Author and Family Caregiving Expert Stephanie Erickson details a Plan for Aging Well

About Stephanie Erickson - Plan for Aging Well

Plan for Aging Well - Stephanie EricksonBy Stephanie Erickson

When I reflect back, this book has been in the works my entire life. Even before I earned my degree and became a clinical social worker, I have always spoken out against mistreatment, inequality and injustice. My passion to advocate for those who have an unheard voice has been inside me since I was a young child.

Over the years in my work with older adults, I became more and more discouraged about what I was seeing in terms of the type of care and support offered in our public and private systems. I imagined my mom, my dad, my grandma, my kids and my future self in the systems in which I was working and could not sit back and allow for this to continue. Not for them. Not for me. Not for you.

I hear and witness families in crisis and in conflict and know that with just a bit of proactive discussions and planning, this all could be different. My motivation for putting my observations into this book serves as a beacon to encourage healthcare professionals, caregivers, politicians and families to reflect on our approach and beliefs about the value of older adults and be inspired to demand and create better care. I felt compelled, and truthfully obligated as a professional, to share my experiences.

Plan for Aging Well inspires the reader to see older adults as whole human beings and not just bodies that require physical care. It highlights how important our emotional and spiritual health are, and offers guidance to help the readers ensure that their loved ones, and their future selves, can have their needs met with a holistic approach. The book discusses neurocognitive disease and how devastating, confusing and stressful this can be on the person with the diagnosis and with his or her family. Throughout the book the reader is placed in the older adult’s shoes to elicit empathy and compassion, which in turn will help them process and assist their loved one in a different, more comprehensive fashion. Finally, it explains the concept of Team Caregiving, reminding the reader that we do not age in isolation, but as a complete team and there are many individuals that we can include in the team plan.

My hope is this book changes the way in which we view aging and older adults, moving our society away from devaluing and rejecting concepts of aging and instead lending insight into the many gifts that remain within.

Stephanie - Erickson
Stephanie Erickson

About the Author

Stephanie Erickson, author of Plan for Aging Well has a Master’s Degree in Social Work, is a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Treatment Specialist and is licensed in both Quebec and California. She provides media commentary throughout the U.S. and Canada and has hosted several web series related to caregiving and aging. She has a clinical practice and provides on-line consultation via Stephanie is passionate about encouraging others to take control of their personal health and to advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations. As an entrepreneur, mom and wife, free time is not easy to come by. Yet, Stephanie always carves out time to train on the flying trapeze.

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2 Responses

  1. Stephanie, I enjoyed reading about your efforts to advocate for and with families so that they can reach a beneficial resolution for their loved one. The word ‘empathy’ struck me most of all. Not only for the families, but the very facilities that care for their loved one.
    Providing care that is non-institutionalized, but more on a personal level. Bringing comfort to both the families and the individual in their care.
    In my book “My Husband’s Keeper” I talked about the importance of empathy in facilities.

    1. Hi Michele. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. Yes, we must have empathy for all. Healthcare professionals are overworked and doing their best (most of the time) and are often under appreciated and are definitely underpaid. Families are trying to balance their own individual needs while meeting the needs of another. The perfect balance is almost impossible to strike. For those living with illness, it can be scary, isolating and lonely. We must approach our care and support holistically and in consideration of the entire family and professional systems. Only then can we truly serve all with patience, kindness, empathy and skill. I’ll check out your book. Maybe you can send me a PDF copy and you can be a guest on my streaming (vlog) show Plan for Aging Well.

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