Caring For The Elderly – Ease Into Care Giving

Caring for the Elderly may be your lot if your parents don’t pass away young.  At some point, you are going to begin helping them with the everyday affairs of life.

Your involvement may escalate as they grow older and have more needs.  You may find yourself a full-fledged caregiver for one or both of your parents if they reach a time that they cannot live independently.


However, as they age, you may have to step in and make a few minor changes in their living environment so they will feel safe and comfortable.  It’s wonderful to see parents grow old together and still have the opportunity to live in their own home.

1.  If at all possible, create their living space on one level.  Stairs can be difficult to climb as well as a hazard for an elderly person.   It may even require a bit of remodeling to make sure the kitchen, living area, bedroom and bath are on the same level.  A laundry room must also be provided on the same floor.

2.  Reorganize drawers and cupboards so your parents will be able to find what they need easily.  Placing dishes, linens, and important appliances at eye level will eliminated the need for them to stand on a stool to reach them.

3.  Services like shopping, house cleaning, simple repairs can be handled by outside services that are set up for helping the elderly.  However, if they cost a bit more than your folks can afford, you may be the one taking on these responsibilities. Set up a schedule for these needs to be handled that will be convenient for you both of you.

4.  If your parents can be responsible to take their medications correctly, by all means let them do it.  However, if they need to be monitored, medications can be given by home health care professional who will drop in once a day to administer them.

5.  If necessary, put grab bars in the bathtub, and other places where your folks may need additional support.  Also, make sure they have enough light so they will have plenty of visibility.

With a little planning, you can help your folks keep their independence in their own home.  This will allow you to slowly ease into care giving before extensive care is needed in the future.

Til Later,


Insightful Nana

P.S.  My mom just turned 90 and is needing full time care.  I’m grateful to have 3 sisters that share in the care giving responsibilities.


Caring For The Elderly

Caring for the elderly is still a family responsibility even amid the talk of long-term-care insurance.  Eventually, decisions have to be made by the family concerning the care of aging parents.

Rest homes are expensive, so caring for aging parents often falls to family members.  Caring for an aging parent in their own home, where their surroundings are familiar, is the most ideal… but not always possible.  Therefore, moving an aging father or mother into a family members home is the next preferable alternative.

mom2 My mom will be 90 years old in March and up until about two years ago she had remarkable health.  After a bout with the flu, her health declined immediately.  She is fragile, and her mind is suffering with dementia. Fortunately, my sisters and I are able to care for Mom in her own home.

The New York Times reports that 67 percent of all caregivers are women and since women generally live longer than men, most of the care is given to elderly moms.

Often, daughters step forward for a number of reasons: because no other family member is willing to step forward or able to provide adequate care, or paid services are economically not possible.

“Our gender norms tend to assign women greater moral responsibility than men for family care,” states the New York Times.

This caregiving experiences has not been easy for us… or my mom.   She has always been pretty independent and resents the fact we are in her home all the time.

Of course, we don’t know how much longer Mom will be with us, so we will continue to try and make her as comfortable as possible… after all, she’s our Mom.

Til Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  It’s not too early to determine what you will do about caring for your aging parents.  Because I’m an aging parent, I have long-term-care insurance…and it’s one of my better decisions.

Aging With Grace

Secrets Of Longevity

Who doesn’t want to know the secrets of longevity?   Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he travel to what is now Florida in 1513.  So, the quest for longevity and a anti-aging formula has been around for along time.


In 2000, a team of scientists studied cultures where people lived the longest.   These cultures don’t belong to health spas, use expensive face creams and believe it or not… don’t diet.   Longevity was contributed to a general lifestyle.  Their average life expectancy was well into their nineties.

Here are 10 secrets of longevity according to longevity research of these cultures.

1.  Keep Moving: Find ways to keep moving naturally.  Walk instead of riding, garden, enjoy playing a sport.  It’s important to keep your body in motion.  (I love to garden… but I have to admit… I try and find a parking place as close to the store as possible.)

2.  Find Purpose: Find something you can be excited about and pursue it with passion.  Whether it’s a job or a hobby… give it your all.  (If that means playing with the grand kids all day long… I’m on board.)

