Friday, September 22, 2023

Multi-Generational Living: Yes, YOU Can!

In November, 2010, we ended our journey as a multigenerational family living together in the same home started in November, 1971 -- almost four decades.

I've written about a small part of that journey with Mom -- in reality a very small segment of about four years of the more than forty we lived together moving as my husband moved up the corporate ladder and then when he chose to "go out on his own with his own business" -- when an abuser came into our lives.

It's not a "new idea" -- it's been practiced for centuries among many cultures and it's been highly successful--multiple generational living under one roof.

What changed this practice for the Western World? 

Some say it was industrialization -- moving from rural to city areas and then to the suburbs. 

Some say the houses were "smaller" ---yet many "made do" in small apartments in the city with multi-generations; not everyone has had or has a home in the US and doesn't in other countries.

When did we start not being "neighbors", "family" and "friends in need"?

Yes, there are adjustments, concessions and even learning a "new way" to live with another person -- just like "living together" w/wo a legal agreement or document.

It's also like bringing home the first child and each child added -- it's a family, a growing and changing dynamic --where adjustments and considerations are a part of everyday life.

Think about how beneficial it is to have another person in your life 
 .... .someone to share time and experiences with everyday.
 .... someone who is "there for you".
 .... someone who gains and someone who gives

It's a different kind of "life" and "living" -- less for the self and more for others.

It's like adoption.  You bring in a child or young person to your home, the family unit you have only this is an "adult".

Have we turned to domestic animals to replace additional people? They're nice to have but they also require care, time and add cost.

There are differences, admittedly.... depending on the age of the child, usually the "family living together unit" is for fewer years...the "child" grows up, gains abilities, can share in the responsibilities of family life

THE ADULT joining the family grows older....usually experiences more "need" for physical or mental challenges.... has decreasing abilities and often special needs

We chose to have "an extended family under one roof", to provide for others in need who added to the whole of the family unit. 

THESE ARE THE VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE who everyday in every way are living a life of sharing their lives... 

My In-Laws youngest son had Down's Syndrome. It was the early 1950s. They were told to "instutionalize" him. They were advised not to "take him outside the home".They chose to include Tom as a part of their family.

He was an active part of their lives. He went where they went. He was given an education (they worked to get Special Schooling and programs started).

Listen to your heart. Do what you believe is best for yourself and those you love.

Statements you may hear others say:

We should be able to take care of ourselves...all our lives
If you save enough..

If you're careful....

If you plan right...

You won't need to "impose" on anyone; you can afford to live SOMEWHERE ELSE....

Some can. Many can't. Especially as the years go by.

We've redefined the family in the past several years.

We've redefined relationships.

We've redefined so many areas of life but we still have a "hang up" when it comes to multi generational living.

MULTIGENERATIONAL LIVING....this is the life we shared....this is the life we made together... this is the life we chose...and I am grateful every day we worked to make it a life worth living for each of us..

A relationship that enabled and gave value and opportunities to each family member.

A lifetime of caring, sharing and supporting one another through challenges & times of great joy.

Learning from one another and about ourselves.

We told Mom...who'd lived alone when I went away to college and since I was married, who worked and had her own apartment....when we learned she'd broken her wrist ... 

It's a choice we all make each day and you can choose to leave at any time. We will always be there for you whenever and wherever we're needed.

That was November, 1971 and in November, 2010 the manipulation and control of an abuser who came into our lives could not, in the end, separate our multi generational family. 

We, each family member, are who we are today because we opened our minds, our hearts and our home(s) to share a life we treasure now as we did when it was being created.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Your Age Determines Your Value

Most people will agree, expecting a baby is often exhilarating.

When we face challenges with the baby who doesn't want to nurse as we're told they'll naturally latch on, do we deprive the baby of what it needs? Do we conclude the baby doesn't want to live?

NO. In the twenty first century we move heaven and earth to find out what, why, when, where and most of all how WE can work through this challenge.

Seeking medical counsel or counsel from books and You Tube to try to find out what else we can do, how else we can "present" or "offer" or encourage or what else might be affecting this valuable asset to society, this child we've brought into the world, we do not stop until we find a way to work with and for this human being.

That's a key phrase in today's world"  "Asset to Society". A scary phrase, in my opinion. For who defines "value" of a human being of any age or any capacity?

FAST FORWARD.  This baby has survived life and its many challenges, has matured and moved into many decades later and is now faced with the challenge of Dementia. 

Now this disease or medical challenge is taking over the person's thoughts and even the body's daily actions and activities. 

Now society focuses not on growth and gain but on loss of ability and deterioration and most act in ways that emphasize these activities rather than work to minimize or stabilize these actions.

The patience and perseverance with which we faced the challenges of working with new life disappears and the frustration can build.

As a baby and far into adulthood, the focus was on "training" the brain, "expanding abilities" with growth and development. 

Somewhere along the journey of life individuals and society have taken on the belief that this slows down and even stops.

On TV yesterday I saw someone talking about how the age of 24 was the end of abilities to effectively and efficiently grasp, retain and learn at a pace to keep up in our "modern world". Maybe 25 is the new/old 40 that once was seen as "Over The Hill" and downhill all the way?

OR .... maybe we need to rethink our values as a society and our practices that seem to be determining what we say and do and how we act towards one another contains respect and dignity. We write that we do this but few actually practice these values.

A GUARANTEE.  If you shelve people, like books they will collect dust and show their age more than if you open them often, share them with others and find their contents as relevant today as they were yesterday when you "purchased" them -- when they were born into your life.

BRAIN DRAIN.  What have we learned from RETIREMENT?  

We've learned people who stop actively participating in life become bored, begin to lose certain functions and abilities and can become despondent. 

AARP, OASIS and other organizations along with some communities and family members encourage active involvement, provide programs and activities at varying levels of ability offering variety and interest and self satisfaction. (I decided against a link to AARP because the site has too many pop ups and ads).

