Like the stars in the sky
there is a plethora of ideas of how to be of help.
Like the stars in the sky
every person is unique and stands alone, looking so close together
yet in reality so far apart.
Like molecules in the body
ever person is dependent on the other to survive.
Like molecules in the body
rejuvenation is possible.
Like thoughts on the mind
people pass like ships in the night.
Like thoughts on the mind
direction is possible.

"mental dis-ease"~ a state of mind or cognitive awareness where it is difficult and takes effort to see hope or light in one's life.  An ongoing presence of bleakness and apathy that impairs the activities of daily living.

Mental health awareness is everywhere.  On tv, on social media, used as a marketing tool (Bell's Let's Talk day) and sprouting up talk lines with a voice at the other end.  But then what?  How can we discern between the levels of severity and ease the burden on our medical system to provide chemicals and prescriptions to heal? How can we as, human vessels of love, be the "pill" needed to bring a person back to homeostasis?

As a person who suffers from depression and waves of apathy, that exponentially compounds various times of the year, I decided to seek out help as I realized,  when bombarded with the awareness marketing strategy, that society is attempting to catch up to the fact that mental stress and mental dis-ease of the thinking and cognitive ability is real and plaguing our culture.  I began a search.  It started with calling the hotlines and getting an appointment with my medical doctor.  It continued with joining social media groups who seem to have a theme of supporting those suffering.  I turned to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) who, while they are invaluable to those struggling with alcohol addiction, are not conducive to mental health issues and I called the local 211 number only to be told, "I'm sorry, no there is just not the support available."  So what does this mean?

It means the common gatherings of people must begin to support mental health in a proactive way not fearing they are "under-qualified" to manage these kinds of groups.  Spirituality is one of the domains and realms of a complete and healthy lifestyle and can support those in need of mental health support.  Matthew Fox says, "Spirituality is our everyday experiences of depth and deeper meaning and the connection they carry.  Spirituality is present whenever we undergo or observe deeply."  I am now growing into a place where I can and am able to support and help others.  Like the wonderful AA group that self supports and self articulates through those who have suffered, suffers and struggles every day, mental health support can be provided by those who have learned to cope, who fall less often into the pitfalls of this mental dis-ease.  Through community and gathering in the same place in the flesh, people can offer what is lacking in our culture today.  Hand to hand contact, laughter, fun and support.  As little as 50 years ago the church/religious gathering places were filled with people who had a common faith.  As the worldview of common faith in a divine being has been changing the communities have been declining and falling into disarray and disrepair, with faith communities seeing closure to the extent of one congregation a week.

"In order to rise, From its own ashes, A phoenix, First, Must, Burn.” 
― Octavia E. ButlerParable of the Talents

Rising from the ashes of traditional doctrine is coming the new age of community and gathering.  People are seeking and gathering in ways human kind has not seen in a very long time.  Tribal hunger and pining for community are surfacing and with the erosion of human gathering by social media and isolated friendship seeking are balancing themselves.  Computers and internet are here to stay, however this does not need to undermine the need for spiritual community and one to one gathering.

Come on a journey and remove the obstacles, come for some play time for the adult mind and spirit.  This community gathering will take place beginning January 5, 2018 at West Hill United Church and will focus on Matthew Fox's definition of spirituality by gleefully playing with the psyche and teaching everyone how to be together in adult play.  As a beginning, it will continue for six weeks to seed and bond spirit.  Continuing is evident!  As children, we are told to "grow up", "stop our nonsense" and "be reasonable" ... the creative side of our human condition is stifled.  Come let it breathe!  Come up out of the depths and shake off the doldrums.  Join me and make MeH2018 your movement to a better life.

The evenings are free to attend with an opportunity to offer a free will investment toward supplies and space if desired.  Come, climb up and reach for the sky!  Let's do this!

Find your light in the darkness!


Banding together! Start today...

