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Why You Don’t Want To Overstep Your Boundaries This Holiday Weekend – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Are you going to see an older loved one—perhaps a parent– over this Thanksgiving weekend?  Maybe that person has dementia, diabetes, debilitating arthritis or any number of other conditions.  If this parent already has a caregiver—your sister-in-law, for example–check out this short video on why often it’s a good idea to keep your opinions about your parent’s care to yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs8S96QCljA

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Does The Patient Want To Be Featured On Social Media? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Have you observed the latest trend on social media?  It’s not a new meme or hashtag.  It’s the phenomenon of people posting about loved ones who are ill or even dying.  I certainly understand why it’s happening.  It probably seems like the easiest way to keep everyone in your friends and family network in the loop.  But have those who post considered whether or not the patient wants to be featured on social media?

In the last six months I have observed the following:

  1. Selfies of family members at a hospice patient’s bedside posing with a person who appears to be sleeping or at least half-asleep.
  2. Videos of patients who have dementia, are recovering from strokes, and/or doing rehab exercises.
  3. Lengthy, personal updates about a patient’s health that are several paragraphs long.  Some of these posts include detailed information on diagnosis, medications, surgeries, and prognosis.  Many of these updates feature graphic descriptions of symptoms the patient is experiencing.

Perhaps these patients are well aware that their health progress will be featured on social media.  Or maybe the family members believe there is implied consent for posting.  After all, Millennial and Generation Z patients may very well assume that such photos or videos of themselves will be uploaded straight to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even Snapchat.  But the vast majority of photographs and videos I am seeing in hospital or nursing home settings are of Baby Boomers and Traditionalist who may not realize their health status is being shared.

What can we do?

Family member & friends:  If you want to post about a sick or dying loved one, ask if he or she is okay with it.  While many family members will understand if you send out an e-mail or update a private page like www.lotsahelpinghands.org so close relatives are in the know, many may object to broad-based updates to all of your extensive network of contacts (and their contacts, depending on your privacy settings).

Also, consider the last time you took a sick day.  Would you welcome the prospect of someone posting a picture or video of you?

Healthcare professionals:  If you observe this behavior, remind family caregivers that they should seek the loved one’s permission before sharing.  Talk to them about HIPPA, confidentiality, as well as respecting the dignity of their loved ones.  Suggest that they consider more private ways to share information such as www.lotsofhelpinghands.org.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Who Will Take Care of You When You’re Old? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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My husband and I don’t have kids. Finally, now that we are in our mid-forties, people have stopped asking when we will. But for a very long time, when we indicated that we didn’t have children, people—even strangers—would inquire, “But who will be there for you when you get older?” Frequently my response was, “We have long term care insurance,” with a smile. That usually shut down the conversation.

Of course, such discussions have always reminded me that our older adulthood will differ from peers who will have adult children, grandchildren and possibly even great-grandchildren. While having children does not guarantee anyone a caregiver someday, we know that we may have less social support than other older adults.

Because of this, when I first heard about Joy Loverde’s new book Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?, I immediately said to my husband, “We need this book.” I’m thrilled to report that this book is much more than what I was expecting. While Loverde recognizes our situation, she also reminds the reader that thinking ahead about who will support you in old age is not just an issue for the childless. Even those with many adult children should be proactive in developing a robust social network for their later years.

Loverde covers practical ideas such as how to become better at socializing (even if you consider yourself shy) so you can enjoy more social support. She also offers provocative ideas like having a funeral before you die. Repeatedly while reading Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old, I found myself thinking, “I never thought of that before!”

Though I was initially personally interested in Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old, professionally I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a more fulfilling aging experience.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Why You Need to Buy Into the Age Diversity Movement – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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My most requested keynote title for healthcare conferences is called Navigating Communication With Different Generations: Reducing Drama And Conflict In Healthcare.  Why?  I believe it’s because many of us still haven’t bought into the concept that generational affiliation is just another way we are diverse.  Does generational affiliation define anyone?  No!  But it does influence how we think and communicate.  This goes for patients, caregivers and colleagues in the healthcare workplace.

Another reason healthcare professionals are hungry for this discussion is because a large percentage are reporting that they themselves or others in their organization are experiencing ageism or reverse ageism.  Each time I provide this keynote, I poll the audience ahead of time.  I have not encountered an audience where this was not an issue.  If healthcare professionals feel ageism and reverse ageism from colleagues and managers, I can’t imagine that this doesn’t also impact our patients and their caregivers.

If you want to reduce drama and conflict in your healthcare workplace while providing better service to patients and clients, consider the acronym AGE.  Accept that generational diversity is part of what makes all of us unique.  Get real about your biases.  Many of us have bias against another generation.  Try to work through it and understand it.  If you stereotype a generation, educate yourself about the facts.  Finally, Expect commonalities among persons who are Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.  Just know that generation doesn’t totally define them.

If your organization could benefit from a deeper dive into this topic, check out this page:  http://jenerationshealth.com/keynotes/

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

 

 

What Kind of Team Member Do You Want To Be? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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If you are a working caregiver, you probably are experiencing a significant overload of stress.  How do you talk to your boss about it?  What resources are available to help you?

If you are an executive or a manager, you will have staff who are caregiving for sick or disabled loved ones at home.  Don’t you want to be the boss who they can approach and work out a reasonable plan so staff can remain productive at work while meeting their family obligations?

Check out Jennifer FitzPatrick on ABC’s Good Morning Washington.  She discusses how to manage career and caregiving; reducing caregiver stress; and how companies who support working caregivers can increase employee loyalty:

http://wjla.com/features/good-morning-washington/how-to-avoid-caregiver-burnout

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.