Here's the link to Oasis (which, by the way, like AARP now starts for people aged 50 and above): 

Inside the walls of many facilities for Long Term Care, however, we revert to amusing, cajoling, entertaining and other very mindless activities and call that "individualized caregiving".


Come along with me sometime to visit Mom's old SNC/LTC facility or drop into one and really look around, listen and learn. 

Mom stayed in her room; sat in one place; busied herself with what she had or found to do; and, waited . . . to be told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. No one really cared. Mom had to initiate and show an interest, we were advised. Or, she was taken to what she considered "mindless" and "childlike" activities that held no interest and she was bored.

NO COMPUTER ACCESS.  The only computer in any type of accessible area was "off limits" and no resident was given permission to use it at any time. It sat waiting for an employee of the facility who had been given the ability to use it yet it sat in a room that was available to residents for "special occassions" by reservation.

I looked long and hard for a facility that Mom qualified for -- we had to have her in Medicaid because she had no resources, no ability to pay, at that time, $5,000 to $8,000 a month for a shared room/bathroom.

Those marketing pieces and glossy pictures and videos don't portray the reality of almost every "average" SNC/LTC facility. Under staffed, run by people who focus on the bottom line (even the Not For Profits) and constantly besieged by more and more paperwork and less and less time to devote to services -- they are as "shelved" as the people they serve.

  • Clocks and watches used to have to be wound to be functional.
  • Auto settings on appliances didn't exist; you had to actively turn them on & off.
  • People repaired or had repaired shoes, clothing, tools, appliances and more, stimulating business and brains to remember, retain and function.
  • Families were units of generations caring about and for one another; often living together or nearby.
DEMENTIA may progress because we fail to actively use our brains as well as from medical causes.

What if we weren't a "throw away and consumer oriented society"?

What happens to parts of your body you exercise or use in specific ways if you don't continue that function? 

Shouldn't our brain be considered the most important "muscle" or "organ" or "part" of our body and in need of the same ongoing attention we give to our heart, kidneys, other organs, eyes, teeth and even our nails and hair?

Dementia may be visible as an accumulation of plaques or other materials but what about our bodies and what they can show when they're not taken care of?

Right now... take a moment and stop, think and consider. WHAT IF ....
  • We valued age as we value youth.
  • Experience and learning wasn't considered obsolete because it was gained at another time in another place.
  • We realized you can continue to learn, to grow and to become even when you're confined to a specific space or place if someone takes an interest in you and if someone cares enough to work with you.
Spread the word:
  • Dementia is a disease to acknowledge for more than the damage it does.
  • Dementia is measureable and it's also workable; it might even be preventable in total or to a significant degree.
There are people who pass through this life every day at very advanced ages and with many of their "capabilities" and "capacities" still intact. That might be a sign of someone who's struggled with, fought the war and won many of the battles even when, as with my Mom, life ends. And, it's also a sign that they and others had the foresight and insight to find ways to live and provide life to the fullest and be valued for who they are as much as for who they were.

ONE SUGGESTION:  Stop reminiscing with people about what they did, who they were & what they no longer have -- that can be negating here & now.

  •    A TODAY to value themselves and continue to grow and learn
  •    A TOMORROW to look forward to great possibilities
  •    A future YESTERDAY filled with more positive memories                                                    Written on April 18, 2014; Posting September 15, 2023                                            Almost 10 Years Later We're Still Struggling To Accept And Understand

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Will I Also Join The LBD Journey?

Living with a "third party" who arrives, turns your life upside down, and was not welcome in the first place, provides daily stress, constant adjustment and concerns that often overwhelm the strongest among us is confusing, stressful and exhausting to go through. a nutshell...was/is/will be?... Lewy Body Dementia for me. 

THE OBSTACLES, AMOUNT OF DISINTEREST and LACK OF FUNDING to protect the general population from REAL ABUSE, REAL MISUSE AND REAL IGNORANCE is the challenge we face daily when Dementia doesn't just join our lives, it RULES our lives.

When there are no laws, no safety-nets, no systems, no departments who will listen, our society becomes Neanderthal.

 in a world where manipulators, controllers  see opportunity and there is no one, no group, no organization where the innocent, the accused, the truly "abused" who caregive with no financial gain, no benefit, ARE ACCUSED WITHOUT MERIT, WITHOUT SUBSTANCE -- we live in fear of asking for, much less accepting assistance.

Contrary to what many believe, it's not over when your loved one is no longer with you especially if you've lived the life, fought the fight and endured the "times" which you pray will change ... sooner .... rather than later.

We were consumed with the day to day coping and little available information---it was the struggle to lift life beyond the sticky mess being created daily interrupting and constantly changing time, finances, abilities, relationships, life in general, never knowing what would come next.

Surrounded by family and friends who "passed into and out of our lives" but never really spent any time within the confining walls of daily living and coping with LEWY BODY DEMENTIA.

We experienced some very insightful times I may write about  --but then again, perhaps not, as some of it might be too much "lifting the curtain" to do. 

We're both (adult daughter and myself )growing older and the difference is we both know there's another influencer potentially in our lives -- Lewy Body Dementia.   

First Reaction -- FEAR OF TOMORROW If you watched a parent/grandparent "go through" what appeared to be "idiosyncrasies" you really should investigate the subject of Dementia because chances are THIS MAY VERY LIKELY BE IN YOUR FUTURE LIFE.

Do you know what's going on "behind closed doors" in research on Dementia and especially those more "hidden" and "not obvious" like LBD?

Do you understand it's currently not controllable; often not recognizable and can be financially and physically debilitating?

When . . . 

Your journey with a loved one changes from their being in your life to no longer with you, 

There are the stages of grief you go through and always the question that begins "What If?"

You lose two immediate family members at separate times for "medical reasons" or complications thereof,

You're trying to cope with the ever growing changes and then when you're hit with something like COVID upsets your daily life...again.

I took what you might call a "sabbatical" from this site as COVID weaved in and out of our lives, my daughter and mine, and think it was beneficial. 

Picking up the "pieces" I now continue, admittedly a few years later, it's now September, 2023. And I started "journaling" albeit not regularly, in 2013. Ten Years Ago. 

