Life Transitions

Tuesdays at 8:45 a.m. and Fridays at 6:45 a.m., every other week

Old age is a life-stage that re-defines life priorities -- and it needs to be addressed in a functional way.

Life Transitions examines the issues of aging; from social, to behavioral, environmental, financial, and health issues.

Discussions focus on the positive as well as the stressful aspects of the aging process, with professionals, caregivers, and the elderly themselves, working to “demystify” the aging process and present old age in a positive way without minimizing the reality of aging.

Ways to Connect

National Council on Aging / National Council on Aging

Long-term care is often perceived as intiutionalized care at a nursing home.  Some people see it as an end-of-life decision to move into a nursing home.  The reality is that long-term care may be also provided at home.

"Long term care is the opposite of acute care," says KaraLe Causey, owner of Haven Nursing Center. Causey dispelled some of the common myths associated with long term care,  explaining that "acute care usually is episodic" and may not require "continuing care." 

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As we get older, our needs change.  Sometimes, we may require help from others to meet these changing needs.  Fortunately, our community provides a whole range and continuum of services to address various needs of an aging population.

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The loss of a parent is a very difficult emotional experience.  It becomes even more difficult if one was not prepared for this loss.  It does not matter at what age a parent dies.  The grief is the same. 

This grief may become more visible on days like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Media and social media constantly remind us to send flowers or buy gifts for our parent.  Long waiting lines in restaurants remind us of the special time spent with our parents.

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Parents always worry about the welfare of their children even, when their children begin to live their own independent lives.  It is not difficult to imagine the fears and anxieties experienced by parents of adults with severe disabilities.  Their biggest fear is that no one will take care of their "child" after they are gone.

Aliscia Banks, founding director of Families Helping Families and the parent of an adult son with multiple severe disabilities, discussed some of her worst fears about her son's future "after I am gone and his dad is gone." 

National Council on Aging / National Council on Aging

Taking care of our minds and bodies as we age is as simple as eating right and staying healthy.  Poor nutritional habits and lack of physical exercise can lead to several health issues and diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Jordan Guillot, wellness program supervisor at Vantage Health Plan, explains that education is the key to enhancing quality of life.  “You are not old till you are cold in the first place.  You are as old as your mind thinks you are.” 

West Ouachita Senior Center

Commemorating May as the "Older Americans Month" began in 1963 after a meeting between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens.  It is a celebration of the wisdom, strength, resilience, and the vigor of old age. 

Each year, a different theme is used to mark the month. The theme for 2018 is "Engage at Every Age."  Jeanette Ellington, Executive Director of the West Ouachita Senior Center, encouraged the local community to "celebrate the many contributions that our elderly have made in the community and promote their skills and talents."

Ouachita Council on Aging / Ouachita Council on Aging

They say that food is the best way to reach a man's heart.  It appears that food is the best way to reach out to anyone, irrespective of age and gender. 

Meals on Wheels can be a primary source to reach out to the world outside for elderly individuals who are living alone and unable to cook for themselves. 

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Providing various services to the elderly requires professionals trained in various disciplines and skills.  The common thread to all skills required in working with the elderly is a knowledge of Gerontology.  Gerontology is a multidisciplinary study of aging.

Roberta Andrajack, marketing director with the assisted living facility Savannah Grand, says marketing is vital in elder-care organizations.  She points out that "any field that offers services to the Gerontology population needs a marketer."

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Sometimes we are not able to find appropriate resources and appropriate solutions to a life problem.  We may not have adequate knowledge about the community resources or we may not know how to search for a particular service.  United Way provides 2-1-1 as a "tool" or a service that connects people to resources.

Jan Wawrzyniak director of 2-1-1, described the service as a "community connection" that "increases access to help for anyone and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." 

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Financial planning is very important at any phase in life.  It becomes even more important when older adults have to make crucial decisions relating to long-term care.  Pre-planning helps when the time comes to seek long-term care. 

Jordan Smith, a financial planner for senior citizens, explained that many times people may suddenly enter a long-term care facility without any financial pre-planning.  In those instances, financial advisors for senior citizens could provide crisis planning.

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