Greetings everyone who takes even a moment to read the words I put down in my blog and on my FaceBook page.  Thank you for following and reading here and there.  Today I have decided I wish to make a bold move and begin a group.  This group would have the following parameters:

  • Are you a woman over 50?
  • Are you worried about your financial future?
  • Do you find yourself without investments, real estate or any form of collateral that would created a return on investment?
  • Are you single or consider yourself alone in your future planning?
  • Are you aware that basic GIC's, savings accounts or money in a checking account will make you little or no interest?
  • Are you living paycheque to paycheque with some debt?
If any of these questions cause you to stop and think "that could be me" then I want you to listen up.  I have been working with optimal aging now for ten years.  I have been focussing on spiritual awareness along side of the other four areas of optimal health.  The other four are financial, emotional, mental and nutritional.  All of these areas must be cared for in order to age well and feel secure and happy as you approach 65 when OAS and CPP will begin to trickle in.  If you are like me you will not be able to live on these two incomes simply because they are not enough to cover today's cost of living and cover the activities of daily living.  Rent alone will break you every month and the little left will go to cover utilities, transportation and/or the debt you have incurred over the years.

Here is the good news.  I want to form a cooperative here in the southern Ontario area.  This has been done many times and there is a template we can follow.  There are many things we can do as a cooperative.  
  • We can live in community building our future social capital.  
  • We can form an investment group which allows for smaller investments together netting in the purchase power to build an investment portfolio.
  • We can support each other in the years to come while feeling strong and encouraged to be the women we are meant to be. 
This can be done!  All it takes is planning and a professional approach.  Who is with me?  Please feel free to contact me today.  There are many ways to do that.  Through this blog by commenting your support and desire to be included.  Through my FaceBook page Cynthia Breadner FaceBook or through my website LesMar.ca My phone number is also available through my website. 

We are Sisters in Spirit and must face the truth that as the next 25 years unfolds there are going to be many women living in poverty or, worse yet, on the streets.  Do not let this happen to you.  Let's work for change and for a future together. 

Have a look at some projects:


Listen up 55+ People!

Over the past year I have been working hands on as a caregiver in a retirement home that has more long term care clients than retirement.  Retirement is most often linked with letting go of formal work and sitting back on the financial kitty you have and collecting the Canada Pension and Old Age Security checks.  Taking time to spend with grandchildren and taking up hobbies on a daily basis like painting or pottery, woodworking or cabinet building, making the choice of sitting on the couch and reading a book or watching an old movie.  All these choices sound like fun in "retirement".
We have all seen the advertisements for "senior community living" where smiling grey haired people are actively bowling, eating together or taking down a book from the library shelf.  The illusion that "retirement" is going to be fun and entertaining.  These ads can be so far from the truth.

My experience with 90 aging adults over the past year has been that maybe 10/90 are the ones in the ads that you see and they are bored stiff because their social capital has gone, the institution in which they live is pouring money and resources into looking after the 90% and not the 10% and it simply is not fun.

I sit at a table where four people reside for lunch and spoon feed them and talk with them event though they appear not to even know I am there.  The drool of lunch runs down their chin and so, for dignity, I wipe it off.  I watch across the room where three other caregivers do the same in a room with about 35 older adults.  The 10% are staring blankly out the window as their table mates are unable to carry a conversation so they eat in silence and wonder what the afternoon activity will bring.  I spend time one on one with many people.  Some tell me wonderful stories of life on the farm and the family they loved.  Some have crippled hands and feet curled up into a ball and have no voice, simply guttural noises escape from their lips.  I massage their hands with love and affection in hopes I am making a difference in their day, in their moment.  Moment by moment they exist.

In my heart, I wonder why we do this to our loved ones.  The moral and ethical dilemma of end of life care is a deep and challenging subject.  There are many opinions about how to deal with the human existence at end of life and what constitutes quality of living.
While I paint this picture, that which is frightening to me and should be to you as well, I do so in hopes of getting to you before you get here. How do you plan to spend the last 1/3 of your life? There are jokes about people getting "old and dying".  Many of the people I work for and with only wish they could do the "die" part.  The reality is you will get older however you may not die for many, many years.

Long term care environments are lost on most people simply because they choose not to really see it. Only when you work in it do you witness the reality of aging. The part that makes me angry is in my research and education, I am now "optimally" aging and fighting toward a good finish to my life. There are things you can do! Truly there is!  You just have to commit to doing them and come along with me for the ride! My passion is to educate and drag/pull/push anyone who is interested in hearing more about healthy aging to information sessions to learn more.  Let me come and teach you about aging well and how you can do it!  Let me share what 15 years of education and experience has taught me.  Let me show you how turning 60 will be exciting for me as I compete in triathlons and run 15 kms just to say I can do it.  Let me introduce you to others who are doing the same into their 70's and 80's and are aging well and living a full and abundant life.

