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Staff Vaccination Challenge in Aging Services

Posted by Julie Boggess on Sep 10, 2021 1:49:12 PM

One of my favorite statements in the movie, "The Fellowship of the Ring" is, "What is this new devilry?"  Such is the question asked by many Aging Services leaders as they face the next slam with the pandemic- staff vaccination.  Some employees vaccinated willingly, some begrudgingly, and others not at all. 

How can providers encourage vaccination compliance and ultimately retain their workforce?

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Topics: elder care, implementation plans, aging services workforce, peoplefirst, vaccinations, leadership challenges, staff retention

Mildred's Lessons: Final Thoughts

Posted by Laura Ellen Christian on Sep 8, 2021 9:24:53 AM
Lessons I've learned from grandmama Mildred are endless, but I'll finish with sharing a few connected to her final days.  These two stories, while representative of her final days, also speak to the culmination of Mildred's life: unconditional love, endless laughter and unwavering faith.  
  • Be ok with just being compassionately present. Towards the end of my grandmothers life, my family was all gathered at my aunt's house where my grandmother lived her last days.  In those final days, grandmama Mildred was in and out of awareness that we were there. On this day, we had taken her outside to lay in a swing - the sun was shining and there was a wonderful breeze with birds singing.  She loved being in nature!  My mom was helping her eat ice cream and trying to get grandmama to engage with us. “Is it good, mama?”  “Here’s some ice cream” “Is it good?” is what my mama kept saying, over and over.  After a bit my grandmother all of the sudden opened her eyes, looked at my mom and said in a snarky tone, “Is it good? Is it good?”.  In her always hilarious way, she was telling my mama to shut up and let her enjoy the ice cream!  Not that my mom was trying to be annoying - we were all so desperate to make sure grandmama knew we were there.  After that moment, we knew she could always feel (and hear!) us! 

    Lesson learned: sometimes just sitting quietly is enough.  The person can feel your presence through touch and a thoughtful environment set-up. 
  • Look for the signs, they often come at unexpected times.  On the day grandmama Mildred took her last breath, my family was gathered around her bed.  It was a hospital bed we rented and we had it pushed up to the king size bed in the room.  On the king bed was me, my mom, several of my aunts and my 2 sisters.  We were playing hymns and music that my grandmama loved.  On Eagle's Wings, a familiar Catholic hymn was playing and as we were all singing the chorus - "And he will raise you up on eagle's wings...", my grandmother began to raise up.  It was a chaotic few moments until we realized that my aunt was laying on the hospital bed remote!  We all burst into hysterics and knew that was grandmama Mildred, playing one last joke on everyone.  And bringing laughter into the room as she always did. 

    Lesson learned: The time will come to say goodbye.  Even in that moment, find joyful ways to connect and cope.

Dying and death is often viewed as a scary and sad turn of events.  And while losing someone we love is sad, the truth is that we're all going to die at some point.  There, I said it!  A recent post I ran across on LinkedIn shared the concept of maraṇasati, meaning mindfulness of death.  It's a Buddhist meditation practice that often includes incorporating various visualization and contemplation techniques focused on the nature of death.  From what I could gather, the intent is to bring more awareness to your present moment and encourage you to live life as if there is no tomorrow.  No regrets!  And if you practice Christianity, you believe that with death also comes eternal life.  There is comfort in knowing the rest of your days will be spent with Jesus and others who have gone before you.  For my family, we take comfort in the latter.  And that is something that my grandmama Mildred instilled in all of us.  And I'm lucky that those roots continue to run deep through my mama.  If you're reading this, mama, grandmama would be so proud of how you continue to guide our family in strong faith!  

I'm also intrigued by maranasati and look forward to researching that more.  How do you cope and find comfort in times of loss?  There is no right way, and sharing may help others!  Be sure to leave a comment.  And, if you'd like more information on death and dying, check out a previous blog or reach out to me.

For the article I saw on LinkedIn about maranasati, click here.  And if you need a "lift" today, here's the song, On Eagle's Wings!  

To view the previous post introducing my grandmother and our family's journey caring for her, check it out here.

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Topics: dementia care, dementia education, peoplefirst, caregiversupport, stronger together, dyinganddeath

Journey into Eldercare

Posted by Julie Boggess on Sep 3, 2021 2:21:58 PM

I truly enjoy hearing stories about how people have made their way into the world of eldercare.  Many were inspired by experiences with older adults when they were young, and such is the case for me.

