Hello there. My name is Alice Kalso. I’d like to introduce you to my book, Elder Care SOS: Facing Hard Choices With Hope, released in August 2021. If you are trading roles with a parent or other loved one, this book is for you. But first a bit about me.
I’ve always been hooked on seniors, and especially Grandmas, although my Grandma stories are limited as both my grandmas died before I was six. But that didn’t stop me from adopting grandmas or at least borrowing them. My father pastored a church in a small town in Indiana. After the Sunday service, I made a beeline for the grandmas, who showered me with love and attention. “You are the most beautiful girl!” they told me. Not quite true but much appreciated.
The church was my second home. I gave tours to anyone who would come along. Because seniors had more time, they were my likely candidates. Can you relate? Maybe? You may also have your own grandma stories.
As an adult, I published more than 200 articles in newspapers and magazines. Many of the articles featured seniors who were doing wonderful things for God. In 1994 I began working with seniors and their families on transition issues. And once again, the grandmas entered my life.
What has God done since then? God has enabled me to love the grandmas in my life. God has also led me to appreciate their adult children, people like you, who have gone above and beyond in caring for their parents. I’m pretty sure you would love to meet them. On a more personal note: My siblings and I became clients, so to speak, during the years before our parents’ passing in 2003 and 2004. We know firsthand the frustrations and the joys of taking on the parenting role for our parents.
You may very well be one of a special group called Alice’s Heroes. Do you qualify? Ponder these questions: Do you help your parent or loved one navigate life? Do you need help with making difficult choices such as giving up driving, finding home care, or moving to assisted living? The script changes from time to time, and sometimes from day to day. You may be asked to learn a new language–Medicare, Medicaid, and a host of other terms that seem strange at first but grow more comfortable as you lean into your role.
I’ve heard so many stories over the years. Early on, a nursing home administrator spoke about moving her mother into a nursing home.
“This is the most difficult decision I’ve ever made,” she said. Every day she hired and fired staff, developed new programs, and greeted new residents. But on the day her mother needed nursing care, she said, “I was reduced to a little girl on the inside, crying ‘Help me, Help me.!”
Over the years, as I worked with adult children, I heard similar stories. I realized their need for information and inspiration. You might relate to some of their questions: “How do I find a good nursing home?” “How does Hospice work?” and “What are the steps to take in moving from one state to another?” They wanted to know how to advocate for their loved one’s care and how to celebrate their parent’s legacy.,
Those questions, and their accompanying stories, were woven into a blog, begun in 2010 and now expanded to 300 posts on this website. A big day for me was August 27, 2021, when my first book, Elder Care SOS: Facing Hard Choices With Hope, was released. It covers understanding your aging parent and yourself, and tackling areas like driving, home care, assisted living and more.
For now I will write for this website, and speak to groups whenever I can, to offer hope on such issues as advocacy, self-care, and finding good housing and care.
My husband has been supportive of my writing. Our three children, now grown with children of their own, remember accompanying me to Seattle Children’s Theatre when I reviewed plays. They sampled my recipes before they were printed in magazines. The grandchildren’s favorite recipe is “Grandpa Burgers.” Another is “Grandma Margie’s Chocolate Cream Pie.” Still another is “Alice’s Strawberry Shortcake.” One of my book’s themes is “Legacy.” Recipes can take us back to our grandmother’s time to appreciate their strength and vigor.. And yes, I would be happy to share these recipes with you.
In the meantime, feel free to write me, and to share your concerns about your relationship with your parents or loved ones, or anything else, for that matter!