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  1. Carol Ebert

    How to Remain Relevant as You Age

    1. Age related decline starts earlier than you think If you have been climbing the professional ladder and are deeply invested in being high up, be aware that there is a fall coming. For most people in most fields decline starts earlier than almost anyone thinks and nursing is not exempt. Scholars at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research studied a wide variety of jobs and found considerable susceptibility to age-related decline in fields ranging from policing to nursing. It showed up in the professions that required mental processing speed and significant analytic capabilities which is what nursing is all about. The potential reason for age related decline lies in the work of the British psychologist Raymond Cattell, who in the early 1940s introduced the concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence. 2. Prepare for a midway course correction Some nursing strengths peak early and then diminish Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason, analyze, and solve novel problems which nurses do every day. This ability to innovate is highest early in adulthood and diminishes starting in your 30s and 40s. This is why tech entrepreneurs, for instance, do so well so early, and why older people have a much harder time innovating. Some nursing strengths peak later and continue to grow Crystallized intelligence, in contrast, is the ability to use knowledge gained in the past. It’s all the wisdom you have accumulated. Because crystallized intelligence relies on an accumulating knowledge over time, it tends to increase through your 40s, and does not diminish until very late in life. The best explainers of complicated ideas—like the best teachers—tend to be in their mid-60s or older, some of them well into their 80s. This builds a case for us as we age to consider dedicating ourselves to sharing knowledge in some meaningful way. I’ve always thought nurses were great teachers and as you age you are even more so! This is so relevant for me as a member of the Third Act because I did transition out of clinical nursing in my 30’s where I relied on fluid intelligence and moved into health education. As I look back, I don’t think I could have continued the clinical side of nursing long term, but when I look at myself now as a health educator I feel I can continue teaching others indefinitely. I am fully aware that my wisdom from all my experiences (crystallized intelligence) is in full bloom and flourishing. In addition, I have always believed that nurses who remain in the clinical arena who are getting older would make great mentors and coaches for younger nurses beginning their careers. This idea would not only retain older nurses from leaving too soon because the work is too physically demanding while also supporting the younger nurses who might get discouraged and leave nursing too soon before they even got started. 3. Prepare to walk away Based on Hindu philosophy, Ashrama is a stage in life whose name comes from two Sanskrit words meaning “retiring” and “into the forest.” This is the stage, usually starting around age 50, where we purposefully focus less on professional ambition, and become more and more devoted to spirituality, service, and wisdom. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop working when you turn 50—something few people can afford to do—only that your life goals should adjust. The wisdom of Hindu philosophy—and indeed the wisdom of many philosophical traditions—suggests that you should be prepared to walk away from your professional rewards before you feel ready. Even if you’re at the height of your professional prestige, you probably need to scale back your career ambitions in order to scale up your metaphysical ones. Accepting the natural cadence of our abilities sets up the possibility of shifting our attention in our Third Act to higher spiritual and life priorities. This is where I am now and definitely feel the pull to give back, be of service, utilize my gifts and talents to help improve the health of as many people as I can. I hope to continue this quest for as long as I am able and do see this as a worthy spiritual practice. So the bottom line is to BE AWARE and PREPARE to remain relevant in your career and beyond in Your Third Act. It’s all good! Inspired by: Your professional decline is coming (much) sooner than you think (American Enterprise Institute) Early retirement might be in your future (CNBC) Does Age-Related Decline in Ability Correspond with Retirement Age? (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College) What stage are you in and what lessons have you learned?
  2. Carol Ebert

    Aging or Ageless: What path are you on?

