August 27, 2011

Letting Go

This is about embracing the change of a loved one as they embark into a new journey.
While we all try to bring our families closer we rarely talk about the transition or letting go nearly as much.  Boomers are living this transition phase caring for their aging parents and/or preparing for the launch of their university bound child.  Is their similarity in both?
 One friend is currently faced with moving his Dad from home into a facility and another has a Mom living with Alzheimer’s. The relationship sometimes can be difficult for both as we reach for words to comfort a parent who might be losing their independence, needing help with personal care and many who are losing the ability to communicate with the disease of Alzheimer’s.  It feels a little like having to let go of the norm to enter the unknown. Personally not faced with such challenges with my own parents yet I am however in a similar transition phase with my own daughter as she prepares for a journey to university across the country. I too am learning to let go of what was the norm and to recognize that the special foundation we create as families will keep us strong.  It is likely our relationship and how we communicate that will change.
Let’s stay connected to our loved ones in a meaningful way so that they don’t feel alone. We can learn to modify our relationships to meet this change. With a parent that has Alzheimer’s we might need to accept that their memory is failing and learn new ways to communicate with touch.  With a child going off to university, we might need to learn how to Skype!
The Launching Years (L. Kastner and J. Wyatt) is a resource book about the strategies for parenting in the university years and  provides tools to help support a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Let’s reach out to others in our community to share these real stories so together we might feel more confident and better prepared to embrace this new phase.  Let’s further develop these relationships and to keep the family close. For me, I know it won’t be easy  (and yes, it’s ok to cry) but I am confident that if I continue to make decisions from the heart that we will all enjoy this phase of letting go of what was and embrace the new with open arms.  I also encourage my friends with aging parents to do the same.
Originally published BC Black Press August 2011

August 09, 2011

My Childhood Memories/ Summer Traditions

One of my fondest childhood memories was going to our cottage in Ontario for the entire summer as soon as school was out.  My parents would pack us all up into the station wagon with our summer belongings and my Dad would drop us off with Mom, only to return on weekends. I fondly remember my family playing a card game that might best be described as competitive group solitaire at the old kitchen table until late into the night and well past our bedtime. I think it was most special because both my Mom and Dad would play with us which brought much laughter.  As a family of 6 along with the odd cousin, those solitaire games were pretty lively and loud! I can still remember clutching my hand of cards while kneeling on the hard kitchen chair watching the Aces appear in the centre of the table.  I couldn’t really reach but that didn’t stop me from playing with the grownups.
 Rituals and family traditions at any age can be special and something that the entire family can hold onto, including grandparents.  Similar experiences can occur with special friends or relatives in your community.  Having that special bond with a group doing something you look forward to is all part of healthy living and socialization, which is also an important aspect of aging.  Sometimes just having something to hold onto and look forward to when we are faced with challenges along the way can make a difference. 
Maintaining these rituals is as important as the experience itself.  In our family, I feel that these intergenerational traditions like playing cards helped to encourage bonding with my own parents which we both benefit from today. Perhaps if we all tried to create and maintain more simple traditions with our extended family such as sharing dinners or afternoon tea,  that this might help bridge the gap between the generations and help maintain strength in families. Why not pick up the phone and reach out to a friend or a family member and start a new tradition because after all, it is never too late. 
Oh and playing card games like group solitaire with our own kids is priceless, especially when their grandparents or friends can join in.  This year as we head off on our annual summer retreat, one of our family rituals, the kids will pack their cards.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.  Follow her on twitter at TheBoomerVine or she can be reached at

Originally Published BC Black Press Aug 2011



today i rode my new bike through Stanley Park, granted the weather a tad grey but peaceful just the same

what amazed me was the activity so early both on and off the water

observed a photo shoot, fisherman, remnants of a beach fire, joggers, and 


Tranquility shows up for me here.
The lapping of the water and the calmness without voices only birds.
Appreciation of the simple things in life, the things that matter.

A great day to be alive.  Can't wait for tomorrow :)

Denise A Kelly