One thing you can do when it all falls apart.

By, Lindsay Hopper, Launch Manager Age Without Borders

When someone you love gets injured, or falls ill, everything stops. If you’ve had little kids you know the stress of having to take the day off of work or schedule last-minute care for a sudden fever or cough. But what about when something bigger happens, say with your aging parents, a dear friend, a spouse or a child?

In a moment, they are the only thing that matters. Everything else gets put on the back burner so you can be there to take care of them; work, plans, relationships, self-care all come to a standstill. Sometimes the situation is temporary, an intense period that comes, resolves and then you move on, other times, it seems to go on indefinitely; plane rides every month or two to check in on your aging parents, paid caregivers coming and going as they care for your husband, so much so that your house doesn’t even feel like your home anymore, plus are those caregivers even doing a good job? Frustrations rise within the family as everyone tries to manage care with their own idea of what’s best. 

Your time is stretched thin, your patience is unraveling at both ends, and your own health starts to pay the price. Burnout sets in, you begin to feel like your life is falling apart, plus you’re not even doing that great of a job at caring for your person who needs you so much, you think, they deserve so much more.

I’m going to stop you right there – yes, If you haven’t already, you will undoubtedly, stumble into the role of a caregiver, and yes, caregiving is always challenging but you have more help and support than you ever imagined.

Yes, caregiving burnout is very real. But you’re NOT alone. You have resources in your community, both professional and personal, at your disposal that you can’t begin to imagine.

Age Without Borders has been working for over six months preparing a Global Caregiving Summit. I hope you’ll join us, you can get more info and a FREE pass here. You will find a true community there of like minded folks- from industry leaders to everyday friends and family like you and I –  who have all been profoundly impacted by caregiving, and have innovated new solutions, tools, resources and inspiration.

That launches on Saturday, but for today, I have one amazing mindshift for you that can change everything.

It’s simple; love yourself exactly where you are, and love “your person” wherever they are. Sometimes when burnout sets in, the sick or injured person we normally adore, who needs us, relies on us and trusts us more than anybody else in their time of need, starts to get, well, annoying. Don’t worry, that is just the burnout talking! Burnout will tell you all kinds of things like, you’re not doing a good enough job, the person you’re caring for is needy, unappreciative, or not trying hard enough, the doctors and nurses and other caring professionals aren’t on your side or just don’t get it. I hear you. Anytime you hear burnout chatting in your head, and you start wanting people or circumstances to “Just be different already!” take a breath, then repeat after me “I love you exactly where you are.”

Now, objectively, what you’re observing is probably accurate, you’re not imagining things! Trust that what you observe is real. But, before you rampage or fall into an emotional puddle, (as burnout will have you do) take a minute, breathe, connect to your heart and love. If for just one moment, love yourself exactly where you are, don’t ask yourself to change. Love your person exactly where they are. Love your care team exactly where they are. Recognize we are all on a journey. None of us have arrived yet and this very experience is transforming us all, inviting us to become bigger, fuller, more complete versions of the person we’re growing into. 

Take this moment to love them as they are… then take action. Trust me, this one shift will change the results you get when you do make the phone call, have the tough conversation or make the decision about treatment or choose a care facility.

Caregiving is a fire, you never walk through it unchanged. It is a catalyst for change on the deepest levels. You are being called. We are here to help.

Join us, starting this Saturday, January 20th. You can lean on us, we are here to support you in your caregiving journey past, present and future. We’ve assembled 50+ world leaders in caregiving to speak in their particular area of expertise. You’ll get support for your burnout, help to find the right facility and care team for your person, the inside scoop on new policy and how to take advantage of it, and activities, exercises and inspiration to help you connect with your person as a person, not just a care recipient.

These leaders and luminaries in caregiving have done seriously amazing things; we have United Nations speakers, policy influencers, a Pulitzer prize winning poet, as well as real caregivers who will share the story of their transformational journey with caregiving. Again, you can find all the details, and sign up for a FREE pass, here.

I look forward to seeing you at the summit! Here’s to you and your caregiving transformation.

PS Join us, starting this Saturday, January 20th, for our Global Caregiving Summit. Over the week we’ll hear from over 50 speakers who will share tools and inspiration to prevent and treat caregiving burnout. Register for a FREE pass here.

Lindsay Hopper is our Launch Manager here at AWB. She helps our big ideas get out to the people who need them most. To learn more about what Lindsay’s up to, visit her and say “Hi!”at lhopper.com.

