Distinctly Mature

“To grow mature is to separate more distinctly, to connect more closely.”

— Hugo von Hofmannsthal

About the title of this blog

July 1, 2018

The title of our blog comes from a quote by Austrian poet and novelist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. As we reach our "senior" years we are not just "getting old," rather we are still growing, developing and maturing. Maturing is becoming more "separated" or individuated, knowing and being comfortable with ourselves, and being able to choose how we spend our time and energy. Age is no barrier to maturity. Most important also is finding and maintaining close connections with friends and families in a manner that feels authentic.


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Community outreach

July 3, 2018

  Francois van Wyk, LMFT, Director of Senior Peer Counseling, will be giving a presentation about all our programs on August 3, 2018 to the Middletown Rotary (Greenview restaurant, HVL, 7am) and on August 15, 2018 to the Kiwani's Club (Woody's Cafe, KVL, 7am).


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Loneliness

July 12, 2018

Solitude does not necessarily mean loneliness. Some people prefer spending time alone. For many people, getting older often does mean the loss of family and friends. Here are two articles about making friends. 


The first is from the Kaiser Health News website about easing the

loneliness of seniors


The second is a story about a younger woman who spent a year focused on making new friends.


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If it sounds too good to be true...

July 16, 2018

Two of the rules I go by when evaluating what to believe in the flood of information from the internet and social media are: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, and always question the source of the information or claim.

These rules are described in an article "How to Spot Bogus Science News About Aging" from the Senior Living Blog.

I will be discussing this article and more at our public event on July 30th at 2-3pm at the Upper Lake Senior Support Services

If you know someone who might need a Friendly Visitor or Senior Peer Counselor, please stop by for this discussion. 

If you would like to volunteer for us, please come to this meeting and we will gladly answer all your questions.

To see the flyer for this event, please click here.


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"Age alone is not a reliable measure of driving ability..."

July 25, 2018

Friendly Visitor and Senior Peer Counseling volunteers drive to the homes of seniors they are serving. In our volunteer meetings the topic comes up about DMV regulations regarding seniors and driving. The heading of this blog post is a quote from the DMV website, which is linked here. There are many factors that could impact one's driving ability. There is a lot to be said for  taking care of oneself in this regard, and being proactive about one's ability to safely drive a vehicle.

The DMV also provides a link to a downloadable PDF entitled Senior Guide for Safe Driving which contains comprehensive information.


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If you're reading this blog and you're not already a volunteer...

July 25, 2018

Here are four good reasons to volunteer with us:


1. You will learn new skills which will exercise your brain.

2. Volunteering means meeting fellow volunteers and working with clients, all of which stretches your social/emotional muscles.

3. Visiting clients and attending the regular volunteer meetings means getting out the door and engaging socially.

4. Getting involved in serving homebound seniors in Lake County gets you engaged in a meaningful activity, i.e. making a difference in this world.


Learning new skills in a social setting and moving more are exactly what our brains and bodies need to stay healthy as we age. For more on this topic read Health Aging Requires You To Challenge Your Brain.


There are three exciting ways to volunteer for Konocti Senior Support, Inc.:


1. Become a Board member and meet once a month (lunch provided) to guide and oversee our programs.

2. Become a Friendly Visitor (20+) and visit a senior (55+) once a week simply to chat, go for a walk, play a game, etc. There is a monthly support group for volunteers, and mileage is reimbursed.

3. Train to become a Senior Peer Counselor. Volunteers (55+) go through a comprehensive training which includes learning how our bodies and minds change as we age, how to counsel someone who is depressed, how to motivate someone to make new friends, etc. Senior Peer Counselors also meet weekly for inservice training and consultation. Mileage is reimbursed for all trainings, meetings, and home visits.


Join us! Find out more here.


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Event update

July 25, 2018

The event planned for July 30th has been moved to Wednesday August 22nd from 11am to 1pm to be part of the Upper Lake Senior Senior Support Services' "Coffee and Conversation" event. 


More information can be found here.


We apologize for this late change which is due to planning and scheduling issues.


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Resilience in the face of the new normal

Aug 1, 2018

The fires of the last few days have left us anxious and stressed. Nobody escapes sickness, accidents, and death, but not everyone lives through a wild fire experience.


