In our next webinar, Senior Living LIVE! Building Resilience During Challenging Times, Melissa sits down with Mary Catherine Lundquist, Coordinator of the COPSA Institute for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders at Rutgers University. She gives us some tips for staying strong and focused as we navigate difficult life events.

See a preview for the webinar above, and then visit to see the full webinar!


Video Transcript

-Hello everybody and welcome into "Senior Living Live." My name is Melissa. Thank you so much for being with us this afternoon. We're taking some time to preview our upcoming webinar called Building Resilience During Challenging Times. You can catch it August 12th at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. Our guest presenter, you see her right there, is Mary Catherine Lundquist, and she has some excellent tips to help you and your family weather some of the most difficult life events you may face. Mary, thank you so much for being with us today, and of course, taking the time to be a part of our webinar on the 11th. Good to see you.

- Thank you, Melissa. I'm so happy to be here today. Thank you.

- You are so welcome. Let's start first by finding out a little bit about you, your background, and you're currently at Rutgers correct?

- Hi. Yes, yes. Work at Rutgers University and I work at the COPSA Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders And we've been around for about 47 years and I've been there for about 27 of those years. And we provide specialized services for individuals who have memory impairment and for all the people who support them, that is their family members and also the professionals who support them as well. So we have a clinic where people can come and see a geriatric psychiatrist and social workers, we provide training to community members, and we have a great helpline for caregivers. So if you're concerned about someone who's older, someone who has complex needs, somebody who is maybe developing memory issues, we're there to support you for every step of the journey.

- Yeah, you're doing great work out there and it's much needed for sure these days. Now as we listen to that, it's very clear that you certainly bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in geriatrics and dementia care. So can you give us some examples of challenges that families with seniors face maybe across the board? Our viewers may be able to find themselves within those examples

- Right. Right. Well, there are so many challenges. We're all aging, right?

- Right.

- And as we get older, we're going to face some obstacles that are natural. We might be less mobile. We might start to have problems with our vision so we might not be driving as much as we were before. We could develop other chronic conditions which means that we might need medication or we might need people to support us. And sometimes people do get diseases that impact their memory as well, which can really impact their quality of life. And this can be different for for people across the board. So sometimes we might start to notice that a family member is getting lost while they're driving, or maybe they're losing a lot of weight because they're having a hard time kind of cooking. So maybe mom or dad isn't changing their closes regularly, or they're not bathing as often, or they're having difficulty with their finances. So it's natural. As we get older, some things might become more problematic. And for those of us who love people who are older, it's a challenge for us. How do we support our loved ones' independence and help them get the best quality of life that they can have while still making sure that they are safe and that they have the medication that they need and that they have the food and the nutrition and the social activities that they need as well, especially when it's harder for them to get those things on their own?

- Yeah, and you're ticking a lot of boxes, really, that people don't even think about. It's just like the immediate need of the care of maybe the ailment that, that person's dealing with, but you don't think about all the other things that support that person as a whole person. So I'm glad you mentioned that. Now, the skills and tools for coping that you're gonna provide in the webinar can help those families, right? But I do think maybe, and maybe I'm wrong here, but that these can be coping mechanisms in all scenarios. So what are some ways that people can stay strong and focused while navigating those tough times?

- Oh yes. These are things that we can all use. And we use them at our program every day and they help us cope with challenges that we have in our own lives as well. And the first thing is just to really pause and to check in with yourself and to see how you're doing. I mean, we all have so many things on our plates, right? And so many responsibilities every day. And sometimes we just go, go, go. Maybe we're running with our jobs and we have young children at home and then we have parents who maybe need support as well, and we don't stop to check in with ourselves to see how we are doing. So that's a very important thing. Just stop and check in with yourself on a regular basis. Take a breath. See how am I doing and how am I being impacted? Especially when we think about everything that we've gone through as a society, in our country, in our world over the past few years with the pandemic, it's been stressful. Sometimes there are stressors that we're all experiencing together, and sometimes we might have our own personal stressors that we are dealing with. So stopping to check in with ourselves is really, really important. The second thing that we can do, and we're gonna cover all these things in our webinar more in-depth, is just to have some compassion for ourselves, some mindful compassion that, hey, we all struggle. We all experience challenging times. Oftentimes we beat ourselves up when things aren't going well for ourselves or things aren't going well for our family members if they have a chronic illness. But just having some compassion for ourselves, knowing that we are doing the best we can just as we cultivate that attitude for the people we're supporting that they're doing the best they can do as well, that's very, very important as well. So and...