Canada’s Wise 50 Over 50 Awards Celebrating Encore Entrepreneurs

Age Without Borders would like to congratulate Wendy Mayhew, founder of the Wise Seniors in Business advisors, and the creator of the  “Wise 50 Over 50 Awards” in Canada. Wendy is a an expert in entrepreneurism and has seen the impacts of inaccurate and unfounded ageism both nationally, and in the corporate world. She created the first award ceremony of its kind to showcase the incredible power and success of entrepreneurs age 50+.

According to Business Insider, those aged 55-64 in the US have actually had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last 10 years. In fact,  the founders of McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Kentucky Fried Chicken were all over 50 when they established their businesses.

Check out our lively conversation and get inspired! Do you have a Big Idea? The world is ready and now may be the best time!

The United Nations are Champions for Older Adults

We have been dedicating the month of October to celebrating the United Nations International Day of Older  Persons, which officially kicked off October 1st, and continues with events and awareness raising endeavors throughout the month. The theme this year is:

“Stepping into the Future:
Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.”

It is with the highest honor Kari was able to speak to Sandra Timmermann, committee co-chair for the UN’s International Day of Older Persons, to learn more about this official day (this is actually the 27th year), and some of the global innovations the United Nations is following.

Watch here:

The global rise in our aging populations is a phenomenon that we still tend to sweep under the rug, yet is impacts us economically, socially, regionally and within our own mindsets. The more we understand the global perspectives on aging, the better equipped we will be to manage our own “bonus year of life.”

It is up to all of us to leverage the incredible social capital of our older population to serve, engage and contribute towards making a difference towards a global longevity revolution of positive and active aging for all.

World Elder’s Day Africa- Celebrating “Seenagers”

We are SO proud to be working directly with the incredible team in Lagos, Nigeria to help promote and support the upcoming World Elder’s Day Africa conference; the first of it’s kind in Nigeria to address key issues affecting older adults. Our very own Moira Allan will be giving a keynote address and receiving an award for her global efforts to improve life for elders world wide. Congratulations Moira!

Check out our conversation, and be sure to leave a “goodwill message” as our global liaisons have done on our Facebook or Youtube page!

Here is our video introducing the conference, with a direct message from conference organizer David Ouldare and his team. The realities of limited electricity and wifi access could not be more real than seen here.

And here is their official video for the event:

The challenges in Africa for aging are very real. There are no pensions, and tribal living is giving away to the modern world; with children leaving villages behind to live and work in the cities. Elders are left with no one to care for them. The understanding of dementia and Alzheimers is nearly non-existent in countries like Nigeria. There is rampant superstitions that the unusual behavior associated with normal cognitive decline is associated with being possessed as a “witch” or “wizard,” being cast out of society, and having to fend for themselves.

Yet, despite the darker side, the incredible lightness of these elders always delights me to no end. They are an inspiration to us all, with their jovial spirit – and their voracious use of smart phones. They act just like teenagers, and in fact created a super catchy new term for themselves: the “Seenagers.” Moira and I were on their “Seenager WhatApp” feed, and it was blowing up all day long with pictures, quotes and little notes. JUST like teenagers!

Perhaps the new phrase for the future is: it takes a village to raise a Seenager.

Who Knew About the UN International Day of Older Persons?

Raise your hand if you have heard of  The International Day of Older Persons – observed on October 1 each year. Anyone?  On December 14, 1990 the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons, and is now celebrating their 27th year.  We are missing out  in neglecting to focus on this growing phenomenon. Check out my video message to learn why.

It is important to understand why focusing on the needs of people over age 60 is so important: between 2015 and 2030, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase by 56 per cent — from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion. By 2030, the number of people aged 60 and above will exceed that of young people aged 15 to 24.

Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth.

According to the UN:

“Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older persons is a social norm and therefore, acceptable. It is a reality in some form in all societies, and finds expression in individuals’ attitudes, institutional and policy practices, as well as media representation that devalue and exclude older persons.

“Such discrimination shapes how older persons are treated and perceived by their societies, including in medical settings and workplaces, creating environments that limit older persons’ potential and impact their health and well-being. The failure to tackle ageism undermines older persons’ rights and hinders their contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life.”

This month I will be focusing on the efforts of the United Nations, ground breaking aging innovations around the world and more. Stay tuned!

Who is an older person who has affected your life that could use some recognition? We would love to hear your stories in the comments below and on our Facebook page.

How Will You Use Your Extra Season of Life?