Do not choose to simply get old and leave "how" up to fate ... contact me today.  Where two or three are gathered I will be there to teach, inform and educate.


Gail Sheehy, PASSAGES: Predictable Crisis of Adult Life
Chris Crowley/Henry Lodge YOUNGER NEXT YEAR
Paul David Nussbaum PhD SAVE YOUR BRAIN
Optimal Aging by Cynthia Breadner


To die with dignity ...

THIS is my greatest challenge. How do I make changes to support these kinds of directives? Working in aging adult care, my heart breaks, not only for those who are lonely, depressed and aged, but for those who are forward thinking and know, in right mind, how they want to end their life! This article may be written from the USA but don't fool yourself this happens right here in Canada. Every time I spoon feed a person I wonder, is this what they would have wanted for themselves. Being pro-euthanasia for aging and infirm adults who choose it in their earlier advance directives, how (oh please tell me how) can I advocate for this action to be respected and held up in a court of law or with family wanting to hold on?
Just this week, a woman sat with me and would not eat. She is choosing not to eat. Other caregivers say "encourage her to eat" and I do. She looks at me with deep, deep longing in her eyes and says, "you eat it then". I laugh. She takes a drink of Ensure (gut rot IMO) and smiles and then slowly spits it down her apron. She laughs and says, "awful stuff". She knows, SHE KNOWS what she is doing. Why, oh why, can we not choose to die without others telling us somehow it is wrong?
Choosing life is fantastic when life is worth choosing. When it is not it is a prison and torture to the one wishing to move on from this earthly existence.
"Nora Harris, 64, a former librarian, signed an advance directive after her diagnosis to prevent her life from being prolonged when her disease got worse. Now, her husband said, she’s being kept alive with assisted eating and drinking against her stated wishes." http://www.nextavenue.org/advance-directive-denied-last-wish/?utm_source=sumome&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=sumome_share

My father said, two weeks or so before he died, at the wake of my uncle "he's the lucky one" referring to my uncle laying in the casket. There are worse things than death and until you work with the dead and dying in an aging adult care home, do not judge someone for wanting to die. Dying with dignity should be an option instead of the shame of suicide that is placed upon one who choose to die as they age. Let's talk about dying with dignity more and more and more until we all understand what it is to have choices in life and in death!

Psalm 23:5 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."   You being the spiritual being we are in our hearts.  As our own spirit prepares a table to sit at during our lifetime, there is the presence of enemies prying into our life, dictating and tellings the spirit what it is it should do.  Let the self/spirit/soul anoint your head with oil and let your cup overflow with self desire and authentic voice.  Speak your authentic truth about your own life, make it known what the spirit wants.



Finding Spiritual Community and a place to call 'home'.

In a culture and world were people are spiritually bankrupt we travel so far, either by foot, car or internet to find connection. As we age, this connection grows more and more important as the harder questions start to be asked. Why am I here? Have I accomplished what I want in life? Why am I so lonely? Where are my true friends and social capital I will need as I age?
Yesterday your writer visited West Hill United Church. This community is in the news often for those who watch "church" development and are watching how the changing times manifest into gathering places. This vibrant community, West Hill UC is lead and fostered by Gretta Vosper a beautiful, kind, loving and caring human being. I first met Gretta over 15 years ago, long before I began my personal journey that has carved and shaped me into who I am today. WHUC is a welcoming community of faithful people seeking justice in the world and a community where 'people are more important than beliefs'. This philosophy and Gretta's personal journey have caused much conversation and created awareness around what it means to be in community together and following the call to be faithful to the spiritual essence of all things.
One of Gretta's writings goes, "In a breath, life comes to us, drawing into us the world and all we know, experience, love. In a breath, life leaves us, our hopes, dreams, possibilities exhaled into a vast and unknown eternity. Breathe deep the residue of what has been. Breathe deep the essence of what now is..." (from We All Breathe, c. 2012 Gretta Vosper)
Just this week, one of the residents where I work breathed his last. His spirit was then released to soar into the place where spirits go when the body is shed. This death of body is as natural as the sun rise, the sun setting in the west and the winds that blow change. Fear of death is a terrible dis-ease that plagues so many. Befriending our own death and the death of those we love make the journey so much easier. How can you befriend death, you ask? It is by understanding our connections to the earth, sky and other life on this planet. We are not simply here as human vessels or as Teilhard de Chardin has said, witnessed and lived, "You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience." understanding your own spirituality and who you are, spiritually, is one of the questions most people begin to ask as they age.
Working with over 200 aging adults in any given week I see a wide range of spiritual understandings of self and others. Most people, when asked about their spirituality, respond "I don't go to church". My quest is to detach spirituality from the traditional church and to free it from the grasp of doctrines and dogma.
My quest is to bring along those who are questioning and seeking to find peace with this life, the life of those they love and to find a peaceful understanding in daily living. Optimal aging can be achieved and it is through personal growth and questing you will find it.
Let me help! Come quest with me! Open the door to your heart!


