Author Archive

The ABC’s of Well-Being

Seven Fast and Simple Strategies for

Finding Your Calm Center and Recovering Your Balance

 

We’ve known for a long time that caring for an ill family member can create prolonged or high levels of stress, creating greater risk for developing chronic illness. In this busy world, it’s important to notice when we feel stressed, and to quickly shift our minds and bodies to a calmer state, minimizing the impact of work and family stressors and reducing our vulnerability to illness.

Photo by W. J. Rusen

 

Join me at the Tompkins County Office for Aging in Ithaca, NY on Thursday, April 7th for a mini-workshop where we will explore seven super-quick and fun ways to tap into your internal calming system, enjoy greater peace of mind, and learn about free resources to support your well-being.

 

The workshop is free, but…     Please register to attend by calling the Office for the Aging: (607) 274-5492 or email dstoyell@tompkins-co.org

 

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Lisa Kendall is a social worker and clinical gerontologist who specializes in aging and Elder care, living with chronic illness, and trauma recovery. Formerly Senior Consultant for Work and Family Services at Cornell University and now serving on the President’s Advisory Council for Work and Family Affairs, Lisa maintains a private counseling and consulting practice in Ithaca. She is an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative™ and teaches the Fieldwork class for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute. Lisa is a popular speaker at the local, state, and national level, and writes a blog on self-care for every member of the care partner team at www.lisakendallcounseling.com/blog

 

Making Peace with the Past

Please join me for this workshop!!

Making Peace with the Past:

The Impact of Emotional Trauma on Elder Well-Being

(and the Importance of Trauma-Informed Care!)

Wednesday, March 9

2:00-4:30 p.m.

The Ithaca College Gerontology Institute

at the Country Inn & Suites

1100 Danby Road (Route 96B), Ithaca, NY.

 

 

Early trauma is associated with increased incidence of chronic illness and depression in Elderhood, a time when Elders seek meaning in their lives and to resolve long-standing issues.

 

This session explores how person-directed, trauma-informed treatments can be used with Elders and care partners to integrate mind, body, and spirit, easing anxiety and depression and supporting The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™.  Case studies will emphasize efficacy as well as explore mental health issues as they present in different care settings, and how to harness the unique gifts of this developmental stage.

 

Please Register here:

https://www.ithaca.edu/eventservices/eventservices/programpayments/gw/

and let your friends and colleagues know, too!!

***

Lisa Kendall is a social work psychotherapist and clinical gerontologist who has worked with Elders and care partners for over thirty years in home health care, adult day program, hospital, and nursing home settings. In her private therapy practice, she works with Elders, care partners, and others who live with chronic health and cognitive issues, and supports healing for survivors of trauma and loss.

Lisa is committed to using person-directed, trauma-informed therapies, including EMDR, and strength-based, person-directed approaches to maximize well-being for clients and their families. She also teaches the Fieldwork class for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, and serves on the Cornell University President’s Advisory Council on Work and Family Affairs.  

As an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative, Lisa has a special interest in care of people living with dementia and in supporting well-being for the entire care partner team.

Do You Work with Elders? Early Registration Closes Soon!

The 8th Eden Alternative™ International Conference: “It’s About Time!”

May 3-4-5, 2016

Little Rock, Arkansas

EARLY REGISTRATION ENDS January 12!

This dynamic bi-annual event strives to inspire and renew the passion of those dedicated to changing the culture of care across all living environments. Through a unique learning framework, participants have the opportunity to deepen both perspective and skill base by exploring innovative approaches to person-directed care.

Learning and networking opportunities promote new ideas and standards of practice participants can apply to enhancing quality of life for Elders and their care partners, wherever they live and work.  A vital part of the conference experience is creating an opportunity to build a sense of community and shared learning among all participants. We are proud to be one of two major conferences that focus specifically on culture change. Come learn and grow with us!  It can be different…

Who should attend?

Previous Eden Alternative International Conferences have drawn attendees from all over the world. We welcome those new to culture change and those on the journey with extensive experience and expertise. We  emphasize the value of every voice in this important work.