The seasons are changing, and this week marks the autumnal equinox – a day when there is an equal balance of light and dark. In the Northern hemisphere where I live, the Fall leaves are turning, and nights are growing cool. In the Southern hemisphere, my South African friend Lynda Smith is enjoying increasingly warm days and blooming Spring flowers. We sat down together this week to talk about the seasons of life, and how lucky we are to have an extra season to use wisely.

Lynda Smith is the founder of the Refirement Network, and is an expert in planning for the second half of life. She coaches clients to examine the internalized limitations that hold us back, as well as teaching concrete tools and skills to “refire” an entirely new career, passion project or hobby. Her slogan is: Don’t Retire – Refire!

In the past 100 years, we have gained an additional 30 years of life, and those in their 60’s are far from the rocking chair! There is a new season of health, vitality and capability that offers time for tremendous contribution and impact. Lynda calls it the “younger-old.”

“Our parents and grandparents didn’t have technology, and didn’t live in a global world like we do,” said Smith. “We need to spend our time as pioneers –we are the first generation pioneering this new chapter of life as the “younger-old.” It is an exciting time to take up a leadership journey for ourselves.”

Check it out:

How are YOU spending this extra season of your life? Are you starting something new, finding your voice, giving back, running a marathon? Post a picture and a comment on our facebook page!

Chicken Soup Author’s Message: Live Your Priority with Self Care

One of the greatest challenges busy adults share is making time to take proper care of ourselves. The demands of life never go away, and many in the 50+ category face complex and time sensitive issues at work, home, managing children, or grandchildren; as well as occasionally caring for aging parents.

LeAnn Thieman is the author of 13 “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books – including; Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul, and most recently, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses. She is a sought after public speaker, and I was lucky enough to share a chat with her this week.

LeAnn stressed that no one can live the life we are meant to live if we don’t attend to basic self care. She highlighted a great acronym: “Care 4 Me,” as a simple, soothing and easy tool to implement each and every day. By caring for ourselves, we are better able to focus on our mission in life and “living our priority.”

Enjoy our conversation above.

CARE 4 ME acronym:

C:  Connect with your Higher Power.   Spend 15 minutes a day in prayer, meditation or reflection. Attend services or gatherings if you can, and participate in that community.

A:  Ask for your “juice.”   If in your quiet time, you realize that your life is out of balance, physically, mentally or spiritually, make a plan for what you need to achieve better balance, then ask for it (kindly), from yourself, your family and your workplace.

R:  Rest and sleep.   We would never deprive a child of sleep, because we know it makes them sick and grumpy, yet we often do that to ourselves. Turn off TV and technology and get 8 hours of sleep per night.

E:  Eat right.   Consume the quantity and quality of food you know your body needs.

 4:  Four times a day: Breathe!   For 15 minutes, 3-4 times a day, breathe slow deep and easy to releases stress, tension and endorphins.

M: Mind your mind.  Implement your mental balance tools. Practice positive thinking and visualization, knowing it can change your body and your mind. Laugh 400 times a day, like children! Forgive yourself and someone else.

E:  Exercise 3 times a week   Walk 45 minutes a day, even in 15 minute increments.  Incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Mow your lawn, garden, play ball with kids, vacuum to rock and roll!

Leann stressed taking a week to try out this new motto:

“Today I will also Care 4 me,  and truly live my priority.”

Hope you enjoyed! Feel free to share a few of your simple tips to keep balance in a hectic world. Hop on our Facebook page, and be sure to sign up for our mailing list for upcoming announcements and goodies. 🙂

Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

 

Solar Eclipse Creates Community Magic

Welcome to this week’s video blog! So glad you are here.

Did you make it to the eclipse? Half of the Age Without Borders team made the effort. Judy watched from Colorado, Brigit and her daughter Isabel were in Michigan, and Kari made the trek to Wyoming.

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It was exalted. It was rare, and the totality zone was awe inspiring. Facebook was flooded with images of people with kooky glasses staring at the heavens. Humanity needed the respite. Part of what made it great was sharing the experience with scores of strangers – all coming together for a few hours; with a goal as simple as gazing at the sun. Human beings require such gatherings now and then to feel secure, connected, and part of something that binds us together, and enshrouds us in a shared purpose. Social isolation is one of the greatest health risks of our time.

As both an aging and community enthusiast, Kari reflects on how important it is to attend to our relationships: starting within ourselves, and expanding outwards to our family, friends, co-workers, and participating in collective experiences like an eclipse (or a race, a civic march, or dance festival). Enjoy!

Now it’s your turn! Are you attending to the various circles of community in your life, and have you experienced a collective gathering that inspired you? Share it with us in the comments below, and on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to hear.

How Do You Perceive the Timeline Of Your Life?

