Tag Archives: Gay Seniors

What It Means To Be A Prime Timer


Join us on Wednesday May 27th on Health Café LIVE.com  at 7:00 pm (EDT) as we visit with  Dr.  Loren Olson.  An accomplished author and psychiatrist, Dr. Olson is a champion for LGBT  Seniors. With chapters all over the world, Prime Timers is a terrific organization that enriches the    social lives of LGBT seniors across the globe. On Wednesday’s show, we will chat about what it means to be a Prime Timer, how you can join a chapter in your area, upcoming regional and national events  and most importantly, why socialization is important as we age. Tune in and learn how the Prime Timers and Dr. Loren Olson is creating Healing Ties all around us!

To listen to Healing Ties Radio live on Health Cafe Live simply click here! 

Cannot listen live?     No Worries!! Healing Ties is available on  demand at iHeart Radio by  and now on UK Health Radio.

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Happy Thanks-Caregiving


You must do things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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 We are Thankful for those who are Caregivers today:

We are Thankful for those who will be Caregivers tomorrow:

We are especially Thankful for those Caregivers whose journey has past. 

We share  in our Caregiving Journey in a special way, knowing that while our Caregiving roads might be different, our paths are filled with comfort and joy from the support we receive from each other!  

Thank You for being a part of our Caregiving Journey.  

From our Caregiving Journey to yoursHappy Thanks-Caregiving         

The Bow Tie Guys!

You see…We Might Have Cancer...But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

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‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, caregiver, Caregiving, Live Love Laugh, oncology

Tuesday on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’: LGBT Housing


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On Tuesday, May 14th at 1:00 pm (est) we welcome Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging and Tom Duffy from Secret Gardens to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio  You can access the show live by simply clicking here

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While trends in our society are shifting in a positive direction for equality, LGBT Seniors are still struggling with issues relating to affordable housing and how to safely aging in place.  As the Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, Hilary Meyer has a keen understanding of these issues facing LGBT Seniors.  And Tom Duffy from Secret Gardens, has just opened an LGBT focused independent living center in Wilton Manors, Florida  were LGBT seniors can feel safe in their surroundings.

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Through our conversation today on issues facing LGBT Seniors, Hiliary and Tom will help us all learn how to  ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver!’

To listen live, simply click here! 

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Can’t listen to our show live…NO Worries!!!  All our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

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Filed under Be A Healthy Caregiver, Gay Seniors, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Senior Housing, The Bow Tie Guy

LGBT Aging Through the Lens of Gen Silent on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio


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On Tuesday, March 19th at 1:00 pm (est) we are thrilled to welcome Stu Maddux, Director & Producer of the critically acclaimed film, Gen Silent to our Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio.

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Stu Maddux receiving an award

The real life stories of love, commitment, discernment, hope, happiness and despair told through the lens of “Gen Silent are gut wrenching, yet important for all audiences in order to understand the plight of LGBT seniors in America. Producer/Director Stu Maddux does a splendid job in piecing together these LGBT pioneers who helped paved the way for what we know today as Gay Pride.

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As the Huffington Post said: “The film is heartbreaking, personal and the issues are real.”

Our conversation with Stu will not only focus on the film itself, but how Gen Silent has brought awareness to LGBT Aging issues in today’s society.   Through our conversation, Stu will help us all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver.’  

To listen to our show live on Tuesday at 1:00 pm (est), simply click here.

Cannot listen live on Tuesday, NO WORRIES! Each one of our shows is archived for your listening convenience by clicking here.

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It is an honor to have ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ selected as a ‘Featured Show’ by the folks at Blog Talk Radio for Tuesday, March 19th!

Visit  Blog Talk Radio’s front page on Tuesday March 19th for details by clicking here

 

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Filed under Be A Healthy Caregiver, Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, The Bow Tie Guy

‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio


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On Tuesday February 12th  at 1:00 pm,  we welcome  Dr. Loren Olson  author of ‘Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, a Psychiatrist’s Own Story’  to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio .

Loren Olson 2-200x300 Loren Olsonjpg Dr. Olson will be talking about his book ‘Finally Out: Letting Go of The Straight Life, A Psychiatrist’s Own Story’ , along with his upcoming appearances in Florida as well as his unexpected Caregiving experience.

