Friday, February 19, 2016

The Bubble Is Growing: Let's Make It Burst and Drench Society With Possibilities

The bubble is growing.

As celebrities and others mention and talk about Dementia; as our population continues to age and "stick around" longer; as families are generally smaller and there are less to "care for" our aging at home; as families of Gen X'ers add children much as their forefathers did with sightings of 4, 5 and 6 children rather than the 2, 3 and occasional 4 of Baby Boomer families; the bubble of taking care of ourselves with care at all ages and stages becomes larger

The children of today if provided with better health care will be the elderly of tomorrow. And, no, that doesn't mean we don't want good health care, on the contrary, it means we need to prepare and take action to provide for these needs to live a long and live a healthy life. That means identifying, recognizing and supporting efforts to provide these "basic" elements of life like food and water are for living things.

Just read an article via the Lewy Body Dementia website that has me a bit on edge. Why?

It's an article about the limitations of physicians in talking with and dealing with patients who have Dementia. the author is Danielle Ofri, MD. She is a practicing internist, Associate Professor of Medicine, essayist, etc.

Comments were left by many and they are perhaps more enlightening than what Dr Ofri wrote. They come from people who've been diagnosed with "fatal" diseases and family members. They tell the reality of being the person with the challenge and those who everyday rise to the challenge to provide care without receiving real guidance, direction and assistance. 

Many, including my daughter and I, have been sent in various directions because no one took the time to understand, to care and to sit down and actually talk about the disease and who have shifted the responsibility to this organization or that, to this care provider or that one -- people who mostly are well meaning but certainly not specialists and who generally are volunteers

We went down that path. Through twists and turns often returning us to the beginning, where we were before and without any progression and feeling more recession into the trials and tribulations of struggling as caregivers and family members to love, care for and support in an environment that fails miserably to provide real support unless you have significant funds "to make the purchase".

We tried to use the internet, consult organizations and look for any small grain of information that might, just might, give us better direction than what we were taking.

Unfortunately, even today, there doesn't seem to be any one resource that's capable or funded enough to provide the type of information we all seek -- easy to read, providing more direct information.

We're good at gathering information, compiling it and sometimes sharing it within the medical community but often the needed recipients, those dealing directly with the challenges are often seen as "incapable" of understanding or applying what is "currently known" without significant oversight and management -- aka Doctors, Medical facilities and Long Term Care facilities.

It's time to burst the bubble of information and move it from select sites, within "industry" publications and have conversations, town hall meetings and raise public awareness through significant media continual coverage.

Updates on Dementia and other significant medical challenges including TIA's and "brain damage" medically or physically caused are important to put into the public domain. 

Cancer, Heart Disease and other physical challenges have gone from feared and unknown causes to publically acknowledged major focuses of attention and resolution to find cures.

DEMENTIA IN ALL ITS FORMS is a major threat to our society. It is not an "old person's disease". It can strike at all ages and it can reduce the strength of our society because like all diseases, the effects are felt and experienced by family, friends and society as a whole.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Aldi's Is No Longer On My Preferred Shopping List

I recognize there are practices for "ID" presentation that are company policies no matter what the age of someone who purchases alcohol but Aldi's policy at a Missouri location (possibly others) is age and individual inappropriate.

It took me initially responding I would never shop THERE again to sharing my experience with men and women of varying ages, watching and listening to their responses and to family responses of "veiled mentions" while dining in their home to having purchased what we were eating from "that store", to write this blog entry.

It's not funny. It's not acceptable. And, it's not the law.
Some said I should have gone to the Store Manager; it was probably their decision and not necessarily at all stores.

Others said I should have simply handed the item to the cashier and walked away from the transaction. That, to me, would not have resolved the basis and the nature of the problem, it wasn’t my problem, it was theirs.

Generations previously lived by the philosophy you stop a small problem before it gets out of control.  Today we seem to live allowing situations to get so far out of control they affect masses of society in ways that limit or even destroy lives.

Here's what happened:

My purchases had all been passed over the scanner.

The cashier clicked a key and then told me my purchase wouldn't go through until I provided "verbally" the exact month, day and year of my birth.

I'd never had this request in all the time I'd chosen to shop Aldi's. I’d never had that request at any other store.

I was told I had to provide "the actual information verbally" and that was the only way the system would function.

I asked for an explanation and was told this “system” was put in place because there had been some failures to check id’s and some cashiers were “caught” entering their own birthdates into the system. 

The last thing we need in a public place is to be embarrassed and to be concerned about who would hear this information and how it might be used. 

I'd struggled and started to climb out of the depths of economic destruction and regain part of life. The bottle of inexpensive wine was a celebration of a recent accomplishment.

Then I became defensive. It's a reaction often experienced when you become concerned for the losses of what you've struggled so hard to regain might once again be lost or reduced. It’s about survival.

I told the cashier I was aware of the law about being 21 to purchase alcohol and I was obviously well beyond that point but I was happy to produce my driver's license.