Hungry for something...

I am so hungry for something I cannot seem to find to feed me.  It is a place of spiritual resting where the presence of love and peace allows for the fulfilment of my dreams to seed into my soul. A weekly or monthly place to rest and listen.  My races help with this journey and empty my cup of past practices and allow for the filling of new and white light and energy. Well ... the day is done!  The Sprint is now checked off on my bucket list.  A Sprint is a 750 m. swim, 30 km. bike ride, and a 7 km. run.  It was a brutal wind today and we woke up to 4 degrees.  Headed to Guelph by 6 AM with little Owen packed in with the bikes!  He didn't mind, he goo'd and ga'd all the way to Caledon when we stopped and fed him! He is a trooper.

This was a hard race for me!  It was hard work, simply said.  I did finish however my lack of commitment to training showed in a big way.  It took me 3 hours and one minute to complete.    It was the first triathlon swim I have done because the two shorter tri-a-tri races I was in the swim was cancelled.  Once because of lightening and the second time because of bacteria levels in the water. Today, this hefty swim of 750 m. was my first.  I did the swim in 22 minutes.  Coming out of the water with no glasses on and having just worked your way through 17 degree water with other swimmers around you, it feels a little disorienting.

At this particular venue, you then run uphill to the transition zone.  It is challenging to say the least. Family will know this term, Raynaud's (ray-NOHZ) disease causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers and toes — to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas (vasospasm).  I suffer from this so at this point, my feet were like little stumps!  So I took the time at the transition zone, massaged them before I put my socks on to continue and changed into riding gear over my wet bathing suit.

The bike ride was so beautiful and the day was lovely.  Even in the challenge of biking against a strong wind I kept taking the time to marvel at the beauty around me. However, the wind was fierce and I found even down hill I was peddling like a duck trying to swim up Niagara Falls!  I never got out of the easiest gear sequence for the whole 30 kms.  I walked a couple of hills to conserve my strength.  My old Raleigh is truly not meant for this kind of riding!  It took me 1 hr and 35 minutes to complete and I got a police escort at the turnaround!  Pays to be last of the hardworking racers.  I found myself meditating in the moment and simply thinking about one step at a time.  Listening to Pema Chodrun and simply staying in the moment.  Thinking not about if I was tired from the swim and thinking not that after this hard physical journey I would then need to strike out on foot for a further 7 kms.  Spiritually I was strong and in the moment listening for messages while exhausting the physical energy out of the way to let the spirit come through.  It was invigorating.

The run was awesome!  7 kms through the park.  I loved every minute.  I was tired however optimistic as each time I passed the base/transition there was my daughter, Danielle and my wee Owen, cheering me on!  The run took me 55 minutes.

It was a great day and the first of many as now I have the job of getting stronger, faster and better! How about you?  Did you do something today that will make you stronger, faster and better?


Gifts of life ...

