Aging with Spirit Poem of the Month –

The Death of the Hat by Billy Collins        excerpt:

And now my father, after a life of work,
wears a hat of earth,
and on top of that,

A lighter one of cloud and sky–a hat of wind.

Age-Friendly Communication in Print and on Websites

The formatting is often the message — or at least makes it possible for older adults to understand the message.  Certain age-related changes are important to keep in mind when creating signs and brochures and posting information on websites.

Pet peeves of many seniors include:  print across pictures, insufficient contrast between lettering and background colour, print too small, too much print without sufficient white space.

A design tip: Computer versions of posters often look much easier to read on the computer screen than the printed versions intended for your audience.

For an informative guide to the most useful adaptations for a senior audience, click here:

Book Review

How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick

Letty Cottin Pogrebin; New York: PublicAffairs, 2014.

This practical guide to communicating with sick friends addresses the test of friendship –  how to deal with what happens when illness becomes a third party in a relationship. Two books, reviewed in my earlier blogs, are cited as recommended readings:  Susan Halpern’s (2004) Etiquette of Illness and Will Schwalbe’s (2012) The End of Life Book Club.

Pogrebin analyzes her own experience after diagnosis and during treatment for cancer plus 80 in-depth interviews with other sick people, mostly undertaken in the waiting room during her course of daily radiation treatments.

Her theme can be stated in three memorable words: Ask and Act.

The most interesting, unique aspect of the book is the brief section ending the book on Collective Caring. Pogrebin offers examples of the best of friends operating together. These stories challenge our imaginations for joining forces to help a very sick friend together.

For the full book review, click here: Ryan14-Pogrebin13 book review

Writing Exercise

Recall a time of serious illness. Write about the situation, attending to appropriate friendly behaviours observed. Also describe inappropriate behaviours (including avoidance) by friends of the ill person. Imaging how specific alternative behaviours might have been more supportive in the circumstances and how you would be able to tell.

What lessons can you draw for your future role as a friend or caregiver (or ill person) during illness?Ryan14-GcGpshad1

With this photo of teaching my 2-year-old granddaughter to play with our shadows,

I bid you adieu,