Elder Abuse

November 27th, 2018 No comments

Elder Abuse

While riding a city bus in Geneva, Switzerland, I was fascinated by a video clip with the Helpline for people experiencing domestic violence. What caught my attention was the message of an older woman saying, “Since my husband has retired, he controls everything I do. I’ve had enough.”

There are many types of violence, and older persons are often abused physically, psychologically, sexually, and financially. This includes neglect, violation of rights, denial of privacy, and denial to participate in making decision.

Keeping in mind that throughout the world, 1 million people reach the age of 60 years every month, there is real concern that mistreatment of elders will increase.

So, what can you do?

  • Become aware of what mistreatment of older people means so you can recognize it.
  • Download this report from the United Nations to learn how to recognize abuse and what to do about it..
  • Know your rights and seek help if you, or someone around you is being abused.
  • Find out what services are available in your community to help prevent further violence and mistreatment. Speak to your healthcare professional, church leader, social services, Helpline, elder abuse prevention center.
  • Remember to practice the techniques and concepts of AgeEsteem. The more confident and happier you are as you age, the greater your sense of self-worth and your expectation of being treated with respect and dignity.

No one should have to experience violence, abuse or mistreatment, at any age.

Bonnie Fatio

 

Have a Day of Wonderful!

September 15th, 2018 Comments off

A Day of Wonderful!

Have you passed by the wonders of life? There is a television ad here in Europe for a soft drink which is offered to a man in a retirement home. When he drinks it he says, “I wonder what else I have passed by in life?” He then proceeds to look at his day as an experience to be lived and tests new opportunities.

This scenario reminds me of the film Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling when Julia Roberts says, “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

In both the ad and the movie, what makes the difference between a day waiting for more of the same and minutes of wonderful is the person. How does he or she choose to live the minutes?

Is your day a piece of wonderful, or part of a lifetime of nothing special? Test these simple techniques to enhance your age-esteem.

  • Tell yourself you will have a day of wonderful.
  • Ask yourself, “What would make this a day of wonderful? Then incorporate that into your day. Test something new. Visit a new place; experiment with different foods; join a local tour; listen to modern music; invite someone to come for tea.
  • Keep a Day of Wonderful Journal. At the end of each day record what made the day one of wonderful.

You may be surprised at the effect this has on you, and even those around you.

Have a day of wonderful!

Bonnie Fatio

 

I Will Never Be A Grandparent

September 12th, 2018 Comments off

No Grandchildren

Although planned parenthood may exist, planned grandparenthood does not. We have no control over whether or not we will become a grandparent. Though some of us may have made that decision by not having children of our own, or were unable to have children of our own, many who do have children have no grandchildren. It is not our decision to make.

For some this is fine. They are happy in life without grandchildren. For many, though, it is something they miss. Grandchildren seem to be the natural assurance of life continued to future generations. It may be the end of our DNA being passed on, however our legacy continues in multiple ways.

When a financial expert asked me what I wanted to leave to my three grandchildren, my spontaneous response had nothing to do with DNA or with finances. It had to do with values, experiences shared, and memories created. Yes, these related to my grandchildren; they could also relate to other children with whom I have repeated contact.

If you suffer because you do not have grandchildren, make space for other children in your life. Many children do not have grandparents or other older people in their lives. You can help fill that need.

  • Are there families in your neighborhood or among your colleagues who would welcome your presence in their lives? Many parents, especially single parents, work long days and have little energy left when they return home.
    • Ask parents if you could invite their little ones for cookies and milk after school.
    • Would they welcome help with homework, babysitting, making dinner?
  • Volunteer your services to the Scout troop, local school, library, church or sports center to help with projects, story hour, or after-school programs.
  • Go to the playground often and chat with the mothers and fathers. Get to know them and let them know you. Slowly find out what their needs are and how you might assist them with the children.
  • If you are blessed to have nieces and nephews, build relationships with them. Plan events with them such as going to the circus or museum or a picnic in the park. Send them notes and speak often.
  • Join a community mentoring program for the underprivileged.

Children need older people in their lives. We bring a perspective and dimension that is otherwise missing. If you want to have grandchildren in your life and don’t, then reach out to other children. It will also enhance your age-esteem.

Bonnie Fatio

 

Happy Grandparent’s Day!

September 9th, 2018 Comments off

 

What memories do you have of your grandparents? Were they present in your life?

When my sister googled one of the homes we lived in as children, she discovered that it was for sale, and there were photos showing each room. One of our common memories was having the grandparents come for Christmas one year, which was exceptional.  We rarely saw them more than once a year, when we visited them in the summer. So, having them with us for the holidays was truly special.

Our other grandparents lived close enough for us to travel to spend Thanksgiving in their home. I still can smell turkey and mince pie and feel the warmth and excitement of being with the other cousins for the day. We did not have mobile phones and i-pads back then with apps allowing us to see each other despite the distance, and these gatherings were precious to us.

Grandparents are important. They are the foundation of the larger family, and often the glue that holds it together. Today Grandparents around the globe are caring for and often raising their grandchildren due to the parent’s illness, busy career, and lack of funds for daycare as well as divorces where a single parent must do all.

