There’s a Doctor in the House

CLICK HERE to download flyer

AgeSong at Bayside Park is pleased to announce that we have a doctor in the house. Dr. Tyrone E. Snipes, D.O., will be available for consultation in Bayside’s Wellness Center on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 am to noon in the massage area. He will provide coordinated care with previous and specialty physicians, primary care, internal medicine, review of medications, annual physical check-up and follow-up visits.

He was introduced to AgeSong through  ProHealth Home Care, Inc, which offers a full spectrum of home health services ranging from nursing assistance with everyday needs to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

“Meet and Greet” Dr. Snipes. Residents and their families are welcome to meet Dr. Snipes Wednesday, April 18, at 6:45 pm.

Dr. Snipes earned his BA in biology at UC Berkeley and taught teachers at Calvin Simmons MIddle School in Oakland, CA.  He earned his medical degree at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine and  trained in medicine at Highland. Dr. Snipes did his post-graduate work at UCSF.  His specialty areas are internal medicine and primary care. He is interested in preventive care and diet/lifestyle changes. Dr Snipes is passionate about helping people who can’t get out of the house and following people in any health situation.

Like allopathic physicians (M.D.), osteopathic physicians complete 4 years of medical school and can choose to practice in any specialty of medicine. However, osteopathic physicians receive an additional 300 – 500 hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body’s musculoskeletal system.

Contact:

Tyrone E. Snipes, D.O.D.

Internal Medicine/Primary Care

510.595.9880 (office)

510.550.3686 (fax)

Office Address:  3317 Elm Street, Oakland, CA 94608

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 AgeSong at Bayside Park | 1440 40th Street, Emeryville, California 94608 | 510-594-8800 | License # 015601452

AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

Daniel (Danny) Cunningham, a Valued AgeSong Professional Affiliate

 

Daniel (Danny) Cunningham is one of many valued professional affiliates of AgeSong’s elder communities. He is a California Licensed Fiduciary, who runs a professional care management company. He was Executive Director of an elder community  and worked in hospice as a volunteer and trainer.

Following is his story, in his words. CLICK HERE to listen to interview with Danny on March 15, 2012.

A Brief Summary of My Career Path

  • Dancer, Singer, Actor in 20s & 30s.
  • Transitioned to working with Hospice Services from a career as a professional performer – initially as a volunteer and later on a Volunteer Coordinator; recruiting volunteers to work with the terminally ill and facilitating trainings for these volunteers.
  • Worked with a home health agency initially as a scheduling coordinator to get my foot in the door. After a few years worked my way up to becoming Director of Client Services of that Home Health Agency.
  • Transitioned to Director of Operations position for a managed care organization.
  • Became Executive Director for a 47-bed assisted living community with a strong focus on mental health.
  • Was offered a position as Director of another fiduciary practice to learn the ropes of being a fiduciary with the intention that I would go out on my own eventually to begin my own practice.
  • Co-Founded ProCare Professional Care Management, Inc. with Rafael Herrera. We are based in San Francisco and serve San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo Counties providing fiduciary and case management services. Our clientele include both seniors and young adults living with medical, neurological and psychiatric disabilities.