Individuals from across the full continuum of care join us in the spirit of shared learning and discovery, including certified nursing assistants, administrators, licensed nurses, corporate leadership, therapists, activity professionals, social workers, physicians, dietary professionals, home care/home health professionals and other direct care providers, care managers, Elders and others accepting support, family members and advocates, youth, ombudsmen, policymakers, regulators, consultants, clergy, educators, researchers, and designers.

I hope to see you there!

www.edenalt.org

 

Complete information is available at: http://www.edenalt.org/events-and-offerings/the-eden-alternative-international-conference/

Many thanks and take care, Lisa K.

P.S. I will be joining with some amazing colleagues to facilitate a Leadership Intensive on “Navigating the Hero’s Journey: A Map for Wise Leadership in Culture Change”

Steve LeMoine, NHA, MBA; Mel Coppola, Lisa Kendall, LCSW-R, CSW-G; Mary Kim Smith, NHA, RN; Carole Ware-McKenzie, BS; Kim McRae, FCTA

What does it mean to be a leader in the culture change movement?  How can we continue to grow personally, facilitate transformation in our workplace and community, and ultimately change the world?  Join us as we use the tools and apply the lessons of “The Hero’s Journey,” (based on the work of Joseph Campbell), to navigate our unique path and facilitate growth in our organizations.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify 2 approaches for defining one’s a  personal leadership style;
  • Define two situations where more than one leadership style might be employed to effect change and growth; and
  • Name 2 techniques for recognizing leadership potential in others.

AND a break-out session on “Making Peace with the Past: The Impact of Emotional Trauma on Elder Well-Being and the Importance of Trauma-Informed Care”

Early trauma is associated with increased incidence of chronic illness and depression in Elderhood, a time when Elders seek meaning in their lives and to resolve long-standing issues.  This session explores how person-directed, trauma-informed treatments can be used with Elders and their care partners to integrate mind, body, and spirit, easing anxiety and depression and supporting the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™.  Case studies will emphasize efficacy as well as explore mental health issues as they present in different care settings, and how to harness the unique gifts of this developmental stage.

Participants will be able to:

  • List three benefits of resolving painful memories during Elderhood;
  • Detail 5 treatment strategies that support person-directed care; and
  • Utilize “The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™” to understand and assess the impact of unresolved trauma.

(Now you REALLY want to come!!!!)

 

P.P.S. I grabbed the conference description from The Eden Alternative homepage.  Be as BOLD as I and check it out HERE!

The Real Mrs. Santa Claus

Every Christmas eve, when I was growing up, it was my Mother’s tradition to go out for a little while during the day. She said she was “visiting Mrs. Santa Claus.”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/summerlovin/4171678797/

Photo by paulapaulac via Flickr

This seemed like such a wonderful thing for a mom to do, and I imagined her and Mrs. Claus sitting in Mrs. C’s cozy kitchen, sweet with the aroma of cloves, oranges, and pine, sharing a pot of hot tea and warm cookies.

It was only after I became a mother myself that I learned about the secret arrangement between my Mom and Mrs. Claus: every year on December 24th, my mother went to see her own mother for a little while.

I am the oldest of four sisters, and we are close in age. My mother worked very hard as a nurse and to hold our household together, and this must have been the only time that she and her mother, my Grandma Belles, were able to enjoy some quiet time, with just the two of them.

My fantasy, as it turns out, was probably pretty close. I loved my Grandma’s kitchen, and she was a wonderful baker and cook. She was a round and sturdy Pennsylvania Dutch woman, who sewed and kept house with my Grandfather.  She was quiet, but had a ready chuckle.

Their Christmas tree was a small one, decorated with red cardinals and set with the few fine and practical gifts they gave one another each year; a new pair of leather gloves, a scarf, some candy. The tree stood on a table near the stone fireplace my Grandfather had built himself, in the Cape Cod-style house they had built together.

My Grandmother died in 2010, and I feel very blessed to be able to see my Mom on Christmas Day. In my heart of hearts, though, I wish I could take a few hours today to visit with Mrs. Claus, and to have my own daughter visit with me as I grow into the mysterious role of the nurturing and plump and wise woman who stands so quietly behind the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all, and may you have a Joyful, Peace-filled New Year!

