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The Devoted Daughter

By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be retirement age.

Is your family ready? If you’ve ever felt the slightest pull that you should start preparing for the future of aging, we’ve got your back.

To get started, join our free group The Silver Lining or learn about The Playbook for Aging Parents.

Founder

Kelli Bradley

In my thirties, I was focused on my career, traveling, recently married, and beginning what I thought would be the rest of my life. But when my mom was first diagnosed with diabetes, all of that changed…

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Work with a senior care professional one on one to help find guidance and clarity for your family situation.

Find help at your own pace. Check out our course The Playbook for Aging Parents for a full breakdown of how to navigate the future.

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– Julie

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When the Unthinkable Happens: Preparing for Parental Emergencies

Let`s face it—a medical emergency can happen to anyone anytime, but convincing people to prepare is almost impossible.

Stephanie glanced over her shoulder as she entered the yoga studio. The fresh scent of the morning air filled her senses and brought a feeling of calm as she embarked on another day. Just then, the phone buzzed in her pocket. She walked out of the studio as the woman on the other end of the telephone verified her name and then began hammering her with questions about her dad.

"What are you talking about?" Stephanie could not understand what the woman was saying. "No, you must be mistaken." Stephanie yelled out, but there was no mistake. Her dad was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Unfortunately, Stephanie and her sister live across the country.

How can I help? Is he okay? Where are they taking him? These questions swirled around in Stephanie`s head, but the most important thing was getting her dad the medical attention he needed now.

This situation underscores a critical reality: Preparation is essential. Here are five vital pieces of information that you should always have ready, which can be crucial in ensuring your family receives the best care promptly when they need it most:

Emergency Contacts: Ensure first responders have a list of immediate family contacts, including those who may live far away but should be informed.

Medical History and Current Conditions: A comprehensive list of their medical history, ongoing treatments, and conditions can drastically improve the quality of emergency care provided.

Medication List: Knowing their medications and doses can prevent harmful interactions and provide clues to their underlying health issues.

Primary Care Physician: Having their doctor`s contact information allows emergency medical personnel to obtain a quick and thorough medical overview.
Advance Directives: Ensure copies of advance directives, such as power of attorney or living wills, are easily accessible to efficiently handle legal and medical decisions.

Emergencies are daunting, and while we can`t predict them, we can prepare for them. Please don`t wait!
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Emergency Rooms and Elder Care: A Crisis Unfolding Behind Closed Doors

My mom was all too familiar with the ER. As a family of hashtag#caregivers, we did everything in our power to advocate for her and keep her out of the hospital, but she was a very sick person. Chronic illness combined with cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness made things complicated.

Having someone by her side was essential and, a few times, a matter of life and death. One evening, my mom was transported by ambulance to the hospital. I followed behind in my car, and I was shocked to find her alone in a hallway, lying on a gurney. The first responders were gone, and she was curled up in a ball with paperwork stuffed in the sheets. The pain was escalating, and she was begging me to help her. With tears running down my face, I pleaded with the intake nurse to get help. The ER was full; this was our first time in this position. I could not believe what was happening. Shocked and scared, I went to work.

Every day across America, a silent crisis unfolds in our emergency rooms. Older adults, our parents and grandparents, endure long hours on gurneys in crowded corridors. Despite needing hospital admission, they wait painfully for care, often neglected and in distress. One cannot assume everything will be okay once someone arrives at the hospital.

As I read about the severe state of ER boarding, especially post-pandemic, the plight of these older adults profoundly concerns me. Nearly 20% of ER visits are by adults aged 65 and above, and they suffer disproportionately during these long waits. They`re not just waiting; they`re often in pain, lacking basic needs like food, water, and mobility assistance. This isn`t just inefficient healthcare; it`s a public health crisis!

We need to rethink how we care for our elders in emergencies. This means planning and discussing the what-ifs before an emergency, not only for the person who may need our help but also thinking through these scenarios in advance so you can successfully advocate. Can you see how having an advocate is critical in a healthcare crisis?
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Cherished Memories and Lasting Legacies:  Happy Mother`s Day

My first thought today was of my mom. I felt her presence as I remembered Sunday brunches, weekend getaways, and the vibrant hanging baskets she so loved. Alongside her was my gram, another remarkable woman whose influence is a constant in my life. Although they are no longer here, they remain at the forefront of my thoughts today and every day.

