewishsacredaging.com, a website filled with resources and discussions about the revolution in longevity and its implications for baby boomers and their families.

Rabbi Address hosts Boomer Generation Radio every Tuesday from 10-11 a.m. on WWDB-AM 860 in Philadelphia. You can hear the program streamed live on the web. Podcast recordings are posted on the station’s website and on jewishsacredaging.com after the program airs.

Live From Philadelphia, It’s JudiBoomergirl!

Boomer Generation Radio, life after 50, boomer bloggers, boomer women

Recording from the WWDB-AM 860 Studio with host Rabbi Richard Address.

It was a fun experience to be interviewed by Rabbi Address in the studio with microphones and an elaborate sound-system. I talked about how and why I started blogging during my countdown to 50 and the reasons I continue to blog during my life after 50. In addition, I discussed trends in boomer blogs and the growth of blogging as a profession.

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The Yogi’s Way to a Good Night’s Sleep

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessCatching my nightly zzz’s has been getting more challenging during my life after 50. What about you? Is your mind racing when your head hits the pillow? Still experiencing menopausal night sweats? Is your body exhausted?

Since yoga has helped me to lower my stress levels during the day, I asked my friend Alene Brennan, health coach and yoga instructor, if she had any yogic advice that might work during the wee hours of the night. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:

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Alene Brennan, Health Coach and Yoga Instructor

J: What principles do yogis follow in regards to sleep?
A: “Yogis follow Ayurveda, a sister science of yoga and one of the world’s oldest healing systems.  Ayurveda offers simple routines that can create balance and a restful sleep.”

J: I’ve always wanted to learn about Ayurveda – tell me more.
A: “A good night’s rest begins with the time that you wake up each morning According to Ayurveda, there are cycles of energy in nature throughout the day and the more you synchronize your daily routine with nature’s clock the better balanced your energy will be throughout the day.”

J: So what time does nature awaken?
A: “Ideally you want to rise by 6:00 a.m. or before sunrise. This is known as Vatta time when the energy is fresh and full of renewal. Rise and shine to welcome the new day and sync your internal clock and energy with that of nature.”

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