She insisted I had to stand there and verbally provide the information. 

My purchase was refused until those spaces were completed on the screen. The cashier even showed me the screen when I asked to see it.

Embarrassment. Frustration. And, yes, Anger -- having to provide personal information in a way that could cause possible additional loss at a vulnerable time in life. 

Aldi's WAS a lifesaver for my daughter and for me when we were struggling to make each penny count, each dime go farther and each quarter stretched to its limit. And shopping at the store was how we could afford the other things we needed in life.

Aldi's recently announced including more Organic products in their stores and my Millennial daughter and I both welcomed that addition. 

Is it an overall company practice?  Do other locations use this same procedure?

Aldi's may have an internal problem with the honesty and integrity of some of their employees but don't subject me and others to actions that are Ageist and can be personally destructive.

I'd swiped my card, entered the mandatory code and waited for the cashier to scan the items. This done, the message on the screen didn't move forward as it usually did and it wanted my card again. 

Busy thinking about where I was going next, what else was on my daily agenda, I didn't think about the bottle of wine, price point less thab $3, in my selections. 

Besides, this wasn't the first time I had a bottle of this wine in my check out items, it had become our "splurge" when something in life went really right instead of drastically wrong as happened more often than wanted or expected since my husband and mother's passing.

I felt confused. How was my verbal reply going to stop either of these practices?

I felt concerned. Could there be someone nearby shopping who might make a decision about me based on what they heard that might negatively affect my life, like a hiring position?

Many of my contemporaries, "Baby Boomers", like me, are struggling to survive after major life challenges depleting and sometimes eliminating savings and what we need to survive. 

We have enough concerns with identity theft and now we’re asked to provide another piece of personal information verbally?

In hindsight, I guess it would interrupt Aldi's famous "speedy" checkout to have me dig in my purse for the info. Take more time than the company "allowed" their cashiers.

I simply want Aldi’s to value their customers of all ages and stages of life.

The reality and resolution, I believe, is if they require ID’s no matter what the age of the purchaser, Aldi’s should take the time from their mandated fast paced check out to at least allow a "manager override" request to the system.

Aldi's could also require name tags be worn by their cashiers.  I don't recall seeing one on the cashier who checked me out.

Great pricing and speedy check out are appreciated but the current cost of those services weigh heavily on my deciding where to do my shopping.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Left Handed: Generation to Generation

Mom was left handed. She attended a small community school where all grades, first through eighth, were together in one room. 

The teacher carried around a ruler when lessons were given. SMACK! Mom would get hit across her hand. 

No chance of moving out of that classroom. No escape to a "more acceptable" learning environment. 

It took a strong person to persevere and prevail, to continue attending the school and to face each day knowing she would inevitably feel her teacher's wrath for what she had no control over.

Society, and especially schools, taught and believed -- we chose which hand we used to write.

We still carry many similar incorrect beliefs, teachings and prejudices. 

When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn -- in the words of the song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone".

Only because she was left handed and that was considered NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Mom's grand-daughter, also left handed, was seen as a "challenge" by her teachers as well. 

Left handedness is still viewed as unacceptable and is certainly inconvenient in a right handed world. 

For the grand daughter, the "blow" was finding ways to discredit the student, a referral to "counseling" or calling the parents in to "talk" about the student's in class attitude or "not measuring up to expectations".

Both found ordinary everyday movements and learning a challenge.

What we do not understand or what we believe we know often complicate our lives and the lives of others.

In Mom's generation, being left handed was even considered "willfully sinful" as many believed it was a choice you could make.

In Daughter's generation, it was considered an inconvenience and not seen as providing special challenges teachers should recognize and help the student overcome.

What special challenges does the left handed person face?

Ever try writing with your left hand? Most people cover the paper with part of their hand and in the earliest stages of learning to print and write, this causes part or all of a letter or word to be obstructed or even covered.

Try it some time. See how as you progress across a page you cannot see the form or the motion.

Left handed people are amazing! They overcome the right handed world and live alongside us constantly adjusting to challenges we never see.

Recently we had repair needs in our home. Did you ever consider how "right" oriented we are?

Ever hear the expression -- "lefty loosey" and "tightie righty". It's to describe loosening or tightening almost everything from screws to lids on jars.

Today there are special tools for "lefties" but they're not distributed very widely.

Think about how far we've come in recognizing and providing for some physical challenges but we still do not see being left handed as a "challenge". It is.

It's NOT, however, a sign of lower or negatively affected intelligence which is still a carryover from earlier times and needs to be challenged and eliminated in our society.

We need to stop "judging" people's abilities and their intelligence by what we see, what seems "different" to us and what we've "been taught" to believe.

Intolerance. Exclusion.  On the one hand.

Tolerance.  Acceptance.  On the other hand.

Generation to generation we pass along positives and negatives. 

Let's review what we consider those to be and redirect our thinking when evaluating the value of our fellow human beings.