Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is Your Brain on Aerobics

There's so much about aging that just isn't any fun at all. That's why it's even sweeter when you find something that is fun and good for you too. We're hearing more and more how playing games helps to keep minds and bodies in good shape so how great is that? The Wii game system is apparently the hottest thing going in senior centers and assisted living facilities. We had some physical therapists from the West Jacksonville Health & Rehabilitation Center come to our senior meeting at church this month to show us how to use our new Wii and to talk about how they use theirs in their rehabilitation therapy. Ours came with Wii Sports which has bowling, baseball, golf, tennis and boxing. We've also got Wii fit and Mr. Ted even donated a Wii Price is Right game. We're starting a monthly game day beginning tomorrow to help keep our brains active and keep those neurons busy so they don't go on permanent vacations. The first Wednesday of the month is our official game day and if it goes well we may add more days. If you're in the neigborhood stop by Avondale UMC on the first Wednesday from 9 to noon and join us!

I found another place with some great online brain games. The Prevention magazine site has enough fun and interesting games to become yet another time-sucking abyss but at least these games are specially designed to give your neurons a workout so you don't have to feel guilty about getting lost in the fun. I haven't tried them all yet (it's research I tell you!) but The Busy Bistro, Pandera's Botique and The Right Word have all been fun and you can adjust the level of difficulty on all of them so it doesn't get boring.

So go and play and have some fun, it's good for you!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Joy Joy Joy!!!

It's been quite a week in Feedin' Mama-ville. The newest addition to our family arrived at 12:15-ish am on Thursday, March 26th. She weighed 8 lbs, 15.4 oz and is 20 3/4" tall. Molly Eowyn Speed is my third grandchild and Mama's 11th great-grand. She already takes after her Nana and has her own blog. Her mommy and daddy were just awe-inspiring having checked into the hospital Monday afternoon and met every task and challenge with grace and courage. Welcome Molly!! Nana's going to spoil you big time, just ask your cousins!

Pieces of Me

It happens to most everyone, not just to caregivers but anyone who is a caregiver can surely relate. You find yourself dividing yourself up into pieces to try and meet everybody's needs and discover that it's not working the way you expected. The equation isn't adding up. Lots of people are sandwiched in with kids at home they're still trying to raise and parents who are becoming increasingly dependent on them as well. Some are experiencing the joys of grandparenting while tending to the needs of their own parents at the same time. And then there's the pesky task of trying to keep hearth and home together and pleasing one's employer(s) added to the need to carve out even a tiny slice of a social life to keep a tenuous grip on your sanity. It can begin to look like an impossible task, an un-doable situation.

The most important thing to remember if you can't remember anything else when things start to look overwhelming is to slam the door on anything that resembles a guilt trip. Do not get on that train. Nobody can make you and the only person who can put you there is you. If you know in your heart that you have done what you can to meet the needs (read needs, not wants) of all the folks you feel responsible for then give yourself permission to move on to whatever's next and do everything possible to avoid falling into the traps and pitfalls that are lying in wait to swallow you up. Their priorities don't have to become your priorities. Avoid like the plague anything that smells like drama or blame or guilt. Life is short and God put you on this earth to be happy. Happiness does come from loving and caring for others and making other people happy. But it's like they tell you everytime you fly - you HAVE to put that oxygen mask on yourself first because you can't help anybody else if you're dead. There is joy to be found a thousand times a day if you look for it. Don't let anybody or anything block your view or cloud your vision. And they can only do that if you give them permission. Find the joy. And if you're having trouble finding it I highly recommend this book. It was recommended to me by my wonderful therapist and it changed my outlook 180 degrees. Happiness really IS an inside job, you're the only one with the power. Don't let anyone else try to make you think otherwise.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Recipe Bonanza!

I hit the jackpot on low-sodium recipes and tips while wandering around the interwebs this morning. It appears to be an old site that hasn't been updated in a while but that's okay because it's still chock full of some good recipes and ideas for living and eating well without all that salt. I really appreciate the fact that they included the sodium info at the bottom of each recipe. You can check them out here. Or better yet, just click on the "Low Sodium Living" link while you're visiting the Feedin' Mama website each and every day of your life. Several times. Every day. Bless your heart.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting better all the time!

At a networking meeting I attended earlier this week I heard a very inspiring word from one of the contestants of the upcoming Ms. Senior Jacksonville pageant. The pageant has four stated purposes:

  • To allow women over the age of 60 to acknowledge their inner beauty and enhance their value in the community and in society
  • To promote community awareness, showmanship and value of our seniors' atributes
  • To educate our community that our seniors are active and vibrant
  • To increase positive attitudes toward our seniors and their well-being
If all of the contestants are as eloquent and vibrant as the one I heard it's sure to be a difficult choice for the judges. I'm just so pleased to see an opportunity for some of the misconceptions and stereotypes about aging to be shattered. Aging is not a disease you know. There used to be a commercial for something that said, "You're not getting older, you're getting better." Truer words were never spoken.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I apologize... in advance.

So I promised some people I would post my semi-no-so-famous St. Patrick's Day joke here today. For those of you who wince and groan and roll your eyes at really bad, really corny jokes please just move along and check back here later for more great eldercaregiving goodness. For the brave and/or demented... here goes:

What's green and sits around the pool on St. Patrick's Day?

Wait for it.....

Here it comes............

Paddy O'Furniture!!!!!!!

So sorry. Truly. But it's only one day out of a whole year...

P.S. Please everybody pray for Miss Molly to get a move on and be born already. Her mama is beyond ready and her daddy and Nana can't wait to hold her.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Day Out and Quilts and Strawberries!

