Upcoming book release

We are all looking forward to May 6th when Gail Sheehy's new book on caregiving will be coming out. Buckley's for Seniors can be found in the front portion of the book. For more more information on Ms. Sheehy and her book, click here!


Thanks to all of you who completed our survey! We received a 100% satisfaction rate, and we are thrilled to know we are delivering the quality services you want. We strive to make sure that quality is our number one focus, and the survey showed that our clients find the Buckley's companions to be Dependable and Trustworthy and overall great company! If you haven't read the Washington Post article about us recently - here is the link. Thanks again, Buckley

Our wonderful clients

We are always receiving messages, notes and emails from our clients telling us how much they appreciate our services and how they could not get along without us. These reminders from our clients are part of what makes our business something we have so much pride in and put so much effort into. Thank you all!


Anonymous, found upon the death of a nursing home resident:

Crabby Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, . . . not very wise,
Uncertain of habit . . . with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice . . . 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am, . . . as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . as I eat at your will
I'm a small child of Ten . . . with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters . . . who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen . . . with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . My heart gives a leap.
Remembering the vows . . . that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons . . . have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me . . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, . . . Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man . . . and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . A young guy still dwells,
And now and again . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . life over again.

I think of the years. all too few . . . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . open and see..
Not a crabby old man, look closer . . . see . . . ME!!

Senior Movies!

Here is a great list of movies from the members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
Perhaps you have some favorites of your own that you could add to the below titles?

• Cocoon
• Is Anybody There?
• Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
• The Five People You Meet in Heaven
• On Golden Pond
• Fried Green Tomatoes
• In Her Shoes
• Driving Miss Daisy
• Up
• Iris
• Harold And Maude
• The Bucket List
• The Savages
• Away From Her
• Andrew Jenks Room 335
• Aurora Borealis
• The Notebook
• Tuesdays with Morrie
• Young at Heart
• Strangers in Good Company
• Ladies in Lavender
• Dad
• Grey Gardens
• Grumpy Old Men
• Grumpier Old Men
• It’s A Wonderful Life
• The Trip To Bountiful
• Waking Ned Divine (staff recommendation)
• Calendar Girls (staff recommendation)
• The Whales of August (staff recommendation)
• Back to School (staff recommendation)
• Steel Magnolias (staff recommendation)
• The Twilight Zone (staff recommendation)

Family Reunion: A Good Time for Family Planning

The below article comes to us via the National Care Planning Council:

Summertime brings a lot of family time. With family reunions, picnics, weddings and other events, long distant family members travel to gather together. It is also the perfect time to do some planning for the future. With parents aging and their health and lifestyles changing, children need to discuss some changes and decisions that will be needed in the near future. Parents should take the time to tell their children where important documents are kept and what their wishes are in the event of needing health care directives or experiencing long term care needs.

For those children who live away, the change they see in their parent's health and mental capacity may be alarming -- whereas siblings that have daily contact are working with these issues constantly. Here is the chance to compare notes and work together as a complete family in the long term care planning process.

For you parents who are well and active, this is a good time to hold a family meeting and share with your children your plan for long term care. Tell them where financial and legal documents are located. Review health care directives, living wills and long term care alternatives.

Experience has shown that even families that are close can quickly grow angry, jealous and hostile towards each other when an aging parent begins to need long term care. If a sibling moves into the parent's home, others can easily be suspicious of ulterior motives and fear losing their inheritance. On the other hand, the child providing the elder care becomes bitter and feels there is no support or help from siblings. Pre-need meetings for the purpose of making a plan, before eldercare becomes imminent, avoids these types of conflicts.

In its book, “The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning,” the National Care Planning Council provides guidelines and checklists for family planning meetings. Here's an excerpt from the book:


“The first step to holding a meeting, and perhaps the most difficult one, is to get all interested persons together in one place at one time. If it's a family gathering, perhaps a birthday, an anniversary or another special event could be used as a way to get all to meet. Or maybe even a special dinner might be an incentive.