3.  Stop Eating: Don’t over eat.  In other words, stop before your full.  (Hmmm  I’ve never quite figured out how to do that.)

4.  Dine On Plants: Eat more veggies and less meat and processed foods.  (Now here’s one I can get my stomach around.  I enjoy a bit of meat but I do love veggies.)

5.  Slow Down: Work less, rest, and take vacations.  (Who are they kidding.  I was raised in a family that looked upon “rest or a vacation” as lazy.  Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a habit hard to break.)

6.  Drink Red Wine: Do it consistently but in moderation.  (My moderation is:  I don’t drink… except for Diet Coke, which is a habit I’m trying desperately to break.)

7.  Join A Group: Create a healthy social network. (Does that mean my twitter, and forum friends are healthy social networks?  I actually think it means healthy face to face relationships now and again.)

8.  Don’t Smoke: Smoking of any kind decreases longevity.  (No problem here… I don’t smoke but I have a lot  of other unhealthy habits… like eating cookies for breakfast.

9.  Feed Your Soul: Engage In Spiritual Activities:  (I love attending my church meetings and being involved.  I spend a lot of time in spiritual study.)

10.  Love Your Tribe: Make family a high priority.  (If this longevity factor could supersede all the rest… I’d live longer… perhaps to 125 years old.  I’m crazy about my family of 4 kids and 15 grands.  In fact…we all actually like each other.)

How is your longevity index?

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My mom is approaching ninety.  She has always taken good care of her self… and the folks in her family lived a long time.  A longevity gene perhaps?

Aging With Grace

True Friend – Ruth Jensen Tuttle

Today, I say good-bye to a true friend.  Ruth Jensen Tuttle passed away last week and her services are today.  She was 89 years old and was one of the kindest women I know.


Even though there was a number of years difference in our age, she was no less a true friend and a heart felt companion.  We shared the same birth date and would always make contact on that day.

She was a gardener.  Her yard was filled with many unusual flowers.  Ruth seemed to have an extra passion for roses.  She had so many beautiful varieties.

She shared her garden with us every Sunday.   Without fail, next to the pulpit sat an arrangement of exquisite beauty.  Even during the winter months, there was an arrangement of some type provided.

Last week, my sister Nicole called from and was planning to attend a birthday party of a friend who was turning 90.  She said her friend was a warm, delightful woman who made her laugh.  Nicole’s last comment was, “She is one of my best friends.”

Age has no barrier when it comes to friends and companionship.  The elderly, because of their experience, can can offer wisdom and compassion.  They’ve been down a road or two.  It’s good to have a “boomer” as a friend.

I’m going to miss Ruth.

Till later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  I’m also friends with Ruth’s daughter, Karen and Becky, a daughter in-law.  They share Ruth’s sweet giving spirit and kindness.  They both fit in the  “true friend” category.

Aging With Grace

Anti-Aging Secret Revealed! – Amazing Clara


“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing”. -Oliver Wendell Holmes-

At 93 years old… Clara is a prime example of aging gracefully… with a playful spirit.

Anti-aging studies have proven over and over again that physical and mental activity is one sure way to stave off the aging process.     Aging research tells us, longevity is enhanced by staying  physically active, reading books, having hobbies and interests, eating healthy foods, participating in an active social life and taking an interest in others.

Clara is a YouTube cooking celebrity with her popular Depression Cooking segment.   Not only is she a “Star” because she’s entertaining… but a stellar model of staying active and serving others… long after she’s expected to be rocking in her chair.

Clara,  is a perfect example of aging with grace.    Along with sharing her “depression cooking”  ideas… she shares her experiences of living during the Great Depression….with fond memories and with a smile on her face… mind you.   I’ve included two segments for your enjoyment.   Hey, Clara… you’re the greatest… and such an inspiration.

Allow yourself a few minutes to watch this amazing woman!

Peppers and Eggs:

Poor Man’s Feast

Isn’t she terrific!

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  I bet Clara has always lived an active lifestyle.  I must keep her in mind… when I want to slow down a bit.   Retirement?  No such thing if you keep your interests alive and are willing to share them.


