Posts Tagged ‘Well-being’

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 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!

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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

 

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

Security and Well-Being in Elderhood

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

 

After my Grandfather died, just before Christmas in 1994, our family discovered that my Grandmother was having trouble with her memory. At first the doctor thought she was having problems because of grief or depression, then she began to believe that drug dealers were working in her basement, and that airplanes were taking off from her yard. She was calling the state police to come help her.

It must have been a terrible time for her, and I know it was hard on my Mom, who became her long-distance-primary-caregiver. Thankfully, one of my cousins was able to stay with her for a time, giving both my Grandmother and my Mom more peace of mind.

Grandparents Belles Christine and Diane Jackson PAGrandma had married young, and she and her husband were devoted to each other. After his death, we’d found a cross-section slice of tree in the shape of a heart, inscribed with their initials, that we believe my Grandfather had found and cut and carved as a Christmas gift for his wife.

Eventually my Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and she moved into a lovely personal care home near her house. The terrifying hallucinations stopped, and we were able to visit without worry that she was alone and frightened.

Security is one of the “domains of well-being,” and it’s easy to see how important it is that we feel safe.

I think living in the little Cape Cod-style house she and my Grandfather had built together felt so cozy and warm for all those years because they had each other. My Grandfather provided a wonderful sense of security for his family. When he died, Grandma was truly alone, and her own home was transformed into a place of loneliness and fear.

Security is about knowing that there is someone else there when you need them, about knowing the people that provide your care, and their knowing you.

Who or what helps you feel secure? Can you think of a time when you didn’t feel safe, or imagine a time when your older loved one might have felt “insecure?”

Share your thoughts on “Security,” one of The Eden Alternative’s Seven Domains of Well-Being™, and click HERE to read more about it in the Eden Alternative White Paper on the topic.

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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

A Blush of Sadness

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/

Photo by Alice Popkorn via Flickr

It’s been a busy day, in a busy stretch. With two cancellations for this evening, I have a rare moment of solitude in the house.  I can hear cars passing on the rain-wet street, and a mounting wind is quickly taking down the colorful autumn leaves and revealing grey-black tree skeletons, their crooked hands reaching for a darkening sky and the mysteries of All Hallows’ Eve.

As I sit for a bit, I am aware of a blush of sadness that crosses my heart.

What is it?

I try to trace the whisper of feeling back to its origin, and finding no obvious clue, I slowly scan a mental checklist and wait for another twinge:

  • Mourning the end of an extraordinary summer?
  • A streak of sugar from the hard butterscotch candy I just crunched down?
  • Weary from too-long days?
  • Full moon?
  • Concern for a loved one who is struggling right now?
  • Embarrassment about a missed deadline or missing document?
  • Untended grief?

It could be any of those things, I suppose.

It didn’t last long, but I noticed. I understood it to feel like sadness.

Then, rather than bury it or let it grow in crazy directions, like a sidewalk charcoal snake burning to its full height some hot Fourth of July, I investigate:

  • Where do I feel it?
  • How strong is it?
  • Where’d it come from?

I’ve experienced depression before, so I make a mental note to pay attention.

If I get sad and stay that way for more than a few days (my default nature is outrageously optimistic and upbeat), I pay even more attention, in case I need to be assessed for depression.

Humans feel stuff, like sadness, anger, disgust, jealousy, happiness, satisfaction, hunger, desire, and you-name-it.

Noticing helps us cope, as long as we balance that noticing with the proper degree of curiosity and nonchalance. That is, I don’t get freaked out by my fleeting thoughts or emotions.

Sometimes it’s just the candy.

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Lisa Kendall writes about well-being and self-care for all members of the care partner team, and pays attention to thoughts, emotions, and feelings as a psychotherapist and clinical gerontologist in Ithaca, NY. 

Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaKCounseling

Elder Care: The Dignity of Choice

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

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My first job working with Elders was as “social services designee” in a nursing home in 1983. I learned many lessons from the Elders there, and many from older, wiser, and more experienced colleagues.

One lesson in particular is really burned into my memory.

I must have been in an Elder’s room with one of the nurses, or maybe we were out in the hallway. She took me aside and told me that even if the only decision a person living with frailty or dementia could make was how they wanted their toast cut, it was important to always offer choice.

She said it was about ensuring that a person has “autonomy,” necessary to preserving human dignity.

Wow.

It might sound like a small thing, but that lesson really made an impact on me.