For a long time it was just a way to find a small amount of time to set down thoughts and concerns. It wasn't a journal, kept specifically for any purpose, it was more of a hope someday in the future I would find it had helped in some small way to make the journey I was taking a little less formidable and a lot more knowledgeable.

WHERE ARE THE DEATH STATS DURNG THE COVID EPIDEMIC.  Not visible, "swept under", closed doors to facilities where "real information" has never been easy to access or find.


Kennels and Rescue Facilities of Animals have visibility on Tik Tok as do caregiving for Animals.

WHEN HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYONE, EXCEPT DURING COVID, crack open the door to Long Term Care facilities, letting just a few sounds, smells, visions -- of their reality?

A STATE RUN, FEDERALLY FUNDED Long Term Care Facility is NOT AN OPEN ENVIRONMENT and neither is a Private Care Facility.


there are health laws for food, humane treatment laws for animals, protection from many misuses of authority ---

WHEN IT COMES TO DEMENTIA AND CARE GIVING FOR THOSE IN NEED -- the laws are few, far between, antiquated and unknown as they are "hidden" in legalese and fine print.

FAMILY MEMBERS are "visitors" and only those specifically legally designated are listened to by the facility -- relegated to resident interviews generally NOT ANNOUNCED and results of any and all findings, even for those with POA in many States, are not provided with or give access to, daily records.

CONSIDER THIS:  You have lived together for almost forty years as a multi generational family but because of a person who has a "personal agenda", who "suddenly" re-activates her RN status AND REPORTS YOU, AS A "CAREGIVER" for exactly what you're "not allowed to know" and takes steps to "convince" the State there is suddenly"elder abuse" in a family that's lived together FOR OVER FORTY YEARS.


Managing the day to day of personal care and caregiving is a "job" It's unpaid, disrespected and overlooked when calculating the "value" given to society and individuals.


Looking the other way has been practiced for centuries.

Moving the challenge to being a "responsibility" of others.

Believing it's not "my" problem and won't be "for a long time".

Ignoring, overlooking, minimizing and closing eyes to not see.

Planning and mis-believing all possibilities are covered.

We're all so busy with today, we've moved past yesterday; tomorrow, well, I'm doing the best I can, under the based on the times and the circumstances and my abilities.


My journey into enlightenment, knowledge and taking action to create change, one person at a time, began mostly post LBD.

Life dished up many variations of challenges, necessities and even opportunities as they probably have for you.

Considering Dementia as a life path was not top of the list.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Run Run As Fast As We Can -- COVID 19's On The Rise Again

Lest We Forget -- COVID was a warning; wrote the content of most of this entry April 30, 2020 during the disease's morphing as it would continue without full realization and recognition by growing numbers who believed "the worst was past".  

We "slipped into" believing it "will pass" and "be over" and all will "return to normal again".

Diseases morph and change; sometimes for the better, sometimes they take on new shapes, forms and provide more challenges.

We were a Nation always on the move except for the last several weeks when "restrictions" were put in place in all States to try to stop the rapid advance of the killing fields of COVID-19.

Some States seemed to "play down" and even "push aside" their statistics; they appeared to believe if they didn't "talk about it" the significance and effect would be lower.


while appearing to be giving information and statistics to "prove" the voracity of what self serving areas know they must have to "survive".

Interesting how we started "trusting" heads of State governments and bobbing our heads up and down in agreement ....if what they say will take us out of this boring situation full of challenges and change.

States asserted their rights and decided to ease or remove in part or in whole the restrictions to stay home and some schools are even talking about restarting, classes during the Summer or other "possibilities" to resume "in person" teaching.

TICK. TOCK. We can't bear to watch the clock, we can't bear to be "confined" and so we start to let slide common sense, caring about others and --just-- return to normal --because deaths are going down, hospitalizations are falling....or are they?


Listening to the Governor of Florida cite statistics about admissions to hospitals going down and the many "actions" taken to "protect" Florida's extensive Long Term Care population; what will we actually discover once this time has passed about the lockdowns, refusal to allow contact and actual number of deaths attributable to living conditions unacceptable during the best of times, killing fields during the worst of times.

A little slippage, a few lawsuits. If it had been nurseries, there would have been a mass picketing of the medical facilities but if there were, we did not hear just as LTC's were quick to "discount" their high death tolls to "the cost of aging" the hospitals just referred to a "higher mortality rate" due to other factors like age of the mother, lack of medical care or nationality.

Many returned to using mass and individual transportation to go where they want, when they  want or need to 24/7 in major metropolitan areas and small rural communities as well. Deaths increased but people became "oblivious" if it didn't directly affect them or a family member. We'd grown a "second skin" and it was "us" versus "them".

PREDICTION:  This major life event will be replaced by others, more tragic, more traumatic, and then those will be historical and others will rise to the top. 

Lessons. We don't really learn them. Many ignore the time and the lesson knowing we'll move past or at least some of us will. 

Deaths don't matter. If a friend, well, that just happens, doesn't it? They'll be missed. A family member? We mourn, we recall, we move forward -- seldom do we ask "why". 

Acceptance allows return to recycling more chaos.

Ignorence is NOT best and neither is Ignoring.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

As The Twig Is Bent So Grows The Family Tree

Pre-Note: Written after my husband passed and my mother, I reflected on how my oldest son, living hundreds of miles away, shown in earlier writings about his "unwillingness" to help, decided his sister and I should "downsize" and leave the only home she knew and the very special place where memories still live for me.

Sitting at my table, looking out the window, family gatherings and everyday events come to mind.

No, my  son, I could  not sell this house; not now; not yet and not then -- when you told me how wrong I was about "keeping it" after Dad passed.

With all its challenges as it ages, like I am also doing, it is a comfort, a haven of memories and peace of mind. 

Yes, there have been several times when I could have used "your" help but I would never ask you as the price I had to pay isn't worth the cost.