My Sister’s Influence on My Career

  • Daniel Cunningham started his professional career as a dancer. A graduate of Allentown College of St. Frances de Sales with a Bachelors Degree in Dance. During his 20s and 30s, Mr. Cunningham performed professionally throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with Dance Companies and in Musical Theatre productions as well as adjudicating National Dance Competitions.
  • At the height of Danny’s performing career, life circumstances brought things to a crashing halt. His 27 year old sister Ellen was diagnosed with advanced adrenal cancer. At the time, Danny was in Berlin, Germany performing with a European tour of West Side Story. When the tour closed, Danny returned to his home in New York and subsequently took a two-year break from his professional career as a performer. Danny became a primary source of support for Ellen as she battled this deadly disease; traveling from New Jersey to her appointments at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Danny would meet Ellen at her appointments at the hospital and he would be there for all of her hospitalizations. This was quite a window into Danny’s future as a professional fiduciary and case manager.
  • During the last few months of her life, Ellen encouraged Danny to return to his career as a performer. She knew the sacrifices he had made to step awayfrom his performing career to be there for her. Following Ellen’s suggestion, Danny lined up a year’s worth of work including a national tour of Meet Me in St. Louis and some regional theatre productions. Sadly, Ellen lost her battle with cancer at the age of 29. After Ellen’s death, Danny headed out on the national tour of Meet Me in St. Louis. Because of Ellen, Danny had a year’s worth of work lined up.
  • Danny spent a year of performing on a national tour. Sadly, Danny experienced even more loss as fellow performers were dying from AIDS, at the height of the epidemic; a time when the diagnosis was a death sentence. This was also a time when the whole country was fearful of those living with AIDS – afraid to touch – even to be in the same room with someone who was HIV positive. The call to step away from performing once again, was loud and clear.
  • Danny’s work in social services began as a volunteer. At that time, the need for people to work with the men and women who were losing their battle to AIDS was monumental. Not only was there a need for caring and courageous individuals to work with the dying; there was an even greater need to give support to the families who were losing their sons, daughters, husbands, wives and children to this deadly disease.
  • Having gone through the experience with Ellen, Danny could see all sides of this dire situation. It was shocking to watch as those battling AIDS were sometimes forced to hide their diagnosis and often felt guilty or ashamed about it. Some people were shunned by their families simply because they were diagnosed with AIDS. It was so terrible to see the difference between the way Ellen was treated in her journey through her terminal illness in comparison to the way individuals were being treated when diagnosed with AIDS. How terrible it was for some to have to face their  terminal illness without having the support, respect and dignity that someone such as Ellen had in her own battle with cancer.
  • Danny focused his energy on working with the dying which, at the time, was what the people living with AIDS and HIV were. There were no medications on the market that helped people to live a regular life despite their diagnosis.

For people who are interested in exploring the fiduciary world:

Contact

Daniel “Danny” J. Cunningham, CCF, NCG, CLPF

ProCare Professional Care Management, Inc

(415) 440-CARE

(415) 674-7961 (FAX)

dannyc@procarepcm.com

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AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove 

AgeSong and OLLI Intergenerational Forum

Download flyer:  Oldsters Youngsters 4 18 12

AgeSong at Laguna Grove

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AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

AgeSong at Laguna Grove | 624 Laguna Street San Francisco, California 94102 | Phone: (415) 318-8670 | License Number 385600372Equal Housing Opportunity
All content © AgeSong. All rights reserved.

Benefits of a Heart-Friendly Mediterranean Diet

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/images/MyPlateImages/JPG/myplate_green.jpg

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

AgeSong BSP will be changing to a more healthful (Mediterranean) diet. A heart-friendly diet consisting of fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and beans reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 34 to 48 percent in studies conducted by Columbia University. Studies suggest that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables, especially leafy-greens, may experience a slower rate of cognitive decline and a lower risk for dementia than meat eaters.
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Even the Department  of Agriculture is now on the side of plant-based diets.  Its “Dietary Guidelines” say “vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes” (NYTimes 3/11/12).

Dr Mehmet Oz claims that only 30 percent of our health issues are the result of our genes. The other 70 percent are the result  of our lifestyle, mainly diet and exercise. One of the main culprits in the American diet is added sugar(or high  fructose corn syrup) which should be eliminated.

Common health challenges, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, are often associated with dementia.  Laura Fratiglioni, director of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute’s Aging Research Center, says, “For those with mild cognitive impairment, good control of diabetes can delay the onset of dementia by several years.”

Spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, parsley, ginger, and vanilla are high in antioxidants, which may build brainpower. Some believe that East Indians have lower incidence of Alzheimer’s because they flavor their foods with curcumin, which reduces amyloid plaques and lowers inflammation levels responsible for some diseases.. Cinnamon is known to improve glucose metabolism.

Some older individuals may not be able to eat certain foods because of other problems and they will have to modify their diet accordingly. As you try various new foods, it is important to heed your doctor’s orders regarding diet and exercise and to take prescribed medications on schedule. Eventually, proper diet may get you to the point of not needing some of your medications. (based on nutritional findings published in AARP The Magazine, September-October 2011).

