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Leo’s Emergency

Please click on:  Leo’s Emergency to read more and donate.

Our boy Leo is in need of an eye surgery and we currently can not afford it, so thought that we would share his story and hope that the kindness of peoples hearts would shine through.  Please check out Leo’s fundraising page.  Donate if you can (remember that every penny counts).  Share, share, share…share his donation page, this blog…anything to get his story out there…share of facebook, pinterest, twitter…anywhere.  Leo is our fur baby who has been at my side every day since the day he was born just over 10 years ago and we want him to be taken care of and not in pain.  Please donate if you can, if you can’t just SHARE.  We love you all and thank you for any support we receive during this trying time.

 

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Aging Independently & Doctors Know Best?

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  Dorothy was born the day after President Calvin Coolidge declared the Statue of Liberty a national monument.  Dorothy has lived through Lindbergh’s nonstop flight across the Atlantic, the stock market crashing, the development of plastic, WWII, Pearl Harbor, the A-bomb, tv becoming the next big thing,  Alaska and Hawaii becoming states, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy’s assassination, the British Invasion, hippies, a man on the moon, the endangered species act, introduction of the world-wide web, 9-11, and all of the moments in history in-between. 

     Dorothy was married.  She gave birth to 5 children, but was only able to raise 4 of them due to one passing away while being born.  In her 40’s Dorothy decided to stand-up for herself and divorced her husband who she believed was stepping out on her (a story in itself), this left her to raise her youngest child independently, he was 12 years old at the time.  Dorothy raised her children, worked full-time, maintained a home, was an active member of the community and a very independent woman.  Dorothy lived through the untimely death of her oldest son.

     After all of Dorothy’s children were raised and moved out on their own she became an empty nester.  Dorothy never remarried or even considered remarrying.  Dorothy spent almost four decades living independently after her children moved away.  Her youngest child always lived close and was able to help with tasks that she was no longer able to do on her own like putting the dock in and taking it out, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, fixing the roof and so on.  A few years back Dorothy slipped and ended up laying on the floor of her home for almost 13 hours before her son came to check-in on her.  She did not break anything, or even get hurt, but her son decided that for her safety she should live with him…this also helped him because their homes were almost 35 miles apart and fuel prices were on the rise.

     Dorothy lived with her son for a few months, she was doing well and slowly starting to adjust to her new living situation.  Not too long after that her son got married and the household became three (well, 4 with the dog).  Dorothy’s sons new wife had worked in health care for many years and having her help was very appreciated.  The home was large and everyone had their own space, so there was still a feeling of privacy and independence.  A year later Dorothy’s son got a job in a different state and Dorothy was offered the choice of finding a nice assisted living facility in the area or moving out-of-state too.  Dorothy had no interest in living in a facility and decided to move with the family.

     The new home in the new state was not handicap friendly.  Dorothy uses a walker and physically is unable to manuever stairs without assistance.  In the new home the three bedrooms were upstairs, so the family set up the livingroom as Dorothy’s bedroom.  Her bed, dresser, lift chair, television, everything in one convenient place…a living bedroom.  At first Dorothy seemed to be comfortable with the set-up, but soon her family found that she was spending very little time in her bed at night which was causing increased edema in her legs.  Dorothy’s mood slowly worsened and she overall seemed very unhappy.  Her family sat down and talked with her and Dorothy explained that she had been independent her entire life and that she wanted to have her own apartment and be independent again, she explained that lack of privacy from not having her own bedroom was really wearing on her. 

     After months of searching the perfect little affordable apartment was found.  The apartment was close to her son and daughter-in-law’s house so that they could stop in and “check” on her everyday (at least once a day).  Dorothy’s apartment was decorated with paintings that he father had done, antique family furniture, and other wonderful things from her past that made her happy.   Dorothy was happy to have her own bedroom and her family soon noticed that she was actually sleeping the whole night through in her bed, and even taking a nap now and then during the day in her bed.  The swelling in her legs decreased significantly, her mood increased significantly.  Dorothy enjoyed feeling like she was independent again.  After a lifetime of being fiercely independent, being able to have that feeling of independence back was exactly what Dorothy needed. 

     Everyday Dorothy’s family comes in and preps her breakfast and lunch for the next day, they make her a wonderful hot supper and spend quality time visiting with her.  They make sure her home is clean, laundry is done, assist her with bathing, do all of her grocery shopping, assist her with making sure bills are paid, and in assisting her with all of these things Dorothy has the belief that she is living independent.  Yes, she gets a lot of help, but loves having her privacy and alone time.

