This year has seemed to be a rather busy one for me – so much so, that I’ve blogged only once in January, twice in February, thrice in March and now we’re in April, the fourth month. Here's some of what has kept me occupied.
The income tax submission deadline is past but was hardly routine this year for many taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Service’s preparation of tax forms was delayed thanks to our U.S. Congress’ failure to perform their legislative budgeting duties in a timely manner. Next year our Congress should surely be capable of performing more responsibly.
I do resent a tax system that is so complicated that far too many citizens must hire someone to complete their forms. I continue to prepare my own tax forms which I started doing by default following my husband’s death. Each year I become much more adept at the task which has resulted in the process taking much less time, causing me less mental strain and frustration. Ideally, I won’t receive an IRS notice later this year informing me I either underpaid or overpaid.
I continue to note that our administrative and legislative branches of government are composed of too many people who appear to be willing to penalize those receiving Social Security by altering the formula for computing cost of living increases in a manner tantamount to a reduction for too many individuals who can least afford it.
There are numerous other issues on my mind with the most pressing one unfolding in Massachusetts as I write this. Law enforcement is engaged in a manhunt for the remaining known terrorist believed to have planted those deadly explosive devices at the Boston Marathon. Live television coverage of breaking news on this event make it difficult for me to cease viewing and go to bed.
Focusing more specifically on the mix of my time-absorbing activities since the first of the year, I had my required annual health physical examination followed by a variety of associated follow-up tests. Coincidentally, I’ve acquired an infection that is somewhat resistant to the first round of bacteria-fighting medications and in another unrelated circumstance I had to get a dental crown.
My life this year has also been periodically complicated by some residual effects from a bit of fancy footwork I exhibited last winter that resulted in my colliding with the floor then. The good news is that I prevented spilling the Chinese dinner I was holding in one hand or the water grasped in the other hand, so no mess to clean up.
I went to my knees hard, then over on my shoulder, but I had no bones fractured or broken – the activity is not recommended for the spinal cord and back. The consequence this year has been to experience some “creaks” that necessitate my having to exert more effort to engage in my activities some days. Physical therapy coupled with practicing recommended exercises reinforces what has once again proven to be beneficial therapeutic intervention for me.
Mostly I keep going just like the Energizer Bunny. The past couple of months I’ve attended an unusual number of time-consuming seminars on a variety of interesting topics associated with my continued part time work. One of the most interesting two day sessions focused on training for providing Speech-Language Pathology services in the new Green Houses at the retirement community I serve. These new Evergreen Villas living units are currently in the final stages of construction.
Several years ago Dr. Bill Thomas, Geriatrician, proposed the Green House concept. Green House Projects are now in many states. Green Houses are designed to create a more home-like atmosphere accommodating a small number of residents compared to traditional nursing homes.
“The Gardens is the first organization in California to be licensed to construct homes using the Green House model...two new homes, each 7,000 square feet, with 10 private bedrooms with private bathrooms and showers, and a family-style great room with an open kitchen and dining area. While licensed as a skilled nursing facility, the two houses are designed to look like the single family homes in the surrounding neighborhood.”
In keeping with this blog's policy to not provide free promotion, I want to clarify that I am not attempting to promote this Life Care retirement community and do not receive any financial benefits from mentioning them here. I do so solely for the purpose of sharing information about my activities and as an example of this relatively new living environment approach that is becoming increasingly appealing to some elders.
A few weeks ago I attended an excellent two day seminar focusing on swallowing therapy presented by a Speech-Language Pathologist from a Pennsylvania hospital. I chose these sessions for partial fulfillment of continuing education requirements for my California state license and national certification renewal requirements. Many people wonder what a “Speech Therapist” has to do with swallowing. Others are surprised that individuals can even have problems swallowing.
The reality is that many of the same muscles and functions involved in producing speech are also associated with our swallowing function when we eat and drink. Our airway function for breathing is intimately involved. Missing teeth, dentures for chewing can provide complicating issues just as foods may do in transit to the stomach or reverse i.e. reflux. Aging, various diseases, neurological trauma such as stroke, which most readily comes to mind for many, all may have bearing on our ability to safely eat foods and liquids in a consistency and amounts providing adequate nutrition and hydration.
I prefer attending seminars nearby when possible, so take advantage of those when offered since weeks, months may pass with none available. A limited number of many such classes offered on the Internet can be taken for credit. But I prefer attending these live seminars since I’ve ceased attending state and national annual conventions.
Yesterday I attended a seminar on Functional Cognitive Activities presented by a very knowledgeable Occupational Therapist from North Carolina. I was pleased with the interdisciplinary approach which I’ve always embraced. I could readily perceive information that will also have application in Green Houses for Speech, Occupational, Physical Therapies in conjunction with all the other specially trained nursing personnel, plus additional support staff.
The next several months are likely to keep me busy, too, but maybe the pace will slow in the summer, or not! I think as I've aged my "pace" has tempered a bit. I take on fewer obligations and am probably more deliberate in completing my commitments.