For those who want to learn more about heart-friendly diets, view the following news clips:

  • A new study published by Harvard researchers provides “clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat [such as bacon or hot dogs], contributes substantially to premature death,” according to lead author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, in a press release. MORE…
  • Could your breakfast be doing wonders for your figure while wreaking havoc on your face? In this series, Monica Waters takes  on 6 of the most popular diets (fad and otherwise) to reveal the eating habits that are best—and worst—for your skin. Get ready for glowing skin and a healthy body. MORE…
  • Low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with smaller brain volume and poorer performance on tests of mental acuity, even in people without apparent dementia, according to a new study. MORE…
  • Chinese women who ate cabbage, broccoli and leafy greens saw improved survival rates after breast cancer than women who did not eat these cruciferous vegetables, said a US study presented on Tuesday. MORE…
  • The food you eat may have a lot to do with how healthy your brain stays as you age, according to the latest nutritional research. People in their late 80s with higher blood levels of B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, D and E, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, showed less mental impairment and brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s disease. MORE
  • (CBS News) Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, believes the high amount of sugar in the American diet, much of it in processed foods, is killing us. MORE
  • Get the latest on the link between sugar and obesity from Dr. Lustig and his UCSF colleagues in the UCTV Prime series “The Skinny on Obesity.”  MORE…
  • New research published this month shows that fewer older Americans are developing macular degeneration — a major cause of vision loss and even blindness in older men and women. And the study suggests that a healthier diet — including leafy green vegetables and fish — could be one of the factors responsible for the decrease. MORE…

 

View video: Three Steps To Incredible Health! Joel Fuhrman, MD.

 

Also view Joel Fuhrman, MD’s Food Pyramid:

 

 

 

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 AgeSong at Bayside Park | 1440 40th Street, Emeryville, California 94608 | 510-594-8800 | License # 015601452

AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

 

 

 

AgeSong at Bayside Park Residents Tell their Stories

 

CLICK HERE to Download Bayside April 2012

CLICK HERE to Download April General Calendar

AgeSong at Bayside Park celebrates spring with art, music, song, history, and writing from the heart!  In this issue, the vocations and avocations of our creative residents are featured.  We discover what our strengths and talents were then and what they are now. We give you a glimpse into what makes this elder community special by sharing lifetimes of experience and wisdom.

VIEW SLIDESHOWS of talented residents’ artwork:

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AgeSong Senior at Bayside Park | 1440 40th Street, Emeryville, California 94608 | 510-594-8800 | License # 015601452

AgeSong Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

Bayside Interns – A New Vision of Aging and Growth

Barbara Hart

Thirteen young clinicians, rich in life experience and education, offer emotional, relational and behavioral support to those who wish it at AgeSong, Bayside Park’s assisted living and elder community. All of the interns facilitate groups and help create the conditions for growth, learning and healing.  From the Laughter group and Meditation to Expressive Arts therapy, Psychology of Aging discussions and  the Men’s and Women’s lunch gatherings, they work to create opportunities for the residents to share and be enriched by the vast experience of the AgeSong residents.

These interns are the eyes and ears and part of the heart of this community. Whatever their background and training, they share a common wish to offer opportunities for continued learning and authentic connection and to grow and learn themselves.  The interns are aware and deeply appreciate what the AgeSong residents offer them.  Both residents and interns are living through enormous transitions in a unique environment which makes a new kind of relationship possible among and between the generations – all moving toward growth and change, sharing the joy and sometimes the suffering this brings.

They are Angela, Katherine, Greg, Eric, Arielle, Mahyar, Elena, Rachael, Nithya, Andrea, Kirti, Benjamin and Joseph.

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AgeSong Senior at Bayside Park | 1440 40th Street, Emeryville, California 94608 | 510-594-8800 | License # 015601452

AgeSong Retirement Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

 

Join AgeSong at JCC Art of Aging Gracefully Fair

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
The Fifth Annual Art of Aging Gracefully Resource Fair is an exclusive opportunity to access the Bay Area’s most valuable health and wellness resources all in one day. This year’s fair features nearly 50 businesses and organizations as well as an impressive lineup of speakers from UCSF Medical Center in the fields of geriatrics, cardiology, orthopaedics and oncology.