    Change your perception of YOU If you think you are old, you will be old before your time. Don’t act your age. Stop feeling guilty when you are drawn in the clothing section of a store when teens hang out. Their clothes are more exciting and fun than the ones you “think” you should wear. If dressing youthful makes you feel youthful, then your mind thinks you are younger too. Watch what you say Red flag language is: I’m having a senior moment I’m too old for that I can’t remember anything Replace your negative language about aging with positive words about how cool it is to be older and wiser. Look for positive role models My current favorites are Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin - both in their 80’s and still rocking! And what about RBG and Nancy Pelosi. There are more and more public figures who are showing us that older is even better. Activate personal healing practices Ask your body what it needs to flourish Reduce stress by establishing a habit of rest and restoration Create balance between activity and rest Embrace a daily nap Exercise daily but protect your body from over-doing it. Nourish your body with food it desires Relax with yoga, mindful practices, music, breathing, warm baths Grieve and release Be aware of past hurts, grudges, resentments that drag you down Create a ritual for release like writing it all down and then burning the paper Practice shifting your thoughts to something pleasant when old negative thoughts pop into your head Shout out loud – “get out of my head, I am done with you!” Forgive old resentments by praying for them briefly every day for 10 days and then feel the release Nurture relationships Nurture yourself first – how would you treat yourself if you were the love of your life? Protect your priceless energy by saying NO to toxic relationships, even family members Have fun with your friends Have fun with your partner Protect your space by setting healthy boundaries Say NO to rescuing others who need to rescue themselves Eat with Pleasure Treat your meal like an event Arrange to eat with people you enjoy who are not in a hurry Get excited about knowing that your body craves vegetables more than anything! Start with a ritual of appreciation for this wonderful nourishment for your body Look, listen and savor the food Slow the pace of chewing to slow the pace of the meal Pay attention to how your body feels Stop eating when you feel full Thank the food for nourishing your body Move with Joy Select movements that give you pleasure, stretch your muscles, get your energy flowing and make you feel alive If you like to dance but not go to dance classes or clubs, choose Jazzercise If you walk, change the pace and location If you want freedom of movement try NIA If you like being home put on music and make cleaning, dusting, gardening into dance moves If you sit all day set a timer every hour and get up to do stretches, hip swivels, yoga, tai chi Practice balancing on one foot at a time when on the phone, cooking dinner, watching TV Be Beautiful Look in the mirror every day and say “Hello gorgeous – you look awesome”. Do a morning beauty ritual for your face and enjoy the process, feel, fragrance and transformation Treat yourself to a professional beauty treatment in a salon and savor the process and feeling Wear only clothes that make you feel great even if they are “way out” Make an entrance into a room with head held high as if you are a movie star on the red carpet Connect with your spirituality Journal daily in peace and quiet and see what is revealed Remember to be who you really are and not what others think you should be Ground yourself by connecting with nature regularly Practice mindful meditation and see what comes up Connect with a spiritual community Create meaningful daily affirmations Personalize your environment Rearrange your living space to reflect good feelings and rejuvenation Purge and declutter one drawer at a time Create a small meditation alter or zone Locate a perfect place outdoors to replenish yourself Schedule daily time to be with yourself Affirm your true ageless self I will bring more pleasure into my life I will leave worry and fear behind I will be more joyful I will honor my spirituality I will live in the moment in alignment with nature I will have faith that what is meant for me will always come I will surround myself with supportive people Resource: Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality and Well-Being by Christiane Northrup, MD Please share how you are embracing “Coming of Age” and your strategies for living “Agelessly”.
  3. Carol Ebert

    Your Third Act

    Isn’t there a better way to frame this time of our life? Well, the good news is that there is! A good friend turned me on to Jane Fonda’s TED Talk called “Life’s Third Act” and I was transformed! That is the language I was looking for. I’m in my Third Act – the last 3 decades of life - and I get to write my own book about what that means for me. As Jane Fonda says: this is actually a developmental stage of life with its own significance, as different from midlife as adolescence is from childhood. And we should all be asking: How do we use this time? How do we live it successfully? What is the appropriate new metaphor for aging? We have to get over the fact that older ages are not all about pathology. Many of us (me too) are not riddled with disease, but are healthy, vibrant, energetic, filled with potential and ready for more. Fonda also says: It turns out, most people over 50 feel better, are less stressed, less hostile, less anxious. We tend to see commonalities more than differences. Some of the studies even say we're happier. So this is all good news for those of us who struggle against a culture that tends to discard our value and not appreciate what we can offer. We - the over 60 generation who were such idealistic free thinkers in our youth are not going to go quietly into the good night. We are creating a new paradigm for aging and it focuses on being - and feeling - ageless. Dr. Christiane Northrup, OBGYN, women’s health pioneer and best selling author even wrote the book Goddesses Never Age referring to older women as Ageless Goddesses. I prefer thinking of myself that way as well because the number of my age does not correlate with how I perceive myself. In my mind I am still 35 which is about half of my chronological age. Jean Huston, PhD, scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities speaking to Oprah said “It started to get really good at 60. Your heartfulness increases, you’re always looking for the deeper aspect of anything, and you try to be of use.” Carol Osborne, author of The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker’s Guide to Growing Older says coming of age is the opportunity to not only grow older, but to grow whole. It is a life stage of value and purpose of its own. Sabrina Chaw, CEO of A Feminine Feast, says “as women coming into our own, we are discovering our own true path to light up our lives.” Gail Sheehy best-selling author of New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across time presents startling facts: A woman who reaches age 50 today – and remains free of cancer and heart disease – can expect to see her ninety-second birthday. To plot our route across these vast new stretches of Second Adulthood, we need a new map of adult life. From my perspective I feel like I’m just getting started. All those years of working and experiencing things was like an internship and now I am ready to go out on my own and prove to myself I can do anything I set my mind on. I am free from the shackles of working for a boss, in control of my time and destiny, healthier and more physically active than most at my age and looking forward to what I can create next. What about you? Is aging on your mind? What are your thoughts about your third act of life? Will you continue working in nursing? What dream do you have that you want to pursue beyond your nursing career? All these questions are valid and important for you to process, because your next 30 years might be the best and most rewarding of all. Please share your thoughts.
  4. VivaLasViejas