We had a great day out today - it's always good for everyone's mental health to take a day now and then to get out of the house and do something fun. My friend Kathy & I took Mama out to my sister Mary's house waaaaay out in the country in Trenton which is northwest of Gainesville. It was a most gorgeous day and Mama really enjoyed the ride looking at the countryside, especially all the dogwood trees and azalea bushes that were all in full glorious bloom. Kathy, Mary & I drove into town to visit the annual Quilt Fest in Trenton while Mama decided to stay back at Mary's house with Mary's grandson Alex. They watched TV and played on their Nintendo DS's and enjoyed their time together.

Trenton has the best quilt shop I've ever seen, it's in an old brick Coca Cola bottling plant, has a very nice cafe and room after room of beautiful quilts, fabric, pattern books and such. There's a resident macaw and big sunny windows and it's just a wonderful place, even for someone like me who most definitely did NOT get the sewing gene that runs through my family DNA. The sidewalks up and down the street were lined with gorgeous quilts shown by various quilting guilds from all over North & North Central Florida, there was bbq cooking on outdoor grills, an antique car display for the menfolk and the most perfect weather anyone could have asked for. We enjoyed it immensely and then went back to Mary's for lunch and headed back home. Stopped by Norman's produce stand on 301 north of Starke and found the most gorgeous strawberries ever, they smell delicious.

You can see more pictures here. All in all, it was a very good day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can I Get a Discount?

I'm starting a new page on FeedinMama.com about senior discounts - who has them, what days, how much and how old you have to be to get them. If you know of any please let me know in the comments so I can add them to the list. Thanks in advance for helping!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day

It's almost St. Patrick's Day when we celebrate all things Irish. Of course regular corned beef is off of Mama's menu but I found this recipe over at the Weight Watchers' site and it looks like it will be a worthy substitute. There's lots of other yummy spices involved and even if I leave out the 1/8th tsp of salt the recipe calls for I bet we'll never even miss it. I think we're (I guess that's the "Royal We", Mama doesn't cook any more) going to cook this up on the 17th or thereabouts - baby Molly, grandchild #3 is due right around then so all plans are tentative at this point. Be sure to check back to see how it turned out or better yet, try it yourself and let us know. But check back anyhow because I have my one St. Patrick's Day joke I'll be dragging out for your amusement (SOME people actually look forward to it... people with exceedingly strange senses of humor, but still...).

So here's the recipe:

Corned Beef & Cabbage for Mama

1 pound lean beef round steak
1/8 tsp salt (I'm leaving this out)
1/8 tsp pepper (more or less to taste)

1 tbsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp cloves
2 bay leaves
8 new red potatoes
16 baby carrots (I'm using more than that)
1 head green cabbage coarsely shredded (I'll probably use only 1/2 that)


  • Rub beef with pepper and place in large stockpot (I'll probably do this in the crockpot); pour enough water in to cover beef. Add seasonings and bay leaves; set pot over high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 40 minutes.
  • Add potatoes carrots and cabbage and increase heat to medium-high; return to a boil. Partially cover pot and boil until vegetables and beef are fork-tender. Drain broth, reserving 1 cup; discard bay leaves.
  • Thinly slice meat across the grain and serve with vegetables. Pour some reserved broth over each serving. Yields about 3 ounces of meat, 1 1/2 cup of vegetables and 1/4 broth per serving.
Now you know how I am about seeing recipes as "suggestions" so I may make adjustments here or there. I know I will hold the cabbage out until about the last 5 minutes (or 20-30 if I use the crockpot) because it still has to have some crunch to it or I won't eat it. But that's the joy of cooking - you can do what makes you happy most of the time without losing the general idea. Now I just have to find something green to wear...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

See a need...

I met with a lovely young couple this morning who have seen a need in the older adult community and are working to try to fill it. Transportation is one of the biggest issues older adults face and it's a hurdle almost all of them will come up against at some point. We're all for them giving up their driver's licenses when the time comes but there's not a whole lot in place for them to fill that need when it comes, at least that's the case here in NE Florida. There is JTA Connexion, the free transit system provided by the city of Jax but you have to qualify financially and there have been some real issues with their service. On the other end of the spectrum, folks with adequate resources can pay for private car service and then there are folks with great support networks through their churches, families, etc. they can call on when they need a ride. But there is a big group in the middle there who struggle mightily to get where they need to go, especially to doctor's appointments which grow exponentially as we age. I have long seen the need for reliable transportation for these folks but I've never been able to figure out how it would be funded but these folks, Leah and Rick have come up with a plan to get it done. I wish them all the best for a successful venture in filling a real need in the older adult community. Watch for Doctor's Direct Transportation to be a winning venture and a great addition to our community.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rehab & LTC Facilities

I went over to visit a local facility this morning, West Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation Center. They are coming to speak at our senior's lunch meeting at the church this month and they are going to help me launch an exciting new program for older adults in our church and community. I'll tell you more about that later, it's going to be great! Anyhow, I was just so impressed with them and their facility. I spend a good bit of time in my pastoral care duties visiting folks in hospitals and nursing homes and I'm just amazed a lot of time at how different they can be. Some are good, some not so much and some are just awesome. This one belongs in the awesome category. Not just because it was clean and bright and cheery which it certainly was, but because it shows in the faces and attitudes of the staff and the residents. Every staff person I met was upbeat and cheerful and you can tell that they really do love what they do and that results in happy residents. It breaks my heart to visit some places where it's obvious that many of the residents have just been parked in a hallway or community room and they're not doing anything, no one is interacting with them and they just look so sad and alone.

If you find yourself needing to choose a rehab or long term care facility for yourself or a loved one, please be sure to visit several before you choose if at all possible. Observe the staff and the residents in addition to checking out the physical facilities and trust your instincts about the atmosphere. If it's one of the good ones you'll be able to tell.