Working with aging adults is truly one of the best jobs in the world.
Just this week, this writer had the blessing of bathing beautiful women, well into their 80's (maybe 90's). It is such an intimate time for a care giver to bath a grown person, soaping up the cloth, holding the shower head just right, weighing in on how much help to offer all while preserving dignity and self-pride. Honestly, stand in your underwear in a bathroom, and imagine a person, who is not your family, tucking fingers into the top of your underwear and dropping them to the floor, causing, without fail this caregiver's face to be level with all that is the most private part of your body.
Just this week, I sat at the bedside and spoon fed a woman whose breast is leaking fluid and the brain tumour confuses her words. Her blue eyes sparkle when you tell her "dinner is spicy tonight".
Just this week, I helped a woman to the bathroom while trying not to drop the stroke monitor hanging around her neck into the toilet. As she told me, "I am not in pain anywhere, I just can't get the words out." So she counts the words on her fingers as she says them.
Just this week, I watched a woman tear up as she told me the story of being separated from her son because he is mad at her for something that happened years ago. He cannot get past it. She cries for her boy.
Just this week, I watched a man who has been told yet again, "you will never walk again", and so has made it his mission to prove them wrong and, just today, I watched him stand at his wheelchair and transfer himself to another chair.
Just this week, I had a man ask to see his brother, to say goodbye, before the ambulance took him away because he knew he was done and dying. His wife wanted to take his razor to the hospital. He said, "don't worry about it. Lock the door and come back after its all over." He hugged me, we prayed together and he left for the hospital. He died three hours later.
Imagine, laying in bed and having a person come in and pull back the covers open the brief where you have been forced to let go of your waste and watch from the bed, flat on your back while this person turns you to get into the intimate parts of your body, to ensure you are clean and washed all while discussing the weather or the storyline of Dr. Phil! It is rarely talked about because it is one of the hardest things for any person to do. Be dependent on another for care.
This week I personally engaged with over 200 aging adults from all walks of life. This is a normal week for me! All stories, all challenges, all spiritual engagements welcome.
As I say it is the best job in the world. I say this because this work creates a bond between two people. A bond of trust and compassion, and when done well, is enriching for both people involved. Sharing life's realities and the grief and bereavement aging adults suffer through becomes the work of the front-line caregiver.
As sure as the sun rises in the east, next week will be more of the same. Daily miracles and blessings ...


Hidden Beauty

How often have you driven from one place to another and when you arrive you have little recollection of the drive?  This happens so often because we fail to be present to the moment.  Hidden treasures are all around us.  Energy which is there and slips through our fingers, literally.  Beauty beyond that which we see.

Recently, I watched the movie "Collateral Beauty" and the focus of the title is buried in the movie only to be recognized when the movie concludes.  The premise is how there is collateral beauty buried in the pain and intensity of life.  Life's journey is not always easy and spiritual growth is found in finding beauty as we suffer grief.  Learning about self comes from the breakdown of the ego.  So many lessons and sometimes hard to see.

I take all my own photos so I can use them freely and never be worried about copyright or infringing on another's work.  Recently I was on a walk with a 90 year old woman and we were loving the flowers in her neighbourhood.  My favourite pictures are closeup's of flowers.  I took this picture of a beautiful bush all in her glory.  Today I used the photo ... As I was posting it I saw the beauty I had captured.  I saw the deep love of the divine there in the photo reminding me there is life around me all the time, if I simply stop look and see.   This beautiful creature is working away on my behalf and I captured the work being done.
As a child, parents always had the talk about "the birds and the bees" and I honestly do not know how this became linked with where babies come from and sex.  All I know is when I talk with my grandchildren I am going to tell them about the birds and the bees, and my story will be about finding the collateral beauty or the hidden beauty in our lives.

Blessings and love on this Sunday!  Come together, Come together in spirit and in song; the song of the buzzing bee!


Triathlon Completed! What's Next?

This aging adult is looking for challenges in life and does not fear to go where others are scared to turn.  I do this so I can walk into the darkness of change and return to guide others to challenge themselves.  In working with aging adults, I now regularly work with 90+ year old people.  Often they are smart and well versed and seeking community to keep active.  The FitMinds program sites one of the five areas for a healthy lifestyle as being "socialization".   This first critical area to a healthy lifestyle reminds a person to remain integrated in the community and to build a growing network of family and friends.  "Social Capital" is as important to a healthy lifestyle as is capital in real estate or investments.  This capital investment in your life brings about abundance as it grows and matures.

At the race yesterday we were threatened by a passing storm.  It was a time of community where anxious runners were waiting, feeling cold and wet, to get started.  The clouds hovered and threatened to chase people away and some caved into the threat.  Others moved together, in community, under a tree to ward off some of the pelting rain only to find warmth and friendship in each other.  I met two lovely women who we connected immediately. I am sad I did not have a pen and paper to get contact information.  That being said these women reminded me how valuable community and togetherness can be.