We've stumbled, we've even fallen along the way but through it all I had your sister, my daughter, and when I've asked, your brother, there to guide, to care and to understand it is my life, still, while I can and am willing to live it in ways you do not comprehend.

You have chosen to walk another path, one of distance and eventual complete separation. That is your choice. It is not how you lived, it is not how we taught.

To you,  it's a "big" house and needs repairs and so much more. 

To me, it's a respite, a hope and a future without having to give up,  give in and try to hold on for dear life -- been there, done that not just since you were born but many years before with my Mother supporting, caring and "there" for me, for us.

You live hundreds of miles away and seldom come to visit. Yet you want to "manage" my life. Why? Because you believe your "knowledge" from buying two houses and renting them give you the ability and even "the right" to decide how I will live?

I admit, without your sister continuing to be a part of my life I would not be financially able or capable. But you would not be able to provide for your family of five if your wife wasn't working and you didn't have a good job. In your way you also work together to gain and retain what you want, what you need.

We all make decisions; we live lives we choose with parts that are given and parts that are taken.

Looking out the window I see the towering Oak tree that once was a twig cut from your Grandfather's Oak in the home they lived in as long as we have now. I placed the twig in water, allowed it to root and then Dad and I plante it in our yard; a symbol of continuity, of family and of the love we had for one another -- especially now that all of them are no longer with us.

Your father planted it after asking me where I'd like for it to be. 
I chose far enough away from the house where it would get sunlight and have room to grow to its potential.

Today, it towers over us, reminding me with its' beauty, it's welcome shade on hot Summer days and even its bare branches covered with snow in Winter reminded me how Seasons, of life, pass and bring their own beauty and "gifts" to each of us.

The tree is "family", what it should be, growing day by day, able to stand alone yet benefiting all around and a reminder of those who shared life with us, my husband, your father, my mother, your Grandmother

So fortunate and privileged were we all to build this dream, carve out this space to grow our lives and shelter our extended family.This wasn't our first home; it was the fourth one we called home.

We moved as Dad moved up the corporate ladder and then to this place, our "forever home" where we chose to spend so many years learning, growing, working -- together.

It was a little bit of a reach but it gave us what we valued -- a yard back and front where you and your siblings spent time, each of you had your own room including Grandma who came to live with us when you were two months old and moved with us around the country before settling here. 

When your sister "came along" we added another bedroom and bath in the "lower level" aka "the basement". We couldn't afford to finish all the area; you had a "separate" bedroom and didn't have to "share", as many siblings do, when a family addition arrives. 

It was and is HOME.  It was and is MEMORIES.

And, I, my son, am like my Mother, with whom you spent your life as we did ours; you grew from a small child into a grown man and benefited along the way from three adults loving you, caring about you and providing for you -- and your siblings--even when we should have said "enough" and "no, we can't.

If we believed it was beneficial; we found a way. And that was for each, in their own way, as one received, so did the others. 

There were no "favorites", none was provided for beyond others, and that included our short time being Guardians for your Uncle's grand-daughter.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree....but the tree that is moved to another location also responds to where it is moved...and that can affect the shape, height, even the way the tree responds to the elements around it.

You chose and choose to make choices every day. 

Perhaps you'll reach your full maturity some day and recognize how important it is to bend, to move "with", not against winds that blow. 

Perhaps you have in some ways in your personal and professional life; now it's time to adjust, to understand life is more than just what surrounds you every day.

Someday I will leave this house. It will continue in some form, perhaps another shape, definitely another owner -- your sister, as that is our plan.

The Seasons are changing. Soon Spring will arrive. Some days already show signs of warming and new growth and development from animals to plants.

When will you change, my son? 
When will you have the courage to reconnect? 

I have the memories but it's not the same. 

It's been your decision to disconnect yourself and your children.

It is not what you were taught; it is not how you were raised.

I continue to walk my life's path. 
I make decisions and plan.
I continue to work.
Your sister agrees and works each day with me to survive/thrive.

Looking out the window at the tree I see new growth.

I hope someday soon to see new positive growth from your part of "The Family Tree".

Farewell, Dear Friend: Our Circle of Life Third Member Passes

In Human compared to Cat years, she was as old or even older than Mom when our beloved companion and pet of twenty years passed two days ago.

I'd written how she appeared to have Dementia similar to Mom's -- the cat's gait, balance, incontinence, confusion, changes in eating habits and more -- and finding references to articles about Dementia in animals. It stands to reason. They have brains, we have brains; they get many of the same diseases we do.

Our domesticated companions are an intricate part of our lives bringing the same joys and challenges as members of our families.

As with Mom, we could see the end nearing but a part of us kept hoping it would be a little farther down the calendar than it actually was. We felt comforted that it came this past week and not the next. My daughter and I were both starting new jobs and while I worked every weekday, her work gave her two days off during the week. Fortunately, one was the day our dear companion, our cat, passed from this life.

The night before I could not leave our very weak and so very slight little friend downstairs and just knew she would not be able to make it up the steps, as she did for so many years, to be with us.

Daughter said cats usually seek someplace to hide when it's "their time" but I felt this wonderful life's companion who so often came to lay beside us, climb onto my lap, would not want to "hide" or "be alone". She was as close to us as we were to one another.

Her moving around the downstairs or coming up the flight of stairs became more difficult this last week.  The day/night before, she went to the steps but then returned to her box. I think it was two nights she'd spent totally downstairs and waited for us to come to wake her up when she would usually climb the steps (often as early as 3:30 AM) to let us know it was time for us to open a can and feed her. Dry food was for dry times, she seemed to say, when you aren't around and I have nothing else.

I'd noticed she could no longer jump onto my lap in the last week. She'd come in and "cat-wail' letting me know she wanted to lay on my lap as I sat in a favorite chair with an ottoman. I'd tell her to move closer so I could lift her .... and she would. Placing her gently on my out stretched legs, she'd struggle to get her body to move to a reclining position. I'd gently help her move limbs showing less flexibility and even some arthritic misalignment in hips and joints. Sometimes she'd fall asleep and I'd cradle her with my arm where she'd lay her head and stretch out her paw, always moving it back and forth caressing my arm to let me know how pleased she was to be so close and yet have such freedom and ability to move or even to leave, if she chose.

