Aging in Place

Aging in Place

As the senior population increases, more seniors are opting to age in place. My 91-year-old mother is choosing to do just that. Mom still lives on the family farm and has emphatically stated to her nine living children that we are not to even remotely consider moving her out of the home where she raised her family. It’s hard to dispute her request. She still participates in senior water aerobics twice a week at her Fit Club, stays involved in her farm operation decisions, drives herself to church each Sunday, and does her own grocery shopping and cooking. Recently, she relinquished … Read More

National Family Caregivers Month

November Is National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month. Every day, more than 44 million family members, friends and volunteers devote time, energy, and resources in providing assistance and care. When asked about caregiving, most people immediately think of an older relative who receives care at an assisted living facility or nursing home and no longer lives at home. But often the term refers to one actually giving the care such as the parent of a child with special needs, the spouse of a wounded soldier, or the adult child of a parent diagnosed with MS, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s.

Caregiving is exhausting, both physically and emotionally, and a spousal caregiver has the … Read More

holiday shopping

Holiday Shopping – It’s That Time Already

How did the holiday shopping season arrive so fast? It seems like just yesterday brick and mortar stores displayed swimsuits, shorts, and sandals and online ads touted these same items. We planned fun outdoor activities like cookouts, swimming, boating and baseball games, and did outdoor chores such as yard mowing and garden tending. Yet, here we are with Thanksgiving and Christmas advertising now competing for our attention.

I recall as a child hearing older people state ‘time goes by faster the older you get’. Of course, when … Read More

Aging and Technology

Aging and Technology

Technological advances astound me. The capabilities in the average smart phone today far exceed the computing power available to NASA for its 1969 moon mission. I can walk into my home and ask Alexa to play my favorite music, read my email to me or continue narrating my latest Audible book selection. Older friends text their great grandchildren, FaceTime with family living overseas and update Facebook regularly detailing their travels or new restaurant find. Companies like Google and Amazon notice Baby Boomers embrace technology and … Read More

death of the caregiver

Death of the Caregiver

Nearly every day I read or hear about the growing crisis of caregivers and the demands made on their time and finances when caring for a family member or loved one. Informal or unpaid caregivers are frequently diagnosed  with depression or anxiety, exhibit a higher than normal use of medications (both prescription and over the counter) and often have a compromised immune system. The caregiver may also have to cope with their care receiver’s confusion, sadness and general unhappiness which begets violent behavior. Statistics show … Read More

don't want to be your caregiver

I Don’t Want To Be Your Caregiver

I recently read an online article about a very difficult caregiver situation which generated many passionate comments. I refrain from passing judgment, but the comments were quite specific regarding the assumed caregiver’s actions.

The article dealt with a husband who cheated on his wife. After she discovered his infidelity, she was deciding whether or not to leave him. But, then she received a call stating he’d been in a car accident. His injuries were so severe, it was quite possible he would never walk again, never feed nor … Read More

when to move out of your home

When to Move Out of Your Home

Moving out of a house is not the same as moving out of your home, and this is especially true for older adults. The physical tasks of packing, sorting, and organizing can be overwhelming.  The most stressful task may be deciding what to keep and what to discard. Leaving the memories associated with your home can be very painful.

Many older adults never plan to move out of their homes, but an event occurs which necessitates the discussion on when and where to go. Most often it is a change in personal health that precipitates … Read More

writting a family member eulogy

Writing a Loved One’s Eulogy

Many consider writing and delivering a eulogy an honor and a great privilege. But what if you’re one who dreads this task, and compares it to researching and writing a term paper due at the end of the semester. Procrastinating will not eliminate this endeavor, so why not plan accordingly, whether it’s your own eulogy or a friend’s or family member’s.

Not long ago, I visited an elderly woman and we discussed her wishes for her eulogy. I was a bit uncomfortable with this topic, but figured since she mentioned it, I should give her my full attention. I listened and was enthralled as she talked about growing up during the Great Depression and … Read More

organ donation

The Gift of Life – Organ Donation

In late April 2017, an amazing and compassionate woman approached the Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL and offered to donate one of her kidneys to a total stranger. This woman’s generosity started the first-ever ‘transplant chain’ at Memorial that ultimately involved eight patients and provided kidneys to four people. This is the story of Misty Shaw, 49, of Springfield.

