Today I welcome Barbara Franklin to my blog. Barbara is the owner of Franklin & Associates, Inc., a Charleston-based firm specializing in long-term care planning and financing. In addition to working in this field for over twenty-two years, she has earned many awards, including the Top 100 Long Term Care Specialists in the nation. Somehow, she has found time to serve her community in a wide range of activities including the Low Country Senior Network and the South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition.
“Aging in Place” is a simple term but a big idea! At its simplest it means staying where you are most comfortable! It also means having the choice to remain in your chosen residence for as long as possible and accessing various services to assist you.
In my role as a Long Term Care Specialist over the past twenty-four years, clients have expressed over and over again the strong desire to stay independent and in their residence. The AARP and many other organizations have documented this fact with various studies about attitudes of older adults. My husband, Paul, and I - along with other senior service professionals - recognized years ago that there was a need for collaboration and community resources to support this desire and that’s what led to the initiation of the South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition (www.scaipc.org) in 2003.
For a family involved in caregiving or an individual trying to age in place, sometimes all that’s needed is the right connection to a resource. The Coalition - now with 100+ members - brings together for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and government agencies under one mission. The goal is to offer education and referrals to a wide ranging of resources that are generally associated with healthcare, housing, finance, transportation and various community and supportive services.
To me, aging in place acknowledges that we can’t do it on our own and we need each other. In past generations families lived together and took care of each other but in our mobile society – with families often living far apart – it’s no longer practical. It’s unlikely that we will go back to the “way it used to be” and more likely that we will depend on personal and professional service to assist us. In some areas virtual “Villages” are emerging as self-governing, grassroots, community- based organizations that enable neighbors to help one another to live as long as possible in their neighborhood.
It’s also true that aging in place doesn’t happen by accident – it takes planning! Waiting for a “crisis” can severely limit the options for aging in place. That’s why Paul and I decided to put our own plan in place five years ago by moving to a downtown condominium with an elevator and renovating it with wide doorways, walk in showers, grab bars in the bathroom, special lighting and all the features we might need to stay there safely and comfortably as long as possible. Being in the City means that we can depend less on our cars and walk to grocery stores, shopping, restaurants and in general experience a more healthy life style.
While none of us can be fully prepared for all the contingencies in life, having an “aging in place” plan brings peace of mind and satisfaction that we can - in all likelihood - stay where we are most comfortable.
The phone rings. The teacher emails. The dog needs food, and come to think of it, so do your kids. The calendar fills. The laundry piles, and that verse haunts you.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b
I get what the verse means. It’s living out the meaning that’s hard.
How does your household serve God in daily, practical, and yet, meaningful ways?
Not so long ago, my family stood paralyzed by the greatness of our inadequacies and the needs of the world.
Then, God started whispering, you know those soft whispers you hear in your head and feel in your veins. He told us that serving Him meant serving others. He told us to quit defining what service looked like and just start serving.
So, we did, and guess what? You can too. Need some ideas? I thought you might. Check out this list (and links because who has time to look for links?) of 10 practical ways your family can serve the Lord today.
• Write letters of encouragement to soldiers. Soldiers’ Angels assists you in flooding our country’s heroes with mail and thanks.
• Peek through an issue of IMPACT, an ezine designed to inspire families to serve others.
• Read about teens making a difference at Generation On.
• Color pictures for the lonely. Color a Smile encourages even the littlest servers to send some crayon, colored love through the mail.
• Find the courage to look at hard topics. What’s the fastest growing division of the porn industry? Child porn. Makes you sick, right? Good. Go see what The Sold Project is doing about it.
• Lend a microloan. Kiva changes lives by lending small loans (as low as $25.00) to an entrepreneur across the world. These entrepreneurs then use your money to buy livestock, start a store, purchase a bike, or provide them the opportunity to
earn money. Then, through Kiva, these same entrepreneurs pay you back.
• Love even when it’s not convenient and especially when it’s hard.
• Watch a video, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Need direction? Try this one, The Girl Effect.
• Read To the End of June by Cris Beam. It will make your heart hurt and swell at the same time.
• Pray always.
Amy L. Sullivan. Word lover. Book devourer. Music addict. Amy’s first book on serving others as a family will release on September 22, 2014. She is pretty darn excited.
Find out more about Amy’s book or connect with Amy online.
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