We took her upstairs the night before she passed in the box she'd claimed a few months before. Just an ordinary cardboard box, a three sided box that wasn't very deep but she could lay in it with a cushioning of an old towel.

She'd found it on the kitchen floor one day; a box without it's top sections I was going to discard but when our dear friend selected this box, we found some old towels and made it her "special place". It sat in our kitchen and often she'd move from another towel on the floor, where she liked to stretch out in the sunlight, to the cozy, secure and comfortable box.

During the really cold, subzero Winter weather we'd experienced this past year, we would microwave a small rice filled pillow, place it between layers of a hand towel and against the side of the box to give her additional warmth.

The box became her "special place"; we moved it into the sunlight or the shade, depending on the weather and her "preferences". The box gave her room to change positions but supported her as she advanced in her journey these last several months. 

And so this was our choice for her burial, this box of comfort, love and family.

The night before she passed, we took her upstairs in the box wanting her to be near us and us to be nearer her. We saw the signs, those we'd witnessed in other family members in these last three years of life changing events. But as with husband and mother, we did not know the time or place, only that this unwelcome guest named Death was coming closer and would soon arrive.

Our loving cat managed to climb out of the box during the night. She dropped herself down onto the carpeting and appeared to try to sleep. I slept on and off. Whenever she moved she'd make a pitiful crying sound. She had problems with her sight the last couple of years but her hearing would help her to "find us" and know when we left or came home or even if we'd opened a can of food for her.

Now, she seemed to be turning her head, looking for me and wanting to be near. I picked her up and put her beside me in bed, cradling her with covers and placing my arm near her; she'd taken to laying beside me in the last several months and even as her strength was deteriorating in the last week, managed to use the "cat stairs" we'd found at a garage sale and make her way up to sleep on the bed.

Purring, so natural for her and so frequent, had become as much of a challenge as her trying to groom herself in the last couple of weeks. I heard a soft sound so familiar and so welcome as she turned her head toward me laying curled up beside me. A thank you for caring for me type of sound. And, that familiar movement of her paw up and down.

We both slept but my sleep was shallow and I grew more and more concerned about her inabilities now to move and disinterest in food I'd tried to offer to her earlier in a small spoon. She'd kept drinking even when she didn't eat but now she was incapable of moving for any basic self sustaining need.

When the morning came and I had to leave for my new job, I cried and pet her; telling her how much she'd meant to me, to our family. I hated to leave my daughter to go through what I felt would be another last day on this earth for another family member.

Yes, this was an animal, but this was a third link in our family unit; a long part of our family history, our daughter's pet, chosen by her but loved by all. I felt I had to say my goodbyes to her; her weakness and inability to move, her difficulty just lifting her head. I knew her life was leaving her little body, now so slight and so light we could barely feel any weight when we moved her from the bed to the box for her final journey.

We had so many memories. My wonderful husband always told me he didn't like Cats. Never had one. Always had a dog. Didn't trust them. So, of course, he was the one our new addition always sought out to rub against, jump on his lap when he sat down, greeted when he walked through the door.

It didn't take long for man and cat to bond. And when he was sick, laying in his hospital bed in our downstairs family room, our loving cat would lay on the floor beside his bed knowing she should not jump up on him because of the four open wounds draining on his abdominal area. Or, she would jump into a chair nearby, always keeping watch. Always there. Waiting. Hoping, as we did, for the day when Dad would get up, go out and come back, get something to eat from the refrigerator they could share......

And as for my Mom and the cat. Well, that was another family story. Mom and I had cats over the years. They were often strays that "found us". We both couldn't turn them away. Or from the humane society (our wonderful cat was from a Cat Rescue). We'd had kittens and we'd had wandering males in our years of being cat people. So, this addition to our family after a year without our wonderful but much more dependent cocker spaniel, was most welcome by her.

Mom talked to Cat, fed her and sometimes scolded her for walking on a counter. Our cat was very capable of jumping and showed her accomplishment at most inappropriate times like when Mom was trying to roll out a pie crust and our dear friend's curiosity just had to be satisfied.

Mom missed our cat. She welcomed occasional visits to the cat who lived at her second Long Term Care facility and a dog that "owned" all territory outside of the cat's domain which was the main Activity Center. Mom shared her love of life and animals with me and I have tried to pass that on to my children.

Daughter and I both went through the last two days much as we did with her father, my husband and my Mom, her Grandmother. Death and mourning are  complicated by expectations: planning, gathering, sharing and moving forward.

With this third family member's death, we both have wept and shared the tremendous grief we've kept, for the most part, inside and weighing down almost everything.

We've moved forward with each passing -- sometimes reluctantly and sometimes forced to do so by circumstances. We've spent time before the previous deaths and all this time after almost always being stoic and shouldering whatever came our way. This is just another step in our life journey. Time to move forward .... again.

Death is an unwelcome guest. One we do not want to prepare for but must. One we are uncomfortable hearing about and having visit. We look forward to Death's immediate presence leaving and the memories of its visit fading. We do not welcome its return, yet know Death will come again. We value life welcoming and celebrating its presence.

Daughter was given the day to participate in her pet's death as she'd been given the gift of being there to care for her Dad and Grandma. She read from the Bible at her father's funeral and sang a beautiful old hymn at her Grandmother's.

For her special companion, she tended to the basic needs, placing her cat lovingly in her box with a clean towel, gathering brightly blooming flowers our dear cat would have welcomed going up to outside and smelling (and did over the years) and placing them lovingly around the inside of the box.

Using a beautiful cutwork table runner and oversize placemat my daughter had found at a garage sale recently, she placed the box with our dear friend inside on top of a step stool and covered it. She took a small bowl, one given to me years before, and placed dried roses from Dad's and Grandma's funerals in it setting it in front of the covered box. Symbolically, they were together.

