Cohousing is for Seniors

August 20th, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

Have you considered cohousing as an option for you as seniors, or as a family, to build a solid community? Cohousing communities are small neighborhoods with shared community room and grounds. They are managed by a collaborative resident management system designed to encourage engagement among the neighbors and care for the common areas.

Cohousing offers many advantages over city neighborhoods in that they are intentional communities that generate significant social capital over isolation and dependence on people who are sometimes too busy in their own lives. Greater independence can be found in these intentional communities with supportive and caring neighbors outside your door.

Mr. Jim Leach of Wonderland at www.whdc.com is a cohousing developer whose fingerprints are memorable in cohousing communities from coast to coast.

In Fort Collins we already have 2 cohousing communities in River Rock and Grey Rock. Both are intergenerational. It is possible and likely that in the future we in Fort Collins will have a senior cohousing community. If you are interested in the concept, please contact me for more information. The local bookstores also have good books for reference.

Larimer County Discussion Focuses on Aging Loved Ones

August 20th, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

In November 2011 I attended a Health District of Northern Larimer County Community Discussion to determine the needs of our residents and providers. The discussions were held in small groups of similar interests. All the groups’ ideas were summarized and distributed to the participants and appropriate county offices.

One topic of interest to me was and is the need for more information and resources for the care of aging loved ones. The Eldercare Network website has a comprehensive list of resources and providers. When we are facing a growing number of seniors who are living longer, our community needs to adapt on many levels.

For family members who live out of town or work full time and raise a family, resources are the answer. Being proactive with siblings and our aging loved ones will make the experience better overall. The conversation is difficult to start, but what sense does it make to wait for an emergency situation when decisions are made under duress? We all want to live healthy and happily to the end of our lives. There is hope.

A Poem by Stanley Kunitz for All of Us

June 2nd, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

THE LAYERS OF TIME AND AGE

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray…

Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

From Stanley Kunitz, "The Layers." Kunitz, who won many
awards for his poetry, continued writing until his death at 100
years of age.  He won the Pulitzer Prize for his work at the age
of 63.

Well written. When we face changes or transitions, we're not always able to speak eloquently about them. Some changes are really difficult and some are welcomed. We are never "done" with changes.

Support for Families wtih Mesothelioma

March 26th, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

It is the exposure to asbestos, a substance used widely during and after World War II that is the primary cause for Mesothelioma.  No known level of exposure to asbestos is attributed to the disease.  Mesothelioma may be related to brief, low level or indirect exposures to asbestos.
One of the cruel aspects of the disease is that the effect is latent and symptoms virtually never show earlier than15 years after initial exposure. Symptoms peak at 30-40 years post exposure.

Families today are facing the effects of a disease they had no idea existed 30-40 years ago.  The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance provides information and support for families dealing with this disease. Go to Mesothelioma.com to obtain details and find resources.

Caregiver Pampering Day

March 13th, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

Saturday, April 16, 2011 a Caregiver Pampering Day is scheduled from 8:30am to 1:30pm.  The special day of enjoyment, relaxation, and pampering will be at Pathways Hospice, 305 Carpenter Road, Fort Collins, CO.  Activities include Aromatherapy, Chair Massage, Manicures, Reflexology/Foot Massage, and Healing Touch. Interactive Classes include Creative Healing, Humor and Caregiving, Mindful Stress Reduction, and Simple Healthy Eating. Drop-in Activities include Listening and Caring Conversations, Human-Animal Bond in Colorado (HABIC), and Round table Chat Group.  Registration must be received by Friday, April 1, 2011.  Please contact Lynette McGowan, Family Caregiver Support Coordinator, at 970-498-7758 or email at lmcgowan@larimer.org.

Old? No way! Let's talk.

February 21st, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

I'm getting old.  Fortunately I won't have to live under the old concepts of age and care.  Recently, more articles about innovative personal care and housing are appearing in magazines and newspapers.  In my community a few individuals in professional positions are working to broaden these ideas and change the paradigm currently in place.  Private agencies offer great services to help seniors stay in their own homes.   Another option available in our community is co-housing.  More information and support is available to caregivers, but we need to open our minds to more innovative concepts.

I hope you're curious.
Check these sites for a few ideas about life as  a senior in an inter-generational community:

A new approach to Assisted Living: Let them eat chocolate!
RichardTaylorphd.com
ChangingAging.org
SodalisElderLiving.com

A Sad Loss of Life for Anyone to Understand

January 24th, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

Guns, Mental Illness, and Violence
We're experiencing this toxic combination in formerly safe public places we can't and shouldn't have to avoid. Unstable minds exist among us and are very difficult to monitor and treat due to our laws and professional ethics. I believe we can and should put more restrictions on gun ownership. Hunt for food if you want: it's legal. But do everything by law to restrict access to guns and ammunition so unstable individuals are checked and rechecked before they purchase guns. Families and friends also need to be cautious. If someone you love isn't reasoning well and attempts to acquire guns, please take appropriate precautions. Responsibility belongs to all of us.

All Aboard!

January 6th, 2011 by Lee Yahnke

All Aboard!

2011 is rolling out of the holiday season.  The year is on a track including mountain crests and valley lows.  We’ll cross dry plains and lush fields.  We’ll blindly turn corners without knowing what we’ll find.  We’ll stop at many interesting places.

The key word in all this is “we”.  Each of us travels within the year on different tracks.  Sometimes we’re grateful and sometimes we’re resentful.  Times can be fearful as we turn blind corners.  Other times we'll  enjoy the benefit of labors from

A Bridge Along the Way

lush fields.

Please don’t travel alone.  We have people galore to bring with us on the ride.  Take note:  we need to be careful so our ability to see the view from windows and enjoy the year as we travel along is not blocked by bad relationships.  All Aboard!  The year is now on its way.

Is it S.A.D.D. ?

December 21st, 2010 by Lee Yahnke

Gray skies. Short Days.

It's so S.A.D.D.

Or is it?

Winter Solstice, December 21st, the shortest day of the year, the longest darkness of the year.  For months we've come home in the dark.  Our energy is low and we just want to curl up in a fleece blanket and watch TV.

S.A.D.D.

But, wait ...  Winter Solstice means on the 22nd of December, daylight will begin to gain on the darkness.

Hurray!

Each of us gets closer to home before the shadows stretch and darkness intrudes on our lives.  Day by day, hour by hour, our outlook hopefully brightens with each day.  I know mine will.

Good-bye, S.A.D.D.
(Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression )

Mayo Clinic has an excellent definition.