Our Blog

Stop Worrying so Much, and Other Important Life Lessons

Comments Off on Stop Worrying so Much, and Other Important Life LessonsWritten on February 5th, 2015 by
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It makes sense, doesn’t it?  Wouldn’t life be so much more enjoyable if we could simply stop worrying so much?  My mother used to tell me that worrying is wasted energy.  She was right.  In fact author and Ph.D. gerontologist Karl Pillemer spent several years interviewing hundreds of older Americans to discover their advice for better living and how to best avoid regrets.  In his book, 30 Lessons for Living, Pillemer writes,

“One of the biggest regrets of the very old was, I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying.”

So how do we stop tormenting ourselves with concern over money, our kids, our aging parents, our relationships, our job,  and of course, health issues?  That’s a tough one.  But a start at better living is better planning.  Worrying will never change an outcome, but planning may.  As the old adage goes: Hope for the best, plan for the worst and be prepared to be surprised!

If your worries include how to stay as independent, happy, and healthy as possible as you age or how to care for aging parents- we can help alleviate these worries. We are experts in our field and help is only a phone call away.




Decking The Halls and Keeping Your Sanity

Comments Off on Decking The Halls and Keeping Your SanityWritten on December 10th, 2014 by
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Attention Sandwich Generation.  Buckle up because it’s that time of year again, time to deck the halls and celebrate the holiday season. Remember when you actually looked forward to holiday parties with friends and family?   Time can take its toll though when you’re juggling the responsibilities of raising your kids while caring for your aging parents. And we haven’t even mentioned the stress of your day job. How thin can you be stretched?  This balancing act is a tenuous one.  A strategy?   Simplify celebrations whenever possible and when you’re pushed to your limit, stop, breathe and know this:                                                                      Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make.                                                              At Elder Care Connections of Vermont, help is a phone call away.


Depression…is it a normal part of aging?

Comments Off on Depression…is it a normal part of aging?Written on August 14th, 2014 by
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The answer is a resounding no.  Everyone feels down or blue at one time or another, but the difference with depression is that it’s not a passing mood.  It’s a dark cloud overhead that has taken up permanent residence, affecting among other things, a person’s energy level, appetite, sleep, memory and overall well-being. It can be difficult to diagnose, especially in older individuals who may have experienced many life changes and traumatic losses along their life journey such as the death of a spouse or of other loved ones, loss of independence, physical ailments or diseases, isolation and loneliness. Symptoms of depression in older individuals can also present differently than in younger folks. They may not report feeling sad if asked but they may be unusually irritable or complain of other physical ailments. If you know of an older individual who may be suffering from depression, please, ask them to call his or her primary care physician.  Robin Williams left us with many gifts, including more awareness to reach out and help those we may suspect who are suffering. Depression is treatable.

We have been concerned by the unmet need we see in the community of elders struggling with a variety of mental health issues and are pleased to announce the addition of Taryn Austin to the Elder Care Connections of Vermont team.  Taryn is an exceptional and experienced therapist trained in crisis intervention who is able to provide in-home therapy visits to elders struggling with a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, social isolation and caregiver stress.

Also, as Elder Care Connections of Vermont continues to grow, we have added Frank McLaughlin RN to provide skilled in-home nursing care to our clients.  We are seeing a growing need among our clients for private nursing care and Frank is highly-skilled, kind and compassionate.

Our mission at Elder Care Connections of Vermont is to help elders and their families navigate the challenges of aging and to reduce stress.  Frank and Taryn are two incredible additions to our team who will help us more comprehensively address the emotional and physical issues facing elders in our community. sunrise

Celebrating Dad

Comments Off on Celebrating DadWritten on August 4th, 2014 by
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images (6)


Road trip to the beach.

A summer birthday celebration!

Sand, surf, family, fun.

Twenty family members strong:

 two sons, three daughters, two son- in-laws and a daughter-in-law,

nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

  Happy 88th Dad! 

Same place next year?

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The Full Montie…

Comments Off on The Full Montie…Written on July 27th, 2014 by
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Meet Montie, 17 pounds of kind, gentle love.  Whether Montie’s visiting with older people in their homes or in residential care facilities, Montie knows how to draw a smile out of the most stoic of individuals.  He’ll sit peacefully with folks on their laps or snuggle up with them on their beds. Montie goes wherever he’s needed. Everybody needs a purpose in life, and Montie has found his, providing companionship and cheer to many older individuals. He may be the smallest and quietest member of our Elder Care Connections of Vermont team, but he is pure heart.  When Montie is not out on his visits, he enjoys riding in cars and in boats; playing with his squeaker toys in the backyard and visiting with his fellow Westie friend, Dillon.

Let us know if you’d like Montie to come visit you!

Laughter…Spread the Joy of It!

