Blessings Near and Far: A Lesson in Honoring Elders

We arrived with jasmine garlands and two rosettes folded out of Thai baht. We slipped off our sandals and felt the cool, smooth tiles beneath us as we walked toward a woman sitting on her front porch. The woman was my friend Fon’s 90-year-old great grandmother, Chid. Fon had invited us – my friend Jess, my boyfriend Joe and me – to go to the beach, a few hours south of Bangkok. But first, she asked, could we stop to …

Guardian Angels: Volunteering to Make an Impact

Nobody knew much about Roger. His niece had dropped him off at the nursing home one day, saying there was a family emergency. Could they keep him overnight? Days passed, and then weeks. Some thought that Roger’s niece had been pocketing his Social Security checks, and when authorities started catching on, she bolted. Whatever the reason, she never came back. Enter Mark Desmond, Roger’s volunteer guardian. Mark, a newly retired sales manager, was determined to find out all he could about Roger, …

Building Family: How Guardianship Can Create Community

The Post-it note on the box said, “Little things. Wanna look?” I found it in my grandparents’ dining room, tucked alongside the candles and platters they used on special occasions. At that point, my grandmother, whom I called Dibi, had lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a few years. Ever the charmer, Dibi could hide it well, but those of us who knew her knew the battle was just beginning. I love to think about that box and imagine what was …

Hug Your Parents, and 7 Other Lessons for New Grads

The day after graduation at Miami University in Ohio, I took a run through campus. Barricades blocked paths, and white party tents waited to be disassembled. Ikea shelves and desks and deck chairs lined curbs. Kids snapped last-minute photos, while moms and dads carried storage bins and hitched U-Haul trailers to the backs of SUVs. It had been a while since I’d seen this scene – about 10 years. I graduated from college in 2005 and, after a short stint …

New Survey: Intergenerational Family Connections Matter

The Beatles might have gotten by with a little help from their friends, but I couldn’t do it without my family - especially when it comes to caregiving for my parents. Knowing my sisters will help is invaluable, whether I’m having trouble coordinating Dad’s care and my work schedule or I’m simply feeling tired and overwhelmed. We support Dad and each other through this difficult time. I’m not alone in my reliance on family. According to a new report released today …

Web Series ‘My Mom on Movies’ Highlights Dynamic Mother-Son Duo

Most adult children will tell you they think their mothers are superstars, but Pat Seftel really is one – thanks to her film director son, Josh. The two collaborate on a Web series, My Mom on Movies, in which Pat shares her observations about everything from movie stars (she loves Bradley Cooper) to books (she embarrassed herself talking about 50 Shades of Grey) and politics (she says Anthony Weiner is in “deep doo-doo”). It all started when Josh’s father died, …