Of course it rained, heavily, that evening when I came home, so we could not go to bury our beloved friend. So, like the other family members who preceded her, we had a wake, a time of mourning, so to speak, yet another family member passing. It was perhaps one of the greatest gifts we received; the gift of time to mourn, of time to rejoice and of time to reflect.

The next day, the sun shone, the flowering trees were magnificent in their glory. We said goodbye to our friend, our constant companion for so many years....For everything, there is a season .... and a reason.

We Rejoice and Remember: Families come in all sizes and shapes.  They have joy and sorrow. They live with the memories of yesterday, the joys and the challenges, and, the Hope of another day, of Tomorrow. 

Rest in Peace dear friend and companion.
      You will be missed and remembered.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Boomers -- NOT following in the footsteps of The Silent Generation

Remember the movie where the person hangs out the window and shouts, "I'm mad as HELL.. and I'm NOT going to take it anymore"? 

It's time for Senior Home Owners to raise their voices against Senior Discrimination -- a rising force against many of our most vulnerable members of society.

Insistance a specific type of housing is a "right" of one "class of people" verges on  a way of life we've fought against for centuries.

Taking over a home, "land grabs", being designed as "rights" or "entitlement" are concerning.

The Generation surviving predatory financing practices is now faced with anger and frustration surrounding what they believe is "a right" -- home ownership.

Where is it written attaining a specific age in life comes with any "guarantees"?

Under a mask of "what's better for a specific group, a huge increase in multi-storied, buy in "residences" with month to month "occupancy" -- aka 'apartments" with a different "spin" for those 65 and older -- is a financial gain for a select few  and a financial burden increasing dependency for many.

Taking your turn has morphed into a movement to verbally force Seniors to sell their homes to younger generations. 

"Property investors", those who once were individuals who saw an opportunity for a little additional income to buy a "second house", often in a "vacation area", for their own enjoyment and to make a little extra income. have turned to seeing housing as a financial base for income or an expense to adjust taxation.

Those same investor individuals and groups have now seized on buying houses and apartments for one of two reasons: (1) a stream of income and/or (2) a means of tax deductions.

We've moved from personal "body parts" shameing to shameing our Senior Population for "living the American Dream" of continuing home ownership they've earned, planned for and looked forward to enjoying in their "older years".

Entitlement has moved "what I want, when I want it" or I'll have a "tantrum" from children of all ages and stages to adults continuing to put their "wants" and "desires" ahead of their parents and grandparents.

This MOST concerning practice is becoming an undercurrent of "financial planning" that will most likely cause significant challenges for many.

Some societies with very different types of government have placed and still operate on the basis of "perceived need by the governing entity" and "for those who are deemed as worthy of having this benefit due to position or who they serve". 

Controversial? Off the Wall? UnAmerican? 

It's time we stopped talking to ourselves and believing it will all work out because what we see in "the system" of Care For The "Aging" is mainly shelving, removing from general sight and drugging many beyond their needs or wants.

Our children and grandchildren are next in line and if they don't see now, they'll feel later, perhaps with more restrictions, requirements and resolutions to ensure THEIR generation is the one to move in the direction "wanted" and "needed".

Turn off, tune out if you want, but all ages are moving towards this time and it's not a vacation, no matter what THEY tell you.

These "new living facilities" that are structured for Seniors -- who has authority on their actions and practices? The ones where you "offer up" a "deposit" of $5,000 (yes, obviously meant for those "middle to upper level" Seniors) and you gain a "ticket" to socialize and "get to know" others who have done the same. 

Aren't they just glorified apartment complexes for "old" people? 

A way to get them to move out of their homes and "make way" for other generations? 

Move Seniors out of developed neighborhoods with various in place "conveniences", familiar surroundings and PRIVACY. . .Into multi storied buildings, dependent on elevators . . . or for cost concerns, only outside steps they'll be able to negotiate FOR A FEW MORE YEARS AT MOST

Seniors are being "blamed" for escalating home and property prices. 

INTERESTING SHIFTING of RESPONSIBLITY. A tactic used by bullies and those who want to monopolize -- blame the most vulnerable, the least protected.

Get an apartment, a condo, move to Florida or another area where Seniors are "grouped together" -- as though we need to isolate this very active and actionable group of people. 

NO REAL natural greenery to care for and about . . .  

A room or two . . . that's all "YOU" need

Those are the many, there are the few that are "home like" and even stand alone or are duplexes BUT these are the exception AND THEY COME WITH A HIGH INVESTMENT USUALLY THE ENTIRE SINGLE FAMILY HOME INVESTMENT. 


A HOME with rooms and outside space to move around, provide ability to recall and remember

A PLACE to sit in a private setting, without having to accommodate someone else's wants and needs -- there becomes small area with limited personal space. 

BOOMERS  (thankfully most have removed the word "baby" as we certainly do not qualify for use of that word except when born) . . . 

CREATED disruption, disenchantment, disbelief and questioning authority -- among great discoveries and practices for the good of all the world and pushed for diversification and acceptance of all races, beliefs, life styles.

Hey...maybe that's the "real concern" -- we demonstrated, we went the full mile in protesting -- mostly peacefully -- for human rights. We're still doing it!

Boomers hid under desks told they could survive an Atomic Bomb if they did; followed in other's footsteps only walking in different more varied directions; reached out over barriers of time and into space, marched in protests, joined in Hands Across America and opened the doors of the world, one trip at a time

We Started The Fire . . . for truth, for acceptance, for inclusion, for disrupting. 

On Boomer's and earlier generation's shoulders, the world used sight, sound and unity to create needed change including acceptance and inclusion.

Those "babies" made disruptive waves long before it was acceptable and felt the anger and frustration of a society determined to mold them and change them.

Here to tell you" they" didn't succeed. Our eyes were opened. Life does that to you.

Other generations had Wars overseas, we had a War building and raging at home. 

Children were subjected to being "taught" exactly what to believe and had no computer to "seek truth"

Books were banned or "held aside" and had to be requested only to be released with "parental approval" -- SOUND FAMILIAR?

