Have a Pity Party, then pick yourself up, dust off and move to Plan B.

Work out how to serve others

Way back in early March, I’d just presented Life Happens – Dealing with the Tough Stuff to a seniors group. Within a week my speaking engagements began to evaporate, one by one, so that my diary was suddenly bereft of appointments gracing her pages. A global pandemic was swallowing life, as we knew it and along with it, business as we knew it.

Now here I was having to follow my own advice – We have a Choice about how we respond to what happens to us. Would I wallow in self pity for the year that could have been or could I do something way more constructive?

I’m not sure that I consciously pondered that one, because out-of-the-blue the idea for a new book floated through the ether, through my mind, then my pen and flowed onto the paper before me. What evolved was the consideration that there may be a way of viewing the impact of the pandemic that was different to the popular consensus that the entire world is kaputt forever and it’s now total doom and gloom from here on in.

Unprecedented times have been our experience for many months now, with no end as yet in sight, leaving a devastating trail for families, communities and in some cases entire nations. At the same time, many are experiencing a freedom, a release, a renewal borne out of working from home, relieved of long commutes, office politics and the accumulation of other stressors that were part of their pre-pandemic world.

When Life Is Downside Up – Look For The Silver Lining was written to encourage the reader to see if there were any silver linings in their new, and possibly transient normal. Every chapter explores a downside and then looks for the possible upside.

For me, devoid of speaking engagements or Aged Care Explained* consultations, I’ve had time to be of service to others, with the book being just one way to encourage the forlorn. With the regular busyness no longer the norm, we’ve had time to help an elderly neighbour with meals and hard rubbish removal and another with a semi-regular meal drop off whilst they’re undergoing treatment for a serious illness.

I’ve created an Aged Care Myth buster series to help people understand more about a complex subject and had time to write encouraging content.

It’s becoming clearer every day that when I have my focus on someone else, any problem I think I have seems to shrink or even become obsolete.

It makes you think!

*Aged Care Explained is a consultation service bridging the gap between bewildered families and where the best help can be found for In-Home services or Residential Aged Care.

Is The Cost Holding You Back From Investigating Aged Care?

Let’s find out about the options …

So often we bypass what’s possible because we make assumptions. One such assumption is, ‘My parents are on a pension so they can’t afford to move into an Aged Care Home.’

Many families struggle needlessly through difficult situations with their ageing relatives because they simply don’t have the facts. In my Myth Buster series I’m dispelling many misnomers, so here are the currents facts about Pensions and Aged Care.

The Federal Government has created a level playing field for all ageing Australians. This means that all Residential Aged Care Homes in Australia must take and equal ratio of: 1/3 Pension only, 1/3 Pension and Partly Self-Funded, 1/3 Fully Self-Funded new residents.

Getting one’s head around the finances, the equations, the legislation, what is and isn’t allowable, would be equal to undertaking a Degree in Rocket Science! Definitely not for the faint-hearted. I take my hat off to those who undertake this process easily.

With accurate information from the right professional specialising in Aged Care Financial advice, families are often surprised at what’s possible.

If seeking such advice, it’s critical to ensure that the person is an Aged Care accredited Financial Advisor. I have links with professionals around Australia and recently had a conversation with an Aged Care accredited Financial Planner from Queensland who told me this story …

Don’t let this happen to you

“A distressed family came to see me months after they had handed the financial side of their mother’s aged care issues to a Financial Advisor who assured them that he could sort everything out – ‘No worries.’ After four months he threw his hands in the air and handed it all back to them, saying it was beyond him! They arrived at my office, beside themselves, asking if I could help them.

Meanwhile Mum was still awaiting placement. I took over the mess and spent three weeks unravelling the tangled web he’d created.

Had they come to me initially, we’d have had a long initial conversation, and with enough financial information, I’d have created some scenarios of how long her finances would last and what her options would be.”

Six years ago I was in just that dilemma with my father-in-law living with us. I was searching for the right Aged Care Home and feeling totally overwhelmed with the financial and Centrelink side of the equation. With my brother-in-law enlisted to tackle that side, I went on searching for the home and keeping this agitated and confused elderly gent as calm as I could.

When he was safely and happily settled into a wonderful Aged Care Home, I set about finding an easier way to achieve a good outcome without tearing one’s hair out! One by one I found professionals who can make the complex simple. Out of sheer frustration 5 Easy Ways To Solve The Aged Care Puzzle was born.