     Due to a different family member attempting to cause some trouble a few months back Dorothy has been being visited by a social worker monthly and has been forced to go have a physical.  Dorothy comes from the school-of-thought that if it isn’t broken don’t fix it, so getting her to go to a doctor’s appointment when she was not sick was like pulling teeth.  This last Monday Dorothy went to her unwanted doctors appointment.  The doctor was shocked that a senior woman of 87 years old was not on any prescribed medications, that all she takes is a daily multi-vitamin.  The doctor did a basic once over on Dorothy and encouraged her to get booster shots.  Dorothy agreed to the booster shots, but strongly refused to get the $300 shingles shot that medicare does not cover.  The doctor told her that she needed to get a pap-smear, mammogram and other tests and Dorothy immediately stood up for herself and told him “No, I don’t want those tests.”  The doctor spent less than ten minutes all together with Dorothy and during that time encouraged her to “move to an assisted living facility” at least four times, Dorothy was not pleased with his pushing and said “I am happy where I am.”

 

This gives you the back story and brings me to my points and questions.  I am the daughter-in-law who has worked in health care for over eleven years.  I’ve worked in group homes, nursing homes, hospice, in-home, etc. and the one thing that has rang true through all of my experience is that the majority of the people I have worked with have one long-term goal and that is to be INDEPENDENT.  Yes, in some situations there is no chance of the person living independently, but in other situations, like Dorothy’s, the person can have their own apartment and live mostly independent.  We believe that Dorothy currently has assisted living being that we help her with the majority of her daily tasks, but she feels independent because she has her “own” apartment and her family is coming over to “visit”…she would hate knowing that someone is getting paid to go in and spend time with her and help her.

As people age and become seniors they need to feel like they are still productive members of society and that they are needed.  When we take away their freedom of choice, their basic tasks that they are capable of doing and their independence, they will then feel useless and that is a feeling that none of us enjoy.  Look at the amount of seniors who get put in nursing homes and forgotten.  I’ve worked in a nursing home where you could see how depressed the residents were because their families had not called or visited in months, and when they finally would it would only be for about half an hour at a time…the residents would feel like they weren’t needed or wanted and that was why their family “stuck them in a home”.

If an individual is getting to a point health wise where they need the professional nursing care an assisted living facility or nursing home is probably a really good choice.  If an individual is getting to a point where they are a safety risk to themselves or to others an assisted living facility or nursing home will probably be the best bet again.  I personally do not believe that if an individual is in overall excellent health (for their age)\and is not a risk to themselves or others that they should be forced into a home.  It is almost like todays social service and medical system believes that once people reach a certain age that they should automatically be placed in state care of some sort, which I find ridiculous.  Why is it that the “system” trys to take seniors rights, choices, and freedom away?

Dorothy has been independent, strong-willed and a very private person her entire life.  She enjoys spending quiet time alone watching sports and doing puzzles.  She enjoys spending time with people when they come over to visit.  She enjoys feeling like a productive member of society.  She enjoys helping fold her own laundry.  She enjoys choosing when she want to go to bed or take a nap.  She enjoys choosing what she wants to eat for breakfast and eating when she is hungry, not when someone else tells her she is.  She enjoys going through her closet and picking out her own outfit for the day.  She enjoys being able to dress herself.  Now imagine if she was in a facility of some sort, where they schedule meal times, pick out and help you dress, and take those little freedoms and choices away?  Dorothy always says the same thing when the idea of a nursing home is brought up and that is “I will die before I go to a nursing home.”

Do you have senior loved ones that you’ve had to make the hard choice of finding an assisted living or nursing home for?  Did they get to help make the decision or was it made for them?

Do you have senior loved ones that you are caring for?

Have you thought about what you would want for yourself and your family when you become a senior and need assistance, both minimal and extensive?

Do you feel like todays seniors are getting their rights and freedom taken away and not having any say in it?

At what point do you think seniors should receive more assistance?

Is our medical system just out to make money?

Is our medical system recommending tests, shots, exams and so on that aren’t really needed?

Do you think that a doctor can know what is best for you or for your loved ones when he/she has only known you/them for less than 15 minutes?

How do you think our medical system should change to actually get to know you and your loved ones before they start making recommendations and choices for you/them?

What are some of the flaws you see in our medical system?

What are some of the flaws you see in our social services system?

Would you want your rights to be taken away once you become a senior?

