Dotting the I’s and Crossing the T’s. Legal Strategies to Protect Yourself and a Loved One – Wendy Witt – https://amillionfamilies.org
In this podcast, Wendy Witt will teach you how to protect yourself and your loved ones while navigating caregiving and long-term care issues. Estate planning, ethical wills, power of attorney – these are but a few of the topics Wendy will cover.
With a mission to protect a million families with law, legacy, loot – and love, Wendy Witt, JD is the founder of a Million Families.org, a social enterprise focused on families like yours.
Why found a Million Families.org? Because as an estate planning lawyer, Wendy could protect, say, a thousand families. As a legal marketing consultant, she can help protect hundreds of thousands of families. Through a Million Families.org and outreach to good folks like you, Wendy will help protect a million families and we want yours to be one of them.
In 1999, while Wendy was pregnant with her third child, she researched estate planning so that she could protect her own family (from an “undesirable” relative…do you have any of those?). Anyway, Wendy had to protect her babies – and – once she knew how to do that, she also knew she had to help you protect your family as well. So, she joined the estate planning law firm (where she did her own planning) and practiced estate planning and elder law for 15+ years, protecting families like yours.
As a leader in the estate planning community, Wendy has mentored over 8,000 estate planning and elder law attorneys, empowering them to protect more families.
Yes, Wendy admit she’s a lawyer, but don’t let that stop you from liking her. She and her lawyer friends and are the good guys – all day, they focus on helping folks like you protect your families. That’s why we do what we do.
Rewriting the Aging Script – From Surviving to Thriving with Dr. Maria Zayas
It is critical to navigate our elder years with conscious intention. The positive aging movement has focused on processes of self-discovery and transformation to clear patterns that sabotage us. Caregiving provides an opportunity to review our lives and significant relationships from a standpoint of care and compassion. You will learn how to transform an experience of surviving into an experience of thriving.
Dr. Maria Zayas has been a licensed psychologist for almost thirty years. She earned her doctorate in psychology at Columbia University in New York City, and has received advanced training in a number of holistic health modalities over the years. In addition to being a practicing psychologist, Dr. Zayas is a faculty member of the Psychology Department at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, where she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate psychology programs and conducts research to enhance scientific knowledge and practical application in the areas of integrative health and well-being. She is also a certified yoga teacher and a HeartMath trainer, mentor, and clinical practitioner. Her clinical practice focuses on supporting people as they move through life transitions by helping them understand and update personal patterns to empower a new level of awareness, choice and authentic self-expression.
As the number of individuals who live long and productive lives increases, it becomes critical to navigate the elder years with conscious intention, both for personal well-being and satisfaction, as well as for the sake of bringing the collective wisdom of the that generation into a world that sorely needs support from wise elders. Following in the tradition of indigenous cultures, who revere and employ the gifts of their elders, the positive aging movement has focused on moving through social and psychological processes of self-discovery and transformation to clear habitual patterns of thought and action that sabotage our full creative expression in the world, whether mental, emotional, physical or spiritual. Consciously exploring those patterns and the countless issues we have faced over a lifetime releases a wealth of energy that can then be used for living in joy and productive expression, making it possible to release obstacles to self-realization and move into a new creative space. Nowhere is that more important than in our role as caregiver, an opportunity which provides us with a vehicle for reviewing our lives and significant relationships from a standpoint of care and compassion. By engaging in the possibilities of this rite of passage, we can transform an experience of surviving into an experience of thriving. Join Dr. Maria Zayas for this informative podcast.
Sunshine of Your Life
Senior Entertainment / Education Network
I fell into a mission for older people, not through caregiving as many think (that would come later) but through singing. Tired of playing in casinos and night clubs, I went into a senior community and started singing to the residents. And I never stopped. That was the genesis of our senior entertainment / education network.
I was averaging 100 performances a year part time, and it changed the trajectory of my health care career. I stopped counting the number of performances long ago, but I would imagine the number is more than 3,000!
Social Isolation Among Seniors
A report in the National Academies found that: “Social isolation and loneliness are serious yet under-appreciated public health risks that affect a significant portion of the older adult population. Approximately one-quarter of community-dwelling Americans aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated, and a significant proportion of adults in the United States report feeling lonely. People who are 50 years of age or older are more likely to experience many of the risk factors that can cause or exacerbate social isolation or loneliness, such as living alone, the loss of family or friends, chronic illness, and sensory impairments.”
An online survey of senior living residents from Altarum found that our seniors are lonelier than ever. More than half are not participating in any organized activities. Covid has exacerbated all of this of course.
A recent New York Times article cited the book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, which explains that stress hormones from feeling socially isolated can have as serious an impact on the human body as smoking or obesity.
The British government even appointed a minister for loneliness in 2017. Nursing home residents have experienced increased depression, weight loss, and more during the pandemic.
The Power of Music
John Carpenter, founder of the world-renowned Rebecca Center for Music Therapy in New York, shares that music helps stimulate communication and memory skills. Listening to live music and being involved in live music-making experiences empowers people to emerge from the isolation imposed by dementia or simply from loneliness.
People who are connected this way are less depressed, more likely to engage in other meaningful activities, and less likely to be given anti-psychotic medications for their symptoms.
Another study has shown that the mental acuity of Alzheimer’s patients who regularly sang over a four month period rose sharply. And still another study revealed that nursing home residents with dementia who often get agitated can benefit from internet video chat that enables residents to both see as well as hear others while reducing agitation.
- Lowers anxiety
- Reduces loneliness
- Lowers agitation
- Improves memory
- Improves cognitive skills
- Involves caregivers
- Promotes self-expression and stimulation
- Provides cognitive stimulation
- Provides motivation
- Promotes physical engagement
- Improves social connections
- Helps improve self-identity
- Provides pleasure and enjoyment
- Contributes to a creative outcome
New Senior Entertainment / Education Network Relieves Loneliness
About five years ago, I acquired the technology to stream concerts live. It was a novel idea. Care homes didn’t have the interest, bandwidth, or technology. Now things are different.
I have partnered with students from Northeastern University to solve a real societal issue – isolation – by creating a virtual entertainment and education network that provides livestream and pre-recorded programming to senior communities, senior centers, adult day care, hospice and home-bound adults.
“We couldn’t think of a more timely topic,” says Jane Braley, associate director of employer engagement and career design at The Experiential Network at Northeastern University.
Senior Communities Need Our Help
The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of our health care systems: Loneliness and mental health issues loom large. We believe a community of like-minded organizations and individuals can fill the void by providing all kinds of support.
We believe this holistic, 360 degree approach is what sets this network apart, and I am glad to be part of it.
If you’re interested to help fight loneliness among older adults and participate in our Senior Entertainment / Education initiative, please contact Anthony.
How often do you feel lonely or isolated? Is this due to the pandemic, or did it start before Covid emerged? Do you know of someone else who feels the same way? Have you experienced the power of music as an instrument against loneliness? Please share with our community.