Autonomy is one of the domains of well-being, as described by The Eden Alternative.  We have a human need to have choice, to know that we have some control over our lives.

Autumn Tree SunsetThroughout my career I’ve tried to tune in to how physical or cognitive changes might narrow our choices.

If our ability to drive safely is compromised, “taking away the car keys” can be painful and humiliating for Elders and family alike.

It can be a challenge to find the choice in that situation, when something so essential to our independence feels threatened.

How we talk about these difficult decisions can make all the difference. We need to think about how we recognize the need for autonomy, and then work to fulfill it.

In the case of making a different decision about transportation, we must offer as many choices as possible under the circumstances. In our community, we have a bus service for Elders, and also a volunteer driver program. Offering the Elder their preference won’t completely “fix” the loss of one’s own car, but at least it preserves the opportunity to choose for oneself from the possible options.

Autonomy also means that Elders, or the people who receive services from an organization or live in a community, should have a say in how they experience services, or in how their home is operated.

Does your local home care agency have Elders on the team that interviews applicants for staff positions?  Why-ever not!?!

We can also preserve choice by thinking about health care decision-making and choosing someone to speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself.  This is a powerful way to ensure your preferences are honored, your voice is heard.

I wrote about this a few years ago; you can check out my blog on planning for future health care by clicking HERE.

Person-directed care doesn’t mean that we can offer any and all choices, regardless of the consequences. It does mean we look at realistic parameters, confer with the person who is most affected by changes, and find ways to offer the dignity of choice.

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Do you have stories about how you’ve been able to preserve choice, even when options have become limited? This can be a tricky area, so sharing what’s worked in your circumstance can be extremely helpful to others!

Perhaps you’re struggling with this now. Please let us know what issues are challenging you, and we’ll invite the  community to share stories that may help!

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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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

Well-Being in Old Age: How Elders Grow

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

***

In the Eden Alternative philosophy, we define care as “that which helps another to grow.”

It’s a powerful way to shift our understanding of relationships, and to broaden our traditional view of care, which tends to focus on problems, and on treatment of the body alone.

When I was asking someone recently about their “support system,” they named a few people they felt close to. Then I shared this definition of care and asked “who or what helps you grow,” and the person poured out a list of resources they hadn’t thought of before.

These are the people (or animal companions) on our care team, and it all sounds like a good and positive thing. Still, I sometimes strike a nerve when I talk with people about “growth.”

“What is growth? What does that word mean?”

Dr. Bill Thomas writes about the stage of life known as “Elderhood” in his book. “What are old people for? How Elders will save the world,” and posits that growth is a part of Elderhood, as it is part of all of life’s developmental stages.

We are so used to thinking about Elderhood as a stage of decline that we overlook the many ways we continue to grow.

OMA Art by L KendallSome of us struggle with the very idea of growth in the midst of decline, or see growth through the eyes of Adulthood, where we strive to improve our job skills, increase income, or strengthen and build muscle.

These kinds of growth may or may not happen in one’s Elderhood. And we’re so use to looking at the world through the eyes of adulthood, that we may need to broaden our ideas about what growth can mean.

I started thinking about growth in the last phase of life when I had the chance to work with several people who were dying, or who were family care partners with loved ones who were dying. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by sadness and be focused on loss in this instance, but I have seen amazing healing and growth occur, even at the death bed.

This kind of healing and growth is almost always about intangible qualities, such as increasing forgiveness, wisdom, peace, acceptance, love, relationships, or one’s relationship to the Divine.

Growth is possible for people who are living with cognitive challenges, such as dementia. As care partners, we can learn patience, kindness, and forgiveness, to name but a few.  Elders may learn to accept support, let go of painful memories, and learn to express themselves with more freedom and joy.

The art that accompanies this post was done by me during a workshop by the good people at Scripps Gerontological Institute.  Their program, “Opening Minds Through Art,” (or OMA), shows us how people living with dementia can create fabulous art when we shift how we think about art itself.  Coloring between the lines may be difficult when you live with dementia, but watch the amazing transformation when Elders are given the tools and encouragement to create abstract art!  Check out this program at: www.scrippsoma.org

Have you seen someone grow in spiritual strength as their body is dying? Can you imagine growing in one’s ability to adapt to the changes brought about by aging or illness? Is there room for relationships to heal in our last stage of life?

What does growth mean to you? Who or what helps you grow?

Leave a comment about growth; you’ll be helping all of us grow in understanding!

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Lisa Kendall supports well-being in her work with Elders and their family care partners, 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.

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