Thank you "Rockers In Recovery" for this joke!
I visited a client in her Senior Living Community last week. As we were strolling down the hallway, a woman was pushing herself in her wheelchair, accompanied by her charming elderly boyfriend. 

We greeted the woman and my client introduced me. The woman smiled and I was very taken by her natural beauty. Her bright smile. Her stylish red outfit. Just enough makeup to highlight her blue eyes and warm grey hair. Her grace in pushing her wheelchair on the plush carpet. After they passed by, my client gave me an earful. Her boyfriend lives in their home and she lives here now.... She never figured out how to return home without her legs."

I had never noticed that she was missing her legs. Taken above the knee, both sides. Me, the geriatric assessor. Me the great observer.

This woman was so elegant and gracious, I never noticed anything about her that wasn't elegant and gracious. I was too busy looking at her beautiful smile.

It's all in the grace.

photo from
Premier Senior Living in Westchester County

Try To Be Sensitive To Those You Don't Always Understand

“Emotion is always multiplied in the heart of a person who doesn't really show much emotion.” 
― Criss Jami


"Remember that it's okay to ask for help when you're stumped because sometimes
you really can't be expected to handle everything alone."  ~Martha Beck


Hiring A Care Manager, An Ounce of Prevention


We have a client in whose daughter hires us to take her mother to medical appointments; she 'just can't stand' being in her Mom's presence.  Never could.   Of course to us, her Mom is precious!  Funny!  Witty!  Likable!  We didn't have to grow up with her!  We counsel the daughter as a matter of course, and hope that the day will come where she can build the bridge of accepting her mother where she is "at".

This morning we heard about a tragedy in Mattydale NY;  an adult son is being charged with murder and arson.   Sometimes the need and greed for money is a primary reason for such things (this is the number one comment on people trying to determine an alibi).  Sometimes, however, it is caregiver stress.  

I recall a story years ago in Northern NY where a woman handcuffed her father to the bed while she went to work.  She was arrested for cruelty and neglect.  Granted, she did NOT do the right thing and apparently she did not know how or where to ask for help.  It is also possible that she was a loving daughter who was at her wit's end, weeping as she locked the chain. 

Anyone who has been a caregiver for any length of time knows how challenging it is 24/7, feeling hopeless with no end in sight.   Here is another extreme example of what can happen under stressful home caregiving circumstances.   We are not condoning such crimes by any means, but we are trying to promote an understanding that caregiver stress can be so high that people can do things completely out of character at near-insanity to deal with it.  

It doesn't have to be that way.  You can hire a care manager if you 'just can't stand it' doing 24/7 shifts day after day, 365 days of the year.  We can support you, give you tools to deal with the situation and help coordinate appropriate care to give you the much-needed respite.


When Someone You Love Is Dying

In my years as care manager and hospice social worker I have met a surprising number of people who have had Near Death Experiences. Some have "seen the light", one saw no light at all but floated in the darkest darkness in the most comfortable and blissful state he had ever experienced. One, now in his late 50's, remains very angry that he had to return to his earthly existence. Ever since his revival he has had an explosive temper. They blame it on his brain injury. He blames it on having to leave the State of Heaven.

It is surprising to me that not all of these people had faith in a higher power or a belief in an Afterlife.

Death can be a frightening thing. As one client said "I've never done this before." The first time doing anything is always scary. Try to rest assured that throughout the process of life through death, you will be Taken Care Of.

Have faith that even though you may be an Earthly Caregiver for someone you love, that there is Something Greater ready to take over when your loved one leaves.

There is a reason we typically enter this world crying and leave this world smiling.

Faith, Dear Ones.


Recently a client was reviewing her life with me. Now in her late 80's, she would be in her 60th year of marriage had her husband not died before their 30th year together.   There has never been another man for her.
The burial took place in his hometown quite some distance away. She traveled there by plane, accompanied by her daughter and her baby granddaughter. She found herself saying "Dear God, please let the plane crash. Let it go down." She did not want to live life without him.

She has now been without him as long as she had been with him. As she watches her great-grandchildren grow she thanks God every day that He did not answer her prayer spoken in her bleakest moment.

Sometimes we get discouraged when our prayers aren't answered, but there's generally a very good reason.  It may seem selfish and self-centered of her to have prayed that prayer on the plane that day, but when we are in the storm of loss and bereavement, it is natural to lose total perspective for awhile. 

Be patient with God and, by all means, be patient with yourself.