Average … he’s not. Not only did Dr. Olson complete medical school, serve four years as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy, and embark upon a successful career as a psychiatrist; he also had a compatible eighteen year marriage and raised two daughters with his attorney wife, Lynn, before facing up to a difficult truth about himself: he is gay.

Through Dr. Olson’s expertise, we will all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ 

To visit Dr. Olson website and to purchase his book, simply click here.

 Our show is available live at 1:00 pm with optional chat room for you to ask questions to our guest. (Our show is archived so you can listen at your  convenience.) To access our show, simply click  here.

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 To access all our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ episodes on

blogtalkradiologo Simply click here

 

 

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Be A Healthy Caregiver, Caregiving, LGBT Seniors

‘I Do Not Need Any Help…I Have A StepLadder!’


Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Buddha

As Caregivers, more often than not, we pay better attention to the health and well-being of our caree rather than to ourselves; It just goes with the territory. Just the other day, I found ‘The Little One’ pulling out the stepladder to use to reach the upper cabinets (after all he is 5’5”) in our kitchen. Being the over protective caregiver that I am, I immediately balked at his use of the ladder. “What are you doing,” I said! “What does it look like I am doing, putting away the groceries.” He responded. “Not with that ladder you’re not.” The conversation deteriorated from there…

Safety is a big concern for all of us. One harmless fall can put an entire series of health concerns into play. Yet there is a delicate balance between independence and common sense.

Dr. Starcevic with ‘The Little One’

On Friday, ‘The Little One’ had his quarterly check up with his primary care physician, Dr. Starcevic. Dr. Starcevic continues to be amazed at ‘The Little One’s’ progress and stated…”We should review the pathology report because this is truly amazing!” I was gratified when she spoke about how important I was in the progress that he has made over the past year. Of course, he agreed with her 100%. This conversation really helped boost my ego and confidence.

‘The Little One’ highly respects Dr. Starcevic, and I do too. When ‘The Little One’ was in the middle of his chemo and radiation treatments last year, she was the one who determined that he needed to be in the hospital. Not only did she have him admitted, she put him in a wheel chair and took him to the hospital herself! We will never forget that act of kindness on her part.

The Famous Stepladder

During the conversation with Dr. Starcevic, ‘The Little One’ mentioned that he is “extra careful when he walks because he does not want to fall down and break a hip.” As I listened attentively to his words, I could not resist jumping in. “Why don’t you tell Dr. Starcevic how you like to get on stepladders, “ I said! They both turned to me (with different expressions on their face of course) at the same time: then the real conversation ensued about ‘The Little One’s’ safety. The conversation was lively and to the point; it is harder for ‘The Little One’ to dispute Dr. Starcevic than it is me!

Every caregiver wants to ensure that their caree is 100% safe. While I know I cannot be at home 24/7, I also know that I cannot control what ‘The Little One’ does when I am not home. (Like I can really control him when I am at home!) I can hear ‘The Little One’ saying, ‘I can put those cans on that top shelf, I’ve been doing it this way my entire life;’ I get that response and respect it too.

Even as we age, each one of us has that indestructible opinion of ourselves. We do not want to lose our independence, but we also do not want to lose our independence through a fall that is preventable. Sometimes we just need a different messenger, and sometimes we have to realize that our message needs to be tapered. In this case, we learned the meaning of both. Thank goodness for the wonderful work of Dr. Starcevic!

You see…We might have Cancer…But Cancer does not have us!

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Filed under Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, caregiver, Caregiving, Inter-generational Relationships, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Seniors, Older man

“I’m between 81 and Death!”


If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
Mahatma Gandhi

We are three weeks into our FitPass program with Caregiving.com and the group is progressing along just fine. There are so many reasons why we put on weight; stress, poor choices, not seeing food as fuel is just a few of the topics that come up during our FitPass discussions on Monday night. While I have a long way to go in order to sort out why I have put on weight, I am pleased with the loss of 8lbs since we’ve started this program.

It just so happened that the ‘The Little One‘ had his own discussion on health and fitness with a nurse who came to visit him on Monday in our home. This visit was a courtesy of one of the many programs that his insurance plan has for him in Florida. (Hence another reason to be here full-time) While I missed the visit today, I certainly heard about it during our dinner conversation.

“I was given all these instructions on what I should be eating and how I should be eating. While I appreciated the concern and the information I was given, I just looked at her and said...I’m between 81 and death, at this point in my life and what I have been through this past year, what difference does it really make what I eat?” I’m sure he said this in a polite tone.

