All posts by Cathy

It’s the little things………Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

It’s Thanksgiving week. Here is where we post the things we are thankful for.  Just in that sentence, I’m thankful, that as an adult, I can end that sentence with a preposition and no one can stop me.

Like many, I have much to be thankful for, but let’s look at the really small things:

10.  I’m thankful for my hand doctor who said keep typing, your arthritis won’t get worse or better from it.  Thank you?

9.  I’m thankful for my new Poise pads that move seemlessly with my body, even though my body seems to move more problematically every day.

8. I’m thankful for my cleaning lady. Pretty much says it all.

7.  I’m thankful for Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Network TV. Stop judging.

6. I’m thankful for socks.

5.  I’m thankful for Pumpkin Spice smells. I know it’s overdone, but I still love it, just maybe not in my socks.

 

4. I’m thankful for my bathroom scale. Okay, it’s a love-hate relationship but it keeps me honest, especially this time of year.

3. I’m thankful for coffee. I’ve cut back but my friend advised me yesterday that it’s the one thing that has all upside and no downside.  I shall now return to my devotion to cafe au lait.

2. I’m thankful for just being where I am. It’s pretty great here.

1.  I’m most thankful for you, my readers, who so kindly stop in on occasion to share a minute together. If you are or ever have been a caregiver, a special thanks to you for your love and sacrifice to your loved one. If you ever just did one kind thing in your life…and I know you have, each and every one of you….thanks for that, you may never know how you changed someone’s day or life.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

It’s Almost Here!!

I would so love to see or ‘see’ you at the National Caregiving Conference on November 10 and 11. I will be the Keynote Speaker on Saturday morning, November 10th. I am so excited about this opportunity. But, more importantly, if you’re a caregiver, know one or have been one, this is a great opportunity for you to connect with great information, great speakers and great people. And it can be done at the touch of a button!

Go to www. caregiving .com and sign up for the virtual stream. It’s less than $25 for one day!! Pass this on to all those caregivers you love and maybe offer to give them a break so they can stream for a bit…..who wouldn’t love to stream for a bit?!?

Hope we can share this great moment!

This is how you know if perhaps you should come……………………..

Come Join Me In My Kind of Town…..

My husband said this WAS bold….because of the ‘after gym’ glow. I think he meant, don’t quit your day makeup.

Let’s Twist Again, and other Cool Things…..

I’m at a girls’ week where the average age is 67.8, okay, a mature women’s week. We are on a beach watching young families, teens and just a sprinkling of our demographic. We are the ones who are talking about these things….. You’ve heard that we can’t hear. You’ve seen where we are squinting at everything. You’ve watched as we fall down, misplace our glasses on our own heads, and look for the mayonnaise, the iPad, and the super-secret book with all our passwords while each one was right in front of us every time.

But I decided we need a twist on aging.

Did you know we have secret skills?

1. We are fluent in a rare foreign language. E-Way an-cay eak-spay ig-pay atin-Lay!

2.  We can sing old commercials that were full-length songs:

Does your shoe have a boy inside?
What a funny place for a boy to hide?
Does your shoe have a dog there, too?
A boy and a dog and a foot in a shoe!
Well, the boy is Buster Brown
And the dog is Tige is his friend.
They’re really just a picture
But it’s fun to play pretend!
So…look, look, look
In your telephone book for the store that sells the shoe
With the picture of the boy and the dog inside
That you can put your foot into!
Woof Woof
Buster Brown Shoes!

(I did not look that up…and yes, I can sing it.)

3.   We have colorful histories about World War II, Korea, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, hippies, The Democratic National Convention…in 1968, life before computers, color TV, telephone lines, ‘party lines’,  that you shared with your neighbors (or listened to with your best hold-your-breath-eavesdropping.)

4.  Modern kids did not start the drug culture…just sayin’.

5. Today, on National Coffee Day, we too celebrate the joys of coffee that we drank at home for much cheaper.

6.  Our music was considered revolutionary, rebellious and obscene….too.

7. We loved long hair on boys, although we, too seem to have forgotten that…… as we used to use Jesus as our answer to all those ‘squares’ who didn’t think long hair was cool.

And this was long hair!

So ask a person who you think is old this question:

“Can you tell me something cool about when you were young?”

The answer may intrigue and surprise you.

Woof Woof!

You Just have to Laugh….

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mistakes are Fun!

Today you get to see one of my mistakes……..I made a video for the National Caregiving Conference, but as I’ve done since first grade in St. Aloysious Catholic School, I did not follow directions. So, I’m making another one………..but for a screw-up, it’s not bad. And the #NCC17 #NationalCaregivingConference said, “Hey, ……share it, anyway!” So, I am…because if there’s anything I do too much, it’s share!

P.S. I also think they said under their breath, “next time, read the directions.” But Sister Marie Genevieve said that a billion times and it never worked.