Let's not reverse history and hide books, ban them or even have a "bonfire". 

That's past behavior based on control and manipulation. 

Tweens became teens, twenty somethings, thirties parents, forties approaching a less "desired" age group -- like their parents and then moved, following their parents, into the "shelving age group" of the sixties and beyond.


BOOMERS  fought stereotypes and demanding practices and taught our children the value of the land, the water, the air.

Let's move forward, not backward; BOOMERS struggled to get "change" by opening the windows and doors to see what others wanted to limit and eliminate. 


Do not set aside or only recognize us when we pass as what remains is what you have for when you walk in our place.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Manipulation, Control, Elder Abuse by an RN, Church Lady

It's time. Set aside your feelings, I told myself. 
This part of your story is important. 

It shows how deeply and widely actions were purposely taken and meant to harm and tear apart, reach and affect. 

Mom's generation would have said "airing your dirty linen" but this concern about how shining a light on wrongdoing would cause the person doing it problems is what keeps the cycle of abuse continuing.

We lost more than two family members, we lost a significant and meaningful relationship and trust we had for decades. 

Originally published October 17, 2019, reviewed August 16, 2023, this entry contains explicit content, to read, learn and hopefully see manipulation, control and abuse of our elderly can be done by those who are among those who appear to have chosen professions of protection and assistance of our aging population.

It's almost Sunday . . . again. A day when we traditionally went to a Church we'd been members of for more than two decades and one where husband, self and daughter gave in service and of our time for years. 

We celebrated life and we walked through the challenges of death of two immediate family members within two years of one another.

This entry focuses on how a woman from our Church came into our lives and financially abused my Mom, me and our family, manipulated Mom to remove my POA and opened a Safety Deposit box with Mom taking money out of our home and how the woman kept both keys to the box and told no one in our family. 

She's never been held accountable or responsible.
I do not believe my Mom and our family were her first time to abuse a Senior.

She was/is(?) a "caregiver" for many years even though she enjoys a lifestyle of privilege and lives in a house far more expensive than ours

We tried to work for resolution during Mom's life. We begged our Church to intervene and they told us we had to "forgive" and basically forget. 

Isn't Elder Abuse as important as Child Abuse?  

How much destruction must an individual do before they are asked to be accountable and to face their accuser in person to seek truth and potentially provide resolution?

We asked our Church to facilitate a meeting. They refused. Heard the woman was a large contributor to major programs and interests of the parish.

Which is worth more?  A stack of dollar bills or an individual's well being?

We asked ourselves, finally, why we continued to subject ourselves to watching Mom's abuser stand before us at Church services reading from the Bible and distributing Communion when we had made every effort to bring our Mom's abuser together with officials at the Church and ourselves and she refused.

What are the responsibilities of a Church towards its members?

What about the leadership in the Church? 

Isn't it a part of their responsibility to bring about reconciliation through bringing dissenting people together? 

Finally, after months of abuse and unable to stand the torment, daughter walked to the front of the Church, turned her back on the woman as she read from the Bible and stayed standing during the entire reading.

The presider of the services could have walked over to her, spoken with her in a low voice or could even have simply continued to the conclusion of the services. Instead, he screamed at her from his seat across the church to "SIT DOWN"!

I went from my place in a pew to stand beside her. I turned my back on our abuser.

That day began our journey of true enlightenment and cutting a cord that had held us too tight while providing no real support.

Daughter and I haven't returned or attended the Church we went to faithfully at the same time each Sunday for more years than I can remember. 

It was my "home away from home", a source of great celebration and a "beacon" in the light of life's darker moments -- or so I believed.

My husband and I and our children were actively involved in many projects and causes. 

We took our children there to grow in the faith and watched as our daughter grew into a young woman who served in many positions of responsibility and caring.

When my husband passed the altar was filled with twelve Priests/Monks who officiated and directly participated in his funeral Mass.

Daughter and I decided to turn our backs, walk away and shake the dirt off our sandals.

We went through the "acceptable channels", we spoke up, we spoke out; deaf ears were turned to concerns for our family members and concerns for other older members of the congregation. 

Abuse. There are many types.    None should be tolerated.   
No one should be allowed to wear false faces and not be known for what they do to those who are helpless to push away their abuser.

It's the Church where we took my husband's body before we parted. It's  across town from the one he attended and from my church where we walked a longer aisle and started a life together always with family, his and mine, a part of who we were, what we valued.

It was the Church where we celebrated so many times: 25th Wedding Anniversary, both sons' graduations from the High School associated with the Church, daughters' Baptism and Confirmation and more.

Then our family was abused. By a woman sent into our home by this Church. Unmonitored, unsupervised, violating practices and procedures of the volunteer organization she represented -- the one husband and daughter worked with and for over several years -- never held accountable for her actions. 

A woman who set aside the most basic principles of their religious organization but not one person we went to at any level had the courage and faith to hold her accountable.

We were told we must forgive. Not we "should", we MUST. 

It's not about forgiveness if forgiveness is allowing someone to destroy another or others and continue the process. 

It's about ensuring the safety and well being of others. It's also about practicing what you preach. 

It's not about saying a number of Our Father's or Hail Mary's. 

It's about turning your life away from the path you're on and finding a way to clean the stain you've left so those who were "marked" by your actions feel safe once again.

It's about concern if she could abuse our family, we were not the first and we will not be the last.

Daughter lost her part time job working in the church's religious schooling for children because she would not forgive, could not forgive, a person who continued to abuse her grandmother and her family. Truth punished.

I cannot think of anyone, any society, that survives and grows providing the means for a person or persons to destroy its basis.

We continue tol live with the loses of two family members and the direct and side effects of actions that came as a wave, became a Tsunami, caused a lingering flood and left behind damages. We'll rebuild, we'll go forward.

We could not bear the hypocrisy of this woman standing before others in a position of trust, of authority and of "religious representation" while secretly and continually violating the trust of those she stood before.

The person entrusted to walk in the opening procession in front of the celebrator and often carried the Bible, held high for all to see, from which she read and was "elevated" at the Ambo and afterwards in the eyes of those attending. 