- Yeah, great tips, go ahead.

- Another thing that we can do is to have positive thoughts. Sometimes we think and focus on, and this is natural, it's human nature, we think about all the things that are going wrong and all the obstacles that we do have, but we can turn that around in a pretty big way if we stop and we think about what is going right. Simple things. I turned on the faucet this morning and water was coming out. I can get up and I can walk to get my mail. So there might be bills once I get there, right? But when we stop to think about the positive things when we cultivate gratitude in our lives, it seems like it's such a simple thing, but there's actually a lot of research that is being done on how positive these positive thoughts focusing in on them can really turn our lives around as well. And then the fourth thing that we're going to talk about as well is staying connected and having the right relationships. And especially as we age, and if we're supporting someone and caring for someone it's so important for us to have the right relationships, people who can kind of help us along the way. Help us stay connected and help us feel like we have people who can help us for things that we can't do for ourselves anymore.

- Yeah, those are excellent tips. And even if you don't join the webinar, those are things you can jot down and start working on today. Thank you for that. So when is it a good time? And I know this is a really hard decision for a lot of people to make, but when is it a good time to bring an outside help when you just can't do it anymore?

- Right, well, that is a great question. It's gonna be different for every family, right? So the first thing to remember is nobody can do this alone.

- Right.

- Right? Especially if there are some memory impairment involved, it really does take a village. And oftentimes we think we're burdening other people when we ask them to help, or we think it's a sign of failure if we have to reach out and hire a home health aid. Or if we think that mom really can't live with us anymore, she's gonna have to go to an assisted living or to a nursing home. We think it's a sign of failure, but it's really a sign of strength to be able to assess the situation and say, you know what? This is not the best place for mom. This is not the best scenario for her to have the best quality of life possible. So always checking in with yourself about that, asking questions about safety, is my loved one safe where they are by themselves right now? If they're not and we're working and we have other responsibilities, then we know it's time to reach out and to get some other people there as well. Again, sometimes we think about it as a negative thing, but we have to look on the other side. Introducing other people into our lives to provide support for an elderly parent or someone who has other issues can be a really positive thing in their lives as well. Once you're older, you're not as mobile, you have memory problems, you can't go out on your own and, you know, go bowling or go golfing, it can be pretty socially isolating and we miss being with peers. So having a helper come in is offering a very beneficial relationship to our family member as well. So we can look at that as a positive thing as well.

- Yeah, great tip so far. And again, just sort of of a preview of your upcoming webinar, so as we wind this down, can you give our viewers just some additional resources they can visit or call right now? Say they can't make the webinar and they wanna get more help, who can they call?

- Oh yes, we have a wonderful help line and it's free and confidential. It's for anybody who's in the state of New Jersey. You can be living here, your loved one can be in another state, or you can be in another state and your loved one can be in New Jersey. You can call us and you will get a one-on-one person who will talk with you about your situation. The person on the other end of the line is someone who has been a caregiver, so they know what you're going through and they have professional experiences as well. So they're there to help you every step of the way, finding a doctor, how to help a person get a bath at home, and then to help you find appropriate places if you feel that your loved one would be better living in another location, we can help you with that. And we're there to help with the bereavement too after your loved one dies. We have lots of support groups. In addition to the one-on-one support that that you can get there, we have a great website, we have a great self-care section. So you can check us out to Click the Self-Care page and you'll see some great guides that beautifully kind of display all the things that I just talked about that you can use every day to support yourself and keep yourself strong.

- Wonderful, wonderful. And you'll be available obviously to answer questions following your presentation. Great job today, Mary Catherine Lundquist. We are so thankful that you joined us here and that we will have some of your time carved out on August 11th. We look forward to seeing you then.

- Thank you, Melissa. Thank you.

- Thank you. Now, if you'd like to RSVP for this webinar, just head on over to And while you're there, check out the rest of the content there all about senior living. Thank you so much for being with us today. Have a great day, everybody.

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