Do you trust your doctor and their opinions?

When the time comes what living arrangements would you prefer?  Do you want to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility?  Do you want your family to care for you?

With the amount of abuse that you hear about on the news would you feel safe living in a facility or having a family member live in one?

Do you advocate for yourself?

Do you advocate for your loved ones?

Do you encourage your loved ones to advocate for themselves?

What changes can be made to our medical system to make it better?

How would you feel if your freedom, choices, independence was taken away?

5 THINGS: The Appreciation Experiment.

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5 Things: The Appreciation Experiment. Find at: https://www.facebook.com/Appreciate5#!/Appreciate5

In 2010 a friend of mine started posting 5 Things that she appreciated that day on her facebook page and the feedback she got from her friends was amazing.  This prompted her to start the 5 Things facebook page where anyone and everyone can post the 5 things that they appreciate, big, small and everything in-between, they are also able to read what other people are appreciating.  5 Things founder Sarah M:  “My days are often brighter when I take some time in the morning to reflect upon what makes me happy.  It is all too easy to get caught up in deadlines and “have-tos” and “just-gottas” and yes…even the sneaky “yeah-buts.”  Sarah realized that taking those few minutes a day to reflect can really help people slow down and take notice of what is truly important to them.

Far too often in todays rush-rush-technology-driven-work-harder-do-more-make-more society we overlook all of the little things in our lives that are so important.  We literally take the majority of our lives for granted.  How many of us take the time to be thankful for electricity when we are watching our favorite movie, writing a blog, hitting the snooze button in the morning?  Not many, because that is just one of the things that we have all gotten so accustom to having that we barely notice it is there anymore…but we sure do notice when it is gone.  Many of us are in overall good physical health, but how many of us acknowledge how thankful for that health we are?  We take advantage of being able to see, hear, smell, speak, taste, feel, touch, walk, dance…until something happens, something unexpected…an accident, an illness, a fall…whatever factor that takes a portion of your health away, and typically it is not until that factor happens that we finally start to realize how much we appreciate(d) that part of our health…and if we are lucky we will heal and regain that part of our health back and be able to hopefully appreciate its importance of it for the rest of our lives.

Thinking about appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness brings to mind a whirlwind of questions.  Each question will have a different answer for each person.  Each question may have one answer today and then a year from now a completely different answer.  Life changes, the things that we love and care for change, the things we find important change, yet we should always be able to come up with a list of things that we appreciate in life.  The following are just some of the questions that I came up with that I think everyone should stop, think about and take notice of:

How many of the daily things that you take for granted would you notice and miss if they were gone?

What in your life do you put the most value on?  Family?  Friends?  Pets?  Material items?  Money?  God?

What makes us happy?

If you only had 5 minutes to take the “important” things out of your house what would they be?

Can money every truly buy happiness?

Do you appreciate the things in your life that you waste?  Food?

What would you do if you lost everything?

What would you miss most if you lost everything?

Who would you thank if you knew today would be your last?

How many of the people in your life actually know how much you appreciate them?  How do you show them?

Does your spouse/significant other feel your love and appreciation for them?  Do you thank them?  Compliment them?  Remind them?

5 Things:  The Appreciation Experiment encourages you to stop and take just a few minutes out of your day and share the 5 things you appreciate.  They may be little things that you are appreciating at that moment like your morning cup of coffee or big things that you appreciate every day of your life like your spouse and children.  You may be looking out your window at the time and be glad to see the sun shining and hear bird chirping.  Whatever it is at that moment that you appreciate…SHARE.  Being able to read the things that others appreciate can also shed light on some of the things you’ve been accidentally overlooking.

TAKE TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY TO APPRECIATE!            https://www.facebook.com/Appreciate5#!/Appreciate5

 

 

 

 

Lost Children: Generation of Technology

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Recently I have seen many posts online referring to how different the “older” generation’s childhood was from our current generations.  These post range from not having air conditioning, cable, cell phones to actually going outside and playing to burn of excess energy.  From reading the variety of posts it made the wheels in my mind start turning and made me wonder just really how different are the children of today.