Final Thoughts for Caregiver Appreciation Month

Please join me in appreciating Jean Lee for writing this guest blog post, on the final day of Caregiver Appreciation Month!  Thank you, Jean, and thanks to all of the people who are writing about their experiences as care partners. Let’s listen to the voices of care partners every month!

***

Caregivers. We are all caregivers. As humans we care for one another, or we should. Most especially, we care for those close to us.

 

  • As a youth I loved and respected my parents, a form of caring for them in my child-like way.
  • As a young wife and mom, I cared for my husband and children.
  • As a teacher, I cared for my students.

 

But the logical timeline of maturation, love, and respect tipped topsy-turvy when my parents reached their eighties. They slowly began to lose their minds and act irrationally. I became concerned for their safety. I sought out medical treatment, and they were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease on the same day.

 

Over the next decade I became the parent to my parents. I gradually, painfully made decisions they opposed in order to protect their well-being. In the process, I felt guilty taking everything away from the people who had given me everything.

 

As I struggled to keep the pieces of my life together­––my marriage, my own family, my career and the care of my parents­­––I grasped for resources, but found few. I am a positive person, therefore I sought uplifting resources, but much of what I read was written with a negative undertone. I found books about the ill treatment of a caregiver by an unreasonable loved one, about adult siblings who fought, and about children who had grown up with angst toward a parent continuing through caregiving years. Even so, every time I found a kernel of truth, I felt as though I could keep going, someone else was brave enough to share this upside down world as well.

 

I came to the conclusion that sharing my story might help others.

 

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Alzheimer’s Daughter details my journey caring for both parents who were diagnosed on the same day. It is written with wincing honesty about the cruel affects of the disease, but a WWII love story held together by faith and family is contained within the pages.

 

Over the past several months, four other authors from across the country and I have crossed paths, all of us affected in some way by Alzheimer’s disease/dementia.

 

For the month of November, the five of us have joined together in recognition of National Caregiver Appreciation Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month to recognize those unsung heroes, family caregivers. From each other we learned that all of us felt compelled to write our books, hoping to make a difference…hoping that we might make the pathway of others traveling this road a little less painful and lonely. Perhaps you will find comfort and support within our pages.

 

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Somebody Stole My Iron, by Vicki Tapia

 

Vicki details the daily challenges, turbulent emotions, and painful decisions involved in caring for her parents. Laced with humor and pathos, reviewers describe her book as “brave,” “honest,” “raw,” “unvarnished,” as well as a “must-read for every Alzheimer’s/dementia patient’s family.” Vicki wrote this story to offer hope to others, to reassure them that they’re not alone.

 

 

 

 

BlueHydrangeas EBOOK cover

Blue Hydrangeas by Marianne Sciucco

 

Marianne describes herself as a writer who happens to be a nurse. This work of fiction is based upon her care for the elderly. It’s a tenderly told love story about Jack and Sara, owners of a New England bed and breakfast. Sara is stricken with Alzheimer’s and Jack becomes her caregiver.

 

 

 

 

flowers

What Flowers Remember by Shannon Wiersbitzky

 

Shannon writes this work of fiction through the eyes of a small-town preteen girl, Delia, whose elderly neighbor, Old Red Clancy is failing mentally. The aged gentleman has to be placed in a care facility, but Delia will not let him wither away. She devises a way for the whole community to remind Old Red how important he has been in all of their lives.

 

 

 

 

Pluto_cover

On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s by Greg O’Brien

 

Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Greg O’Brien’s story isn’t about losing someone else to Alzheimer’s, it is about losing himself a sliver at a time while still fighting to live with Alzheimer’s, not die with it.

 

 

 

 

***

Lisa Kendall supports well-being in her work with Elders and their family members, as well as with professional care partners.  She is an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative, has a private counseling and consulting practice in Ithaca, NY, and teaches the Fieldwork in Gerontology course for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute.

You can reach Lisa at (607) 351-1313, or via email at crossroadscounseling@hotmail.com

 

The Number One Killer of JOY (and final Domain of Well-Being)

Welcome to the final installment in a series of blog posts on The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being(TM). Read more about these domains by clicking HERE!

