21st Century Living

Baby Boomer Nostalgia – vanishing fixtures in our lives.

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The June AARP Bulletin had a brief piece on the fixtures of our every day life that either have already gone by the wayside or will do so in our lifetimes.

How many of you still have the following items as functioning items in your household or in your day-to-day living?

Answering Machine: a machine that records phone messages either on tape or digitally that is NOT a voice mail service with your home phone.

Home phones: many younger than Baby Boomer age are dispensing with their home phones and relying 100% on their cell phones.  In most households that equates to at least two telephone numbers per household.  I know it works for all of our adult children, but we’re still holding onto our land line – along with our cell phones of course.

Phone books: the internet and  Smart Phones, have taken the place of this yellow book for the most part.  I was in my car dealership getting my oil changed the other day and a customer walked up to the receptionist and asked her, “Do you have a phone book?”  The look on her face summarized it all for me; it seemed to say: “Is this guy for real?!!!”

Printed encyclopedias.  Research now-a-days can be done on-line (computer, tablet, phone) and, quite frankly, is far more accurate and up-to-date than volumes of books whose content is so very limited.

Rolodex.  Every e-mail program has a Contacts function with ease of updating being a real bonus.  I remember holding onto my Rolodex at work, even though I had also put info into my computer’s Contacts file, just in case I needed it.  I dumped the Rolodex a couple months later.

English: 3" floppy disks, as used by Amst...
3″ floppy disks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Floppy discs & drives.  Most people under 21 don’t know what this storage device is.  Confession: when cleaning out my home office the other day I got rid of an unused box of those antiquated and limited storage items.

Film!!!!!  Again, cleaning out my home office I found a roll of unopened Kodak 35mm film.   I didn’t throw it away, however, because THAT is a collector’s item!

Analog clocks.  All of my decorative clocks in my house contain numbers that go around a square or round face – you remember those don’t you?  Many children now-a-days are only accustomed to the digital clock and can’t tell time without it.

Stationary & note cards.  For me this is the most grievous vanishing fixture in my life.  I will NOT stop sending letters and cards by snail mail – unless of course the postal service vanishes before I’m six feet under.

A white toilet paper roll
A white toilet paper roll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toilet paper – WHAT!!!!!  AARP reports that eventually, toilet paper will be replaced by toilet-seat bidets that will wash and dry at the touch of a button.  Please say it isn’t so!!!!!  Maybe they figure the wash & dry could add an additional benefit that would make us smile?  I still don’t like the idea.

How many of you are now using items that you swore you’d never allow into your household just a decade ago?  And what are you holding on to?

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HUMOR!!!!! Men’s and Women’s Brains: are they different?

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The difference between Men’s and Women’s Brains is  a very entertaining video, and I think you’ll all find something in this humorous video that might resonate in your own life.

Please take the time to view the video, especially those of you who don’t think you have 13 minutes in which to be entertained by humor that might make a difference in your mood and/or your behavior today.

I wish the best for all of you on this first full day of Summer 2012.

But how am I supposed to do THAT?

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But how am I supposed to do THAT?.

What a terrific article provided in the above link from the “Taking Care of Mom and Dad” blog site.  The information provided in this article is valuable, and as Kelli mentioned on her blog, it’s not just specific to the state in which it originated, Oklahoma.  The information provided is applicable everywhere because let’s face it – every caregiver pretty much needs the same questions answered and this site has many one-size-fits all solutions for all caregivers who are grasping to stay afloat on their caregiving journey.

This same website can also direct you to your own state’s valuable resources by clicking on the applicable section on the Homepage.  It’s as easy as that!  And don’t we all need something to be easy every once and awhile?

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!

Life’s final deadline.

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In the past year, I have lost two coworkers to cancer.  Just recently another coworker left his job due to – you guessed it, cancer – so he could spend what remaining time he has with his family. These wonderful people were given a death sentence.  They had a head’s up as to when their life’s end/deadline would occur.

Because I care for these people, I’ve been grieving and pondering what their remaining days and weeks were like.

What does one do when they leave their doctor’s office after receiving a fatal prognosis and a guesstimate of how much time remains for them?  Of course the initial news floors them and their emotions run wild with rawness, sadness, fear, and maybe even extreme anger.  But then they get home, hopefully surrounded by at least one loved one, and…then what?

Scrabble game in final stages
Scrabble game in final stages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know much discussion will ensue of an emotional, practical, and perhaps even legal manner.  That goes without saying.

But do you then get out your bucket list and see if any remaining items can be checked off before time runs out?

