Sylvia Fiano, one of my favorite people in the world, was kind enough to share two hours with me this morning on Radio 4 the Ages. Sylvia has been with us three times now, once each year that we’ve been on the air. Sylvia is an individual diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer’s Dementia. She is an advocate for all to live successfully in spite of her illness. She is a teacher for us all on how to live each day to the fullest, and not to worry about what might happen; but to deal with life as it is today! Sylvia was accompanied by Cindy Amori, her close friend and unofficial caregiver. Cindy has a full time job, but her mission is to be friend and companion to Sylvia. Sheila, my significant other, and associate producer of Radio 4 the Ages, joins us as well, for one of her rare appearances in studio.
This program with Sylvia Fiano is one of my personal favorites. If you have a loved one who is in your care who has Alzheimer’s dementia, then this is a must listen to.
Enjoy, and thanks for being a part of my journey.
Dr. Julian Montoro-Rodriguez is the new director of the Gerontology Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Our conversation this morning included the aging process in general, the life course of aging, and the Baby Boomer generation. Dr. Montoro-Rodriguez explores the challenges inherent in the tsunami of newly minted 65 year olds, including hunger, housing, and health care. Much time was spent on evidence based programs under development for support networks for grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren. UNC Charlotte is instrumental in developing programs along these lines. Dr. Rodriguez also discussed the reality that Charlotte-Mecklenburg is a young community and getting younger. So there is a challenge to eliminate barriers, physical as well as social, that might prohibit older adults from fully integrating into the community at large. We don’t want to isolate our senior adults. Mixed age and life cycle stage neighborhoods are much preferable to ‘age exclusive’ or ‘age predominant’ neighborhoods.
Children who live in poverty, homelessness and food insecurity put Charlotte-Mecklenburg and North Carolina near the top of this list in failing our children with the most basic needs. So one of Dr. Rodgiguez’s focus points is to address the needs of children, and in doing so, will also benefit our older population. The website is gerontology.uncc.edu. There is a strong message here as well about personal responsibility as we age. Government is not going to be the solution to many of our issues as we age, nor are they going to provide dollars to support the myriad of programs that we might like to have. So everyone needs to take responsibility to build a support organization of their own, and to be a part of that same organization to provide care and services for others in that group.
Chuck Fink, the founder of a group named Men’s Wisdom Works, is my first guest this morning, via telephone, from Ashville, NC. Chuck Fink (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a trained facilitator who has led discussion groups in higher education, corporate and non-profit organizations. You know it’s often interesting to me how I find guests for my show, and how very many people are involved in improving the human condition, from a variety of different walks of life. I can’t actually tell you how I connected with Chuck, but it was a fortuitous occasion.
Chuck moved to Ashville from Ohio, and found himself if a bit of a funk (aka depression). His wife was ready to get started when they arrived in western North Carolina, but Chuck was looking to find his next chapter. He was inspired in 2009 after hearing a speaker from AARP comment that men’s groups dont’ express feelings very well. And so, the seeds of an idea for Men’s Wisdom Works were planted. He discusses with us this morning the concept of ‘PIPs’, or previously important people. The transins are often times difficult, espcially for men.
The message contained in the wisdom of Men’s Wisdom Works is that we’re not here to fix any thing or any one. We are here to share with other men: our thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears, that we may not have shared in the past for a variety of reasons.
Dr. Todd Engel of the Engel Institute was my second guest this morning. Dr. Engel was able to sit with me in studio to discuss his mission of educating dentists around the world in the proper procedures for dental implants. Dr. Engel was in studio with me a year or so ago, and he was instrumental in assisting me with obtaining two implants to replace teeth that I lost several years ago. I am so grateful to Dr. Engel for his assistance and expertise, and I can tell you that this decision to have dental implants done was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Now I can eat all the foods that I like and that are healthy for me, and I am confident with my smile and public speaking. Check out his web site, Engelinstitute.com/patients for information on Dr. Engel’s services and the assistance that he provides for older people who are in need of his services.
I’ve done several shows on Alzheimer’s Disease . I’ve had Sylvia Fiano on with me twice now. Sylvia was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s disease several years ago. I’ve had physicians on who are expert in the diagnosis and care of Alzheimer’s individuals. And Sylvia will join me again on November 8th.
However, this may be the first time that I’ve had the opportunity to interview a person who is the primary caregiver for his spouse, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Frank is a courageous individual who is in his 80′s, and he tells about his journey into the care giving world. He does a wonderful job speaking from the heart, with humor, about the changes that his spouse is going through and a few of the tricks that he has learned to better care for her and function as her care giver. I know that you will enjoy listening to Frank speak of his love for his spouse of 50+years, his dedication to her, and how he manages to persevere through this journey. Frank’s interview is from the 24 minute mark for approximately 34 minutes.
And my good friend, Nate Huggins, the founder and CEO of Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care facility in Mint Hill called to share some news. Blessed Assurance is expanding and they’re having a grand opening of their expanded facility on December 7th.
If you or a family member are having cognitive difficulties, or your faced with the challenges of providing care giving for an Alzheimer’s loved one, please reach out for assistance, guidance and support. You are not alone. There are folks who want to help.
I opened today’s show with a review of my first ocean cruise. Sheila and I took a brief five day cruise to the Bahamas out of Charleston, SC. I discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Then, Richard London joins me for the balance of the program to discuss living with chronic illness. He shares some valuable tips for staying involved in life and keeping a positive attitude. There is much good information here, offered by Richard who lives – successfully and fully, with Parkinson’s Disease.
I close the program in the last few minutes with a discussion regarding the current phraseology being used on sports talk shows. I listen to many sports talk shows weekly, and I am frankly annoyed with the over use of the following: “to me”, “for me”, “in my mind”, “personally”, etc. What ever happened to “in my opinion”, or “I think”? I guess they are on hiatus until further notice. At least, personally, for me, I was thinking that in my mind!
Many thanks to Richard and thank you for listening to Radio 4 the Ages and for being a part of my journey!