Resilience, according to the American English dictionary, means " the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties."


Resilience can be enhanced by engaging in social connections, i.e. talk to caring others about what happened to you , and listen to others share their experiences. Do this over and over again as you reconnect with family and friends. Each time you tell your story, about evacuation, loss, fear, etc., you remember more details and emotions and it's good to put this into words.


At times we become too obsessed with happiness and wellness. Life is incredibly difficult for everyone in many ways, and therefore living entails hard work. This is the work of facing our suffering and loss. What does this mean? For one thing it means allowing yourself to feel your feelings: sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, etc. It means it's okay and human to cry. It sometimes takes a while to recover and  bounce back, and that's okay.


Moving forward at least we can be fire safe (clean your gutters now, mow dead grass and trim trees near your house), ready to evacuate, and ready to help each other.


Here's to all first responders (fire, law enforcement, forestry), county officials, non profit volunteers, and also to the average person on the street who helped out their neighbors!


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"Ah, look at all the lonely people"

Aug 21, 2018

A short piece by Ann Burack-Weiss over at the Time Goes By blog sketches pictures of loneliness and the hunger for connection. 

The Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Aug 28, 2018

Feeling down, anxious, or stressed? This new #infographic from @NIAGo4Life shows how #exercise can help pick you up. http://bit.ly/2mUoLhl 

When "sorrow's shafts fly thicker"

Sep 2, 2018

Thomas Campbell (Scottish poet 1774-1844) in his poem The River of Life, says that "a day to childhood seems a year" but as we get older "sorrow's shafts fly thicker." This leads him to say in the second to last verse:


It may be strange - yet who would  change

Time's course to slower speeding,

When one  by one our friends have gone

And left our bosoms bleeding?


There is also a sweetness to growing older...surely... not to ignore the struggles like loss of memory, friends, and an ailing body. Yes, some losses are too hard to bear, but I have the distinct pleasure of knowing people who are much older than me who are happy to have every moment and would love more.

"Lake Links" - Transportation options in Lake County

Sep 17, 2018

Please visit Lakelinks.org to see if the options offered are of help to you or a friend/loved one.

HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training

Sep 17, 2018

For those of us who groan and grumble at the thought of 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week, here is an alternative, HIIT.

Living well may lower the risk of dementia

Sep 17, 2018

Once again it comes down to the basics: stop smoking, move more, eat healthily and lose weight, and and manage blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. For more check out this report.


More about eating healthily:

Michael Pollan established a simple seven word rule:  "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." See what WebMD says about Michael Pollan's rule and for a good summary of how to eat healthily.

Old age is a carnival of losses - Donald Hall

Oct 8, 2018

Donald Hall, fourteenth U.S. Poet Laureate, talks in this video about old age as a "carnival of losses." For more about Donald Hall, who died recently at age 89, there is a beautiful article in the Atlantic.

International Day of Older Persons

Nov 2, 2018

October 1 was the United Nation's "International Day of Older Persons."

On this occasion the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy reported on the results of their "Older Persons" survey.

They found that while older persons benefit from counseling, access to these services is not readily available, nor is there a general public awareness of the benefit.

In Lake County there is a free counseling service for home-bound seniors who are isolated and depressed.

Effectiveness of counseling with older people

Nov 2, 2018

The British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy published a summary of the literature regarding the effectiveness of counseling with older persons. A few excerpts from this report:

  • Counseling is efficacious with older people, particularly in the treatment of anxiety, depression and in improving subjective well-being.
  • Outcomes are consistent with those found in younger populations suggesting that old-age is not a barrier to being able to benefit from counseling.
  • Of the various counseling approaches CBT has the strongest evidence base and is efficacious with older people in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
  • There is a lack of research into a number of counseling approaches which are commonly-used in routine practice, particularly interpersonal, psychodynamic, client-centred, validation, goal-focused and gestalt therapies.
  • When different therapeutic approaches are tested against each other with this population, outcomes are not significantly different, indicating an absence of superiority of any one particular type of counseling.
  • Evidence indicates that individual, as opposed to group counseling, is the psychological treatment of choice among the community-dwelling elderly and that this may be the more effective modality with this population.
  • A pro-active approach to the identification of psychological problems among residential and community-dwelling older people is necessary to ensure problems are not left untreated.
  • Training counsellors to treat older people is feasible and some studies report good outcomes are associated with highly-qualified therapists who have undergone specialized training in working with older people.