On September 19th, Misty donated her kidney to a woman who now has the chance for a longer life and can end the rigorous process of dialysis she had undergone the previous 2 ½ years. The husband of the woman who received Misty’s kidney then donated one of his to a … Read More

Pet story with a happy ending

A Pet Story with a Happy Ending

You have to love a pet story with a happy ending, and I heard this one last week at an event. The story was about a woman who could no longer remain in her own home because of declining health and the onset of dementia. Her four children were aware of this situation and decided her safety and well-being would be assured if she moved to an assisted living facility. This was NOT an easy decision for the grown children, but all of them lived a considerable distance from their mother and were unable to become full-time caregivers.

Everything from downsizing her possessions to selecting an assisted living facility for their mother was handled with love and respect. The one decision causing all of them distress dealt with their mother’s little dog who had been a constant and loyal companion. After much deliberation, they decided … Read More

Died and nobody noticed

She Died and Nobody Noticed

She died and nobody noticed–can that be true? Every once in a while, I receive an article too bizarre to believe, so when my cousin emailed me the story titled ‘Woman’s auto-payments hid her death for six years’, I knew I had to research this before writing about it. And yes, it’s true – she died and nobody noticed for six years – I found the live broadcast on St. Louis’ FOX2now.

After viewing the telecast, my first thoughts were:

  • Why had neither family nor friends nor her employer reached out to her when she no longer ‘showed up’?
  • With all of our technology including cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc., how is it someone dies and no one notices for SIX years?

I read with interest how this 40-year-old traveled extensively for her job and therefore wasn’t … Read More

life insurance awareness

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and is the perfect time to examine your life insurance needs and beneficiary designations. The following list, from the Social Media section of the website LIMRA.com, contains some very interesting statistics:

  • 1 in 5 people with life insurance say they do not have enough coverage.
  • 1 in 3 people purchased or attempted to purchase life insurance online.
  • Approximately 50 million households recognize they need more life insurance.
  • The top three reasons Americans give for ‘owning life insurance’ in 2018 are:
    1. 91% – cover burial and final expenses
    2. 66% – help replace lost wages/income of a wage earner
    3. 63% – transfer wealth or leave an inheritance.

As a former financial advisor, I’m always interested in life insurance awareness and the …

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lost memories

Lost Memories

Having a conversation with an elderly loved one about their life can be a rewarding experience for both the storyteller and the listener. I consider myself very fortunate to spend time with my 91-year-old mother who still drives, loves to travel, and frequently participates in a water aerobics class. After living in Texas for 27 years, I returned to central Illinois and embarked on a personal mission to learn more about my mother’s life, the places visited, the people met, and the memories made.

One of my favorite stories is about a picture of her she gave my father when they were dating, but …Read More

Legacy Planning

Legacy Planning! What is it? Why is it important?

The words ‘Legacy Planning’ were in the title of a seminar I recently attended, and because the title of my book is ‘Lifetime Legacy Planner’, I eagerly signed up. The seminar was informative and generated lots of questions from the audience, but I felt the topic covered Estate Planning and not Legacy Planning. Thus, I want to share what I feel differentiates these two subjects, and why Strategic Hourglass Solutions is focused on Legacy Planning.

The term, Legacy Planning, is increasingly being used to replace or supplement estate planning. In its basic meaning, a ‘legacy’ is a gift of money or other personal property that’s granted by the terms of … Read More

having a will

The Importance of Having a Will

In last week’s article, we discussed the importance of having a will. I shared survey statistics on who has a will. As expected, a person 50 or older is more likely to have a will than a younger person who believes they are going to live until their 80s or 90s. For this younger age group, the belief is having a will isn’t necessary until much later in life. And besides, creating a will is just not one of those fun activities you joyfully add to your to-do list.

I personally experienced how important having a will is regardless of your age. My nephew, Shayne, died in a house fire at the age of 32 and almost everything in his house was either destroyed by the fire or covered in soot. Not only were we dealing with the grief of losing Shayne, but also the daunting … Read More