Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are You Talking to Your Mothers?

Have you talked to your mother lately? I mean beyond, “How are you?” – to “I’m fine.” She may not really be fine. She may have some health problems that she is not telling you about because is concerned about what the outcome will be if you know. So she doesn’t tell you.

You, on the other hand are so busy - just overwhelmed with work, and children, that you are happy to hear “fine” so you don’t have to worry. You don’t have the time anyhow. What about down the line or in the future? What about when she needs you? Are you open to hear that she may need some help? Will she be able to tell you? She doesn’t want to impose or be a burden or bother you. That is not her style. And you may not really want to listen.

At the events where the book, VOICES OF OLDER WOMEN : What They Want To Say...Why You're Not Listening, was available to buy, I heard many different comments about communicating with the family between the generations. One woman said, “My adult children don’t speak to me and won’t tell me why.” Another said, “If I sent her the book she would just send it back. We don’t talk to each other and haven’t for years. I’ve just given up.” Many people seem to be bothered by the fact that communication is difficult and don’t know what to do about it. It seems that this the time to address it.

With the way things are in the country and the world right now, there aren’t many places we can make a big difference. But we can have an affect within our own families. We can reach out and mend fences if needed. We can reach out and offer some help if needed. We can at least reach out and have a conversation about what one another needs to make life better.

What do you think about setting up some groups of younger and older adults to work out wome ways to communicate? Or what about thinking of some questions that would evoke ideas and feelings about why it's important to communicate?
What else would build up the trust needed to talk openly with one another?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Book Is Finished!

I have finished writing my book -- it's called Voices Of Older Women: What They Want To Say... Why You're Not Listening. It is now available through Carneros Press (www.carnerospress.com). The book is about what valuable older women have to say to the world. They have not been heard from, not called upon for advice, and are invisible and forgotten in terms of value and contribution.

The truth is that they are very valuable members of our families and society and have much to offer us. They are natural problem solvers, teachers, holders of life stories, keepers of secrets, skilled craftswomen, peacemakers, socially active and able to reinvent themselves, make do, and love unconditionally.

It is also about the plight of some invisible older women, who are disconnected from families and the losses to be felt by their adult children and society.

VOICES OF OLDER WOMEN is a book both for older women, and especially for their families. It is a call to families and society to acknowledge and embrace them before it is too late. It is a revealing look at what they have to say and why we don't want to listen. I had the privilege of interviewing 100 women and have captured their voices and stories.

My interest in this subject came from my career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Geriatric Case Manager, where I met many older women in many different settings who needed assistance. The women I met when I retired, talked about some of the same issues and problems as those who were ill or in need of help. I decided to check it out and found in the interviews that the problems women deal with are not exclusive to those who are of low income or those who are not well. They are universal.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Notes While Finishing My Book

I am still writing the book, Voices of Older Women. It is not finished yet, but it is very close.

I have been thinking about the reasons communication is difficult between older parents and their adult children. I wonder why their relationships are strained. Each generation brings much baggage to the scene and often it is hard to get past that. Sometimes it keeps the relationship on a very superficial level. this can be very upsetting for the older person. The younger adult can remain busy with their own family and not give a lot of thought to the parent.

There is a spiritual aspect to relationships, which is really important. It can make the difference between being in touch or not.

When raised with a belief in God and all that it entails one has values inbred that can be called on again and again even if given up for a time. I think that we naturally look toward our Creator in our older years. Many discard the religion and all its failings and hang on the idea of God as Creator and/or a universal loving power. It brings comfort and strength to those who face losses and struggle with health issues. When I think about Christianity and all it means if one is called to act as the tenets state, one can’t ignore or remain separate from one’s older parents.

Honor your father and mother is a commandment. What does it mean to honor a parent? It means to acknowledge, care about, know, look out for their well being, just as they did for their children.Another commandment, in fact the greatest commandment, is to love God with one’s whole being and love thy neighbor as thyself. Is a parent a neighbor? Even if you hate your parents, the Christian command is to love your enemies. So there is no way a Christian can abandon or ignore a parent and still be a Christian.

For those who don't claim any religious belief there is still the Golden Rule, which states that we should do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

How would like to be treated when you get older?

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