An Adventurous and Creative Heart

It is over three months now since Mum, Ami, died, and as we plan our Christmas it will be very different without her there.  Previously I would have hosted her at my place on Christmas Day.  I could not leave her in her aged care residence (aka, her prison) on Christmas day.  We might not do anything too special, but a least she could get out for the day.

This year, I will go to my younger brother Darryl and his partner Kay’s for lunch, then come home to a Christmas dinner with my housemate Chrissie.  She has no immediate family to spend the day with either.

I had wondered before Mum died how I would be after her passing, whether I would be inconsolable with grief after the loss of such a significant relationship.  I have found that for me this has not been the case.  After the road trip I went on to scatter her ashes, and the celebration we had for her at Gondwana I have been happy to get on with my life.

The picture I drew of her, called Last Request, has been hung in a local council sponsored Art Exhibition with the theme New Beginnings.  To link with this theme I wrote: Continue reading “An Adventurous and Creative Heart”

14 Trees

In response to the profound unhappiness that my mother was experiencing in her residence in aged care, before Christmas she took things into her own hands.  Firstly, she asked me to make contact with other aged care places she had looked at to see where she was on the waiting list.  No good news was forthcoming from this – she was still on the list… and waiting.

Mum had determined that she did not want to be in a place that was run under the profit motive, as her residence then was, as she blamed this for the low quality of care/low carer to resident ratio.  As well, she wanted somewhere that was physically endowed with gardens and outdoor areas.  As I was moving to Bundoora, proximity to me was also a factor. Continue reading “14 Trees”

Be Happy!

One day this week mum found that the only carers available to her that morning were two 19 year old girls. She was aghast! How could they at their young age be expected to look after 28 elderly, including 4 who needed two staff to be hoisted to sitting, or to the toilet. Both had only been working as carers a short time, and had not done the morning shift in her section before.

They were lovely girls, she said, enthusiastic and willing, but that’s not the point. Admittedly they had been scheduled on with an older more experienced carer, but that person called in early unable to attend due to a sick child.  The more experienced carer was not replaced, leaving the two young girls to manage the morning shift for 28 people between them. Mum feels more comfortable with mature women carers, as she can develop better friendships with them. She doesn’t have much in common with the younger ones, and building a friendship is important as carers are her main contacts on a daily basis. Continue reading “Be Happy!”

Groundhog days in Aged Care

The concept of groundhog day has been popularised in the film by that name with Bill Murray as the main character, where he experiences the same day occurring over and over again. This happens for Mum every time there is someone new taking care of her.  That could be a new carer, or as with events this week, even with someone new in the kitchen.

Mum has special needs.  She is not the person going slowly demented, and waiting to die.  She is bright of mind, but has lost muscle in her arms and legs. She cannot use her hands or do anything for herself.  She has no grip, and no movement in her fingers and her hands hang from a wrist no longer strong and straight.  She can only feed herself by using special cutlery with very thick handles that she is only able to partially grip, and move them using the strength that still remains in her upper arms. This is all because she has a neurological condition – a form of slow progressing  motor neuron disease where all her limb muscles are wasting away.

Because she cannot cut anything, she has instructions on the name tag on her food tray for her food to be cut into bite size pieces.  I was unexpectedly there when she had lunch this week and the food came all shredded, ie, slightly larger than if it had been grated. Even the peas were chopped up!

Continue reading “Groundhog days in Aged Care”

Submission to “Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians”

I submitted the following, via the group Seniorpreneurs to this inquiry. (they asked for 300 words only)

Having 20 years of experience as a change manager in corporate and government jobs has not been enough to get me a job in this field, or any other field since I was retrenched in September 2014.  At 61 years old, after unsuccessfully going for permanent, contract and temporary jobs in my field, I tried to utilise my extensive skill set and previous career experiences to step sideways and downwards into other jobs that I know I could easily do.  I even tried to get temporary office work. Continue reading “Submission to “Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians””

First Speaking Gig

I am proud of myself.  Today I had my first public speaking event with Grimshaw Probus Club in Melbourne’s North Eastern Suburbs.  One of many I hope.

Jan Marshall Speaker
Jan Marshall Speaker

I spoke on The Dangers of Love in the Online world: My experience of an online romance scam.  It was very well received, and I think many people now have a different take on what happens in a scam.

Here is a quotable quote from me, based on Brene Brown’s concept of ‘daring greatly’, which she takes from Theodore Roosevelt.

In being open to love, and going on to an online dating site I “dared greatly”.  Like the person on the field who looses, I lost.   I played the wrong game, or played the game wrongly.  But at least I was playing.  And I need to not take it personally and keep playing.

Have a look at my speaker profile – Jan Marshall Speaker Profile