I was one of 24 participants in the 50 - 59 age group.  I came in 8th in my age group in just under an hour.  Fifty-nine minutes of challenging my body to perform and push it to the limit.  Fifty-nine minutes talking to myself, coaching and reminding myself that race day is the reward and not the prize.  It is a measurement of hard work and stamina.

So I did it!  A 2.5 km run then a 10 km bike ride followed by a second 2.5 km run.  There was to be a swim, however the threat of lightening caused this to be cancelled and replaced with the first run. Anything can happen on race day, just like anything can happen in life.

Barbara Brown Taylor's book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, is a good read for those seeking to venture into the unknown and move with stealth and finesse.  This book is one I return to often to remind myself to keep going, stay the course and know the final reward is a long and healthy life.

This aging adult fears not to look for challenges and will go where you fear to go.  I can walk with you if  you like and will come to your aid in the darkness.  Grief over life's losses begin with going into the dark and feeling that which is so important.  One must enter the fire and be challenged to come out stronger.

61 Isaiah Street, is a place where I live.  A place where the divine energy comes upon me and anoints me with love, heals my broken heart, liberates the prisoner in me, comforts me as I mourn, and gives me the oil of gladness along side of my tears.  For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and a garden brings its seeds to blossom, this divine energy brings shoots of hope and eternal understanding of goodness.

Be strong, come live with me at 61 Isaiah Street, won't you?


Little green sprout ....

A message from 11 Isaiah Street - Then a shoot will sprout from the stump, and from the deep roots, a branch will blossom.   The spirit of the divine will rest on you, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a sprit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and reverence for the source energy.

Today  I was training for the triathlon coming in two weeks and the day was grand for this work.  I was huffing and puffing after a 12.5 km ride on my bike and then was doing a 4 km wun (my term for combining walking and running).

I am in the country where the fields are a checker board of process. One particular field was turned over so neatly and layed flat, home for birds to pick at worms or upturned bugs.  I thought how beautiful this dirt field is.  As I looked closer it came to my attention it is not just a dirt field.  It is the vision of potential.  It represents all that is good in the world.

It represents the earth from which shoots of life come each year over and over again as the season turns. With closer inspection I could see there were small shoots of green coming from this field.

This field holds the capacity to produce more than its weight in goodness and profit.  Profit not in dollars, but in pride and food and worldly connection.  I had to stop there and be thankful for this day.

The rest of the wun was so beautiful and I honestly did not want it to end.  It is a perfect day and I am created in a perfect image where I can choose to believe in abundance and prosperity even in the face of what appears to be defeat.

As I hopped on the bike to ride the 12.5 kms back to my home it is with thanks I am taking this journey.  May Blessings abound in your life.


Caring for $400 Alex: Aging Adult Care with passion, dignity, respect

What is the care Cynthia Breadner provides?

How can a person often feel defeated, infuriated and frustrated and yet be amazed at the same time every day?  In this industry of caring for aging adults I see much that I wish to change or work with and I do the best I can every day.   The system is not good ... Let me tell you why.

I would like to ask people this question:  Would you ever leave your 2 year old sleeping the crib and go to work and hope the babysitter shows up at some point?  Would you leave your 6 month old sitting in their car seat, in the living room, and head to a party without having the caregiver there before you go?  I think most of you are shaking your heads, however later stages life is no different than the early stages of life.  Sitting with a person to care for them is the job, regardless of age.

Just because aging adults have witnessed life and have walked and talked and lived to the fullest (or not), today, if they cannot get out of bed, bathe themselves, get a meal or walk to the corner store they deserve the same care and attention as the babes in your life.  The aging adult in your life deserves respect and adult handling, however they deserve safety and solid caregiving just as much.  I cannot believe how often I am in private care with an aging adult and they get phone call, "sorry your worker will not be coming today and we can't find anyone else to come."  The two year old will spend the day in the crib.  Why does it seem acceptable to let down the client in the home waiting for care when the provincial government prides itself on an "aging at home" strategy?  I wonder if it is because they know with the poor system a person ages simply waiting for the strategy care promised.