Respite At Grandma’s House

The word “respite” means:  breathing space, relaxation, informal, recess, time out, rest. There is probably no greater “respite” for kids than spending the night at grandma’s house.  (In my case… “Nana’s” house.)   On occasion, I have a grandchild call and say,  “Nana, can I spend the night at your house?” “I need a break.”  “A break from what?” I reply.  “Oh, you know… a break from my brothers (or my sisters)… my folks.”

What this really means is…  “I want to come to your house where I can do anything I want… (with in reason).  I can lay on the couch and watch TV without  being bugged.”  “We can go out and get a “bite to eat” and I can order anything I want.”  “I can stay up till three and sleep until noon.” “Can we go to the dollar store, get movies at the library and get individual pizzas?”

Some grandkids come one at a time… others want cousins to join them.   Whatever!

Obviously, each child has his own set of respite requirements… and I have my limits on what I will allow… but for the most part… the child is “King or Queen” for the day.

I think sometimes we think that kids don’t need a break from school, homework, home chores, parents, friends, and life’s pressures… because they’re kids.   But, they need a break… just like we do.  For me… I’m glad to provide that kind of respite for my grandkids…. a place that’s safe and fun.

Since my sister, Sheila’s grandkids live in another state… her grands come for a week at a time.  They go fishing, camping, and take long walks in the middle of the night… up to a near by cemetery… just to visit and chat.  When it’s time to go home… they moan and groan… and shed tears… as they load their gear in the car to go to their own abode.

What wonderful opportunities we grandparents have…  to be a “save place or safe person” in the lives of our grand kids.  There are so many teaching moments we can offer, in support of their parents… as well as entertain and provide respite.  I can’t think of a better place in life to be…. than a “nana.”

This past holiday season, I had lots of grands stay over at different times.  In this group we even included my neighbor’s granddaughter…We had a great time.   They’re already asking, “When can we come again.”  (Got a few more grands to get in before we start the next rotation.)

“Soon,”  I say,  “Soon!”

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Do you think they have Grandma respite some place?

P.P.S.  Lest you think that every visit is respite… it is not.  Sometimes they come to work… mow the lawn, rake leaves, clean out the rain gutters and the like.  But even then… we try and combine some fun.


Vintage Bookplates For Kids Books

These vintage bookplates are just the ticket to put in the books you’re planning to give the kids or grands.  Books are such a long lasting gift… especially when they’re signed by you.

Book plates seem to be a thing of the past.  I used to see them in old vintage books at thrift stores.  Now, folks seem to grab them up quickly because they’re such collectors items.  Designing these old vintage bookplates from old free domain artwork was fun.

Print these book plates on sticker paper (I use Avery)… or on a nice matte photo paper. If you use photo paper, apply a thin coat of glue to the back of the bookplate and apply it to the inside of the book.

My sister, Sheila, gave me a great idea that I thought I would pass on to you.

Make a memory for your kids or grands by recording yourself reading a book.  Then… give the book and recording to your sweethearts.  When you long gone… singing with the angels… it will be a prized possession for those left behind.  (However, don’t leave anytime too soon.)

If you have a Mac… you can record in Garageband and burn disks.  If your on a PC… there is free software at Audacity.   This software is for Mac as well as PC.  If you need a manual… which I always do… you can get one to help you over the rough spots.   Actually… forget the manual and find one computer savy teenager and treat them to a burger for a little help.

Here a a few books my grands love. We read them over and over again. You can click on the book cover and it will take you directly to Amazon.


Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.   Fill in the information below so I can send you the link for the book plates. When you download them, make sure you keep a copy so you can print them over and over again for the books you buy in the future. Books are such a great gift.
P.P.S. Once you’ve joined our group… You’ll never have to sign in again. I’ll just send you all future
goodies and information.

Aging With Grace

Aging Gracefully Is Not Always Easy

Aging gracefully is not always easy if you’re ill or incapacitated in some way. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face when your body doesn’t function well or you can’t remember your grandchild’s name.