    Steel Magnolias and Sweet Memories

    I may not be the shiniest bead on the strand, but in those moments when I'm totally plugged in to what's really going on with the people in my care, I realize how truly fortunate I am to work with such an astonishing array of personalities and situations. One of the coolest features of an unconventional nursing job like mine is the abundance of unstructured time, when there are no deadlines to meet or wound rounds to make or phone calls to answer. I do have to confess that it's been quite an adjustment for me to have so much freedom and so little real accountability for the way I spend my time; when I worked in hospitals and nursing homes, I, like every other nurse, lived and died by the tightly-regimented schedule of med passes, treatments, charting and so on. But now that I work for a company that treats me like an actual adult who doesn't need a lot of supervision, I wonder if there's some major component of my job that I know nothing about and will cause me to be fired when TPTB find out I'm not doing it. In the meantime, I find myself doing some of the most creative work of my career. Who knew that I had a talent for inventing systems that streamline our paperwork to the point where those same powers call me "computer brilliant" and ask for my expertise when they need new forms developed? And who knew that a comprehensive psychosocial assessment could be accomplished simply by joining a hen party in the facility salon a`la "Steel Magnolias"? Of course, it's no secret that for ladies of a certain age (especially those of us who were raised by Southern women!) the 'beauty shop' was once the focal point of female bonding. Women of all ages would sit primly under noisy hair dryers, smoking cigarettes and perusing dog-eared Photoplay magazines, while teenagers and tomboys alike thumbed through ancient issues of Hair Today and dreamed about putting up their own tresses like the glamorous women in the glossy pages. And while we Baby Boomers, alas, didn't carry on our mothers' tradition of weekly gossip sessions---er, appointments---sweet memories of a more innocent time came flooding back as Kathryn and Lettie beckoned to me from the quaintly retro 'parlor' this morning. The health topics they wanted to discuss with me were quickly pushed aside, however, as spontaneous chitchat arose about the things so universally dear to female hearts....the experiences that make us all kin. Like our children and pets. Family members who have gone on before us. The loves and losses we've been through. And......funny memory tricks. Lettie, in particular, has been driven to distraction by her forgetfulness lately. "I used to be highly intelligent," she sighed. "I used to know the phone numbers of every one of my friends AND my clients. Now I can barely remember my own cell phone." I couldn't help chuckling at her plight....especially since I have the same problem. "How often do you call your own cell phone?" I asked her. "You're still highly intelligent. You organized the library here and you run the resident council meetings like a pro. There's a big difference between intelligence and memory." Lettie looked at me as though I'd just revealed the key to the universe, which was funny because I hadn't the slightest idea that I even KNEW that until I opened my mouth. But I couldn't honestly take credit for a thought that had just that minute popped into my brain, and I continued: "Hey, I like to think I'm no dummy myself, but there are days that I swear I'm gonna forget my head if I don't thumbtack it to my shoulders. I do things like walk into a room without a clue as to why I'm there. I lose things in plain sight. I put things in a special safe place and then can't find them two days later. Heck, I'm only 52 and sometimes my memory's so bad that I could hide my own Easter eggs." This broke everyone up, including my boss, who had come upstairs to see what all the laughter was about. "You can say THAT again," he teased, prompting me to (briefly) consider throwing a handful of rollers at him and the others to snort and giggle like schoolgirls. Instead, I reminded the group that it's not really dementia if you only forget your keys.....it's when you forget what the keys are for that you're in deep Bandini. We talked about movies and found out we all have many of the same favorites in common. We talked about pets and learned that we all have owned smart dogs and really, really dumb dogs. We talked about hairstyles, politics, food, even sex.....and in so doing, I discovered that Lettie has really been depressed because she thinks she's got Alzheimer's and no one will tell her. I also found out that Kathryn is brewing a UTI, Marcie's only daughter is moving to Arizona, and Zoe's male friend (a fellow resident) finally "popped the question" last night, so we're going to be hearing wedding bells soon. I really do love this job. And as the residents and I stumble into this "third age" of life together, I'm reminded of something that someone much wiser than I once said: "Do what you love, and you'll never work another day in your life." I just wish I hadn't forgotten his name.......I might want to use that quote again someday and it's nice to give credit where credit is due.
