The Return of the Purple Martins

Springtime….  The flowers bloom, the trees bud, and the winds swell with anticipation.  Excitement builds as the outside temperatures are allowing folks to be able to go outside – without a heavy coat!  Doors and windows are opened wide to release the “cabin-fever” and the gentle rains wash away the remnants the previous winter.

For farmers and country people, it signifies “breaking the land” in preparation of planting their gardens and crops.  It is a time of renewal.  As of St. Patrick’s Day, many have already planted their potatoes.

To me, however, the absolute sign to indicate the arrival of spring is the first song heard from the purple martin – returning from their winter’s hiatus.

“Dad’s birds” (aka: purple martins) always arrive around the same time of year, the same time when a family lost the head of their household.  Following a 21-month cancer battle, Dad lost his fight.  However, within two weeks of his death, came the return of his birds….

For all caregivers, the utmost concern is that your loved one, who is ill or aged, has the ability to have the best quality of life possible — regardless.  During those endless days of caring for their needs, a caregiver is subject to a tremendous amount of stress.  Even a trip to the bank, grocery store, or pharmacy to pick up medication is a mad dash to get back in record time.  The fear is that “something will happen and I have to get back home!”  Thus, rational thinking becomes irrational….

With that being said, it is with absolute assurance that there is a way to reduce caregiver stress — an Around the Clock Medical Alarms System.  Their EMD Certified Response Center is there 24/7, 365 to get help:  Any day, any time, any reason.  Give them a call at 573-334-SAFE (7233) or visit online at 334SAFE.com

Although many changes have occurred since the spring of tremendous loss, one constant is the return of “Dad’s birds.”  They return to welcome yet another season of life anew.  Life has challenges, but we can endure the journey — just like the birds that fly thousands of miles twice yearly to return to their “winter” & “summer” homes.

Rejoice in the past, enjoy the present, and anticipate the future.

Help. Any Time. Any Day. Any Reason.

Did you know that 1 of every 3 seniors, aged 65 or older, will have a fall this year? Do you know that 80% of all falls occur within, or in a close proximity of, a person’s home? Have you (or someone you know) fallen and laid there for hours or days, unable to get help?

These questions give great concern to the mother / daughter, “sandwich generation” caregiver, owner of Around the Clock Medical Alarms.

In 1972, her mother died and she was “adopted” by her retired grandparents. This situation is more prevalent in todays’ society, but was unheard of at that time.

As the primary caregiver for her grandparents, she lived the same challenges that families face today in helping to care for their aging loved ones.

She has worked her entire adult life in the medical field by working in various capacities in hospital settings and medical offices, was owner of Comfort Keepers in Cape Girardeau for five years, and was the marketing representative for two local hospice agencies. It is obvious she has a special affinity for the elderly.

“I know that I worried when my grandparents did not answer the telephone, because my mind always went to the unthinkable…”

In 2012, her father-in-law suffered from COPD and heart issues. Again, she found herself facing many of those same fears, because he was alone during the day. “What if…worried me!”

After exploring the local options available, she found that none could meet her dads’ needs. Due to the size of the pendant, she knew he would not wear it. Additionally, she found that some providers have limited service areas. “That is when I decided to explore other options and eventually started Around the Clock Medical Alarms. I needed to feel security that Dad was okay to be alone while I was at work. A medical alarm could help me to feel better about that situation.”

According to Ruth Dockins, public information director at Aging Matters, (formerly Southeast Missouri Area Agency of Aging), “If you live alone or are concerned about elderly loved ones who still live at home, a medical alert system is worth taking seriously. The thing I would look for is one where you didn’t have to sign a contract”, she says. “One where you can pay on a monthly basis and there is no contract and no hookup fees. One where I could just bring it into the house and turn it on. I would want one that was answered by a live person.”

Around the Clock Medical Alarms was the answer for both women!   Additionally, since Around the Clock Medical Alarms is a nationwide provider, they can help anyone, anywhere in the U.S., and have rate plans to meet any budget. No contract means that it can be used on a short-term basis – even post-operatively!

“No one has a time ticker or crystal ball.  So, how can an elderly or ill person be asked to commit to a 3 year contract? That is just unreasonable!” In conclusion, “My goal is to help provide my clients (and their families) peace of mind knowing that help is available at the push of a button – anytime, day or night – Around the Clock – 24/7, 365.”

The Gift of Your Time

The secret of aging well is exercise and eating right, as everyone knows. Right? Right! Additionally, socialization with others, especially family, is an equally important component to a long, happy life.

As we approach the season where we celebrate the most important aged people in our lives, our parents, we must realize that cards, flowers, or phone calls cannot measure or even compare to the gift of our time.

Loneliness takes a toll on our seniors. In a June 18, 2012 study by the University of California, San Francisco (USFC), it was found that people (60+) who report feeling lonely, have a 45% increased risk for death. Isolated individuals have nearly a 60% increased risk of both mental and physical decline than those who are more social. (1) These statistics are pretty dismal, don’t you think?

Quite often, elder adults live with loneliness and become isolated, because they reject socialization invitations. What a great opportunity to visit with them than on Mother’s and/or Father’s Day! Who needs an invite?

While you are at their home, make the most of your visit…. Think of ways to reminisce about the past to engage them. There are any number of ways to do things together that will combat their feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation, which is common in the elder populous. Have a plan! Consider the following ideas to spend time with your parents:

1. Coordinate a Family Reunion

Due to the mobility of our society, many families find that their adult children move away for education or employment opportunities. This factor, in and of itself, causes people to not be able to visit as much as previous generations. As our elder loved ones age, they are doing so without immediate family living near to care for them. Capitalize on the opportunity to coordinate a reunion of the kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Have a BBQ to share a meal and enjoy one another’s company! How long has it been since your enjoyed Aunt Alice’s Chocolate Pie or playing Pinochle with Uncle Rupert until the wee hours of the morning? Too long!

2. Do a Project Together

Want to learn how mom cans your favorite salsa or pear preserves? Need to get basic instructions of how dad builds those windmills for the yard, which he has given to everyone in town? Need to help them clear the clutter, gutter, or garage? Many times, our elder loved ones will appreciate the ability to share their wisdom. Others may appreciate the help to get a chore done. Many times, age and medical conditions can cause them to not be able to accomplish things as they once could.

3. Plant a Patio “Bucket Garden”

Tomatoes, potatoes, and lettuce can easily be grown in large containers on the patio. Help your parents (or grandparents) to establish this food source “hobby” that will remind them of you long after your visit.

4. Share New Technologies with Them

Many older adults are not technologically savvy. Perhaps you can help to teach them how to us an iPhone or iPad? Perhaps you can educate them on Skype or Facebook? It might also help them to learn how to operate their TV Remote — that has “way too many buttons”…

Many things that are commonplace for us, and our children, are completely unknown to our older loved ones. Let the grandkids have an active role in the education process — it will bring the two generations closer together! Plus, it generates another means of communication between you and them.

5. Follow-up and Keep in Touch

After the holidays, we return to our routine. It is easy to slip back into the “daily grind” and to relapse into the previous “day-to-day way of life.” Make a concerted effort to keep sharing your time with your loved ones. Plan the NEXT visit — Stay Connected!

If you notice changes in your loved one and they are now “alarm appropriate,” let us Help!

Remember the following jewel: “Few decisions are more important than how to care for those you love….”

(1) UCSF, Leland Kim, June 18, 2012