I was born in the late 70’s and can say that I was alive and participating in the world for a total of 1 week in 1979.  I was a child of the 80’s and a teen of the 90’s.  During the 80’s we were one of the first families on our block to get a VCR and my family had a membership to the local video store. I was limited to 3 movies per week and that was the extent of my television, the rest of my time was spent playing outside, drawing, pretending, doing homework, reading and being a kid.  Some of the basic toys that I loved was coloring books, slinky, stuffed animals, etch-a-sketch (I would get so frustrated when my family would walk by and purposely bump it just to mess with me), and of course the mighty bicycle.   I remember my parents (in 1985) bringing me home a Teddy Ruxpin as a surprise and I was terrified of him (terrified!!!)…seriously, those of you who remember Teddy Ruxpin tell me he wasn’t creepy.  Moving into the 90’s of course everything changed.  Nintendo, Sega and other gaming systems became all the rage, and I do have to admit that for a while I was very good at Super Mario, my specialty—flying.  My father also made sure that I kept active and limited video game and television time.  Some of his favorite tasks to keep me busy with was having me haul in wood, do dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn and other things that the typical teen doesn’t find very cool.  I am grateful to my father for having made me do those things, because not only did they get me off my butt and outside most of the time, but they also taught me a great amount about responsibility and what it means to be a successful adult…the fresh air was also good for me.

When my father was a child toys were made to last forever.  They were sturdy.  They were metal.  They had sharp edges.  They were meant to be played with.  They were toys that had substance and longevity, unlike the toys of today’s era.  Many of the toys that my father played with were made in America, the good old U.S. of A.  I truly believe that the toys that last are the toys of the past.  Majority of the toys that are currently on the market for this generations children are made in China or whichever country the manufacturer can find to produce it the fastest and cheapest, in doing this I believe quality is completely lost.  The toys of today are made out of plastic and have nice rounded corners and edges so that there is virtually no chance of a child hurting themselves.  At this point pretty much the only thing on the toys that will hurt the children is some of the paint that is chalked full of lead.  Of course you want to keep your children safe, but then isn’t part of growing up having battle wound stories to tell.

Enough about today’s toys…let us move onto electronics and the mass addiction that today’s society has on them.  Majority of the adults that I know have a computer, cell phone, MP3 player, high-def tv, dvd/bluray, etc…but the question loudly ringing through my mind is WHY ON EARTH DO CHILDREN NEED ALL OF THESE ITEMS TOO???  I worked as a nanny with a child who was right in the 2-year-old range and his parents would let him play with their I-Phones and if they did not he would throw a fit.  The parents also would play Wii with him…seriously, the kid is 2!  In his bedroom he had a MP3 player and docking station and would refuse to even think about going to bed or taking a nap unless music was playing.   At 2 years of age he already knew that he would rather play with his parent’s phones than go outside and I find that sad.

 

How young is too young for children to be obsessed with technology?

How much technology is too much?

Should children be regulated on their technology consumption?

Are parents to blame for using technology as babysitters rather than taking the time and actually interacting with their children?

How many parents are encouraging physical activity—outside?

How unhealthy does our current generation on children need to get before our red flags go up and something changes?

How many parents are hands on in teaching their children about the world around them?  Nature?  Cooking?  Mechanics?  The basic life skills that will be much-needed as an adult.

Being that Christmas is just a little over a day away I wonder how many parents/family members/etc. will get the children in their lives something educational or something that promotes physical activity that is not completely dependent on technology?  I keep seeing Santa on the news and  hearing children asking for I-Pads, video game systems and other items along the same line, which makes my heart sad because when I was young you would have never asked for items so expensive.  No wonder families are struggling to get by.  Going off of the Christmas and Santa thing it makes me wonder how parents explain where toys were made to their children.  According to the Santa myth his elves all hand make the toys at the North Pole, yet if you have a child who is of reading age and they read the bottom of a toy and it says “Made in China” I wonder how exactly does a parent explain that one away?

Children used to enjoy going outside to play, playing until they were exhausted and using their imaginations.  I feel like a lot of the children today are going to lack many of skills that we and generations prior to us have taken for granted for so many years such as CREATIVITY, CURIOSITY, and RESOURCEFULNESS.  When children used to be able to imagine a stick was a sword they could swing or a horse they could ride that took a great amount of imagination and mental exercise.  Now all kids have to do is go online or play a video game that swings the sword at the tap of a button or makes the horse run with a click of the paddle, the game is being their imagination for them and due to that I feel like there is a lost generation being raised.

In closing, children of my father’s generation and earlier were like little MacGyver’s, while the children of today’s generation are like little Mac Guys (sorry Justin Long, nothing against you as an actor).  Please take time to encourage your children and the children around you to be creative, use their imaginations, burn energy outside and look at this amazing world we live in through their own eyes in splendid wonder.