“You Just have to Laugh……”  ©2017 Cathy Sikorski

You’ve Come A Long Way Baby……

My mom has become obsessed with creating photo albums for her six children from the hundreds of photos in her treasure chest.  She must make 6 copies of almost every photo, or at least as the photos progress and a child is added to the history books. I have no idea why this project might be frustrating for her 88-year-old self, do you? Duh, comes to mind.

Every once in awhile, when I’m in the mood for a little frustration myself, I stop over to my mom’s house to call the VA, or fix her iPad, or fight with Verizon.  Invariably, we start to look at the pictures together.

Yesterday, she showed me this photo.

 

My Nana is the one circled in yellow. She is about 35 years old in this picture. Her name wasn’t even Nana yet, as my mom is the cutest little 8-year-old circled in pink. I made my mom go find a photo of herself at around the age of 35.

Adorable me second from left! Even tho that’s not the point.

Then I came home and looked for one of me around the same age.

Please Note: 80’s fashion is not helping me make my point.

I would like to posit the following: Rather than continuing to punish women for adopting a youth culture look, perhaps we are actually just trying to enjoy life, look like we are having fun, and present a ‘picture’ to the world of what we actually look like, at the age we are at. Perhaps over the last 50 years, we started rebelling against being portrayed as “Nana” before we were even done having children. Perhaps, just because we have children doesn’t mean we have to wear orthopedic shoes, bras with no support, dresses made from tablecloths, or a hairstyle that would confuse us with Grandma Moses.

Perhaps my mother’s generation actually clandestinely started a revolution where women got to enjoy their youth, even if they had 6 youths of their own running around. Maybe that’s what began way back in the ’50’s and ‘ 60’s when no one was paying attention to the everyday housewife. And maybe that’s what’s still happening today to women in their ’50’s and ’60’s when no one is still paying attention.

Just sayin………

My Nana apparently didn’t change her look for 60 years. My mom, on the other hand, created generations of hot tomatoes! Yay, Mary Ann!

 

Photo by Dani Almond Photography
Photo by Dani Almond Photography

“You Just have to Laugh…………..”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

Peace and Love to all Caregivers…………

Yesterday, I had the privilege of consulting with an attorney and his clients, who are dealing with the death of their elderly father and the need to place their mother in a dementia facility.

I just want to reiterate here how precious each and every true caregiver is. If you are caring for a parent, a spouse, a child, a relative or a friend, you are an unsung hero. You are likely losing time from work, money from Social Security, work, or retirement benefits. You are probably tired, angry, frustrated, exhausted, confused, and sad at least some bit of every day. I saw this in these clients. And I recognized it in myself from days gone by.

You are also filled with joy, comfort, love, and solace that you have the opportunity to provide so deeply for someone you love. Those emotions aren’t always on the surface. But you know they are there. Because these clients were now former caregivers for their Dad and current caregivers for their Mom they were experiencing all of this simultaneously.

All the hard work they were doing was right in front of us. Our conversation was complex and detailed. The wife had a file 5 inches thick with paperwork.

And yet… at some point….we were discussing very difficult decisions and how their Mom was ready to die as well.  So I told them my constant conversation with my mother-in-law:

“Marie would say to me often, ‘Just bring the box, I’m ready,’ I related.

“And I would say to her, ‘Marie, I would, but the problem is, you can’t climb in the box, someone has to put you in, and with my bad back, I just can’t do that.’

Marie and I would chuckle and the conversation would change.

Which is just what happened here. One chuckle was enough for all of us to keep moving forward in our quest to help them and their elder with difficult decisions.

To all you caregivers, may today bring you a bit of laughter, a smile from someone or just a full heart, for you are certainly doing that for someone else. And for that, I thank you.

Maybe laughter is the best medicine.

“You Just have to Laugh……………..”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

Laugh….and the world laughs with you……………

Okay kids….it’s time to laugh, even just a little bit…

How do you know if you are a caregiver?

  1. If you are buying wipes and you don’t have a baby…..
  2. If you have dozens of medications in your house and none of them are yours…..
  3. If you wish some of them were yours…………..
  4. If, when someone says ‘whine’, you break out a long-stemmed glass……..
  5. If you get into your car and your car takes you to a nursing home but that’s not where you were going……….
  6. If you’re so tired that you used Preparation H to brush your teeth before bed….
  7. If you have dishes in the sink, laundry in the hamper, unpaid bills, and you drop everything to take your Mom to the doctor and the hairdresser and lunch and the bank and the pharmacy and the grocery store and the dry cleaners…….
  8. If you have on two different shoes…..
  9. If you just recently started using swear words that never came out of your mouth before….
  10. If you are so well-versed in medical-speak that they ask you to check on a patient in Room 612 ……..
  11. If when you say you’re going to the Vet, you don’t mean a place where animals get medical care….
  12. If you use so many acronyms like HIPPA, AARP, HMO, DME, SNF, OT, PT, ER, that you start spelling your kids’ names instead of saying them….
  13. If date night is now every Friday night in the Emergency Room….

Or this……

 

Check with your spouse, your significant other, your friends, your therapist….you just might be one of us!

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

It is too bad that such a doll wastes all her time being good. How can she make any money from that?Nicely, Nicely.

