The fall months are traditionally thought of as back to school time. Just saying that phrase, “back to school,” evokes a ton of special memories—new clothes, new school supplies, and new things to learn.
What if caregivers could begin a new school year? Learn something new totally unrelated to caregiving? What a concept! What a soul feeder! The thought intrigues many a caregiver, but that thought is usually followed by another: no time for that luxury.
But wait a minute! There are numerous ways to meet that quest for new learning. Let’s explore a few that could be done during a few hours of regular respite care, during a longer time of carefully planned respite care, or during those special moments in the schedule when the care recipient is otherwise occupied as in sleep time.
Museums: Many Central Texas museums have free days, so that cuts the cost—and if there is no cost, one feels freer to have a short stay!
Libraries: Is there a topic from the museum or the news that you wish to learn more about? The library is a treasure trove of information with books on a variety of topics. Checking out the books and bringing them home allows for reading during the short snippets of free time.
Lectures: Local colleges and universities offer a plethora of learning events. Some of those events are one-time lectures on a specific topic. Watch for announcements of these in the local media, research on the college web site under “events”, or just call the college. Continue reading →
As AGE of Central Texas celebrates its 30th Anniversary Year during 2016, here is a look back the historical moments that guided the humble organization, founded in 1986, to grow into a leading community non-profit that today serves senior adults and family caregivers across four Central Texas counties:
1984: Dell Computer Corporation is founded in Austin.
1985: Austin Groups for the Elderly established by Austin civic leaders Bert Kruger Smith and Willie Kocurek, to expand services to the elderly and provide them in the most efficient, cooperative manner possible.
1986: AGE purchases the vacant School for the Blind from the State’s General Land office; opened in 1907 as the Confederate Woman’s Home, the facility cared for more than 340 indigent women during a period of 55 years, and was popular site that hosted many Austin community events throughout the years. On Dec. 10, 1990, and the AGE Building mortgage is paid off. Continue reading →
AGE of Central Texas will host the 3rd Annual “Williamson County Caregiver Conference” on Saturday, September 17th, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Wingate by Wyndham Round Rock Hotel & Conference Center. Sponsored by AARP Texas, the free Conference includes a keynote presentation by Dr. David Zuniga, break-out sessions, and community resources to support family members who are caring for a senior adult.
The annual event was created to help ease the challenges of caring for an aging family member by providing unpaid caregivers with relevant information and vital resources. The attendees will discover local resources, acquire skills to better manage their caregiving situation, and connect with other caregivers and local experts on aging. The day also includes workshops on topics related to caregiving, with experts available for questions. Continue reading →
AGE of Central Texas and the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area are again partnering this year for the 15th Annual “Striking a Balance” Caregiver Conference on Saturday, August 20th, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Austin. The free seminar includes keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and community resources to support family members who are caring for a senior adult.
The largest, longest-run free caregiver conference in Central Texas, the annual event helps to ease the challenges of caring for an aging family member by providing unpaid caregivers with relevant information and vital resources. The attendees will discover local resources, acquire skills to better manage their caregiving situation, and connect with other caregivers and local experts on aging. The day also includes workshops on topics related to caregiving, with experts available for questions.
July is National “Sandwich Generation” Month, but if you’re a member, you probably feel more like the rope in a game of tug-of-war than a PB&J!
The “Sandwich Generation” refers to the more than 9 million Americans, typically in their 30s and 40s, who are squished in the middle – the meat or the cheese – as the primary caregiver for their children and an older adult, often a parent – the bread. As anyone who is tuna salad between two slices of whole wheat will tell you, they are endlessly being pulled in multiple directions trying to make sure that everyone is safe, healthy, and, at least most of the time, happy.
