Lifestyle & WellnessPublic Interest

Helping Our Aging Parents

Aiming to develop resources to help adults dealing with aging parents, JFS and Sholom are presenting “Mom, Dad.Can We Talk? Insight and Perspectives to Help Us Do What’s Best for Our Aging Parents” on September 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the St. Paul JCC, 1375 St. Paul Ave.
With 75 million Americans between ages 40 and 60 dealing with the needs and concerns associated with their aging parents, the demand for ideas and information is huge.
To meet this demand, the agencies have teamed up again to offer Conversations that Matter with Dick Edwards, author, teacher and retired Mayo Clinic eldercare specialist. His book, Mom, Dad…Can We Talk? Insight and Perspectives to Help Us Do What’s Best for Our Aging Parents, has been acclaimed as a “read-me-first” for adult children dealing with the concerns and issues of aging parents. It contains personal stories and quotes from adult children and practical advice for initiating caring conversations, such as “Mom, we’re worried about you living alone,” or “Mom, Dad, we need you to tell us what you want us to do.” There are also helpful hints for managing the Big Ds of growing older: dementia, drinking, depression, and driving.
Edwards has 36 years of experience working closely with older adults and their families at Lutheran Social Services, Methodist Hospital, Madsen Corporation and Mayo Clinic’s Charter House, a nationally recognized model for excellence in retirement living and long-term health care.
The cost of the event is $18 per person and includes refreshments. Seating is limited. Advance registration is recommended at or 651-698-0751.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!!!
This year, my remarkable yard bird was the hummingbird, they are three to five inches long. They come to draw nectar from cleomes, coral bells, monarda, salvia, and zinnias. Years past, I have been a layover station during migration and then for a few days in August. But then, one drizzly July night, I was weeding in the vegetable garden, wearing my lavender raincoat with the yellow cuffs and collar. I heard low buzzing. I looked up at the cleome to find a male hummingbird three feet from me at eye level; it hovered for about 15 seconds, then it came toward my face for a few seconds and flew away. I had three rows of red beads on my earrings that night; I think mister ruby-throat thought I was food.
While I was visiting one of our neighbors nearer downtown, we saw a hummingbird out her kitchen window. It stopped at the scarlet runner beans that hang along the trellis of the back porch. She gave me a head’s up about its next flower, the scarlet red cannas. It flew further back into the garden and stopped at the ascending meadow rue. She says this happens every day. “On your mark, get set, go!” We took a walk into her wilder, natural, produce and nature garden. She asked me if I had ever seen the day-flying hummingbird moth? Then it appeared, like magic.
The hummingbird moth (also called clearwings because you can see through them) is an insect, as fast-moving at the hummingbird, but only about two inches long. The moth’s tongue is twice as long as its body which uncoils to reach the nectar as it hovers over flowers; bee balm is a favorite. The moths are brightly colored in olive greens, reds and a bit of black with a stout cigar type body and short tail. The female will lay her eggs on the underside of host leaves.
A field of rye is, to many a critter, a fine place to live – until harvest time. Add a few bird and suet feeders, a sunflower patch, aside radiant native flowers and grasses, and you have a perfect pollinator habitat. This yard is further down the river from our downtown neighbor. When I visited this neighbor, he showed me a close-up digital image of a fledged blue jay that still had some downy greys on its crown, head, and nape. A hummingbird showed up several times while we were outside in the mist talking about the rye. A very large gardener snake can be seen, most often, atop a cyclone fence covered with branches and leaves. It patiently lays in wait for its meal.
While in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, a few weeks ago, I saw flocks of greater sandhill cranes feeding in fields and meadows. The young ones are almost fully grown but still had some downy feathers on their backs. Their red crown patch was quite visible from a distance, even better with binoculars. There seemed to be some flight-school training still going on with several attempts for take-off and landing. I love the way their long legs drop as they descend.
I will be leading a trip this October to Crex Meadows, along the south part of the refuge in Grantsburg. This will be when the sandhills are resting before they fly to The Gulf of Mexico and Florida. At peak, Crex can have more than 14,000 sandhills hanging out in the refugee and the wildlife area, which is 33,000 acres. They fly in just before dusk and it is a sight to hear and see. Join me in a caravan of motor vehicles with picnic dinners out the back of the trunks. I have a spotting scope this year, thanks to a good friend of mine who is sharing it with me.

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