Who’s The Captain? Why Reason & Logic Fail With Little Kids…And Dementia Patients – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW-C, CSP

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“I’m the Captain,” declared my 3-year old nephew Enzo as soon as he boarded our boat on a warm autumn day last fall.  Wearing the captain’s hat his mother had purchased for him on Amazon.com, he purposefully strode to the captain’s seat.  When he noticed our family’s amusement at his audacity, he looked directly at us and repeated, “I’m the Captain.  I am.” 

Obviously when my husband was ready to launch the boat we needed Enzo to move.  But did we sit him down and logically explain to him that he was not the Captain?  No.  We told Enzo that it was Uncle Sean’s turn to drive the boat and that he could have a turn later.  Enzo considered the statement, resisted briefly and then reluctantly moved to sit with his parents and cousins.

Could we have attempted to reason with Enzo?  Sure.  Would it have done any good?  Probably not.  I can only imagine how explaining to a 3-year old that he did not have the credentials to launch a 34-foot cruiser.  It probably would have gone over as well as trying to reason with someone who has advanced dementia.

People who suffer with advanced dementia are adults.  They are grown-ups who have lived full lives and are most certainly not children.  But as Alzheimer’s disease (or any other dementia) progresses, their ability to reason is comparable to a small child’s.

Nobody tried to reason with Enzo because we understood that he didn’t have the capacity to understand he lacked the skills to captain a boat.  But why is it that the same people who wouldn’t attempt to reason with a child try to do so with someone with dementia?

Countless times I have witnessed well-meaning, intelligent people try to “remind” their loved one with dementia that she is no longer allowed to drive.  Or that he has already eaten dinner.  Or that it is winter when their loved one is convinced that it’s summer.  And I can see why.  Dementia is tricky. 

There might be a moment in the day that Mom will remember that she is not supposed to drive.  But as the disease progresses, no amount of arguing, rationalizing, reasoning or logic will convince Mom that her doctor told her to stop driving.

Tell Mom you feel like driving today rather than reminding her that she is unsafe behind the wheel.   Just as it wouldn’t have been productive to tell Enzo he’s not qualified to be a boat captain, it wouldn’t be productive to tell Mom the whole family is afraid of her driving.

Treat your older loved one who has dementia with dignity because he’s an adult.  But remember that his capacity to understand logic and reason is often child-like.   

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.

Hello! I’m Officer Julie Smith from the Internal Revenue Service – By Guest Blogger Paul Hynes, CFP

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The title of this blog is the opening line in a phone call that people around the country are getting. Is it really a call from the IRS? No, it’s not.

Senior Safe & Sound warns everyone to be aware of scam phone calls from criminals intent on stealing their money, their identity, or both. These criminals pose as officials from the IRS. The tone of the call is often threatening and intimidating. You can listen to two examples of these fraudulent calls by clicking here and here.

According to the IRS website, the IRS will not:

• Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
• Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
• Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
• Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.

Phone scams such as this one often target older people, but just about anyone can become a victim if they’re not careful.

So, remember that the IRS will not call you out of the blue. And, tell your friends and family about this scam. Education and awareness is your best protection from this scam and others like it.

To learn more about this scam, visit

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-urges-public-to-stay-alert-for-scam-phone-calls

Paul Hynes, CFP is the Founder of both HearthStone Private Wealth Management and www.Safeandsound.org, an on-line resource and blog to help educate the public and prevent financial elder abuse.  His organizations are located in the San Diego, California. To reach him go to www.safeandsound.org or www.hearthstoneinc.com.

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.

Are You Generationally Sensitive To The Senior Living Buyer? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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The generation in which we are raised impacts how we see the world, communicate and make purchasing decisions. For a very long time, senior living marketing and sales staff have focused their efforts on impressing our oldest generations: the Traditionalists and Baby Boomers.

As a senior living marketing or salesperson, are you aware that more Millennials are caregiving than ever before?  AARP reports that about 25% of all caregivers are currently of the Millennial generation.  What have you done to gain better insight into the minds of these younger adult child shoppers of senior living? The features and benefits that appeal to Baby Boomers and their parents may be perceived very differently by Generation X and Millennials.

What values are common for Generation X and Millennials? What is most important to them?  What are their expectations? With the changing senior living landscape, understanding how to shift strategies when working with buyers of different age groups is essential.   How are you keeping current?  Jenerations can help you better understand senior living shoppers of different generations; please click here for more information: 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.

Eighty Never Looked So Good: 5 Ways George Takei Continues To Inspire – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Today, on George Takei’s 80th birthday, here are 5 ways the man best known for Star Trek and LGBT activism shows us that age is just a number:

1. Takei keeps intellectually active.  Not only does he still work but he recently taped his Broadway show Allegiance, bringing it to movie theaters, breaking a film screening record:  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-george-takei-screening-breaks-records-20170106-story.html

2. He defies age stereotypes.  With over 10 million followers on Facebook, 2 million on Twitter and 1 million on Instagram, Takei demonstrates that social media is most certainly not only for the young.

3. The Howard Stern Show announcer believes in moderation.  Takei enjoys wine, meat and even the occasional Taco Bell meal.

4. The former Heroes star is physically active.  100 pushups and 50 sit-ups daily isn’t bad for a person of any age!  Plus, he talks openly about how he and husband Brad Altman are still intimate even as they get older (which most older adults can be if they want).

5. He’s got a positive outlook.  While Takei admits he has “bad feet” and some aches and pains, he is grateful for a healthy body.

So if you ever think you (or a colleague or family member) is just “too old,” consider George Takei.  Are you judging yourself, a coworker or a family member on only chronological age?  Activities, interests, work and habits say much more about people of all generations than the dates on their birth certificates.

 

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.