Instead of thinking of caring for the children and the older adult in your life as two separate roles – parent and caregiver – here’s a little secret. The thing is, although distinctly different situations, some of the same techniques used with kids can do double duty to help the older adult reach a happy place. Use those parenting skills to manage the whole household and feel like a hero sandwich! Continue reading →
To provide additional support for senior adults living in City of Austin housing, AGE of Central Texas has partnered with the City and fellow community non-profit partner Family Eldercare to provide transportation opportunities for low income senior adults living at seven of the Housing Authority of City of Austin (HACA) residential properties.
As a member of the City’s social services “Living Well! Collaborative,” AGE of Central Texas will offer free, ongoing weekly routes to area shopping centers and group activities to the residents, utilizing the non-profit organization’s existing handicap-accessible vans. AGE will help “promote self-sufficiency across the Life Continuum” as described as the purpose of the City grant after the original provider was unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the contract. Continue reading →
Yesterday, I overheard a health professional describe her own mother as not having “Alzheimer’s” but just “dementia.” I have heard this many times throughout my career in the memory care field, and it is something that I would like to clarify.
“Dementia” is actually an umbrella term used to describe a severe degeneration in the brain function of adults. This degeneration is progressive and extreme enough to interfere with a person’s Instrumental Activities of Daily Life (IADLs) – such as driving, managing finances, and cooking. As the dementia progresses, it most often will affect a person’s ability manage their own Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) – such as bathing, dressing, and toileting.
Alzheimer’s disease is one category under the dementia umbrella. There are many types and categories of dementias. I ask families to think of it this way: if a doctor says your loved one has cancer, what would your next question be? “What type of cancer?” As with cancer, dementia is the general term.
By Heidi Fischer, Program Director
AGE of Central Texas Austin Adult Day Health Center
So many of us get caught up in the whirlwind of life that it becomes really challenging to find time to smell the roses. At the AGE of Central Texas Adult Day Health Centers, we believe that the proper amount of fun/life balance is an essential component of wellness.
Respite provides the perfect opportunity for embracing who we really are without other distractions. The benefits of respite care are many, so let’s break this down a bit and look at what respite really feels like:
The caregiver relaxes and enjoys respite when two things happen: their loved one is in a safe place AND their loved one is in an environment that is stimulating and enjoyable to them.
Their loved one, in turn, relaxes and enjoys being in a safe, caring, and softly dynamic environment.
AGE of Central Texas celebrates its 30th year in 2016. To mark this landmark anniversary, the community organization will debut a new “Caregiver Lecture Series,” recognize philanthropic leaders with the 22nd annual AGE Awards, and launch the Bert Kruger Smith and Willie KocurekLegacy Fund in honor of the organization’s co-founders.
Founded 30 years ago as “Austin Groups for the Elderly,” AGE of Central Texas has grown extensively to serve older adults and their caregivers throughout Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, and Hays counties. Census numbers indicate the population of adults 60 and older in Central Texas will grow by 67% by the Year 2020, so the need for services for older adults and family caregivers will climb rapidly during the next few years.
Today, an estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease or similar dementia, and the number of individuals diagnosed each year is growing steadily as the population ages. Today’s treatments only temporarily ease some dementia symptoms, so the need for AGE’s programs and resources – including therapeutic adult day health care in Austin and Round Rock, caregiver education and resources, and early memory loss support – remains at an all-time high and growing.
By Annette Juba, LCSW
Deputy Director of Programs at AGE of Central Texas
As a social worker who has worked with older adults for my entire career, I have heard a lot of life stories. Professionally, these stories, their importance, and their interpretation are wrapped into a paradigm called “narrative theory.” Practically, they are moving or funny or evocative. Always, they are inspirational.
With the holidays upon us, I’d like to tell you the story of one of the first clients who made a lasting impression on me: Claude was an inaugural member of an Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Support Group that I facilitated. This was in the days when “Alzheimer’s” was used sparingly. More often than not in my early career, people with cognitive deficits were diagnosed with “Organic Brain Syndrome.”
When the group formed, I was new to the social work field. Most of my direct experience came from working as an Activity Director in a nursing home. As an Activity Director, it had been my job to create experiences and events that would be fun and make people happy.