The person who was given this position representing the church community as a symbol of living a "good life" according to the Church and its beliefs. 

This is the person who abused my mother and our family and who I believe has done the same action towards many other elderly men and women.

Our life was in chaos and it has taken many years since Mom's final passing to place this travesty alongside other major life events -- as wrong, unjust and "past".

We never knew when this woman would be "on the scene" causing distress to Mom and chaos to us. She visited Mom at the Long Term Care, she took Mom's phone, provided by our 
family, removed my phone number and put in hers.

Over many months, items Mom cherished or said she cared about would seem to "disappear" whenever the woman came to visit Mom in the Long Term Care facility. Mysteriously, they'd reappear a few days or a few weeks later, again, coinciding with a visit from Mom's "friend" as the woman called herself.

Mom's "hallucinations and delusions" about "Larry", the man who suddenly returned after 70 plus years, who "found her" in this small, out of the way Long Term Care facility far from where he lived and since Mom was approaching her 100th year highly improbable the gentleman was capable of traveling or even alive were consistent with Julia's visits -- when she signed in; we found out later she didn't always sign in.

The story resurrected through "a woman" who came to visit Mom.  
This "woman" who continuously fed Mom's Lewy Body Dementia challenges with delusions and hallucinations.

This woman was real. She signed the register at the Long Term Care facility -- but not always. 

The "suitor" was a memory used to convince the LTC and our family Mom was highly incapable which usually meant facility Doctors provided more and more meds -- that was and continues to be the practice in Long Term Care. 

The Law was on Julia's side and she knew it. 

As long as Mom wanted her visits, because we could not bring ourselves even when Mom's mental capabilities were very questionable, to get guardianship.

Julia came and went, brought her vile and ugly stories to protect herself and ensure Mom was seen as "losing it" even more.

Mother was trusting, especially of Julia. Julia made sure through all she did leading up to this time that Mom would "imprint" with what was left of her mind more on Julia and less on us. 

Julia took the cell phone our family provided to Mom and constantly changed my phone number to hers; it was a simple phone because it would be easier for Mom to use. It had two buttons at the top to direct dial, "1" and "2". Julia would visit and my number would be gone and Julia's in its place.

We tracked her visits, this woman. We found some friends within the residents and the workers at Mom's Long Term Care facility. 

Finally, authorities saw the negative effects the woman had on Mom and the Administrator told her she had to register when she visited. 

This "friend" often scrawled her name, didn't sign the register when she arrived and/or departed and/or "forgot" to sign out when she left.

If Mom had the right to see whoever she wanted and this woman had no contact with us, why did she find a need to hide her visits? 

Our answer: because her visits were made specifically to watch Mom's Dementia develop and to "help it along the way" by trying to confuse her, create situations where Mom acted and talked more "disturbed" and left her confused and frustrated and often taking more risks after being encouraged to "do more for herself" than she was capable by this "friend".

Julia was/is a Registered Nurse who worked (and to my knowledge still works) with the elderly, especially those with advancing Dementia. 

Julia specifically "renewed" her Nursing license (which had expired by many months) just before she took Mom to the bank, had her bring a large sum of money from our home, opened a safety deposit box, put Mom and her name on it, and KEPT BOTH KEYS.

Julia didn't tell daughter or either son she planned to take Mom to the Bank, planned to take money out of our home, had kept the only keys to the safety deposit box.

Why? Because there was financial gain for her.

It was Mom's "burial money" she'd set aside and we'd help her add to over the years. It was a few thousand dollars.

Through it all, we were in the throes of the Great Recession and trying to hold together everything else that was coming apart as well.

With caregiving for my husband 24/7 in our home after his 100 days of hospitalization, almost all of which was in critical intensive care, trying to work through changing and keeping attached as many as four plastic bags collecting constantly flowing materials coming out of as many as four openings on his abdominal area and providing for Mom's Dementia (which we did not see but definitely did experience the roller coaster ride of variations), I was lucky to know what day it was.

I lived to serve them both; what they needed, when they needed it. Typical family member who values life and loves unconditionally.

Julia kept our life spinning. Some would counter she was only trying to "help us" by getting Mom into a facility -- less work, more time to focus on my husband. Why not provide "in home" care or find a way to get it for Mom through her knowledge and experience in "the system of ElderCare"?

You come alongside when you care about someone.

You walk their walk; talk their talk; join together, not tear apart.

You do not make decisions for them as long as they can make their own.

You do not separate and agitate; you bring together and try to calm the waters.

If Julia believed I was an abuser -- financial and emotional -- why didn't she connect with one of the three grandchildren and voice her concerns?

, -- who rightfully should have been contacted with any concerns she had or actions 

She WAS NOT AUTHORIZED OR EMPOWERED to have any financial or other influence or take actions.

Julia was well trained in working with the elderly to gain trust and get compliance to her directives.

She knew exactly how to maximize her time with Mom to try to set up directives and encourage her to take high risks that could easily result in Mom's having severe consequences leading to falls or hospitalization.

Julia excelled in psychology; it's the way she was taught by a very intensive Nursing training program at her "exclusive, expensive" East Coast private college/university.

CAN'T PROVE IT.  Those words ring in my ears from the time when I stopped her outside the Church early on in our "relationship".

CAN'T PROVE IT.  Those who abuse are often those we feel we can "trust" and who show the world a face far different from the one they hide.

We've turned our backs, shook the dirt off our sandals and have moved forward to work in our community and on a broader scale to protect the rights of aging individuals while protecting their safety and well being as well. 

We can not and could not change the hearts and the minds of those who would not see, would not listen and chose to turn away from truth, away from right, from the light into darkness.

Each person who reads this Blog has a voice to raise, a vote to make, the power to write and raise their voices and to connect with others online, in the community, in passing and in continuing action groups.

Another person will surely suffer.

Another family will be torn apart. 
Until others step forward.

Those involved in the challenges.
Those who have the power and the position to protect our aging population from predators and real abusers.