Since I have been helping to take care of my aging mother, I have begun to question this business of  “growing old” and living to the age of Methuselah.  Among many variables, medical science has done much to increase the expectancy of human life.  Most people will live well into there eighties and life expectancy is increasing all the time.  That’s all well and good… unless you are ill or incapacitated in some way.

For instance… what good does it do to have a body that functions but have a mind that can’t remember one thing from the other. The older you get…. the greater the chances you will have some form of dementia… especially if you live into your eighties.

Alzheimer’s, the severest form of dementia, is increasing every year. Between 2010 and 2050, the number of people with Alzheimer’s will increase from an estimated 5.5 million up to 14 million, as the Baby Boomers enter the age of highest risk.

When our elderly get sick, we rush them to the Dr. and load them up with medication that will extend their life well beyond the body’s natural ability to survive.  Sometimes I think the only real winner here is the drug companies.  One elderly lady in our local rest home put it this way,  “Medical science has keep us alive until go into a rest home where… we just rot away.”

Laws often bind doctors, hospitals and nursing homes into keeping a patient alive even under the most adverse conditions… often beyond patient and family wishes. When is enough… enough?

My mom is 88 years old and, up until this past year she has had very good health and a pretty good mind despite the fact she sometimes loses her purse.  Early last spring she contacted the flu and not only lost her physical health… but lost her ability to think clearly.  She is now confused most of the time.  She went from being independent to needing almost around the clock care in a matter of a few days.

Just as she was beginning to improve, she contacted a bacterium that has taken a toll on her body again.  We’ve loaded her up with all sorts of vitamins, antibiotics and the like… and for what?  She’s weak, miserable and confused…. and we are undertaking around the clock care again.  She will never recuperate to the point she was, even a month ago.

I know… I can just hear it now.  “God is in charge… and he will take her when he’s ready.” But, perhaps He’s saying, “Hey, butt out and quit cramming all that stuff down her and let me do my job.” We just need to listen.

What’s the alternative for her and for us?  Home health care?  Rest home?  Do we continue family care?  When can she say, “Enough is enough?”  When can we say, “Enough is enough,” without legal consequences?

Upon some investigation, we found that an individual does have a right to say, “I’m done!” and stop all medical intervention.  There’s a little legal document that’s called, Advance Health Care Directive.  This document is separate from a Living Will or can be a part of a Living Will.  It’s a directive that you can detail as to what medical care you wish to have withheld… in the event that you become incapacitated.

It covers everything from withholding artificially supplied nutrition and hydration to food and water.  It can include withholding surgery procedures, CPR, antibiotics, dialysis, respirators, chemotherapy, radiation, medication and all other life prolonging procedures.

It’s the best way to make your medical and health care wishes known to your family and doctors.

Each state has it’s own requirements, and restrictions. You need to follow the guidelines provided by your state.

In looking into my mom’s trust, we discovered that she had stated and signed such a directive in 1995… we just became aware of it.  It will make it easier for us to make decisions on her behalf.

We want what’s best for our mom.  And, now comes the big question… when is “Enough… Enough?

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Baby boomers are now the caretakers of this older generation.  Except for medical procedures, home health care in not covered by Medicare… so companionship, household duties, dressing, feeding and companionship are the responsibility of the family… unless you can afford to put your loved one in a care facility.

Aging With Grace

Baby Boomer Farmer Grant

Meet boomer, Grant Holdaway, better known in these parts as Farmer Grant.  Well…Grant Holdaway may not technically fit into the baby boomer age category, but he’s a great example of staying fit, active, and still going strong at a mature age.  A lesson for all of us true “baby boomers.”

It seems like I’ve been buying veggies from Farmer Grant and his wife Barbara forever.  The first time I remember buying produce and flowers from them was about 40 years ago when their little stand was next to their home down on the Geneva Road… next to the Geneva Steel Plant.  If I remember right… it was called “Grant’s Plants.”

Grant claims he’s been selling produce for over 60 years. In fact, he remembers selling produce to workers who were helping to build Geneva Steel Plant in the 40’s.  Several years ago… Geneva Steel was closed down and dismantled.  Grant’s seen it come and go…all the while, selling produce and flowers to loyal customers.