Our government system is failing badly and will only get worse over time.  It is a broken system which will be more challenged as the aging population makes demands and pushes its way through the next 25 years.  As I work with feet in both camps and see harried workers pushed to the breaking point and aging adults who feel like a "bother" and a strain on a younger person's life I am more and more passionate about every person I meet.

Dignity is required for ALL ... Black lives matter, children need care, marriages require attention, pets should be loved and aging adults need good caregiving!  Simple.

The amazing part of my work is the many wonderful stories I read and hear of people taking charge in their later years.  This one particularly made me smile today.  When did death become something to fear so badly you would trade your last years for misery and pain when you could choose to do this:



Picture from the "Driving Miss Norma" fB page


Passionate giving of care ...

Yesterday I was with two clients. One is home and requires support to stay there the other in formal LTC. As I work with aging adults every day I witness something that breaks my heart. Yesterday was no exception. Caring in the home is an initiative that our government (Ontario MoH aging in place strategy, see below) launched many years ago. It is good on paper and desired by most, if not all aging adults. However, in practice it feels very different. I am part of that "aging in place" strategy, via private home care option. There is so much truth in "you get what you pay for".

Particularly though yesterday I was in a LTC home one-on-one with a woman providing cognitive stimulation as she has advancing dementia. My role is to encourage her to use her thinking skills and analytical abilities to do simple tasks, therefore exercising the brain. I was sitting with her in conversation and another woman in a wheelchair, within earshot, asked me if there was an orange on the snack cart. I replied in the affirmative. She asked if she could have it. I got up and got it for her and asked if she needed assistance peeling it. She replied, no that she could do it. I handed her the orange and a napkin. When she was finished I asked if I could assist her in disposing of the peel. She was gathering it up. I suggested I hold the trash can and she could gather and put it in herself. She was so pleased. Sounds simple doesn't it?

It was simple. What was simple was I allowed her to do for herself what she was able to do without taking away anything. I waited patiently while her gnarled arthritic hands picked up peel, and orange sections sucked dry of all juice, and put it in the trash. I stayed silent and when finished I said, "Was it good?" and she smiled a toothless grin and said, "so good!"

When I sat back down she turned to me and my client and said, "you are so kind. I just knew by the way you were talking that you are kind and caring. We need more people like you." This goes hand in hand with my workplace where every client prefaces a simple request with "I know you are so busy, but could you please ....".

When did we get so busy that caring becomes a burden to the one needing care? When did our "jobs" impose this horrible feeling upon the very person who pays for the 8X10 room that provides me with a job? Why do employers put caregivers in such a position to be so overburdened with work that we impose this busyness and this overwork onto the most vulnerable sector? My last question is when did human caregivers get so overwhelmed to impose woes upon those who are only able to ruminate these sad tales over and over again after we have left the room? This is where I differ and it is not a given it is work to check myself every day and question myself in order to keep my story to myself and make my client the most important person of the moment.

Caregiving is an art and a practice. I requires skills like no other profession outside of the health industry. Private home care is a good option, take advantage of it for your loved one. Contact me for more information or to learn more. See the beauty before you and in the background. Care is doing both!

Google search:
Once home is no longer an option... "seniors have to go through a lengthy process with one of the 6,220 employees of Ontario's 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) to qualify for a place in a public long-term facility, then join a lengthy waiting list." 2014 http://www.mississauga.com/news-story/4634290-ontario-looks-for-alternate-care-options-for-aging-seniors-damerla-says/


Boomsday is here

Greetings, I was locked out of my blog for a while due to unrealized changes.  Now I am back.  It was a good time away as I have realized a drive I did not know I have.  A drive to shed light and take a flashlight into the cobwebs.  I hope you will walk with me.

I will be reading a book called "Boomsday" by Christopher Buckley.  It is a satire about the day the first aging adults begin to swell through the aging system.  Youth take exception, rioting and challenging the status quo to simply sit back and take it.

As I read it I hope to share this piece as it is quite funny while it brings to the forefront a need for people to look at aging as a stage of life that needs much planning.  It also sheds light on the ethical question around assisted/chosen suicide in older adults.  Suicide in aging adults is shoved under the carpet and I will provide stats as I blog.

Please feel free to share my blog with others and contact me should you wish anything researched and developed as interested.  I am hungry to do more, to share more and, as an aging adult myself, I am very interested in what my future will look like.