I know you’re not going to believe this….but the world is full of nice people. People who don’t even look nice.

This was my week:

Monday…attend a Town Hall meeting with our Republican Congressman. Now, he’s been kind of avoiding these meetings since the %$&* hit the fan. And he’s had quite a few run-ins with unhappy people since the last presidential election. Also, I had some trepidation about going to this town hall. First, my husband was going too. I didn’t know if they would make us sit on opposite sides of the aisle, because we are often that way, even in our living room. Second, I have to be honest, there’s so much anger out there, I was a little scared. But let me tell you, this audience and this Congressman were respectful, intelligent and willing to listen to everything. Well, almost everything, the audience did ‘boo’ one time quite loudly when the Congressman said he had to look at a case-by-case basis for drilling in National Parks. But everyone booed….so I found that nice.

Tuesday–My mom and I  were to meet with a representative from the American Legion who was going to help get my Dad’s name memorialized in his home town of Beacon, New York. At the last minute, my mom found the documents we were missing and the American Legion guy no longer needed to help. But this guy was going to come from the next town over just to make sure a Veteran, killed in service to his country over 55 years ago, would be solemnly recognized for his service and sacrifice. Nice, right?

Wednesday–I met with my sister and brother-in-law to help them with some legal matters. Of course they were nice, too. They better be! But the notary we went to at AAA was extraordinarily kind.  But here’s the thing, at first glance, she seemed kind of cranky.  You took one look at her and thought “uh-oh.”  She was extremely thorough, made sure everything was correct, and was not rushing us at all. And she was super nice. As we chatted for a bit between documents, and later, she revealed that she has been a long time caregiver for her parents. When they passed away, she continued, as she does today to go to the nursing home to visit her dad’s roommates. They have no other real visitors.  She said it helps her have a purpose and in some ways keep close to her dad. I don’t care what you say…that’s just nice. Really nice.

Thursday–I received an email from a total stranger who heard of me through a class I had taken. I don’t know what pleased me more…that she thought I was funny in that class or that she googled me and I seem to have taken the lessons we learned to heart and put them into action. I think I was just happy to hear from a nice person.

Friday–I received my weekly free email newsletter from Dan Blank at WeGrowMedia, Dan is kind and generous with advice and support to artists of all kinds. The best part of Dan’s newsletter today was at the end. He said this:

What can you do this week to support someone else’s dream?  and this:

What small action can you take this week to support the work of someone around you? Something that, if the dominoes fall correctly, will have them thanking you more than a decade later for the profound effect you have had on their life?

How’s that for nice? Do it. You can, you really can. There are nice people all around you, and you are one of them, too. I just know it.

So from now on…laugh and assume everyone you meet is nice…they just may prove you right!

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

Knock Knock…Who’s there? Good info…that’s who!

I attended an Elder Law Conference recently and as usual, my head is spinning. Lots to tell you, because not one of you is getting younger.

But the big takeaway was a talk by a dementia expert, Teepa Snow, on how we are truly failing those with this disease. It’s not them who’s the problem…it’s us.  We are so hellbent on proving we know what’s best for our loved ones, that we have done nothing to understand what it feels like to be them.

I was invited to do a Virtual Reality tour of what it’s like to have dementia. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go that day. But those who did said it was unbelievable. And enlightening. They quickly learned what it’s like to have someone in your face, someone yelling at you for no apparent reason, someone repeating to you when you believe you answered their question. I cannot stress enough how we need to take a good, hard look at what we, the caregivers, the health care workers, the families are doing. Ms. Snow told us there are 110 different kinds of dementia. 110. There can’t be a common answer to treatment for every single form. And locking every body up is not the answer. It is certainly not the quality of life answer for everyone.

I’m not naive. I realize that dementia has a big component of safety issues. Just spending 90 minutes with Ms. Snow, who has hours and hours of material, convinced me that as a public policy we need to re-think the concept of dementia care.

Her website is at teepsnow.com, and it’s called Positive Approach to Brain Change. If you have any family members at all who are suffering from any effects of dementia, please check out her website and her videos. They are remarkable and could be game-changing for your life right now.

And if any of you wonderful readers did not hear by now….I WON the contest to be the Keynote Speaker at the National Caregiver’s Conference. AND GUESS WHO THE SPEAKER IS RIGHT AFTER ME????  TEEPA SNOW! How great is that? I’m so excited to be meeting her once again after my Elder Law conference. Life is full of wonderful treats sometimes, isn’t it?

Since you read this far with no chuckles, I’m going to give you 3 Elder Law Knock Knock Jokes I found on the internet:

Knock Knock……….Who’s There?  Little Old Lady………Little Old Lady Who?

I didn’t know you could yodel!

Knock Knock…..Who’s there?   To………….To Who?

To WHOM!

Knock Knock….Who’s there?   Nana………….Nana Who?

Nanna You’re Business

I’m pretty sure you could use those jokes somewhere today!

“You Just have to Laugh……”

©Cathy Sikorski 2017