VISIT OUR BOOTH:  AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities

Fifth Annual Art of Aging Gracefully Resource Fair
Thursday, March 22 • Free
Speakers: 9:30 am – 2:45 pm • Kanbar Hall
Resource Fair: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm • Pottruck Family Atrium & Fisher Family Hall

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AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

Become an AgeSong Volunteer

Would you like to have an opportunity to make a huge impact on the life of our senior residents?  Sometimes, just being with an older adult can be both a satisfying & learning experience for all. AgeSong Senior Communities provide unique residential care as well as dementia care (memory care) services. “Our vision is to help create a more accepting, loving and caring human being based on the idea of developing the virtues of the elder within all of us.”

San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville

www.AgeSong.com

Alan Morgenstern

volunteer@agesong.com

(510) 318-7739 ext. 360

 

 

 

Love, Sex, and Dementia

  • Thursday, March 22
  • 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
  • Laguna Grove Care
  • 624 Laguna Street, SF 94102
  • 2 CEUs
Elizabeth Edgerly, PhD
Elizabeth Edgerly, PhD, is Chief Program Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, Northern California & Northern Nevada as well as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Edgerly oversees all chapter programs for persons with dementia, their families and professionals. She is instrumental in the development of new programs to better meet the needs of persons with dementia throughout Northern California & Northern Nevada. Dr. Edgerly is also the lead presenter and national spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Maintain Your Brain program and has appeared on television, radio and in numerous national and local publications, speaking on this topic. In addition to her work with programs, she staffs the chapter’s Medical Scientific Advisory Council. Dr. Edgerly is a graduate of the University of Maine, Orono; she completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at State University of New York at Binghamton, NY in 1994. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship at Palo Alto VA Medical Center, she consulted with the Interdisciplinary Team Training and Development Program with the center. Dr. Edgerly joined the Alzheimer’s Association in 1995. Dr. Edgerly has had her work published in numerous scientific journals including the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the Journal of Psychopathology & Behavioral Assessment.

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AgeSong Assisted Living and Elder Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

AgeSong at Laguna Grove | 624 Laguna Street San Francisco, California 94102 | Phone: (415) 318-8670 | License Number 385600372Equal Housing Opportunity
All content © AgeSong. All rights reserved.

From Hoarding To Foraging for Memories: Moving Beyond the DSM

Download Presentation: ACA_Presentation_2012

OVERVIEW

The American Counseling Association, the worlds largest counseling organization, opposes some revisions to the main diagnostic tool used in mental health. According to Rebecca Daniel-Burke, staff liaison on the ACA DSM task force, “in general, counselors are against pathologizing or ‘medicalizing’ clients with diagnoses as we prefer to view clients from a strength-based approach and avoid the stigma that is often associated with mental health diagnoses.” (Bass, November 28, 2011).

In support of this strength-based approach, an educational session, conducted by Drs Sally Gelardin and Nader Shabahangi, joined by Marilyn Harryman, NCC, DCC,  is scheduled for Sunday, March 25, 8:45 am to 10:15 am.  We challenge the mainstream understanding of aging as decline and/or disease and the focus on diagnoses of illnesses, represented by the DSM Code.  Instead, we focus on a more expansive, humanistic, and creative vision and approach through the use of metaphors.

The three main subjects addressed in this paper are the following:  (a) Define and demystify the DSM code; (b) Examine positive ways counselors can reframe diagnoses through metaphors; (c) Provide a toolbox of life-affirming wellness activities that counselors can use with clients to move beyond medical diagnoses.

Who and/or what defines an individual? Is it simply illness diagnoses?

Individuals over 80 are the fastest growing population.  How do we relate to our elders – note each sign of decay? failing eyesight or hearing? slower pace? each memory slip? every time the phone is left off the hook? In our youth-oriented culture, it is difficult to find anything to look forward to as we age. Once an individual has been diagnosed by the medical profession, is that the whole person, or does that individual have other “evolving” abilities?

Labels are for jars, not people.

Labeling through medical diagnoses continues throughout our lives, but most of us start to notice it more as we pass 50. For example, over 8% of the U.S. population (children and adults) have diabetes. Over 25% of U.S. citizens over 65 have diabetes. Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates 2 to 4 times as much as those without diabetes, plus develop other serious health challenges.

In some cases,  a diagnosed illness can be reversed – the individual can be “cured”.  In other cases, the diagnosis many remain throughout the rest of one’s life, but the symptoms can be moderated. Sometimes, a person who has been diagnosed with an illness, as well as those with whom the diagnosed individual is in contact,  can lead a fuller, more rewarding life than before becoming aware of the diagnosis.