When they built their new nursery across the street from their home… they named their new location “Vineyard Gardens”… but it’s still “Grant’s” to me and my kids and grand kids.

By the first of May, his green houses are filled with annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs, irises and roses.  Grant is well known for hybridizing irises… coming up with many new striking varieties.

In early August, after the flower and shrub sells slow down… fresh veggies, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, egg plant, potatoes, and peppers appear in the front entry of his nursery. For the next several months, I make several trips a week to buy his fresh produce.  Heaven!

His produce is fresh from the field every morning and it’s washed and cleaned before being put it out in baskets on the table. I’ve been to many produce stands and his is absolutely the finest.

I love tomatoes, and this is a mecca for fresh toms… especially if you’re in the business of canning for winter storage.

His cantaloupe are just the best… so sweet and flavorful.

As fall approaches, “Pumpkin Land” is prepared at the nursery for the kids. Halloween decorations are placed among the sprays, fertilizers, flower bulbs, and veggies.

Buses bring school children to visit “Pumpkin Land”.  And…I swear every mom in the county bring their pre-schoolers  to “Pumpkin Land.”  There’s a corn maze, a animal petting zoo… or rather a “looking” zoo… inflated jumping toys and best of all… there’s hundreds of pumpkins in various sizes.  The kids get to choose and purchase their own pumpkins.

Now, all this takes a lot to time and energy, and at 77 years old, Farmer Grant is still going strong.  Along with his employees, he’s continues to make his produce and flower nursery the best in the county.

Now if that’s not enough…this summer, this active man ran the Provo marathon and a 50 mile race through the Wasatch mountains called the “Squaw Peak Fifty Miler.”  Just wears me out just thinking about it.

No slowing down for this farmer.

Thanks Farmer Grant… for being a great example to this old baby boomer.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Did I mention… Farmer Grant was a school teacher until he retired?   Retired?  Doesn’t look like it to me!

Aging With Grace

Squidoo Queen – Baby Boomer Joan Adams

Squidoo Queen is a perfect name for baby boomer Joan Adams… She maintains she’s going to have 100 Squidoo Lenses up before the end of the year… and at the rate she’s going…she’ll make it.

I first met Joan by seeing her photo on Pat O’Bryan’s Internet Marketing forum chat site. I liked the way she looked… kind, and fun. (Besides, she and I are in the same baby boomer category and, that has to count for something.) Her comments on the forum were thoughtful. So, I watched her from a far for awhile until I contacted her by e-mail. Soon we were visiting by phone.

This photo is of Joan and her boomer sisters… They’re know as the “Tate Girls” and originally come from Pendleton, South Carolina. From left to right is: Nancy, Joan and Betty. You can almost hear their southern accent.

Both Joan and I, being newbies to the Internet Marketing world, had lots to discuss and sort out… mainly getting our “mature” brains working out all the tech stuff. What a challenge. She, and her sister Betty, wrote an e-book called, Banish The Blahs And Be Happy and offer a free work book called, Ten By Ten Workbook. Joan put up a blog and a web site … but seems to have settled in to writing Squidoo Lenses. A boomer woman on the go.

At the present time, Joan has 53 lenses and her interests range from the Legally Blind Golfer… to Tailgating Recipes (of which I am proud to be a contributor) to music of the 50’s. Oh, the memories I had when I listen to the Platters … “Only You”. Go see. You need to check out all of Joan’s Squidoo lenses. Such a treat!

Her sister, Nancy, has also created Squidoo Lenses… and a favorite of mine is, Greeting Cards For Fun.

The point of all this being… we’re never to old to change gears and do something interesting and challenging. In fact, because Joan is a Boomer, she has lots of entertaining experiences to draw from… she’ll never run out of ideas.

Just who says young folks have all the fun!

Thanks, Joan Betty, and Nancy, for being great examples to the rest of us baby boomers.

Till later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S. Joan has been encouraging me to put up a Squidoo lens… perhaps a recipe or two. Hmmmm… just might do that. It really looks fun!