  5. My mother's face stares back at me from the mirror these days. Each birthday brings new aches and pains, plus there's usually a new symptom or two that make it a requirement to go in to the doctor every three months for "maintenance". And then completely random stuff happens to remind me that I am on the downside of life........like the TV commercial that came out recently, selling funeral-insurance plans to people who were born between 1925 and 1970. 1970!! That was the year of Apollo 13, the year I started my periods........how could anyone born then possibly be old enough to plan his or her own funeral? Then it hit me: 1970 was FORTY YEARS ago. Back then, I'd listen to people reminiscing about events that occurred long before I was born and thought they had to be older than God. I couldn't even imagine being able to remember back that far. Now I realize that I myself am now in that category.......for why else would my once-sharp mind be turning to mush?? No, seriously: far more often than I'd like, I find myself needing an object, looking at it, pointing at it, trying to make someone else give it to me........and being utterly incapable of saying its name. I used to laugh at the notion that Alzheimer's isn't when you forget your keys, but when you forget what keys are for; now I'm beginning to wonder what it means when you ask your dearly beloved where they are and it comes out like, "Honey, do you know where the.......you know......um....I'm going to the car......it's on the tip of my tongue........I need the........HOOJAFLOBBETS!!" That's one of the words I've come to use whenever I can't spit out the actual word for whatever it is I'm talking about, and it's caught on....even at work, where (to the endless amusement of my co-workers and residents) I seem to experience a wide variety of, ahem, "sometimer's moments". These never occur when I'm in the middle of an emergent situation, thank God; but when I'm just piddling along, dealing with routine tasks, I'll need a dressing or a piece of equipment that I can't get to for some good reason, and suddenly my brain seizes up, rolls over, and plays dead: "Hey, Amee, could you bring me that---that---oh, you know what I mean, I need that dooflotchee there," I splutter, waving my arm in the general direction of the item I'm requesting. What's funny is, she's worked with me long enough to know just WHICH dooflotchie I mean, and she always brings the right one. "Oh, you want this dooflotchie," she'll say with a little smirk, delivering the pulse oximeter (or whatever) as swiftly as possible. Most of the other CNAs who work with me also know my code words (and use them); however, being younger, they cannot know the frustration I feel when I look directly at, say, the LED candle on my living-room table and try to tell someone about it (my SIL gave it to me for Christmas, it runs on batteries, flickers like a real candle, and can even be blown out like a real candle etc.), only to be unable to name the darned thing. Another indignity that I suffer happens sometimes when I'm in the middle of a conversation and my mind wanders off for a moment, like a three-year-old watching a butterfly, then goes off on a totally unrelated tangent: "Have you met the new admit in 305? He's street-rat crazy........even asked the aide for a porno magazine, can you imagine......OMG, I'm loving that 'Spartacus' show on Starz, the guy who plays him is hot, hot, HOT!" Then there's the matter of distractibility. I used to be able to focus on a single task like a laser beam; now, I'm lucky just to finish a project in several parts. Typically I'm heading down the hall to do a relatively complex task, such as changing the Stage IV pressure ulcer dressing in room 311, when I'm paged to the phone; after dealing with the call, I forget what I'd planned to do and go check the dialysis shunt in 303 instead. This prompts me to run down to 312 to flush her PICC line; during that process, 308 asks for a couple of pain pills, and while I'm popping them I remember the wound care so I grab the needed items along with the meds and head back down the hall. I manage to set the supplies down in 311 before an aide reports a new skin tear on the lady in 304; since it doesn't take long to clean, dress, and document such an injury, I take care of it and then it's time to check the eight or nine FSBS I have to do before dinner. Once those are done, I go back down to 311 and actually have the old dressing off before I'm paged for yet another phone call. This one is a family member who wants someone to go down to 313 (who is blind) and hand her cell phone to her so she can talk to him. That accomplished, I trot back to 311, flush the wound with the prescribed solution, then prepare the skin for the new dressing to be applied. This is about the time when I get pelted with questions from the CNAs---"Do you want me to get Rose up for dinner? She's refusing." "What was Lula's blood sugar? She doesn't look right." "You better come to the dining room, Bill's getting in Ray's face and you know how Ray acts out...." Dressing change? What dressing change? Finally, some ninety minutes later, everyone has eaten and I've taken my half-hour lunch break. That's when I realize that poor 311 STILL hasn't gotten his dressing replaced, and I scoot back down the hall to find him fast asleep, lying on his side where I'd placed him so I could reach the coccyx without standing on my head. I finish the job without disturbing him, and wonder for the umpteenth time if it's just a matter of too many distractions, or if I'm just losing what few marbles I had. I mean, there are days when I'm pretty sure I could hide my own Easter eggs. Of course, I know that younger people have bouts of forgetfulness (my nineteen-year-old son is a major offender, especially when it comes to taking out the garbage Thursday nights) . It's when we get into our 50s that we start to worry about it. Hey, you're not busy, I'd really appreciate it if you could you hand me that.......uh, that hoojaflobbets right there next to you. Thanks. What was your name again?
  6. Carol Ebert

