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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Valentines Day: The Side Not Talked About

Valentines Day  –

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The Darker Side

Most people think of love, happiness and joy on Valentines Day. The day is wrapped around those currently in our life as we celebrate our relationships.  Tokens of love like flowers, chocolate and jewelry allowing those feeling to linger, but for many others Valentines Day can be extremely painful.

The loss of a loved one in our life can trigger thoughts of longing for what once was.  Grief can take hold as tears roll down ones face and and the heart longs for the precious connection it once had. The longing of physical touch; a kiss, a hug or just holding hands is no longer possible.

For some, the pain of loss lingers way past the day marked on the calendar as Valentines Day.  For some, each and every holiday triggers the loss of the physical presence of the one they loved.

Earlier this week, I was in Indiana and Illinois at three Clarendale properties doing screenings of “His Neighbor Phil.” At the last screening, a woman in the audience can up and gave me a beautiful poem about love and loss. I wanted to share it with all of you.

The Poem is Titled

“Grief is the Price of Love”

The Author is Unknown

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May this poem give those grieving some peace of mind and heart knowing the greatest gift one can receive in a life time, comes with two price tags…. grief and gratitude.

May we all be lucky enough to love so deeply and completely to feel both “grief for a great love” knowing it’s “sister gratitude” will help fill the holes in our heart and help us find peace in our life once again.

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Gratitude or Stress Over The Holiday Season?

Gratitude or Stress

Over The Holiday Season?

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The holiday season can give us time to pause, reflect and appreciate our life and those in it; or it can put pressure on us to cram our schedules full of activities and pull us into hectic environments like Black Friday.

The choice s ours.

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What will you pick and why?

I used to go crazy during the holiday trying to do it all and do it well, but as each year passed I found more was added to my list and my poor body was exhausted. If I’m honest I was cranky to boot!  Not at all who I wanted to be; especially during the holidays.  Lack of sleep, the pressure of not enough time and the cost of things were not balancing out.  Yet, at the time it all seemed to make sense.

It was what everyone was doing…. Wasn’t it?

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Well, as I grew older and as my parents became ill I found my life changed focus.  Not right away, as I wasn’t that bright.  But over time, I began to realize that the biggest gifts in my life were actually sitting before me all the time. They weren’t hidden and wrapped in packages under a tree.  They were the people in my life, all going through different stages of life.

They were raw and not perfect, but they were mine.

They were those who loved me, and I them.

They were those who stood by me and supported me, and I them.

They were those who got mad at me, and I them.

They were those who laughed with me, and I them.

They were those that cried with me, and I them.

They were those who sat silently with me, and I them.

They were those who forgave me, and I them.

Our imperfections were perfect together!

We gave each other love, energy and support through good and bad times.  We were team.  An indestructible force to be reckoned with even when at odds.  We would step up and out for those we cared for and it showed.  Others even mentioned they were jealous of what we had, yet it took me so long to truly realize the gift of our relationships.

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It took being shook to the core.  A life disaster.

It took finding out I might lose that which I have taken for granted most of my life.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I ask you to pause. 

Please think about what your life would be like without those “human gifts” in your life.

If they were gone, how would it change your life?

If they were gone, how would it impact others?

When was the last time you told them how much they mattered to you and why?

Think what it feels like to be told you matter.

Giving the gift “YOU MATTER” to others will not only sooth your soul but theirs.  It takes little time, costs nothing and can give you both great peace.

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Please know how much each of you matter to me. 

Know how much I appreciate your support not only for Alzheimer’s Speaks but for me as a person.

Know your journey is not one of being alone, but as part of a beautiful imperfect team within society.

Know your presence is honored.  I wish you nothing less than a fantastic holiday season filled with wonder and surprises, surpassing your dreams.

Blessing to you all.

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Thank you Mom and Dad for the beautiful life lessons you taught me.  I hope you are celebrating in heaven.

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Lori La Bey, Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s the Thought That Counts

By: Michelle Remold

As the Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I can’t help but anticipate the rest of the holiday season.  This time of year is definitely my favorite and I try to volunteer as much as possible. This time of year also makes me think about ways to include loved ones who are in skilled nursing facilities, especially those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

When I think back to when my grandpa was in the nursing home, some of my best memories come from the holiday season. We couldn’t put a tree up in his room, but we always had a fake Poinsettia for his night stand and brought a real one for the nursing station.  We also would bring a few sheets of window clings for his window. We would bring holiday themed coloring books, color pictures with him, and hang them on his walls for decorations.

When we got around to baking cookies, a tray would find its way up to him. My grandpa had a sweet tooth, so cookies were his favorite part. We would also bring cookies up for the nurses and would pass out cookies and other desserts to the residents who were able to eat them. We would wrap presents and take them up to the nursing home for him to open. During one of my grandpa’s last holidays, my cousin played the piano and we all sang carols for him. My brother and I even would dance with him to the music playing in the hallways.

As the holidays roll around, people tend to become very busy, but it’s important to remember that it is the small things that make holidays great. It could be stopping up to put window clings or bringing up coffee and cookies and just enjoying each other’s company or a short note. I think the most important thing is to make them feel special and remembered.

They may not remember in a few moments what gifts they had just received, what pictures were taken, or what songs were sung, but does it really matter?  For a few moments they had a smile on their face and to me that’s all that matters. After all it’s the thought that counts.

008Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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Holidays Increase Caregiving Challenges 

by Lori – La Bey of Senior Lifestyle Trends

Caregiving is challenging no matter what side of Care you are on – Giving or Receiving. 

Lori La Bey of Senior Lifestyle Trends

I learned early on as a Caregiver when I perceived my role as a “Fix It Person,” my To Do list became a competitive game with a Win/Lose outcome, driven by my need to control things.

Today I approach my Caregiving with flexibility.  I assess three things before I proceed with any task.  Those three things are:  Is the person I am providing care to: 1) Safe, 2) Pain-free, and 3) Happy.  If so, I move forward as planned.  If not, I make adjustments so I can say “yes” to those three items.  Then I review my checklist knowing it is ok to reprioritize. I accept some things may not get completed how, when, or where I thought they would.  I have found these three words help me stay focused on what’s truly important.  It’s not about me feeling in control.  It’s about Good Care.  Funny thing is, when I am more flexible in my Caregiving Role, I am less stressed and feel more in control.

To get a Free Tool which can help you stay on track when caring for another, go to the Resource Website Alzheimer’s Speaks and get Your Memory Chip™.  Click on the star burst on the home page and order yours today.  Http://www.AlzheimersSpeaks.com For more tools, tips, and stories visit the Alzheimer’s Speaks Blog which is linked from the website.

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