In a poll of children answering questions about their grandparents, I learned that grandparents are seen to also be good listeners and less judgmental. We tend to be more available to our grandchildren when we are with them. Our love and interest in our grandchildren differ from that of a parent and adds a valuable dimension to the emotional and intellectual education of our grandchildren.

Happy Grandparent’s Day!

Bonnie Fatio

World Refugee Day

June 20th, 2018 Comments off

World Refugee Day

Had I been born in another part of the world, I might be among the refugees of my age struggling to walk their way to freedom.

I am fortunate. I know where I will sleep tonight; that I can walk into the local neighborhood, wave to people I know, and to feel safe. No one has forced me from my home, violated me, or made it impossible to remain in my country without fear of injury or death. No, I am not one of the 68 million refugees or internally displaced people in the world today as a result of conflict or persecution. Many of them are my age, if not when they begin their journey they may be by the time they are able to return to their countries.

From 1998 to 2001 I was privileged to be part of a team of local leaders in Geneva, Switzerland brought together by Mrs. Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It opened my eyes to what it meant to seek refuge.

  • Most refugees want only to return to their homes. They have been forced to leave and dream of the moment when they can return. You’ve only to witness news reports of the risks they have taken and the hundreds of miles they have walked to know that they had no choice if they were to survive.
  • Many refugees have been born and raised in refugee camps waiting to enter into a safe country. The average length of displacement today is 17 years. Recently I mentored a woman who had spent her whole life in a refugee camp.
  • Many of the people we think of as the heroes of science, exploration, humanity and education in our own countries came to our countries as refugees. Geneva, Switzerland where I live, developed into the world renowned city of Global Peace Talks and the United Nations organizations largely thanks to the arrival of refugees over the centuries.

Let’s stand together with refugees and also recognize that had we been born in another part of the world we might be among them, or left behind to die.

Bonnie Fatio

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15th, 2018 Comments off

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder abuse is a problem that often goes undefined. Frankly, I found it frightening to read the signs of abuse shared by the U.S. National Institute on Aging. Why? Because they seem to also fit the stereotype of an older person, the image that has been fed to us over the years.

The list includes traits such as seeming confused; rocking back and forth; looks messy; and has trouble sleeping. All of these seem to fit stereotypes of aging, yet they can also be serious warning signs that something is wrong. Add to this any bruises or burns that cannot be explained, and you know you must act. However, not all abuse is physical. It can also be emotional, financial, or being neglected.

Let’s open our eyes to some of the elders around us who act oddly and who may very well be abused and need help. Try to have a private conversation with the elder to learn what is happening. If there is abuse, then guide them to where they can receive the proper assistance. This may be through an adult protective service, or a social service agency.

Are you being abused? Speak to your doctor, a help line, or a trusted friend to find help. Each of us deserves to live our age with dignity.

Bonnie Fatio

Help Your Garden Grow – Cultivate Confidence

May 17th, 2018 Comments off

Cultivating confidence is easier than you think.

Stay connected! Did you know that older adults who are engaged socially will often extend their lives and their enjoyment of life by years?  Personal relationships and regular interactions with others can make a major difference in your self-esteem and confidence.

Do something different. By exposing yourself to a new context, you’re literally growing as you learn to act in new circumstances. Joining a group that shares a common interest makes life fun. Feeling helpful and needed often encourages the release of “good” hormones that help the body to fight off illness and disease while physically making us feel better.

Get out there and be confident, share your talents and passions with others!

This time of year has a magical way of adding a bit of spring to your step, so use these warmer days to grow your garden and take action in your age-esteem.

Help Your Garden Grow – Exercise Your Mind

May 14th, 2018 Comments off

Exercise your mind. Engage in meaningful activities. Volunteer, read books and magazines that spark your curiosity, teach a class or learn a new skill or hobby. These exercises will not only improve your thinking ability and help you feel happier, but will also protect the brain by establishing “cognitive reserve” helping the brain become more adaptable in some mental functions, compensating for age-related brain changes.

Do something to grow your mind each day! It will also grow your age-esteem.

Happy Mother’s Day to All Women

May 13th, 2018 Comments off

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women of the world. Whether you have children of your own or not, you are important as a role model, teacher, friend and mentor to every child you come into contact with. It is from you that they learn what love, caring, strength, intelligent decisions, values, ethics, and what oh so much of life is all about.

Seeing how you manage your life at each stage of life is also helping children grow their age-esteem.

Thank you for being you!

Bonnie Fatio

Help Your Garden Grow – Exercise Your Body

May 10th, 2018 Comments off

Exercise your body. Move in whatever way you can.

Did you know that there is a positive association between increased levels of physical activity and improved health in older adults? Regular exercise provides a myriad of health benefits such as better bone and joint health, blood sugar management, improvements in blood pressure and long-term preservation of neuro-cognitive function.  

It is a good idea to mix aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises into each week.  Walking, dancing, swimming, bicycle riding, and tennis can all be considered aerobic exercise. Digging and lifting as part of gardening or carrying groceries while shopping can be considered muscle strengthening. Have a weekly exercise routine and take a conscious effort to act on it.

Exercise your body to encourage healthy growth as you age!