How Do You Perceive the Timeline Of Your Life

This week, I had the great pleasure to speak about this with Dorian Mintzer, M.S.W., Ph.D. She is a retirement coach, author, owner of Revolutionize Retirement and an adjunct professor teaching a “Multidisciplinary  Introduction to Gerontology” class at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. She was kind enough to assemble a few of her diverse students together – ranging in age from young twenties to early 50’s. Our crew included Karen from El Salvador, Yunez from Turkey,  Adamnatu from Sierra Leone, several American students as well as Alan O’Hare, Ph.D., one of the guest speakers for the course.

How we perceive aging is vital.  “What I’ve found in my clinical work and teaching is that often people embrace whatever are the prevalent stereotypes about aging–generally with an ageist lens–and therefore don’t want to think ahead since “aging” is fraught with fears about all of the negatives about getting older,” said Mintzer.

“Certainly there are many changes that occur as we age, positive and negative, but it’s not all “down hill” unless you believe it is. I find that people are surprised when they learn that by the time you’re 65 is less about genes (about 30%) and more ( about 70%) about things you can “control”–such as nutrition, exercising your body and brain, spirituality, meaningful relationships, connection, engagement and finding purpose and meaning in life. With this paradigm shift it can become less scary to think about getting older.”

Mintzer offers a Boomers and Beyond Special Interest Group (SIG) for Interdisciplinary Professionals once a month to bring together people interested in positive aging.  Revolutionize your Retirement Interview with Expert’s Series is the 4th Tuesday of each month (except December) at 12:00 noon Eastern time. Sign-up each month, 7 -10 days before the call, at  www.revolutionizeretirement.com. 

Studies have shown that most people can only imagine about 5-10 years into the future. If you think back, to age 12, for example, being 18 or 20 was really grown up. When you were 25, being 35 was “old” and 50 was inconceivable. We were never taught to plan ahead and anticipate the many stages of a potential 100 year life. Today, many can expect to enjoy another 20 to 30 years of active living AFTER age 65. How do we expand our minds to embrace, celebrate and prepare?

Now it’s your turn! Leave us a comment in the box below, or up on our Facebook page.  How do you perceive the years ahead? Can you see your life through to 100? What would it look like? We love to hear your ideas and stories!

 

A Different View of Aging  When Bonus Years Are Added to Your Life

By, Judy Rough

My perspective on aging might be a bit different from others. When I was 47 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had 6 tumors in my right breast and the treatment was a bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy. Due to the fact that I was alive in an era where these medical advances were available to me, I continue to live 14 years later at this point.

Living is very different now versus pre-cancer life. I have painful neuropathy in my feet every day for the last 14 years. Many of my internal organs have not always been happy post-chemo. In medical terms, I am probably not considered a “healthy” person. When it comes to my emotional and psychological health, I am in tip top shape.  I maintain a positive attitude and luckily I can move freely and easily.

If I lived at another time or in another place, if I had inadequate medical care, if I had a terrible attitude, if I lacked a fantastic support system, and if other negative random circumstances had been a part of my story; my life could have ended at 47 years old.

For the last 14 years, I have experienced my children graduating from college, my daughter getting married, my children gainfully employed, 2 granddaughters, a son-in-law, a new job, caregiving for my mother, my husband’s career success and his retirement, enriching friendships, travel to Italy, personal and professional rewards. These bonus years bring me great joy and have caused me to focus on the pleasure I get from having gray hair, older skin with new markings and texture, aches and pains, a great mind, profound influence in my society, and continued curiosity that motivates me daily to keep learning and applying the knowledge to leave the world better than it was when I came into it.

On the day I returned from the doctor after being diagnosed with cancer, my husband was driving me home after our appointment, an image was imprinted in my brain. We were turning the corner on to our street headed home and there was a couple about to cross the street. They were holding hands and both had perfectly white hair. I pointed to them and said to my husband, “I want to be like them”. I was not finished. I wanted the great privilege of growing older.

Now that I am considered an “older”, I show up with confidence knowing that I as well as my peers have a lot to contribute. I work constantly on changing my own ageist beliefs and I stand up to others (politely) who are using “elder speak” or displaying ageist behaviors. I will show by example and express with my voice that ageism, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-faith behaviors, and negative judgments of any kind are not acceptable and not tolerated.

I have the privilege of these bonus years that brought me to being an “older” and I proudly display the marks of my years.

Judy Rough is on the Executive Team at Age Without Borders, and is the Senior Director at the Society of Certified Senior Advisors is the premier membership organization certifying and educating professionals who serve older adults.