Welcome to Age to Age. I’m Sally Smith. Let’s talk.
With us today is Paul Franklin, the chairman of Aging in Place, the
wonderful organization that helps connect people to resources so that they can
plan to age in place. We’ve learned a
lot from you, Paul, and I appreciate your being with us today.
We’re talking about are the five main things that
you need to plan for. We’ve talked about
healthy living, livable homes, financial
and legal. Another one on your list,
that I feel is pivotal and, obviously, you do too, supportive relationships are key.
Why are they so important?
Well, you know, normally when we think of supportive relationships, we
probably think about our family and friends first. And that’s probably true. I mean, they are our support mechanism. They’re the people that we’re closest
to. We know that they want to do what
they can to make sure that our life is as comfortable as possible. And we have the kinds of things and resources
around us to stay independent as long as possible. So, we normally think of family and friends
But there’s another very important element, and
that’s all the different social organizations:
civic organizations, religious organizations, church groups, church
senior groups, Jewish community centers.
There are senior centers across the area. There’s the United Way, Association for the Blind,
Alzheimer’s Association. All of these
are wonderful support organizations that help us to be independent, that
provide that social interaction that’s so important as we age.
It’s important, as we know, to not only maintain our
physical and mental well-being, but also our spiritual, and people,
relationships. We’re social animals, and
we need to interact with other human beings.
We relish that, and it’s so important.
That’s the reason that we think that it’s one of the components of successful
aging in place, to have that contact, that resource to be able to know who you
can call, where they’re located, and the kinds of resources they offer.
One of the things we do is bring in a panelist. It may be a representative from the Trident
Area Agency on Aging, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on
Aging, and then, of course, there’s the Mayor’s Office on Aging. All of these are wonderful organizations that
have staff to try to help people direct their attention to resources that they,
in some cases, didn’t know existed. So,
we try to bring all those together so that people begin to understand what area
of successful aging they cover, the resources available, how they can be
accessed, and the qualifications, in some cases, that are required. It’s very meaningful to people to understand
the different organizations and their resources.
Sally Smith: See, I find that so fascinating because you
feel like there’s this whole world of people that don’t really know what’s out
there. That’s partly why you came up with
Aging in Place.
Paul Franklin: That’s right.
Sally Smith: I know a group of older ladies, and it’s just
amazing, one or two of them are very proactive.
They’ll volunteer to give out programs at the Dock Street Theater. They’re going to the free yoga class. They’ll go down to the Senior Center
and have some project going. But they’re
living side-by-side with many more women, and men, that live in the same place,
that could access all the same things, but just won’t go there. How do you break through that? I mean, is it just an onslaught of
information, and they finally decide to give it a try? It’s seems that there are such good
resources, but people aren’t really taking advantage of them. Is that true?
Paul Franklin: Yes.
In many cases, that is true. This
is really where we reach out to help the families get them involved. These are sometimes very serious situations
that involve depression, and it could very well be that they need to see a
specialist, a geriatric specialist, someone to help, take a look at the
medications and make sure that they’re getting the right medications.
Sally Smith: That’s a great point. It could also be other medications and how
they interact. And, let’s face it, we’re
just going to be healthier and better, and more motivated, you know, connected
to life. One thing, I guess, that’s
interesting is maybe they need someone to take them the first few times, or
ease them into this sort of thing, a daughter, or husband, somebody that could
go with them a few times to get them going.
I see so many that are really sort of reclusive.
Paul Franklin: Mm hmm, absolutely. We see that periodically, and it’s very
unfortunate. We like to interact with
them when we can, but sometimes it’s very difficult, unless they have a
contact, a friend, or someone that’s very close to them. That can make a
difference. And, certainly, as you
mentioned, the medication they’re on, are they getting a reaction, is it not
interacting well with other medications, or do they need new medications?
Sally Smith: Well, you know, one of the biggest things
that I learned was when my mother’s hearing began to fail. She was so fun and with it, and never would
have missed out on the opportunity to enjoy other people, but she would miss
certain words and would back away a little bit.
And even when she got the hearing aid, it confused her, and she really
didn’t want it. She became more isolated
because she really couldn’t hear, so she didn’t want to go to the
function. She was kind of confused by
it, not so much mentally, although that was beginning to happen. She just couldn’t really participate because
she couldn’t hear very well. I can see
how that, and sight, those two things, can be so pivotal, you know.
Paul Franklin: Absolutely.
They’re afraid they might embarrass themselves, or embarrass others,
because they didn’t hear exactly what was said, or couldn’t see exactly what
was going on. There are all kinds of
reasons why people sometimes do withdraw.
And I’m sorry to say, in many cases, there could be some elder abuse
going on. That’s a very sensitive
area. Fortunately, here in Charleston, we do have an
arm of the police department that does look at those kinds of issues. Mount
Pleasant is the same way. The Mount Pleasant Police Department’s Senior
Crime Victims is one of the resources that we have in supportive relationships.
Sally Smith: That is just so scary. I mean, that is just so sad.
Paul Franklin: Yes, it really is. And, unfortunately, in many of the cases that
I’ve seen, it involves family members, as opposed to someone from the outside,
so that’s very discouraging.
Sally Smith: That is very discouraging. Well, one thing that is encouraging is that Charleston, with its
neighborhoods, is basically a friendly place.
We don’t live in a huge suburban area.
We’re lucky. It’s just like this
little lady I know, one of my great heroines, who does connect. And there are so many people like her that
are asking the seniors to come help, to come and be with them, the church
groups, the whatever. I guess part of it is, as you say, if you can
make the connection, you have the chance to really make a difference in
somebody’s life, which is cool.
Paul Franklin: Absolutely.
Sally Smith: Thank you so much, Paul.
Paul Franklin: My pleasure.
Sally Smith: It’s very good to talk to you, as
always. Thanks to all our listeners too
for joining us. We welcome your
suggestions and comments. This is Sally
Smith, Age to Age, saying good-bye and
wishing you courage and joy on your journey.
We are all connected.
If you enjoy
listening to Sally Smith, you can buy her book, The Circle. It’s the story of how she personally
responded to her mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a wonderful gift of hope for anyone with
a parent with dementia. Just click on
Sally Smith’s name under the Health Professionals tab on the Podcast home
page. All profits support research at
the Center on Aging. Thanks.