Light of Gray

Elder Care Expertise

Alzheimer’s Caregiving May Be Wrecking Your Health – reblogged

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Another Grown-Up in the Room

Respect for authority must sometimes be hired

Respect for authority must sometimes be hired

At a recent talk I gave for adult children of aging parents, a woman who was struggling with her cantankerous father asked me what subjects were “worth bleeding over.” What battles do you fight until your stubborn parent relents?

I thought for a moment and told her that was very subjective and based on the family in question. However, one piece of advice I did offer is this: have another grown-up in the room.

Wait a minute, you may be thinking; I’m an adult. My parent is an adult. Why can’t we just work this out for ourselves?

Well, no one is saying YOU can’t. But if you can, you’re in a very rare and blessed position.

Simply put, no matter how old you become, you will ALWAYS be a child to your parents. No matter how capable you are, no matter how much they may respect you and revel in your achievements, the family dynamic established in your childhood is extremely difficult to overcome. When a parent becomes less able, and they are frightened of what will become of them as they continue to lose ground, and they are unlikely to discuss that fear with their children. If you were The Baby as a child, you continue to be The Baby as an adult, even if you’re a successful captain of industry.

So what can a child do to gain some leverage in this most difficult and contentious of situations? Bring in a pro. It could be an elder law attorney, a financial advisor, a psychologist, a trusted physician or any combination. The idea is to bring in someone with authority in a field related to the situation in which your family now finds itself to be part of your team.

Bringing to bear certain expertise can ease the anxiety inherent in addressing the need to act. After all, your parent has been around for a long time. Everything that needs to be done now is counter-intuitive to everything they’ve done up until this point. So not only do you seem like an upstart, you disrespectful, tactless ingrate, you’re forcing them to confront ideas that scare the hell out of them. It’s much better for everyone concerned if the bad news is delivered by a knowledgeable, caring and highly competent professional. Someone who can explain the situation and offer sensible plans to deal with what may be coming can be an invaluable ally.

This is an overlooked quality the right professionals bring to the conversation. They’ve seen it before, and perhaps been through it themselves (as I have). Delivered with sensitivity and authority, the actions required in planning can be accomplished more readily and effectively with their assistance.

So, as you come to the realization that your time has come, by all means, start the conversation. If you’re thinking about it, do it. Don’t wait. But don’t be surprised if you get push-back, and know that this is completely normal. Arm yourself with resources and allies, go back and get a plan in place. You’ll feel better, and once they’ve met the other grown-ups you bring to the proceedings, your parents will, too.

Please note: I will be giving a talk at Ringwood Public Library in Ringwood, NJ at 7pm on Wednesday, Feb. 19th, 2014. Bring your questions.


Not Guilty! February 19, 2014 at 7pm at Ringwood Public Library

Not Guilty!

Not Guilty!

Light of Gray presents the Fifth in a series on Elder Care talks at Ringwood Public Library

“Not Guilty! Coping with Emotional Upheaval Around Family Caregiving”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7pm

Aging isn’t for sissies, but most of us do it anyway. How we age is very individual and dependent on many factors. Few of us go through it in a vacuum. Family comes into play, and the residue of our early relationships tends to cling to us as we go through life. We redefine ourselves as we mature and our needs change, but family members don’t always grow and evolve along with us. Hilarity, hysteria and irrationality often ensue.

Who takes care of what? Who can speak for whom? How do siblings divide responsibility without killing each other? Who pays for what?

Tracey Lawrence, elder care expert, will take you through the process with humor, sensitivity and common sense advice for families in transition.

For more information, visit Light of Gray or Ringwood Public Library.

To register for this free seminar, please call 973-962-6256.

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I’m Worried About Mom, February 6, 2014 7pm at Ridgewood Public Library

Tracey's Caregiver Blog

Tracey’s Caregiver Blog

“I’m Worried About Mom; Turning Worry into Meaningful Action”

Tracey Lawrence, elder care expert

No one likes to think about sad, difficult topics, especially when they have to do with people we love. But change is inevitable, and planning can make life easier for everyone. The key is starting a family conversation when everyone in the family is able to participate. Waiting until family members begin showing signs of decline is not the best strategy.

Covered in this seminar will be ideas for getting families organized and able to discuss the difficult subjects; who needs to be involved? What questions do you need to address? What requires immediate action and what can wait? Do we need to use professional services? We will look at care choices, insurance options and documentation every family should have in place.

Ridgewood Public Library is located at 125 N. Maple Ave, Ridgewood, NJ.

For more information, visit or

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Just Play! Rock Band plays to support Alzheimer’s Walk in Jersey City on September 21st

Just Play!

Just Play!

Northern New Jersey Rock Band Just Play! is playing to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association at their Alzheimer’s Walk on Saturday morning, September 21st from 10am to noon. For more information, visit the band’s web site.

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Walking to End Alzheimer’s

On Saturday, October 27, 2013, I’ll be leading a team called “Remembering Those Who Can’t.” Join us, or please contribute.


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