***

I often write about the holiday season with a reminder that many people do not experience the holidays as joyful. Indeed, people can suffer throughout the year from loneliness, helplessness, and boredom (the three plagues discovered by Dr. Bill Thomas), and the heightened expectations of the holidays surely exacerbate the plagues.

“Joy” is the last (but never least!) one of the Seven Domains of Well-Being as defined by The Eden Alternative, and we all need Joy for true well-being.

Joy seems like an emotion we all understand instinctively, even though who or what gives us Joy may vary from person to person.

Our capacity for Joy also seems to vary. I was thinking the other day about a remarkable trip I made with my Mom and one of my sisters a few years ago. We’d gone to New York City to see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Starry Night” was on display, and I couldn’t wait to see one of my very favorite paintings.

While I truly appreciated the special exhibit, what I recall most about that day was my emotional reaction to two other things I saw in the museum.

The first was an installation of Islamic art, and the rich jewel-tones and intricate designs of textiles, tiles, and other objects took my breath away.

The second was a permanent exhibit of an Egyptian pyramid, an elegant structure that had been taken apart and reassembled in a spacious hall. As I sat on a bench nearby, I felt I could smell the ancient sand and stone, and a pervasive sense of awe enveloped me. I sat for a long time, appreciating peaceful BE-ing in that light and airy space.

The beige and cream pyramid touched me as deeply as had the vivid hues of Islamic art.

I know that being in the presence of such beauty inspired a sense of awe in me, but I clearly see the Joy I was feeling, too, and that’s the main emotion I experience when I recall those wonders.

We’re surrounded by a universe of natural and man-made wonders, but don’t always feel Joy-full.

What can get in the way of such joy?

  • A sure-fire way to choke out Joy is to keep moving through life at a break-neck speed. Today is Black Friday, and even at home I am inundated with loud ads, busy e-mails, and confusing codes. It’s hard to notice the little things, the simple pleasures that truly bless us with Joy, amid such a hubbub.
  • We might miss out on joy if we don’t have the freedom to go where we want to, or to be with companions who will share and hold the experience with and for us. Helplessness and Loneliness, two of the plagues, can easily kill our Joy.
  • Painful memories may lead us to believe that we can’t, or don’t deserve, to feel Joy.

In my work as a therapist and clinical gerontologist, I meet many people who experienced abuse or neglect as they were growing up. They took in messages that they were unworthy, unwanted, or unsafe.  These messages and the difficult emotions that surround them can flare when we face special challenges such as our own health problems or the illness of a family member.

Looking back over the domains of well-being, it’s easy to see how abuse or neglect can damage any of these areas. Remember that the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™ include:

  • IDENTITYbeing well-known; having personhood; individuality; having a history
  • GROWTHdevelopment; enrichment; expanding; evolving
  • AUTONOMYliberty; self-determination; choice; freedom
  • SECURITYfreedom from doubt, anxiety, or fear; safety; privacy; dignity; respect
  • CONNECTEDNESSbelonging; engaged; involved; connected to time, place, and nature
  • MEANINGsignificance; heart; hope; value; purpose; sacredness
  • JOYhappiness; pleasure; delight; contentment; enjoyment

Unfortunately, painful memories are more common than we think. The good news is that there are sound approaches to foster healing, no matter how long ago we actually had hurtful experiences.

I will be writing more about the impact of trauma across the lifespan, and the importance of healing during the stage of life known as Elderhood, as I prepare for a presentation on the topic at the next International Conference of The Eden Alternative.

If you haven’t done so yet, please stay connected by liking my Facebook page: click HERE. You’ll always get a link to new posts that way.

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You can also register now for the 8th Eden Alternative International conference!  Please visit HERE for more information.

And finally:

Healing Painful Memories during Elderhood

Listen to my talk on trauma-informed treatment approaches and strategies on WRVO public radio by clicking HERE

 

***

Lisa Kendall supports well-being in her work with Elders and their family members, as well as with professional care partners.  She is an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative, has a private counseling and consulting practice in Ithaca, NY, and teaches the Fieldwork in Gerontology course for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute.

