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Parent Talk Paperback – January 5, 2011
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From the Author
I am grateful that you have chosen to read this book. My purpose in sharing this information is to enlighten you regarding some of the more difficult decisions related to caring for senior adults and to assist you in preparing to address these challenges. After the Introduction, I have divided the body of the book into four main sections. In addition to The Nine Conversations in Section I, I have included three supplemental sections - Residential and Care Options, Health Issues, and Financial Planning. I have also provided a reference section that consists of citations, a glossary, and a listing of helpful contact information for various agencies and organizations.
Before we delve into the subject of caring for seniors, I would like to share some information concerning my background, my perspective on life and why I felt compelled to write this book.
I know I am imperfect, yet I constantly seek purity in my life, as I strive to be a better man of God. I am extremely busy, yet ever mindful of those dearest to me, as I am a committed son, husband and father. I struggle with dyslexia, yet I am a passionate reader who makes his way through some 50 books, numerous periodicals and web publications each year, as I aspire to learn all that I possibly can. I have Attention Deficit Disorder, yet harness enough focus to immerse myself in accounting records and spreadsheet budgets for hours, as I am a person of
I have always loved numbers. When I was a child, my teacher asked the class to count as high as we could by writing numbers. Most of the students made it to 100, while I counted into the thousands. I could not stop!
Numbers continue to fascinate me, especially when I see how they are used in every aspect of life. Take the number "nine". Not only does it possess many unique mathematical characteristics, it is also commonly referenced in our American culture: "cloud nine," "love potion number nine," "dressed to the nines," "the bottom of the ninth," "the whole
nine yards," etc.
My company, Agapé Senior, adopted the nine-pointed star as its logo. However, the significance of "nine" in this application lies in its representation of the fruit of the Spirit from the fifth chapter of Galatians. Verses 22 and 23 tell us, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." The fruit of the Spirit symbolizes the virtues we embrace at Agapé; and we, as an organization, hold these values as our guide in the daily care of our residents and patients.
Several years before I felt called into senior healthcare, I attended Emory University's Candler School of Theology. Subsequently, I served as a Methodist minister in the rural Lowcountry of South Carolina. It was there that my life was literally changed as I witnessed the plight of an elderly couple in my parish.
He was a tall and rugged farmer who had worked the land his entire life and always managed for himself and his family. He had developed what is now commonly known as Alzheimer's disease. She was a feeble yet devoted wife, determined to do her best in seeking care for her beloved husband. She entrusted her loved one to South Carolina's mental hospital, as was common in those days, and was assured he would be much better when she returned to visit him. After a few restless weeks, she made her return journey to the hospital in Columbia. As she anxiously made the turn from the corridor into his room, her glowing excitement quickly darkened. To her heart-broken sorrow, he lay strapped to his bed, medicated to the point that he was almost non-responsive. Without speaking a word, she unbuckled the straps, helped her husband to a wheelchair, and took him home. At that moment, she assumed the full burden of caring for her husband on her own for the rest of his life. Despite his episodes of confusion and violent outbursts, to the point that she sometimes had to lock herself into a bedroom to protect her own well-being, she never wavered and cared for him until his death.
During my 10 years as a minister, several troubling experiences, such as seeing that precious woman's struggles, made me realize there must be a better way. This is when I felt God's calling into a ministry of caring for senior adults.
As I continued to explore this calling through extensive prayer and soul searching, I enrolled in The University of South Carolina's Master of Health Administration program. Over the next few years, I gained invaluable knowledge regarding the workings of the healthcare industry. The more I observed, the more I discovered how to overcome many firmly entrenched obstacles to providing better care.
When I founded Agapé Senior in February of 1999, I had a vision of building that better way. This vision has since been continuously reshaped by innumerable insights gained through interactions with residents, patients, peers and experts throughout the senior care industry. And while I have been blessed with many successes, I have also learned that this better way will forever be a work in progress, because people, along with their needs, are constantly changing in response to the world around us. Which brings us to now, when God's calling and my experiences working with senior adults since that time have inspired me to share my realizations through the writing of this book.
From the Inside Flap
About The Cover:
The background image is a nine-pointed star. Agapé Senior adopted this symbol as its logo in
representation of the nine fruit of the Spirit from the Bible. As excerpted from Galatians 5:22-23:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."
About The Author:
G. Scott Middleton founded Agapé Senior in February of 1999. Agapé Senior is a network of companies that provide an array of healthcare and related services throughout South Carolina, including assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and hospice. Additional provisions include services such as physician care, pharmacy and medical equipment. As a believer in comprehensive solutions, Scott also incorporated independent living, insurance and real estate services into the network to assist seniors during their transition.
Agapé Senior holds itself as a faith-based organization. The network now cares for more than 1,200 residents and hospice patients, provides services to hundreds of other customers, and employs more than 1,000 dedicated team members.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in financial accounting from Winthrop University, a Master of Health Administration from the University of South Carolina, and a Master of Divinity from Emory University. Reverend Middleton is an ordained United Methodist minister. He is also a board member of the South Carolina State Chamber of Commerce.
Top customer reviews
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Author Scott Middleton has produced a practical guidebook to this difficult phase of life. The writing is not polished, but the book is packed with useful information, including resources for obtaining further information. Interestingly, author Middleton does not advocate keeping grandmother at home at any cost. In many cases, he insists, grandmother will do better in a facility, surrounded by peers, than being isolated at home. The sections on financial planning and long term care insurance are critically important.
If you are the child of aging parents, don't wait until a crisis happens to get hold of this book. I recommend it highly. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber
Essentially, this book is an advertisement for the author's long-term, faith-based facilities in the Carolinas. He makes a strong sales pitch for long-term care insurance, as well. The information I needed was available for free on the internet and via government advocate programs.
Having a frank discussion with your aging loved one is always difficult. Believe me, this book does not make it easier. Good luck to all of us who are on the forefront of a virtual avalanche of dementia or other elderly travails. Then it will be OUR turn!