Or how about a game of Scrabble?  Does that seem too mundane and unimportant in light of life’s waning hours?

I’m not trying to be cavalier about this matter and I hope I’m not coming off as insensitive.  I’m really troubled by even thinking about having such a prognosis and filling out my remaining days in a valuable way.  And again, I’m thinking about my coworkers’ final days and wondering what those days were like for these stellar people.  How did they manage?

Personally, I have a very realistic outlook on death – it’s certainly inevitable.  I’ve accepted the fact that no one can escape it.  And of course I have my preferences on the manner in which I die.  For example, if I’m fortunate, I’ll follow in my mother’s footsteps when back on September 24th, 1994, she went to bed none the worse for wear, and never woke up again.   Since no autopsy was done, we don’t know the actual cause of death but on this my family can agree – if we have the choice, we’d like to be taken by surprise – in as pain free a manner as possible.  If I’ve left no statements unsaid, no deeds left undone, I’d rather not have a calendar in front of me crossing out each remaining day in my life.

How would I fill my days if, like my coworkers, I’m given a death sentence of a finite period of time?

I don’t have the answer, so if by chance you’ve been part of life’s final deadline with a loved one or close friend, what proved valuable to you and your loved one?  How did you manage not to think of the remaining time every minute of every day?

In short – how did you survive the process?

Seattle Times: Seniors for Sale, Part 4

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Seniors for Sale, Part 4: Suspicious Deaths

It doesn’t get much worse than the video attached above.  Two suspicious deaths are the focus of this episode of the Seniors for Sale series.  The two cases discussed in this video occurred at the same Adult Family Home (AFH), Houghton Lakeview, located in a very swank area of Kirkland, Washington.  It goes without saying that this Adult Family Home was shut down.

The Seal of Washington, Washington's state seal.
The Seal of Washington, Washington’s state seal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Family members whose loved ones died at the hands of these caregivers speak out about how the abuse was discovered, and how the State of Washington did, or did not, effectively respond.

One of the family members whose father died at the hands of the caregiver/owner of the Adult Family Home poignantly stated:

It’s unfathomable to realize that we were paying these people to abuse our loved one!

Conviction results (attached) of one of the suspicious deaths was reported by the same Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Berens, who wrote the series, Seniors for Sale.

Seattle Times: Seniors for Sale, Part 3

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What Needs to be Done?  is the subject matter of Part 3 of  Seniors for Sale.  In this episode, the viewer is encouraged to do research about a facility, Adult Family Home or otherwise, prior to considering a move to that senior housing alternative.  In my article, “Avoiding the pitfalls of selecting Senior Housing,” I provide helpful resources that everyone can use in order to find out:

  • if any complaints have been filed against a particular home;
  • if the State issued any citations, and the nature of those citations;
  • if the Long-Term Care Ombudsman office received particular complaints and the nature of those complaints.
The Seal of Washington, Washington's state seal.
The Seal of Washington, Washington’s state seal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one has to go into this housing search blind.  Please view the very brief video provided in Part 3 of this Pulitzer Prize winning series by Michael Berens of the Seattle Times, then click on the attached article that I’ve provided for your assistance.  Although the links I provided relate to resources in the State of Washington, similar resources exist nation-wide.  Check with your State Ombudsman office or Department of Health and Social Services for your State’s equivalent.

Seattle Times: Seniors for Sale, Part 1

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My local newspaper ran an investigative report about the Adult Family Home (AFH) industry in Washington State.  Depending upon where you live, a similar  assisted living home may be called a Group Home.

The Seal of Washington, Washington's state seal.
The Seal of Washington, Washington’s state seal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Washington State, no more than 6 residents can live in an Adult Family Home.  These “businesses” popped up all over Washington State over the past several years as entrepreneurs realized how much money they could make taking in residents and charging thousands for rent and resident care.  At this writing, there are close to 2,900 AFHs in the state.  Since 2010, 446 of those were cited for violations of health or safety standards.  Caveat: there are many Adult Family Homes that are doing an extraordinary job, but it’s the bad ones that make the Headlines and that’s the way it should be.

June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month.  I thought it appropriate to provide Michael Berens’ series, “Seniors for Sale” in six parts this week, but I provide it with a warning that this Pulitzer Prize winning expose can be very difficult to read, and watch.  Nevertheless, awareness is key, so I hope all will benefit from his extensive work on this piece.  Whether you live in the United States, Singapore, the United Kingdom, or elsewhere globally, abuse occurs world-wide and it’s the vulnerable adults in this world who are its targets.

Seniors for Sale – I provide this link to Part 1 of the series – “Ann.”