Chocolate may help keep brain healthy, sharp in old age, study says

Source: Chocolate may help keep brain healthy, sharp in old age, study says

So, have our dreams come true?

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Enter to win! Holiday Give-Away for Elders!

One winner for each of these prizes:
Lavender Ladies Bedtime Pack
A 1946 Memoir Pack


Fill out the following form to be entered into a random drawing for one of two prizes for an elder in your life!
Lavender Ladies is to elders as Goodnight Moon is to children. Accompanied by Sleepy Time aromatherapy mist, send your favorite elder to dreamland with a sweet story and soothing scents.
Operation Highjump is a fun tale for someone who remembers life in the 1940s.  The Feel Good Spritz is the popular Thieves blend, with a spicy scent for a good feeling all around.
Contest ends December 1st, 2015, at Midnight ET.  Winners will be contacted by email for mailing instructions.
Good luck!
Make an elder on your holiday list happy, with gifts made especially for elders!

If you’d prefer to be in one drawing over the other (Lavender Ladies vs. Operation Highjump), mention that in the comments. Otherwise, your name will be added in both drawings!

First Name:
Last Name:
P.S Your email is safe with us!

If you’d prefer to purchases these items,
visit the Books ‘n things tab!

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Why Spending Time with Elders Can Help You Improve


This morning I came across an article about relationships and our attachment to them. It discussed our conditioning when it comes to attaching ourselves to people.

As my mother grew into her nineties, she taught me, as she had learned herself over the years through her own loss of two spouses, the importance of how a faith greater than anything on earth, can help you be in relationships happily, healthily, without a needy dependence.

She did not teach me this by lecturing me, she did not even set out to teach me this. The way I learned this was by spending time with her, and observing her amazing grace.

Elders can have a subtle, gentle, powerful way of leading us and showing us a way to greater awareness. What it takes from us is an investment in our selves, recognizing the importance of learning at the feet of the ones that came before us.

This tradition has been lost, and I do believe contributes just some of the stress we see in our world today.

I cannot change the world’s attitudes by myself, or make anyone understand the importance of this tradition to humanity, but if you help me spread the word, and begin to practice this tradition yourself, together we can make a difference.

Peace out.

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Dementia and Acceptance

Lavender Ladies Book

Dementia and Acceptance

“Dementia is our most-feared illness, more than heart disease or cancer.”~
David Perlmutter

A very dear friend of mine recently received a diagnosis of vascular dementia. At 72, she is young, in terms of seniors and elders, and remains younger than her years in most ways.

I’m no stranger to dementia, and I’m not even completely blindsided by this, I have seen some signs. Yet this is a first for me in the very-close-friend-category.

How grateful I am that both she and I have tended to our personal growth over the years! She has called me her friend with benefits. Coaching benefits. ;-)

When I asked her what her greatest concern was about this, she did not hesitate: I’m scared about when the time comes that I don’t know who I am.

“It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases – one was Alzheimer’s, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer’s.” ~ Terry Pratchett

I gently asked, if she didn’t know, why would it matter?

Oh, I would never trivialize the fear and anger one feels when faced with any kind of life changing news. But I knew she’d “get it”. She got quiet, breathed noticeably, and chuckled. “Oh, right”, she said.

She’s got a brilliant mind, picks up concepts quickly, and is more interested in transcending her conditioned thinking than anyone else I’ve ever known, present company included.

Navigating through the mysterious corridors of brain mis-fires will be an interesting journey with her. Certainly we will both feel a plethora of emotions, and we most certainly will allow each other to experience those feelings, yet with the confidence that all is well, all is divine, and that our lives are richer because we knew one another. And with the confidence that we will feel pain, and that pain will serve to bring us closer, to each other, to ourselves, to life itself.

“I can’t remember anything. Isn’t it peaceful?” ~ Byron Katie

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Lavender Ladies

This hardcover version of Lavender Ladies came in the mail today, in the midst of boiling sap for maple syrup and visits from author Beth and her friend, Josh.hardcovermypublisher

As we listen to Joni Mitchell’s album “Blue” (chosen by Josh, to which Paul said “Is he trying to suck up to you?”), and sit in front of the fire, I am about as content as I can be.

Pea soup on the stove, good people in my presence, Lavender Ladies keeping watch, and Joni entertaining.

It doesn’t get better than this.

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Avoiding the Elder Care Divide

Just like the “Mommy wars” of the past several years, there are also different camps on what’s appropriate for the elder years.
In an effort to avoid “Adult care wars”, how about we look at the underlying reasons that compel is to make someone else’s very person choice wrong?

The best thing you can you do for yourself, for your elder’s needs, and for humanity at large (I’m a big thinker ;-) ) is to determine what is the most appropriate approach for your family.

Some will choose home care, taking on the bulk of the responsibilities. Whether, for financial or religious, or sense of duty, or other personal reasons, and whether or not that is even their personal preference, this is the path they find themselves walking.
Others will choose supplemental in home care, others will choose group living, institutional living, and anything in between.

There are not universal right or wrong answers, there is only what works for you and your situation.