Comments Off on Laughter…Spread the Joy of It!Written on May 9th, 2014 by
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  Laughter….It’s Contagious

I was at a residential care home the other day when I stopped to greet a resident. This woman is wheelchair bound.  All aspects of her living are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and she rarely speaks. But the other day, for whatever reason, when I greeted her by name, she smiled at me, and then started to chuckle and then the chuckle turned into a full blown laugh.  Without control, my emotions mirrored her own. I first smiled, then chuckled and then found myself laughing and laughing as I knelt by her side. I’d never experienced such a spontaneous reaction with an individual this far progressed with Alzheimer’s. It was pure joy.  A staff member walked up to us with a big smile and asked what was so funny. How would you have responded?





Ten Signs It May Really Be Springtime in Vermont

Comments Off on Ten Signs It May Really Be Springtime in VermontWritten on April 12th, 2014 by
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We Know it’s April, but Here Are Ten Signs It May Really be Springtime in Vermont

   1.There’s no snow in the weather forecast for the first time since last year.


2.The ice on Lake Champlain is no longer thick enough to drive a car over.


3. This sound greets you in the morning rather than the howling of a cold wind:

4. And if you follow the sound, maybe you’ll see this:


5. The snow is nearly melted and March Madness has been replaced by mud madness.


 6. Ben & Jerry’s just had free cone day:


7. There are only weeks left to sign up for the Vermont City Marathon.


8.  It was 40 degrees the other morning and my daughter broke out her flip flops.


9. Days are getting longer and we’re all feeling more energized and hopeful.


10. Complaints about the long, cold, snowy winter are replaced with joy and gratitude for sunny days and signs of spring.


Congratulations everyone!  We made it through another Vermont winter!

A Balancing Act Made Easier

Comments Off on A Balancing Act Made EasierWritten on March 20th, 2014 by
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How to Care for Your Aging Parent

AND Keep Your Day Job


Well, it’s a dilemma for sure, this balancing act of trying to help manage the health issues facing your aging parent and staying focused on your day job.  How can it not be?   Read the following five reasons below and if even one reason rings true, we can help you.

1. Taking care of your aging parent has forced you to take time off from work and is making it difficult to meet professional or family obligations.

2. You’re preoccupied with anxiety and worry about the safety and well-being of your parent.

3. You and your siblings are in disagreement about how best to manage the care of your parent.

4. You’re unsure of what resources are available and how best to access needed services for your parent.

5. Your physical health and emotional well-being are compromised because you’re neglecting your own needs to care for your loved one.

 Call us at Elder Care Connections of Vermont, 802-999-9172 or 802-324-6562.  We’re here to help.

Taking Care of Yourself

Comments Off on Taking Care of YourselfWritten on February 13th, 2014 by
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February 12, 2014

OK. For those of you who are caregivers, whether for a parent or for a child, and God help those of you from the Sandwich Generation, caring for both a parent and a child, listen up. Here is your most important New Year’s resolution of 2014:

Take Care of Yourself.

And this is followed up with:

 Guilt Shall Not Control Your Actions.

Caregiving can require endless energy and patience.  If you don’t come up for a breath every now or then, preferably at least once a day, you’ll suffer. And guilt is such a powerful excuse to put others’ needs before your own.  So take back your power. You are important.  Exercise daily. Read something for fun. Take a walk with a friend. Do something, anything that’s just for you.  You’re worth it.

A Typical Day in the Life of a Geriatric Care Manager

Comments Off on A Typical Day in the Life of a Geriatric Care ManagerWritten on January 15th, 2014 by
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January 15, 2014

When asked to describe a typical day for us at Elder Care Connections of Vermont, it’s challenging as every day is unique and filled with surprises.

We are blessed to work with interesting individuals and families. We travel miles along the beautiful roads of Vermont daily to check in on our clients and we are often awestruck when we catch a glimpse of our gorgeous Green Mountains or Lake Champlain along our route.   Our work is based primarily in Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties- however we have been known to drive as far south as Brattleboro if needed.

We love our time with the people we are fortunate enough to work with; the richness of their history and experiences and the honor of working with such incredible people brings us great joy.   We give our all to our work and we get so much back in the joy and gratitude we find daily from the people we work with.

When we are not with our clients, we are often on the phone with physicians, healthcare providers, caregiving agencies, and families setting up and coordinating necessary appointments, answering community resource questions, linking people with needed supports, and guiding people who are feeling alone or overwhelmed to the help they need.  We are both kind and compassionate but can become fierce advocates if our clients are not getting the support they need.

We are on call 24/7 as our clients are like family to us and we want to know if there is an emergency in the middle of the night.  The fast pace and 24/7 schedule is not for everyone but we both consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have found each other and to do work that makes a positive impact daily.   Each day is a gift to help others, to increase our knowledge, to strengthen our ability to stay calm in any crisis, to be flexible and to think creatively and to be compassionate.  We are grateful.