As the Northern Lights cascaded across the sky this weekend, a profound sense of peace washed over me, as if my mom was beside me. At that moment, my thoughts turned to cherished memories of my path ahead and the legacy I hope to build, inspired by the values they taught me.

Life is fleeting. Our children grow up, we enter new chapters of our lives, and what once seemed critical now fades into the background. Yet, the lessons from those we`ve loved and lost remain timeless.

Today, I honor my mom and grandmother by embodying their teachings daily. Through small acts of kindness, maintaining the garden my mom would have adored, or upholding family traditions she cherished, I feel their guidance and love.

For those who feel their loved one`s absence today, remember that we honor them not through their presence but through our remembrance. They endure in the stories we tell, the love we share, and the impact we make on others.

This Mother`s Day, let`s celebrate the indelible impact of the mothers, grandmothers, and maternal figures who have shaped our lives. Consider visiting a special place for you both, preparing her favorite dish, or sharing a treasured memory with someone who never had the pleasure of knowing her.

In their memory, we continue to live, cherish, and, most importantly, love.
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No Shortage of Love, but How Do We Care For Our Aging Parents?

Nancy stepped outside into the cold night air, her breath forming circles against the night sky.
Escaping, even just momentarily, seemed like her only solace. Inside her family home, where she had returned to care for her aging mother, the walls seemed to close in with each passing day. Her mother`s Alzheimer`s was progressing, and Nancy, like many in her situation, felt overwhelmed and heartbreakingly isolated. The very thought of placing her mom in a care facility brought a surge of guilt, yet managing at home was becoming untenable.

According to CBS News, over 80 million Americans are simultaneously juggling caring for small children and aging parents. Often referred to as `the sandwich generation,` these individuals find themselves squeezed between the needs of different family members, struggling to provide adequate care and attention to both. In this dual role, Americans are shouldering more than 26% of the cost of care, underscoring a critical societal issue: the need for robust support systems and actionable solutions.

How can we support those who care for our elderly loved ones? The first step is recognizing the immense emotional, physical, and financial strain on caregivers.

Here are a few ways we can start making a difference:

Advocate for Better Policies: Support initiatives and policies that provide respite care, financial aid, and healthcare benefits for caregivers. Lobby for tax deductions or credits for those providing elder care, akin to those available for parents of dependent children.

Community Support Networks: Encourage the formation of local support groups and networks that offer a shared space for caregivers to connect, share experiences, and exchange resources. Community centers, online forums, and local health services can serve as platforms for these vital connections.

Increased Awareness and Education: Promote awareness about the needs of aging populations and their caregivers. Educational programs can help caregivers identify resources, learn coping strategies, and gain skills.
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Celebrating the Incredible Journey of a Century: Happy Birthday, Gram 🎂 4/08/1910

Today marks a special remembrance, not just of a date but of the extraordinary life that began on this day 114 years ago. It`s been fourteen years since we last celebrated together, yet the essence of your spirit feels as present as ever. Your wisdom, laughter, and the warmth of your embrace linger in the air, timeless and comforting.

Having you by my side for most of my life was a privilege that words can hardly express. Your presence was a guiding light, illuminating paths through moments of doubt and uncertainty. Your stories, brimming with wisdom gleaned from a century of experience, were not just tales of the past but lessons for a lifetime. You taught us the value of resilience, the importance of kindness, and the strength that lies in unity.

I often find myself reflecting on the countless moments we shared, each a precious memory close to my heart. I remember your eyes lighting up at the sight of your family, a testament to the boundless love you had for each of us. Your laughter was a melody that brought joy to our gatherings, and your hugs a sense of warmth and security.
You were our matriarch, our mentor, and our friend. Your legacy lives on, not just in the memories we cherish but in our very fabric. You laid the foundation for our family, instilling in us the virtues of integrity, compassion, and perseverance.