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Topics: AGE-u-cate Training Institute, Careers in Aging, Passionate, eldercare

A Family's Journey to Better Care for People Living with Dementia

Posted by Laura Ellen Christian on Sep 1, 2021 9:09:36 AM

I mentioned my grandmother briefly in my last post and I would love to share more about her!  Her name was Mildred and this year she would have celebrated her 101st year around the sun.  She was was the pillar of our family and barrel of fun!  I can see her infectious smile now, dancing in the kitchen singing "If I'd known you were coming, I would've baked you a cake"!  Most of my memories of grandmama Mildred involve her journey living with dementia.  She taught our family so much in the 8+ years she lived with dementia.  Her sense of humor never ceased and was a critical piece in allowing grace to shine bright through it all.  And boy did we need grace - we didn't always get it right.  That's life.  

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Topics: dementia care, dementia, caregiving, Caregiver Training, family caregivers, Compassion, Family Education, dementia training, dementia education, Dementia Awareness, communication skills, education and training

Maintaining and Building a Healthy Culture in Spite of a Pandemic

Posted by Pam Brandon on Aug 30, 2021 8:13:38 PM

Many Aging Services leaders are working tirelessly to maintain and even rebuild a positive culture within their care communities.  The question is whether this is possible to do during a lingering pandemic?  A McKnight's Long-Term Care News article opined that it is possible, in spite of a pandemic.  

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Topics: leadership, Well-Being, elder care communities, Cultural Competency, person-centered culture, relationship

There's Just Something About Aging Services People

Posted by Julie Boggess on Aug 27, 2021 9:15:25 PM

I just returned from spending two days in Columbus, OH at the Ohio Healthcare Association Conference with my AGE-u-cate colleague V'Ann Guiffre.   I now realize how much I have missed interacting in person with "my people."  There is just something about people that work in Aging Services!  I won't do justice in explaining what I mean, but you know, there is just something there.   

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Topics: care staff, Aging Service Provider, Passionate, professionals, Leaders, Well-Being, senior care providers, perseverance, #conferences

Simple Ideas to Support Staff Retention

Posted by Laura Ellen Christian on Aug 25, 2021 7:23:09 AM

In a recent article published by McKnight's Senior Living, a survey of caregivers in Texas showed that while pay was an important factor in staying in the senior services field, it wasn't the only driver of satisfaction.  This is contrary to what most managers believe.  The study listed feeling respected, job flexibility and pride in the physical workplace as important to staff connected to their work.  So, how can the industry make small, but impactful shifts to improving retention among caregivers and other roles?  Here are a few simple ideas to get your wheels turning: 

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Topics: leadership, professionals, retention, turnover, support, education and training, perseverance, staffing

Gentle Leadership During Times of Trauma

Posted by Pam Brandon on Aug 23, 2021 1:52:06 PM

The delta COVID-19 variant seems to be ushering in an understandable second round of pandemic-induced anxiety.  Aging Services providers, and those that serve them, are still traumatized from the first go-around.  Enough time has not passed to allow for a psychological re-set to cope with a do-over.  So, what are we to do?

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Topics: Senior Care Professionals, leadership, Compassion, Mental Health, health, human connection, perseverance

Remembering William (Bill) Keane: Always the Teacher

Posted by Julie Boggess on Aug 19, 2021 9:39:05 AM

There will be a wonderful gathering of Aging Services professionals on Saturday, August 21 in Chicago to celebrate the life of our friend, colleague, and passionate advocate for dementia capable care, William Keane.  Bill is one of the many mentors who shaped my philosophies and personal mission in eldercare, and I am honored to be one who will share how Bill continued to teach me, even in the later stages of dementia. In Bill's honor, I would like to share a snippet, because it is a reminder to all of us that wisdom still lives inside a person with dementia.

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Topics: AGE-u-cate Training Institute, dementia friendly, Senior Care Industry, Pioneer Network, Alzheimer's Association, professionals, Leaders, elder care, dementia education, Advocacy, Dementia Awareness, Parkinson's Diseases

Addressing Caregiver Burnout in the Aging Services Workforce

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jul 30, 2021 10:03:35 AM

 

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Topics: eldercare, Well-Being, Professional Caregivers, Caregiver Stress, Direct Care Workforce Training, Caregiver Health, compassion fatigue

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