EXPLORATION AND GOALS

To challenge the mainstream understanding of aging as decline and disease, we ask questions, such as the following: What really gives us joy and celebrates our existence? How can we experience endings as new beginnings, losses as opportunities for new gains? What are the opportunities to create our lives as we age? How do we cultivate what is latent and wants to come to the fore? How do we care for others and for ourselves as we age, taking into consideration and moving beyond medical diagnosis?

Goal 1: Define and Demystify the DSM Code

In the United States, a medical diagnosis is used to explain why an individual’s behavior deviates from the norm.  Individuals are labeled by the diagnosis.  Here are some examples: compulsive hoarder, paraplegic, Aspergers, diabetes, Alzheimers.

In this workshop, we shall rephrase how we view individuals with different abilities.  For example, a compulsive hoarder may become an individual in her later years who forages for memories in creative ways.   The quality of our lives depends upon how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us.  If we can approach each individual as unique, with his/her own set of strengths and challenges, then we can move beyond labeling to more constructive ways of perceiving others and viewing ourselves.

The expanding number of DSM categories demonstrate an increasing focus on disease by psychiatrists and pharmeceutical companies (Cosgrove, Krimsky, Vijayaraghavan, Schneider).   There is a big war currently going on regarding how many criteria a person needs to be diagnosed as having Asperger syndrome and whether Asperger’s should be consolidated with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Pervaisive Developmental Disorder. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type, has eight sub-classifications (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/dsmcodes.htm). There is more to people than diagnoses of illnesses!

Goal 2: Examine Ways We Can Reframe Diagnoses through Metaphors

Norman Amundson, who experienced a heart attack in May, 2011, realized retrospectively that he had not been practicing what he was preaching. He re-read his early writings on metaphors and created metaphor cards to move us beyond the stories that we tell ourselves and the diagnoses with which we have been labeled. “We [counselors] can enrich our speech and practice through the use of metaphors, raise people’s spirits, and point to new futures  (Amundson, 2010). A metaphor is a figure of speech in which two unrelated ideas are used together in such a way that the meaning of one of the ideas is superimposed and lends definition to the other.

One of the most difficult tasks for most older (and many younger)  individuals is to let go of material possessions, downsize, and adjust to a new environment.  When the need to collect gets out of control, leading to a chaotic physical environment  or even taking things that one does not own, the medical profession diagnoses individuals who demonstrate these characteristics as “compulsive hoarders.”  Compulsive hoarding is one of 365 mental disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. Hoarding is the excessive acquisition and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value..  When Mahatma Gandhi died, he had five things: glasses, bowl, diary, prayer book spoon, and loincloth. The average person had 20 to 30,000 items. Who is hoarding? Shabahangi notes, “We do the diagnosis because we are diagnosing ourselves. We are scared of psychosis because we see that in another that is wrong.  We are scared of being different or wrong. We need to go beyond diagnoses, to see our selves as other than  labels.”

Let’s see how we can incorporate metaphors to help people who hoard live safer, more enjoyable lives. Consider replacing the DSM phrase “compulsive hoarders” with the metaphor “foraging for memories.” We can develop ways to help our clients forage for memories, such as creating aprons with numerous pockets and giving such a client a little metaphoric gift, symbolizing love, from a pocket. Residents can design and wear their own aprons to collect little trinkets.  The give and take is a multi-sensory interaction, so much needed by those who may be in need of human contact (foraging for love).

Goal 3: Provide a Toolbox of Life-affirming Wellness Activities that Can Be Used with Clients To Move beyond Medical Diagnoses


To move beyond the DSM, we focus on wellness. The term “wellness” is used frequently, but do we really know what it means both in our own lives and in the lives of others? Being “well” used to refer merely to the absence of illness. Wellness today refers to a state of well-being, even if we have a diagnosed “illness.”  According to Best-Martini, wellness includes our physical, social, cognitive, emotional and spiritual health.  She notes that everybody can participate in and benefit from a focus on wellness, including young and old, physically and emotionally fit, or physically and emotionally challenged individuals. The “Wellness Tree of Life” (Best-Martini, 2007) is a metaphor that can be transformed into an activity and applied by elderly care providers and individuals in transition.