I mentioned ‘The Little One’s conversation this evening during our FitPass conference call and made the comment, “I’m the one who should have had that conversation today as it is my eating habits and fitness that is out of whack.”

The common denominator here is simple, it is about the perception of one’s quality of life.

‘The Little One’ can never be accused of not having a realistic view of his condition. Yesterday is gone — today is here — not sure about tomorrow. He has admirably lived by this motto for quite some time now. (Remember, he was given 3-4 months to live last October!) Like many people who are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, it’s not uncommon for a conversation to take place about Quality of Life. Quality of Life will have a different meaning for each one each of us. ‘The Little One’ has outlived everyone’s expectations; he is cognizant of what quality of life means to him. Who is it for anyone else to argue with him on this point? At this time in his life, eating one less scoop of ice cream or having one less helping of milk chocolate raisins is not going to do anything for him other than deprive him of a pleasure. I’d say ‘go for it and enjoy!’

Photo Credit: The Purple Jacket

The more I thought about his visit with the nurse, and the more I talked about it with our FitPass group, I realized that I have lost sight of what quality of life means to me. You see, as a Caregiver we get so wrapped up in the needs of our caree, we often forget about our own needs. That extra scoop of ice cream sure feels good when you’ve had a stressful day of Caregiving, work, life etc. However, that does not mean you have to have that extra scoop of ice cream every night!

Photo Credit: Wayne Dyer

In order to make healthy choices, we have to be aware of our options. With that, we have to recognize and own what quality of life means to us as an individual . For ‘The Little One’ that extra scoop of ice cream signifies an accomplishment and truly is a part of his quality of life; he has earned it! For me, my quality of life can not be tied solely to his, for in that, I lose my sense of self. (I.e. Weight Gain) How can I be a good caregiver if I am not taking care of myself?

While the nurse that visited our home on Monday was not there to see me, in reality the message she left…was solely for me!

You see…We might have Cancer…But Cancer does not have us!

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Filed under Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, cancer treatments, caregiver, Caregiving, Esophagus Cancer, Live Love Laugh, Unconditional Love

LGBT Aging through the lens of Gen Silent


It’s never too late to give up our prejudices.Henry David Thoreau

You might remember an earlier blog post where I talked about a question that was posed to me by a good (straight) friend of mine, his question was simple: ‘What’s different about LGBT Caregiving.  In that blog post, I wrote  “ A very profound question that is easy to answer, yet difficult to explain.   “Caregiving in and of itself is the same for every couple, you simply care for the one you love.   The difference for the LGBT caregiver is when we have to interact with systems outside of our home that are out of our control.”

As an LGBT caregiver and advocate, my response to that important question pales in comparisons to the magnificent and gut wrenching documentary, Gen Silent.     The real life stories of love, commitment, discernment, hope, happiness and despair told through the lens of “Gen Silent” are gut wrenching, yet important for all audiences in order to understand the plight of LGBT seniors in America. Producer/Director Stu Maddux does a splendid job in piecing together these LGBT pioneers who helped paved the way for what we know today as Gay Pride.

We should all be indebted to them.  

Throughout their life, LGBT seniors have experienced discrimination solely for being ‘different’. LGBT Seniors are one of the most underserved communities in our nation.  Today’s LGBT seniors grew up in a time where they were told that homosexuality was not only a mental illness, but also a crime!

Systems can be unfair, yet pioneers like those in this marvelous film are the ones who help foster change.   Out of the shadows and into our hearts, this documentary provides  viewers with critical examples of why NO senior should be left behind.  This issue is not a local issue, it is a universal issue.  Somewhere along the line in our discussion about critical issues that face our society, we have lost the ability to look and talk about these issues empathically.

No matter what side of the fence you are on in regards to gay marriage; Equality in not a privilege, it is a basic human right.  Through the lens of Gen Silent” you will see the true meaning of love and why equality and equal rights are so important in our society today because everyone deserves a perfect sunset to their life.

Kudo’s to Stu Maddux and the staff at the LGBT Aging Project for a job well done.   Thank You to Ellen Wender of Creative Arts Enterprises and Treece Financial Group for taking the initiative to bring this documentary to South Florida.  Thank You to Diane Lade of the Sun-Sentinel for writing such a superb article on “Gen Silent” how nursing homes can push gay seniors back into the closet.