How to Make Friends as an Adult

Nov 2, 2018

This is an interesting article from Thriveglobal.com.


How does one make friends as an adult. Often older persons end up isolated and lose the natural flow of making friends of earlier years. This article is worth reading. Here are a few highlights:


"The first important step is to get yourself into situations where you are around other people who have similar interests as you. Try looking at a local events calendar to see if they have something that interests you, like cooking, dancing, concerts, photography, hiking, or activism and volunteering."


"Once you are around people with common ground, the key to launching real friendships is to be interested in the other person. Many people make the mistake of trying to seem extremely interesting, but the key to making friends the other way around!"

Happy New Year!

January 15, 2019

The "Adult Development and Aging" division of the American Psychological Association (Division 20) kicked off the new year with a Tweet we heartily endorse 

"Happy New Year! Start the new year off right by visiting an older relative or neighbor to make his/her day!"


Social Connection!

March 23, 2019

Interacting with other humans is good for you. Read about a study that shows that a good buffer against stress and a boost for emotional well being comes from interacting with more people.

Ageism

March 23, 2019

"Why do we treat old people like babies? That’s ageism." 

Video on Ageism over at bigthink website.

Meet the Volunteers!

April 6, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEET THE LAKE COUNTY VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE MAKING A

HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF HOMEBOUND SENIORS.


Konocti Senior Support, Inc. would like to invite you to meet our Senior Peer Counselors who provide free counseling services to homebound Lake County Seniors.


Come and enjoy a free cup of coffee at Lower Lake Coffee Co., 16199 Main St, Lower Lake, CA 95457 on Monday, April 29 from 1-3pm to learn more about this wonderful volunteer opportunity.


If you want to learn new skills, meet new people, and experience the rewards of engaging in a meaningful activity, then come meet with our team of volunteers which you can be part of as well.


Senior Peer Counselors are volunteers who are 55 years or above and come from all walks of life.


Konocti Senior Support, Inc. is a not-for-profit program that provides comprehensive training preparing volunteers to provide peer counseling services to Lake County Seniors in the recipient’s home or at his / her local senior center.


If you’re not 55 years or over but still are interested in volunteering, Konocti Senior Support, Inc. also has a Friendly Visitor volunteer program for volunteers ages 20 and above. Please don’t hesitate to come enjoy a cup of coffee, good conversation, and learn how you can make a difference.


Senior Peer Counseling, led by Program Director Francois van Wyk, LMFT, is a program offered by Konocti Senior Support, Inc. For more information please call (707) 995-1417, email [email protected], or visit konoctiseniorsupport.com.

Anxiety

April 6, 2019

From Getting Old Without Getting Anxious by Peter V. Rabins, M.D.


Thirteen Ways Exercise Combats Stress and Anxiety in Late Life

Produces endorphins, which contribute to elevated mood and increased relaxation

Increases levels of serotonin

Aids restful sleep

Fights depression

Boosts self-esteem

Banishes worried thoughts

Increases sense of well-being

Encourages social interaction and contact

Reduces blood pressure

Aids circulation

Helps relax muscles and reduce muscular tension

Burns energy released by fight-or-flight response

Releases frustration


EXERCISE TIPS FOR SENIORS


Check with your physician before you begin exercising, to make sure which type of exercise is safe and beneficial for you. But don’t use physical limitations as an excuse. No matter what your condition or age, there is likely some kind of physical activity that will benefit you.

Ignore old stereotypes. Resist misconceptions that it’s “too late” to exercise, or that exercise might be somehow harmful when you're older. On the contrary, inactivity and lack of initiative are implicated in accelerated aging and many diseases. Loss of muscle mass, or sarcopenia, is now recognized as one of the major contributors to frailty. Regular exercise can help lessen this muscle loss, and the benefits accrue whenever you start. And, amazingly, just eight weeks of exercise can lead to major improvements in strength and lower rates of falling, heart attacks, and stroke.