I’m asked why I don’t give out a list of their names. It’s because in this puzzle, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on health scenarios, cultural, demographic, spiritual, lifestyle and other requirements, there will be just the right professional for each family.

Families with whom I work (through consultations) are introduced to the best professional who will provide the Right Help To Find The Best Aged Care Solution Fast.

If you’re needing help, I can assist families anywhere in the world who have loved one’s anywhere in Australia. Ring or email to arrange a Phone or Zoom consultation

Life’s a roller coaster ride

Now more than ever, the entire world has been flipped on its head, is still airborne and a long way from touchdown. Multitudes are experiencing grief and the list of reasons is endless.

Once-upon-a-time the general public associated grief only with death, so people would avoid the topic like the plague. Those times need to be a thing of the past. It’s time for talking about how we feel and for us to take our turn at listening too.

It’s my guess that very few on the planet remain untouched by the pandemic. Families have lost loved ones, people have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, isolation due to lockdowns has taken its toll, some businesses have closed whilst others are limping along ponder their future, trips have been cancelled, the elderly have been missing their families and so the list goes …

Huggers are suffering severe withdrawal symptoms, yet at the same time the non-huggers are enjoying the respite from physical contact.

So for every Downside, there can be an Upside, if we choose to see it. The Japanese have a word – Kikai ­– for the concept that Disaster and Opportunity are the same thing. It’s a concept worth considering.

Thinking again of grief relating to things other than death … Mum lost her leg in a car accident aged 42, learned to walk with an artificial limb, and never complained. We had no idea what type or depth of grief she may have experienced, because she never spoke of it and certainly never grumbled about her loss. To the contrary, she always celebrated what she could still do!

Mum exercised her Choice about how to respond to what life presented her. Decades later she had her entire aorta replaced with stents and ended up paralysed (the known risk). Still she Chose to accept what happened and went on to spend her remaining six years in an Aged Care Home, living life to the full.

If Mum were still here I can’t help but wonder what she would make of some of the glass half empty attitudes to the current global crisis. I suspect that she’d still be sitting in her wheelchair, happily knitting, listening to the radio and watching the growth of the camellia trees outside her room whilst the Home was in lockdown. She’d have been chatting to us on the phone and making the most of each day.

Where to from here?
It’s your Choice

Her example taught me that we always have a Choice about how we react to our challenges in life.

Now we all have a chance to exercise our Choice in how to respond to the changes in our life and to decide how we want to shape our life from here …

I’d encourage you to include a listening ear and a dose of empathy for all. Couple that with a smile that can be delivered free of charge, whilst maintaining the required social distancing.

Our sojourn with grief and emotions
See if they’re familiar

To check out the book click here http://gailruthmiller.com/Helpful-Books/unscrambling-grief

But It May Be Too Late …

Is this you too?

So often people are not concerned about getting their affairs in order or rationalising their belongings because they deem that it’s too early to start because they or their folks aren’t old.

Spoiler alert … We all need to keep our belongings under control, no matter what stage of life we are in right now. I don’t suppose anyone out there is guilty of having possessions that are obsolete, broken, unwanted or completely useless? If you said YES, then I don’t mean to burst your bubble … You’re not alone!

Your situation can change in a split second with a stroke, broken bone, heart attack or accident and suddenly a well-ordered home can be thrown into chaos. Families are often faced with making decisions about downsizing or rightsizing their loved one’s possessions right in the midst of a crisis … the very worst time for making logical decisions.

It’s not just about the belongings, but preparation also includes get the legals sorted. By this I mean the Will, Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive. Everyone over the age of 18 needs to have this paperwork done, even though many of the younger generation fob it off saying, “I don’t have anything worthwhile.”

Yet another alert … The 46% of Australians who don’t have a Will have no idea of the mess that they’ll leave behind if they die without a Will. Sound and healthy they may be, but that doesn’t make them immune from an accident or unexpected circumstance.

A family we know had only one daughter who died of a massive and very unexpected heart attack, aged 41. She died without a Will. 11 years after she died her Mum said to me, “I don’t know why I can’t get over Sally dying.”

As author of Unscrambling Grief, our story of losing two daughters, I explained several things. “Firstly – you don’t get over a daughter dying, you simply get used to it and create a new normal. Secondly, no parent expects their child to die before them. And finally, you haven’t begun to grieve because you’ve been embroiled in 11 years of legal mess.”

Please don’t let that happen. I have several great Estate Planning Lawyers I refer clients to who can prevent this from happening.

So, you can see … It’s never too early to start, but it may be too late.