    Reverse the Adverse

    I remember my 94 year old uncle who used to tell me how lonely he was because all his friends were gone. Living "too long" wasn't as pleasant and he thought it would be. But you can't stop progress. Currently, scientists are testing a new technique which takes adult cells back to their embryonic form. US researchers at the Salk Institute in California, showed it was possible to reverse ageing in mice, allowing the animals to not only look younger, but live 30% longer. But all of this is still years away from everyday reality. So how can we use the tools we now have to do some reversal of our own. After all, if you are going to retire, wouldn't you like to be in top form so you can actually enjoy it and make the most of those prime years ahead? Let's begin with recommendations from WebMD. Pretty standard ideas, but definitely within your control right now. Steps to Reverse the Aging Process Quit smoking. Drink only in moderation. Get your Zzzz's. Find a doctor who specializes in geriatrics or anti*aging. Cut saturated fat, up omega*3 fats. Moderate your total food intake. Be careful when tweaking your hormones. Take supplements Reprogram your vision of old age. Kick guilt out of your life! Don't be afraid to make a big change. Never retire. The Chopra Center takes more of a functional medicine approach Control chronic inflammation, which is associated with several age-related diseases. An alkaline diet rich in antioxidants can reduce inflammation, cut down on joint pain and stiffness, and fight aging. 80% fruits, greens, and vegetables. 20% protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Control oxidative stress, which allows free radicals to accumulate and cause cell damage in your body. Switch to a diet with whole, rather than processed, foods. Improve your digestive system to allow more nutrients to get into your cells, increase energy and vitality. A simple first step is to start your day with warm lemon water and a dash of cayenne pepper. Detoxify your body to enhance your health and improve the appearance and feel of your skin. Drink lots of water and sweat a lot in a sauna or hot steam bath are good first steps. Reduce stress. All stress releases cortisol which is aging your body and shortening the telomeres which are the outermost parts of chromosomes in your cells. Telomeres protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide, and hold some secrets to how we age and get cancer. Start eating better foods, moving more and doing daily relaxation practices so stress won't seem as unmanageable. And finally - drum roll please - you can rejuvenate the mitochondria or energy centers in your cells using exercise and nutrition. Here is how it works. Anti-aging Exercise A study published March 7, 2017, in Cell Metabolism found that high-intensity interval training in aerobic exercises such as biking and walking -- caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, effectively stopping aging at the cellular level. "Based on everything we know, there's no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process," said study senior author Sreekumaran Nair, a medical doctor and diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine." Anti-aging Nutrition The latest nutritional advancement from the scientists at a leading nutritional company has shown that giving cells a combination of nutrients in certain amounts can signal the cell to produce its own antioxidants at 100x the power of eating all the fruits and vegetables you can consume. In other words, your body can start nourishing, protecting, repairing and recycling aging mitochondria to give you new energy and vitality. Stay tuned for more research on this amazing innovation! I know you wish there were a miracle right now to reverse the aging process, but the truth is YOU ARE THE MIRACLE AND THE SOLUTION IS IN YOUR HANDS. And knowledge is power so hopefully this information will be the jumpstart you are looking for. You can do more to live longer and healthier than any miracle drug could ever do, because that drug, when it does exist, will never replace your can-do spirit and your desire to live a better life. What first steps are you willing to take to start reversing the aging process? Resources webmd Turning back time: Salk scientists reverse signs of aging - Salk Institute for Biological Studies 5 Signs Your Body Is Aging Too Fast, and How to Reverse it | The Chopra Center

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