For information on how you can bring “Gen Silent” to your community, click here to visit the films website and ‘like’ them on Facebook, too!

To learn how your agency can develop LGBT-sensitive policies, train staff,  create welcoming environments, and receive CEU’s visit SunServe Social Services.

“We might have cancer…but cancer does not have us!”

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Filed under Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, caregiver, Caregiving, Dialogue, Gay Caregiving, Gay Seniors, Inter-generational Relationships, Intergenerational, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Senior Health

Gen-Silent in Fort Lauderdale


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Filed under caregiver, Caregiving, Gay Caregiving, Gay Seniors, Intergenerational, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Older man, Senior Health, Senior Housing

On Borrowed Time?


 

I decided to try something different this evening with my blog post… I am using Dragon Naturally Speaking to post my blog this evening.  I have come to the realization that I am much better at speaking than I am at typing: this just might be a better way for me to communicate my thoughts, feelings and emotions as I moved forward with ‘The Purple Jacket.”  So far so good!

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This past week,  The Little One had his appointment with the oncologist. What was amazing about this appointment was that I did not feel the need, nor did I have the time to go to the appointment with him.   Now the ‘Mother Hen’ in me worried all morning about the whereabouts of “The Little One” yet  I knew deep down inside me that could handle the oncologist, handle the drive down to the office and be independent.  He did not get to be 81 without some form of independence!

Just as is the primary care doctor was encouraged at his progress, so was the oncologist.  It just so happens that the oncologist and the primary care doctor share the same office space;  this convenient for sharing information between staff and doctors.  The other benefit of this location in that the chemotherapy treatments is on the site, too! This  setup has made easier, not only for “The Little One”, but for all the patients that these physicians see on a regular basis.

The oncologist continued to spread good cheer,  good health and well-being for “The Little One.”  As I mentioned in my last blog post, the oncologist had projected 3 or 4 months to live after the initial diagnosis and subsequent treatments.  While he is pleased to be proven wrong, statistically speaking, the cure rate for esophageal cancer is one of the lowest there is.  If we are going solely by the book, then 3 to 4 months is correct.

It is understandable why a diagnosis like this would be attached to such a short lifespan.  That being said,  we forged ahead mindful of the pitfalls, yet striving for the best possible results.  We never want to rule out hope!

 I guess what amazes me the most about this visit to the oncologist is not the fact that we all recognize that the little one has far exceeded anyone’s expectations; it’s why is the doctor felt like he has to end this positive visit with the words…”You know you’re on borrowed time!”

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Granted I was not there for this conversation, and I have no reason to doubt what “The Little One” has told me in regards to this conversation.  Yet, I am not sure what the purpose of comments like this does for a patient, for a caregiver or for the physician themselves?  Throughout this whole ordeal, we have taken a positive approach to dealing with the effects of cancer. We could sulked, we could  have  played the blame game, we could have gone into denial… However, what good would that have done for either one of us?  That’s just like saying…”you know we’re on borrowed time.”  

I do not claim to be a doctor, I do not claim to be a clinician, but I do believe that I understand how a positive outlook and healthy communication  can have a soothing and  healing effect on the mind, on the body, and of the spirit when dealing with critical health issues.  When you think about it,  we are all on borrowed time, yet does a cancer patient really need to be reminded of that?

Photo Credit: Pinterst

The healing power of body, mind and spirit plays such an important role in overcoming physical (and mental) illness.   To use a sports metaphor, the best defense is usually a good offense.  The best way to deal with a diagnosis of cancer is to be as realistic and honest as possible.  Our best offense was to plunge full force  When I look at this comment from the oncologist in this light, I can understand it.  Yet to presuppose a diagnosis without the addition of hope, only leads us to despair.  Reality is painful enough, more so without the effects of hope!

Sometimes Just Being There is all we need

Through this experience, I am convinced that one of the key tools in transmitting hope and reality,  is the ability to be an empathetic communicator.    Calmly… Empathy transmits hope and reality.  I don’t think that there is anymore that we can ask for when dealing with the stark reality of Cancer or any other disabling illness.

You see…We Might Have Cancer…But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

Photo Credit: ‘The Bow-Tie-Guy”

 

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, cancer treatments, Caregiving, Esophagus Cancer, Gay Caregiving, Gay Seniors, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Spirituality