Another wellness metaphor Best-Martini created is the “Iceberg Model.”  She says, “Illness and health are only the tip of an iceberg. To understand their causes, you must look below the surface.” The Iceberg Model places “State of Health”  at the tip of the iceberg and the most visible. But under the water’s surface are the Lifestyle / Behavioral Level- Cultural / Psychological / Motivational Level and the Spiritual/Being/ Meaning Realm.

To determine our state of health, we need to look at all of these aspects of our lifestyle and decide what needs to be changed, altered or added. There will always be areas that we cannot change, such as a pre-existing genetic disorder, but we can manage our lives in a more balanced way and with more awareness by focusing on wellness. According to Best-Martini, we need to practice what we preach, to be aware of and understand the concepts and consequences of our own lifestyles, and also to role model wellness. Best-Martini, who is an occupational therapist and exercise teacher,  says, “With regular exercise, participants will experience  better circulation, improve sleep patterns which improve coping skills, feel more energetic, feel more positive, have a better appetite and improve digestion and create positive social interactions.”

Initial Questions To Ask

  1. In what areas of wellness (physical, social, cognitive, emotional and spiritual health)  are you strong?
  2. What areas of your life can you improve?
  3. What is one metaphor that can help you improve the quality of your life? For example, “foraging for memories apron” to replace the DSM diagnosis of “compulsive hoarding.”
  4. How might you apply this metaphor to improve one wellness area in your life? Consider the following: (a) your strengths (b) behavior that you want to change, ( c) your goal, (d) action/s you will take to meet your goal.  Keep it simple!

*If you need help in identifying those areas in which you are strong, or which you could improve, here is a toolbox of wellness surveys and life-affirming wellness activities that counselors can use with clients to move beyond medical diagnoses.

SUMMARY

In this post, the authors rephrased how we can view individuals with different abilities.  The DSM code was defined and discussed. The authors examined positive ways counselors can reframe diagnoses through metaphors, such as replacing the compulsive hoarding diagnosis with the metaphor “foraging for memories.” Several wellness surveys and a toolbox of life-affirming wellness activities were provided to help clients to move beyond medical diagnoses. The view that each individual is unique, with his/her own set of strengths and challenges inspires us to move beyond labeling to more constructive ways of perceiving others and viewing ourselves.

Additional Resources

BIOS

Dr. Sally Gelardin’s mission is to bring together people and ideas in creative ways that emphasize mind/body/spirit wellness. She earned a doctorate in International and Multicultural Education, two Masters degrees in education and counseling, and is a Qualified Activity Coordinator, per OBRA Federal Guidelines & California Title 22. Gelardin is author of three books, including Career and Caregiving: Empowering the Shadow Workforce of Family Caregivers. She has conducted over 150 live and recorded interviews with industry experts, over 50 of which are devoted to aging and later life issues. In her current position as media specialist for AgeSong Elder Communities, she spreads the AgeSong philosophy of lifelong learning and aging as growth. Contact:  415.312.4294, sallyg@agesong.com, www.agesong.com, www.agesongtoday.com.

Dr. Nader Robert Shabahangi is a licensed psychotherapist, businessman, author,  publisher, and advocate for marginalized groups of society.  He has led anticipatory bereavements groups for Coming Home Hospice; founded the Pacific Institute to train psychotherapists in a multicultural, humanistic approach to counseling  and to provide affordable therapy services to the many diverse groups in San Francisco; and developed an innovative Gerontological Wellness Program to provide emotional and mental health care services for the elderly. In 1995, he started AgeSong to develop and operate assisted living communities. nader@agesong.com, www.agesong.com and www.pacificinstitute.org.

Marilyn Harryman, M.S., GCDF, DCC, is Counselor Educator/Supervisor, University of LaVerne; former Counseling Services Coordinator and Secondary School Counselor, Oakland Schools; co-author, High School Success Guide – a tool to help students plan and make informed choices; and producer/host of “CCC Live!” “The Counselor Community Connection”, KDOL TV 27. She is a counselor association representative to the Pupil Services Coalition for legislative issues; a Distance Credentialed Counselor; a Global Career Development Facilitator; and a Career Counselor with the  Bay Area Career Center, San Francisco. Contact: Marilynhar@aol.com, www.bayareacareercenter.com.