As I write this, I`m reminded of your enduring influence and the lessons that continue to guide us. Your journey may have begun over a century ago, but the impact of your life transcends time. Today, we celebrate your birth and the remarkable legacy you`ve left behind.

Thank you, Gram, for everything. For the love you shared, the wisdom you imparted, and the paths you paved. Though you are no longer with us in body, your spirit remains integral to our lives. Happy Birthday, dear Gram. Here`s to celebrating the indelible mark you`ve left on our hearts and our endless gratitude for being a part of your incredible journey.
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Finding Connection: Uncovering the `Lanolin` in Alzheimer`s Care"

"Kelli, I am sorry to bother you on a Saturday morning, but I can`t get June out of the car," Sue explained while talking to June and me simultaneously.

The car sat in the driveway, a stark contrast against the bright blue sky. The morning air was crisp, carrying a hint of dew, and the vibrant spring flowers were in full bloom, painting the scene with their colors. Sue, the private-duty caregiver, had just returned from a trip to the ER with June. June, battling the symptoms of a UTI, was also grappling with the challenges of Alzheimer`s; her vision and hearing were both compromised.

Upon my arrival, I called out to June before approaching the car. "Good morning, June, it`s me, Kelli." I let that sink in until I noticed the slightest recognition on her face.

I placed out my hand, careful not to get too close. Here is my hand. The smell is lanolin, your favorite." Amazingly, June`s sense of smell remained mostly intact. I had learned she loved the smell of lanolin, so I tried to have it available.

I noticed the slightest smile come to her face as she inhaled the smell of lanolin. Again, I offered my hand and suggested we go inside for tea. June took my hand and allowed me to help her from the car.

Here are a few suggestions for helping someone living with Alzheimer`s.

To the best of your ability, get to know the person`s history/story. This allows you to go with them on their journey.

Discovering a connection point can be powerful. I found that June loved the smell of lanolin, and I used that to connect with her. Find your own `lanolin `. It could be the smell of cookies baking, music, or old photos. Regardless, this discovery can empower you to make a significant difference in their life.

Caregivers can offer a wealth of information. Know what questions to ask and document observations to share with your care team.

Clear communication is key. Personalize and update the care plan as needed, ensuring you communicate clearly with the team.

Respecting personal space is paramount in Alzheimer`s caregiving. Always ask for permission before touching or getting too close to the person.
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The Last Farewell: A Journey of Love, Loss, and Legacy

The spring had been a testament to endurance; heavy and omnipresent clouds mirrored our collective anticipation and sorrow. My Gram, who lived an hour and ten minutes away, was on the final leg of her journey towards a remarkable centennial life. Now under hospice care, she required not just the medical support of hashtag#inhomecare but the unwavering presence of her family. We always celebrated Easter and Gram`s birthday together, and I prayed for one last opportunity to honor her.

The woman who once embodied vibrance, energy, and an indomitable spirit seemed to slip through our fingers.

Entering her room, I caught her gaze—those once bright, penny-brown eyes now dimmed, betraying a haze of confusion. The familiar figure she once knew was now a stranger. Merely a month prior, we were visiting friends, laughing; now, the air hung thick with change and unspoken goodbyes.

Tears splashed over my cheeks, landing in my lap. I knew our days were numbered.

In the last few days, the inevitability of loss had become a stark reality. Yet, in this space, we often find the strength of our bonds and the resilience of the human spirit.

Suggestions for Navigating This Time:

1. Embrace Every Moment: Even in silence, being physically present can be a profound comfort source for you and your loved one.
2. Create a Legacy Project: Collect stories, photos, and memories to celebrate their life. This can be therapeutic and ensures their legacy endures.
3. Seek Support: Lean on friends, family, or support groups. Sharing your journey can lighten your emotional load and provide perspective.
4. Prioritize Self-Care: Neglecting your well-being during these times is easy. Remember, caring for yourself allows you to be there for your loved one.
5. Professional Guidance: Don`t hesitate to consult with hospice care professionals. They can offer medical support and emotional guidance for you and your family.
6. Record or Write Down Conversations: Capture stories or messages from your loved one. These can become cherished memories in the future. I wish I had done this when I had the opportunity.
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