You can reach Lisa at (607) 351-1313, or via email at crossroadscounseling@hotmail.com

 

 

Gratitude and Meaning: What’s Important to You and Your Elders?

What gives your life meaning? Do you know what is meaningful to the Elders in your life? This is a wonderful question to ask at the upcoming Thanksgiving Day table! Do so with an open heart, really listening to the answers and withholding judgment. Remember that “Meaning” is unique to each of us, and may change over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Connectedness and Well-Being for Elders

Welcome to the sixth installment in a series of blog posts on The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being(TM). Read more about these domains by clicking HERE!

***

From the time we are born, we need to feel connected to other people.

Babies who don’t have a sense of connection to their caregivers can suffer from neurological changes that impede their growth, development, and health over the course of their lifetime, and they may even die from “failure to thrive.”

In this brief video, Dr. Edward Tronick shows how distressing “disconnection” is:

 

The truth is, we survive as individuals, families, communities, and as a species because of the myriad ways we support, connect, and cooperate with one another.

The mythical ideal of “independence” that prevails in the west leads us to shun or shame those who appear to be “dependent.” Ageism and able-ism keep us from seeing the reality of “interdependence” that underlies human existence.

We also tend to crave connection with places, things, and ideas. We cherish “home,” and we treasure objects that represent our various connections. We hold close our philosophies, religions, and world views that we feel connect us with others, with nature, and with the universe.

Who or what satisfies your own need for connection? Does the care you give to others interfere with, or enhance, your sense of connection? What about the Elder in your life… is there a sense of genuine connection to people, places, and things at this time in their life?

Please share your thoughts, and connect with our community!

***

Lisa Kendall supports well-being in her work with Elders and their family members, as well as with professional care partners.  She is an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative, and has a private counseling and consulting practice in Ithaca, NY.

You can reach Lisa at (607) 351-1313, or via email at crossroadscounseling@hotmail.com

Is Cognitive Screening Part of your Routine Physical Exam?

In honor of National Memory Screening Day, I am proud to host guest blogger Jean Lee, author of "Alzheimer's Daughter." Jean raises awareness about the importance of screening for cognitive health, just as we do for blood pressure, diabetes, and routine cancer screenings. Read the rest of this entry »

Caregivers and Servant Leadership

In honor of National Caregiving Month, I am proud to present a guest blog from Chris MacLellan, a friend, colleague, and fellow advocate for family care partners.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

In November we celebrate National Caregiving month and it is always a good time to reflect and reconnect with good friends along the road during our Caregiving journey.  As I read through many of the national organization who are running promotions this month to signify National Caregiving month, I started to think about my role as a family Caregiver and what being a family Caregiver meant to me. Being a family Caregiver taught me a number of valuable lessons, but the most important lesson I learned was after Caregiving was over, and that is importance of self-care.   It is common for family Caregivers to lose themselves in the midst of Caregiving because our focus is so intense on our Caree.  Now 18 months after Richard made his life transition,  I am learning how to take better care of myself, (It is an up hill battle, that I will eventually win!)

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my masters degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection Caregivers have to Servant Leadership.  With my ministerial background and theology training, I had been looking forward to my class in Servant Leadership.  I was not disappointed.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While our class in Servant Leadership often focused on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I often commented in our classroom discussions about how Caregivers are Servant Leaders, because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feel a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion.  Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, while understanding wpid-wp-1419526540344.jpegthat people have to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing.  I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined with Servant Leadership and Caregiving. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, and do find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their Caree, while understanding that their Caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand because of the innate ability to think beyond our self.

In essence, we are all Servant Leaders in training and our training in Servant Leadership is on going, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I still in training, learning how to care for myself while in the midst of being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Caregiving and Life After Caregiving is about Relationships!

I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh and what did being a family Caregiver mean to me? It meant the world, as we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.  I would do it again with him all over with no regrets!

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Chris MacLellan is the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”

and Host of “Healing Ties: Creating A Life to Love After Caregiving Ends.”

To purchase the book, simply click here!

 

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