The person conducting the meeting can be a parent or one person of a couple who are doing their planning, years before the need for care arises. A meeting on behalf of someone already receiving care or needing care in the immediate future could be conducted by that person or by a member of the family, by an adviser or a friend.

The agenda could be formal or informal. If you want a formal agenda, we suggest using our care planning checklist as the agenda. Copies of the care plan should be prepared prior to the meeting and presented to those attending. Discussion is encouraged and we recommend that the person in charge not dictate but encourage input from everyone.

After a thorough discussion of the issues and the presentation of the solutions to the problems that will be encountered, there should be a consensus of all attending to support the plan. If the plan needs to be altered to meet everyone's expectations then by all means do so if that can be done. But it is not always possible to please everyone so there must sometimes be compromise.

The end of the meeting should consist of asking everyone present to make his or her commitment to support the plan. GET IT IN WRITING! All good intentions seem to be forgotten with time. It may be years after this meeting before the long term

care plan begins. If there are vocal commitments to help with transportation to doctors, give respite to the caregiver or other commitments, write them down on the care agreement. You can even have each person put a signature to his or her commitment if you think that is important.”

The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning ,” by The National Care Planning Council

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services states:

“No one wants to think about a time when they might need long-term care. So planning ahead for this possibility often gets put off. Most people first learn about long-term care when they or a loved one need care. Then their options are often limited by lack of information, the immediate need for services, and insufficient resources to pay for preferred services. Planning ahead allows you to have more control over your future”.

"Whether you plan a formal meeting with an agenda or informally gather for a discussion, when the family is together make it a point to start the long term care planning process.

There is a lot to learn and many decisions to make concerning finances, health issues and legal work. It may take research and a lot of time to put a plan together, but if everyone is involved it will work, and be worth it." National Care Planning Council,




Buckley to teach classes at NOVA

As I mentioned below, I look forward to teaching at NOVA in the Fall.  I am attaching the class descriptions to this blog entry.  Please pass then along to anyone who might be interested!  Thanks, Buckley

The line-up for Fall The line-up for Fall

I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching a series of three classes at NOVA Annandale campus in the Fall. The classes will cover topics ranging from Planning for Retirement through End of Life Care. Once the Fall course schedule is published I will add more details!

Working for Buckley's

A while back we, at the office, received an inquiry regarding “Cool Jobs” for a “Page Three” Washington Post submission. It got me to thinking about my job here at Buckley’s as the office manager. I often say I have the best of both worlds when I talk about my work -doing what I like to do to make things happen behind the scene here at Buckley’s via phone calls, emails and whatever else it takes to support Buckley in this unique and much needed service. And, when we are short-staffed, I have the pleasure of meeting and greeting many of the wonderful people we serve by running out to be a “sub”. It truly is a delight - some might even call it “cool”.

So what’s so “cool” about this job of mine? Well, how about hearing from a family member telling us how excited she is after a staffer visits Dad at the V.A. Hospital. “My father loves when your staffer comes and REALLY looks forward to her visits every week. Did you know she sings to him at bedside? And he is talking again! She put him on the phone and we talked for the first time in a long time.” … Another family member is amazed at the change in her mother since our staffer began her twice weekly visits. “A totally different person” is how she describes her… Then there’s the email from the daughter in Richmond who tells us we are “so worth it” every time we arrange to get her mom to and from the hair salon or ….My personal favorite of late is learning of the devotion of a 90 year young gentleman who travels 40 miles every day to visit his son in a rehabilitation center. This dedicated Dad recently asked us to play poker and chess with his son twice a week, providing him some much needed relief and delighting his son with some competitive “fun and games”. His appreciation is expressed in his phone calls, even from the hospital, to make sure we know how much he and his son appreciate our intelligent staffers who are great conversationalists!

