Operation Varsity Blues: Why The College Admissions Scandal Still Doesn’t Give Us Permission To Bash The Younger Generations – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW-C, CSP

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This week’s story about celebrities and uber-wealthy parents is reinforcing the stereotype that our younger generations are so much more entitled than everyone else who was born during “a different time.” 

It still boggles my mind how openly so many people bash our younger generations.  People who wouldn’t dare utter a racist, homophobic or other politically incorrect comment often feel quite comfortable talking about “those lazy Millennials” or “kids who expect everything handed to them.”  If you feel that way about Millennials and Generation Z, remember they didn’t raise themselves.  If this story upsets you, remember that it is primarily Generation X and Baby Boomer parents who engaged in the alleged criminal behaviors.

Really, the college scam story is one about socioeconomic advantage rather than generational expectations.  As long as college has existed, rich families have employed both obvious and covert strategies to boost their children’s applications to elite educational institutions.  Don’t think for a moment that members of older generations–including Baby Boomer and Traditionalists–haven’t also benefited from such methods unavailable to most people.

Operations Varsity Blues is not a story about generational issues. It’s a story about economic disparity.  And it’s not a new one.

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. 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.

How to Involve Grandchildren in Caregiving – By Guest Blogger, Isabel Tom

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If you’re tired, burned out, and looking for more support, don’t underestimate the value of grandchildren.

Growing up, my family and my paternal grandparents lived under one roof. As my grandparents aged, my parents became caregivers and they wisely involved my sisters and I to assume that role as well.

If it takes a village to raise a child, a village is just as important when caring for an older adult. In my grandma’s last month, our “village” surrounded her. Adult children made her food, grandchildren googled options for better care, and great grandchildren provided entertainment, hugs, and good cheer. Teaming together, we were able to offer my grandma better care.

If there are grandchildren around, know that with prompting and teaching, they can brighten the life of an aging adult and help lighten the load of caregiving. Here are some thoughts on involving grandchildren young and old:

1. Encourage short visits – It may be hard to encourage a grandchild, especially those who are not close to their grandparent to make lengthy visits, but encourage short visits letting children know that even a short amount of time can mean a lot. If you have young children, a plethora of artwork flows in from school. Have your child save one “masterpiece” to bring to their grandparent each visit. When you visit, have the child explain the piece to their grandparent and have them tape it on the wall.

2. Remind them to make one minute calls – Just as you remind your children to do their homework or practice piano, remind them to call their grandparents. In doing so, children at any age learn that academics are just as important as caring for others. If a grandchild is in middle school to college, encourage them to call their grandparents just to say hello. This habit can grow compassion in grandchildren as their simple gestures can improve the emotional health of their grandparent. The acknowledgement from a grandchild can be magical.

3. 5 second hugs/love taps – If the attention span of a young grandchild is particularly short, don’t worry. At the beginning and end of every visit to their great grandma, I prompted my children (all 5 years old and under) to give their great grandma a “love tap,” just to let her know we were there. Affection given by all members of the family can spark the best of moods, especially when vision and hearing becomes an issue.

4. Just ask – If grandchildren are older and able to drive, get in the habit of asking them to help bring their grandparent to the store or even doctor’s appointment, if appropriate. While a child/parent relationship can often be filled with emotional baggage, there is often less baggage in the grandparent/grandchild relationship. Having responsible grandchildren help with certain tasks can lighten the load you carry as the primary caregiver.

Having grown up in an intergenerational household, Isabel Tom has 30+ years of experience with seniors, both personally and professionally. She has worked in senior living doing operations, senior fitness and community outreach & education. Currently she manages community education and outreach at a nonprofit hospice. Isabel holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Maryland. In addition to being a wife and mother of three little ones, she loves to blog at www.aboutbeingold.com.

Understanding Millennial Staff & Patients In Healthcare – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Unfortunately, stereotyping based on age is not unusual in healthcare.  This is a problem because it’s essential that we treat patients, caregivers and colleagues of different generations with respect.  But do you know how to most effectively treat persons of different generations with respect?  If you are a Gen-Xer, Baby Boomer or Traditionalist, check out this short video on how to better understand your Millennial patients, caregivers and colleagues in the healthcare workplace:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMMZ62S7Kc4

 

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.

How To Customize Service To Different Generations Without Making Assumptions – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Recently I was in a department store waiting in a long line.  Normally I amuse myself by checking social media when I am stuck in a long line. But not this time.  I had the opportunity to witness a really powerful example of how to serve generations the way they want to be served.  Click here to check out the story of how the salesperson I observed was generationally sensitive to a customer without stereotyping.

For video, click here.

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.