Pick an activity you love. In fact, try to pick one that you don’t consider exercise, but pleasure. Walking through a nature preserve, for example, can be a way of enjoying a view of nature along with garnering the benefits of exercise. Or ride a bike to visit a friend.

Walk! It doesn’t have to be strenuous. A daily brisk walk of twenty or thirty minutes is most beneficial, but you can start out with five minutes twice a week. A dawdling, window-shopping walk, however, won’t provide the same benefits.


Dr. Andrew Weil says: “Human beings are made to walk. We are bipedal, upright organisms with bodies designed for locomotion. Walking is a complex behavior that requires functional integration of a great deal of sensory and motor experiences; it exercises our brains as well as our musculoskeletal systems.”


Combine exercise with socializing. Square dancing at the local community center or joining in a group water-aerobics class is a way of interacting socially with others, which also improves mood and alleviates stress at the same time as you avail yourself of valuable exercise.


Make it a habit. Exercise should be a sustained and regular part of your routine. General guidelines suggest exercising for thirty minutes per day four or more days a week. Even two days a week can make a difference, especially if you are already in shape. If you’re not fit, sessions should be split into smaller segments and gradually increased in frequency and length.


Do what you can. Even if you’re sedentary or bedridden, there are stretching, toning, and yoga exercises that can be tailored for you and that can help you retain strength and range of motion.

It’s never too late. No matter how old you are, exercise has proven benefits. “I never exercised in my life until I was in my seventies,” Iris reported. “But when I became depressed after my retirement, I started walking with my neighbor after dinner. It helped my loneliness, I lost weight, and my mood really improved.”


(Getting Old Without Getting Anxious, Rabins, Peter V., M.D., London, Penguin, 2005)

Anxiety

April 30, 2019

How to Grow Old: Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life

By Marcus Tullius Cicero (Author), Philip Freeman (Translator, Introduction), Princeton University Press (2016)


Ten lessons summarized from the Introduction by Philip Freeman*

1. “A good old age begins in youth”

It’s a fallacy to think we can begin living well in old age if we have not laid the foundations in our younger years. For example, it might sound like a great idea to learn a language or to play a musical instrument in our retirement years, but that is much harder than it seems. Learning to live meaningful and interesting lives in our youth will much more likely lead to a rich life in later years.


2. “Old age can be a wonderful part of life”

It’s not how much money and possessions you have, it’s who you are on the inside. This is also a habit that is best developed early in life, i.e., self-knowledge.


3. “There are proper seasons to life”

Learning to give up certain activities of youth, and suffering that loss, is part of aging wisely.


4. “Older people have much to teach the young”

Stay in touch with the younger generation because a long life of experience is valuable and worth sharing, and one can learn from young people also.


5. “Old age need not deny an active life, but we need to accept limitations.”

There are many ways to be active mentally and physically without trying to prolong youth and taking risks.


6. “The mind is a muscle that must be exercised”

The best approach to keeping the mind active is to move more, socialize, eat healthily, and keep learning about the world.


7. “Older people must stand up for themselves”

Fight back against agism!

8. “Sex is highly overrated”

Not that older people don’t still enjoy sex, but there are many other avenues in life to enjoy as sensual pleasure declines.


9. “Cultivate your own garden”

Find something that gives you pleasure and dive in! Again, it is best to learn how to play and enjoy life early on. If the bulk of your life was all work and no play, then it’s a steep learning curve to start in retirement.


10. “Death is not to be feared”

Make peace with the fact that we all have only one life on earth. Learn to face and accept inevitable death, and live well now.


oOo


If you are interested in volunteering for Konocti Senior Support, Inc., either as a Friendly Visitor or a Senior Peer Counselor, please call (707) 995-1417 and leave a message, or email us at [email protected]



*Please consider purchasing this book or borrowing it from the local library - it’s well worth the read.

Medicare Explained

May 15, 2019

Confused by all the Parts to Medicare?

Here is a helpful article by Sharon Wagner from the seniorfriendly.info  website:

Understanding Medicare: Tips for Seniors on How to Choose the Right Coverage


Please follow the links above the read the article and visit the seniorfriendly.info website.

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