From the clients themselves, I am privileged to hear how the thoughtfulness of a staffer in remembering her birthday touched her, or how she took special care on holidays to bring along “goodies” like coffee and cookies when she visited. Or the plain and simple declaration from another that “I don’t know how I ever survived without you!” Then there’s the gentleman who chooses us over other agencies because our staff “provide such good conversation” on the trips to and from the doctor. Even in those instances when clients cannot themselves tell us how much they appreciate our help, we know for a fact how we affect change in the households we serve by the very meaningful relationships that develop between our staff members and the live-in caregivers. When they’re happy, everyone’s happy!

It’s especially heartwarming to hear how perfectly the client/staffer matching often works out. One client who was in desperate need of some new clothes was accompanied by a staffer with an eye for color and fashion, a love of shopping and an uncanny ability to find the best sales! Or the local author who enjoyed the company of her “regular” staffer so much that she invited her out to lunch with her and her best friend from high school and then gifted her later with a signed copy of her book. We even found we could match a staffer fluent in French with a client who wanted to converse in her native tongue.

Of course, it’s always good to hear from other professionals who appreciate our staff, having worked with them on shared clientele. I get to receive calls and emails from care managers who tell us how competent, creative and dedicated our staffers are and how grateful they are for the ways we make their jobs so much easier. We know for a fact that the staff at a certain nursing facility looks forward to the visit of one particular staffer almost as much as the client she is visiting looks forward to her coming.

What’s not to love about seeing unfold everyday the dedication, caring, compassion and professionalism of our wonderful service. It’s inspiring and calls me on to more generosity. I appreciate hearing the stories behind all the hard work we do and take great comfort in knowing that the clients we serve are especially blessed by our efforts. Next time, I’d love to share a bit about my experiences “out on the road” seeing clients, the other side of my “cool” job. (Oh, and did I mention that I get to stagger my hours to avoid morning and evening rush hours arriving at ten and going home at 3:30 just when school gets out for my youngest AND I get to work from home on Friday. Now that’s WAY COOL!)

-Deb Merriner
Office Manager

Dementia Continuing Education

I recently received a Certificate of Completion for a class on Meeting the Challenges of Dementia. This class is part of the process to become certified by the National Association of Retirement Counselors. I am also pursuing certification by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

The Dementia Class was very informative in many respects and a good review as well. The one thing that stood out was how my staff-training on dealing with our clients with Dementia is right in line with the current recommended method. Our staff members use the "Validation Method" when working with our clients, as opposed to the "Reality Method." The latter instructs a person to continually attempt to correct a Dementia sufferer with reality or hard facts. The example used by the class instructor was a Blue and Green chair. If the client states the chair is Black and Orange, the "Reality Method" would be to insist that the chair is actually Blue and Green. As noted, the client with Dementia will not be able to process this due to their medical disease and the result will be the release of stress chemicals, confusion, frustration and possibly anger.

The "Validation Method," which we use, instructs the response to the above mentioned scenario as being "Yes, that IS an interesting chair isn't it?!" Our goal at Buckley's is to provide intellectual stimulation to our Dementia clients. Depending on the advancement of their disease, we concentrate on whatever long term memories may still be intact, inviting conversations and recollections on comfortable topics. We also use methods such as playing board games and card games. This kind of stimulation has shown effective in keeping the brain as sharp as possible. My staff members have reported clear instances of improved cognitive abilities during or shortly after such activities. Of course, my staff members are particularly gifted in the area of intellectual stimulation due to their high levels of education, travel, professional careers and life experience.

I was pleased to learn of medical advancements in the understanding and treatment of the over 70 different types of Dementia (the most common being Alzheimer's). I look forward to sharing more about my Continuing Education Classes with all of you in the future!


First Post

This is the first post from Buckley about our work to help seniors. At Buckley's For Seniors, we have Senior Helpers who are smart and savvy and ready to help! Whether you just need to get to an appointment every now and then, or you want regular help with your to-do list and outings, Buckley's For Seniors is there.

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