As with all the work I do as a coach, one of the most beneficial things your can offer is your own personal development.
Question your perceptions, not as a way to imply they are “wrong”, but as a way to expand your view of the situation.

When caring for others, it’s all too easy to get into habit, which can lead to boredom, resentment, or as the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt.

Be kind to yourself, honor your truth, allow yourself to be where you are at any given moment.

While doing so, consider expanding your comfort zone when it comes to your relationship with your elder. Notice your habitual reactions, thoughts, and actions, and make a commitment to contemplate another way of be-ing.

Contemplate. Imagine how a situation might be altered by a simple shift in your perception. Observing your conditioned reactions.

I’ve worked with people who have made the transition from abhorrence to acceptance, then from acceptance to appreciation, then from appreciation to cherishing the very situation they previously abhorred!

If doing this on your own is daunting, I’ll soon be making available a 30 day audio program that can assist you in this shift.

And, of course, finding groups of like minded people who have the goal of living peacefully no matter the circumstances, is a great way to start. It’s just as easy to attract people who want to improve their approaches, as it is to attract people who stay stuck in old paradigms.

It’s your choice.
Ellie Berries

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  The Life within Death   

Back in October of 2006….fern and Paul2

Something occurred to me, as I sat and observed in the room where my step-father was, as Hospice calls it, actively dying.

There was the sense of deliberate peace, as I had the honor of aiding in upholding the final wishes of the man who had been the companion of my mother for the past 26+ years. A feeling that, although there had been conflicting deliberations regarding the long term care of this aging couple, transcended any need to feel sorrow or guilt or regret. In fact, I believe it was the greatest gift I could have bestowed upon him, this absence of doleful emotion. In the final analysis, he knew beyond a doubt that he was loved, cared for and left a legacy of values that included commitment to family and strong convictions.

Four generations of family members filled the hospital room, from the near 90 year old at the effect of a failing body, to the 3 month old who bears the name of his wife.

Events like this can’t help but change the atmosphere, the mood, the room, the people.

Some of us grew a little closer that day, some of us watched the unique responses of each visitor. Some people chose to stay away from this segment of the experience, still others drove several miles through several tears to get in their last physical good-byes. I learned there are no “rights” and “wrongs” when dealing with dying. We can only do what our hearts guide us to do.

One of the more poignant moments was when the dying man called for his wife, in his typical demanding fashion, and upon reaching his bedside, he tenderly told her he loved her. The following day, after he had slipped into a coma, his wife spoke no words to him, as she explained, “He knows my touch”.

We might not always understand relationships. We won’t always agree with decisions. But today, through this couple’s life together, we should understand something more than we ever have.


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Life As An Experiment



What if we readjusted what we think has to be “THE outcome”, and instead experimented with “I wonder…”

This can work wonders in your relationship with elders. And everyone else!
Listen to the audio below where you’ll learn how to do this….



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Elders Say the Darnedest Things

Did I hear that right?

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Old Friends

His boyhood friend is in a nursing home. His friend’s wife is having a hard time finding what she considers adequate care for her husband of 60+ years.

My father-in-law listened as his friend’s wife described, in excruciating detail, the ordeals she has been facing. It upsets him deeply, though he would never interrupt her, or let on that he was distressed.  (He just handed me his doctoral thesis , Investigations of Linear Control Input-Output Relations by Matrix Methods Systems, taking his mind off the things that he thinks about these days when he is alone).


I’m sitting here, wanting to ask him about…things. He sees me typing and hesitates to interrupt (there’s that word again), but he is digging through the copious archives of his life as an engineer and mathematics professor.  (“Apparently my whole life is in that box”, he just told me, saying how even the article when he did a book signing for Operation Highjump at a local library was in there, and much of his academic as well as his time spent in fire service in his local community).

He’s reading now, sitting next to me, keeping his 86 year old brain as active as possible. I have many stories about how he does that, for another day.

Back to topic at hand: his lifelong buddy in the nursing home.  He was asked if he’d like to visit him. NO, was his emphatic and final answer. I knew he did not want to be cajoled into going.

And here I sit, the question hesitating on my tongue: What is the main reason you’d prefer to not see him?

And the questions I won’t ask: Is it because you’re reminded of your own mortality? Is it because you would not want to feel the emotions that would inevitably arise, watching this lifelong friendship dissolve into the ethereal? Or is it that you would prefer to remember him as the fit, healthy doctor he was for so many years?

I suspect it is a combination of those things, with stronger emphasis on the latter.

He is now showing me a book on grammar that he uses for a little friendly banter when he engages with an old time girlfriend. He reconnected with her after his wife passed away, almost 8 years ago. They write back and forth, catching each other on grammar, or syntax, or mistaken facts. “All in fun”, he is fond of saying, but I know it serves a much greater purpose for both of them. It’s an important connection to the past, a link to the present that keeps him feeling relevent.  A way to (he hopes) keep his mind active and flexible.

And I am no closer to asking that question. He is so animated right now, so engrossed in the present through his past, now I dare not interrupt.

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