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Sarel was drawn to With A Little Help (WALH) in 2002 because of her interest in helping others. She enjoys the wisdom, sharing and continual learning in her work as a caregiver. Her care experience spans Dementia, ALS, Parkinson's, MSA, and Cancer. Outside of professional...

[caption id="attachment_1533" align="alignleft" width="175"]Linda at her first art exhibit Linda at her first art exhibit[/caption] Linda’s interest in working with elders grew from experiences in family caregiving first with her courageous, lonely, loving grandmother and later her parents. During the five years that she’s shared her skills through With A Little Help she says she most enjoys “being a support to families.” Her own experience caring for parents helps her interact with client families. “I am able to offer a calm, neutral, and supportive influence,” she explained. “It is very heart opening to see families connect and support each other in times of need. I believe our families are the main way we can work through our karma/life lessons and if we don’t heal our relationships with them, we have really missed a great opportunity. I encourage everyone to do this difficult work of healing relationships with their own families. How else can we have peace on earth?”
Music is all around us. We hear it in movies, at social gatherings, weddings and funerals, in stores and offices, and in our places of worship.  Whenever we encounter it our bodies react physiologically and our minds form associations. Because we’re all in contact with music and all experiencing its powerful effects, therapists have long suspected it could be used therapeutically. Music therapists began integrating music as a healing modality in the 1970’s but demonstrating its value took time. Today mounting research and case studies, and the advent of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and FMRI (Functional Magnetic Imaging), substantiate music as an effective therapy for stress and a variety of mental and physical health conditions including Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Tuesday May 6th was Seattle’s 4th annual GiveBIG day!  GiveBIG donations surpassed 2013 giving by over a million dollars thereby channeling strong support to Seattle’s non profits. In just 24 hours 64,000 people pledged online donations to over 1500 charitable organizations that shared a portion of matching funds. Senior Services won a "golden ticket" this year garnering an additional $1,000 from the pool of matching dollars!
This is the first in a series of book reviews about health, aging, and caregiving but it also marks the launch of a blog series profiling our wonderful caregivers.  In these blogs we go beyond the demographic backgrounds of our staff and invite you to gain a deeper understanding of why our caregivers choose this meaningful work and why we're proud to offer their service. Meet Ginny Moore, caregiver and author of Don't Make Lemonade; Leaning Into Life's Difficult Transitions What do we do when life gives us lemons? The reigning positivity in American culture tells us to make lemonade but author Ginny Moore, in her book Don’t Make Lemonade: Leaning Into Life’s Difficult Transitions, urges readers to “face the lemons.” In this engaging and honest book Moore portrays her challenging journey through adversity to empowerment with page turning skill. She draws universal themes around her complex personal experience and offers inspirational encouragement to readers going though loss and transition. With a trustworthy authorial voice like a wise friend Moore assures us that facing change and honestly processing emotions will lead to healing and greater understanding of our lives. This is a refreshing and validating book that I might read again---and again.
“Something really exciting is emerging in the aging community,” NEST (North East Seattle Together) executive director, Judy Kinney said, brightening as she described NEST’s services for people aging in place and Seattle’s broader network of innovative aging support programs. “People in NEST are laying a path [for aging services] with the idea ‘let’s do this differently-something with a creative bent,’ she explained. NEST and the PNA Village, a similar program run by the Phinney Neighborhood Association, draw resources and modeling from a national movement of virtual retirement villages. NEST and PNA Village, like villages in communities across the nation, charge a modest annual fee in exchange for providing volunteer help with practical household needs, trusted professional referrals, and life enrichment activities that bond members.
This is the first in a new series of blogs about people in our community that inspire us to be active, healthy and engaged as we age. [caption id="attachment_1369" align="alignleft" width="225"]Jessie Strauss painting a habitat house Jessie Strauss painting a habitat house[/caption] Jessie Strauss led a satisfying and full professional and personal life up until her retirement and she had no intention of slowing down. Now in her 70’s she’s used that free time to touch the lives of people internationally with her commitment to Habitat For Humanity and the Guatemalan anti-poverty program Safe Passage while locally she continues energetic engagement with family and community. Her humanitarian contributions and vibrant living won her recognition in 2012 as Senior Services Inspiring Senior of the Month and, in 2013, as Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year for Washington State.
Smartphones, I Pads, Google Glasses….isn’t it time that we adapted today’s technological innovation to help us care for our elders? That’s the promise of telecare. The most popular telecare device, the push button pendant, debuted over 20 years ago and is still on the market. It’s sold in every color you can imagine by companies from Verizon to AARP.  It works but is limited by whether or not it’s worn when needed and is effective only when the wearer has the strength, coordination and coherence to push the button in emergency. Second and third generations of Telecare have advanced greatly and hope to solve those problems with smart technology that widens the net of caring support. With A Little Help debuted modern telecare technology in 2013 integrating it into some caregiving strategies. Is telecare right for your care plan?
Welcome! The doors are opening on Seattle’s Alzheimer’s Cafés. The first café, located in the Greenwood neighborhood, now in operation for over 2 years, serves people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families and partners. On the menu is food, drinks, fun and enjoyment every second Tuesday for 1 ½ hours from 3:30-5pm. Carin Mack, a local geriatric social worker, started the café which has spurred cafe development in many metro areas such as: West Seattle, Bothell, Columbia City, Green Lake, Renton, and Bellevue. “The goal is one in every neighborhood,” Mack said enthusiastically. “They’re easy to start. It doesn’t cost money,” Mack said of her successful program. “One needs to find a good space in the community and work with a willing business owner to host the cafe. Each cafe is different and it is a good idea to visit one or two before you set one up,” she explained. “You need someone willing to do the publicity, a person who will be there for continuity and a couple volunteers.” Attendance at most cafes varies month to month though the Columbia city café, hosted quarterly by Tutta Bella, draws a crowd. “Oh, it’s magical,” Mack emphasized. “They set up a buffet of four pizzas and salad and everyone buys their own beer or beverage.”
If you were in attendance at With A Little Help’s Holiday Open House party we hope you had a good time! You probably met owner, Marcia Ives, and perhaps received one of her handmade cups. Ives, 57, reconnected with her love of pottery after thirty years during which she raised a family and grew a business. “I took a pottery class or two almost 30 years ago simply because it piqued my interest,” she said. “I was so confident that I would do it again someday, that I held onto the little collection of tools that I had purchased way back then. It came right back to me, and I got sucked in…I have tapped into a whole artisitic/creative side of myself that I had not really explored much in my life, and it’s so much fun!” As Ives’ experience reflects, reconnecting with creativity as we navigate later years leads us to new discovery and welcome benefits. It’s also being used successfully to deliver health benefits to people living with dementia and Alzheimers disease.