Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: So CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cruisin' for Caregivers



It just doesn't get any better than this!

That's one of my favorite sentences. Whenever I feel like saying it, I know magic is happening and I'm in the flow of pure bliss! That's what happened last week during the annual WomanSage Cares four-day cruise aboard Carnival Paradise out of Long Beach.

WomanSage hosted 25 caregivers and a few extraordinary volunteers for a delightful respite cruise with another 45 members and guests. It was the third time I've cruised with the WomanSage group - and the experience definitely qualified as "third time's the charm" for me. It was fun, relaxing, rewarding, enlightening and the weather was absolutely perfect. I forget that January on the West Coast can be as beautiful as it is in the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Kudos to the amazing Carole Shaw, Administrator of Silverado Senior Living-San Juan Capistrano, who served as keynote speaker for our caregiver gathering on the ship. She was an inspiration to all, including me. She reminded us about how it's really a choice to come from love when caregiving, instead of being pulled into fear and resentment. God bless you, Carole, and bless all the wonderful caregivers who joined us - Anna, Evelyn, Kathleen, Donna, Bardo, Kathy, just to name a few. And thanks to our returning caregivers led by the inspirational Patty Alfaro! We love you!

During this year's cruise, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my cousin, Dru, and her daughter, Shannon (my namesake) and our lifelong friend, Lindy. We laughed nonstop, we disco-danced till the wee hours, we spent quality time (and money) at the spa, we toured, we drank wine at Ensenada's vineyards, tasted great tequila at Papas & Beer, and we enjoyed dessert every single night. It was the greatest of chick trips! I highly recommend the four-day Carnival Paradise cruise to all girlfriends who want to celebrate life!

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Ensenada's wine country. Who knew Ensenada had great vineyards? I did not. I had planned to stay on the ship during the day in Mexico this year. I didn't think I could have as good a time ashore as I did last a year ago with Gary, the Bucci's and the Fowler's. Then I won a nice jackpot in the casino on Tuesday night and decided to buy a ticket for the wine country trip. It was a great time. We discovered that one of the lovely vineyards also has a bull ring! Apparently the owner likes the tradition of bullfighting and decided he wanted to host a couple of bull fights each year.

One of the photos here is of me and my friend, Muff, at the vineyard bull ring. The other is of Carole Shaw at the L.A. Cetta vineyard looking into a big barrel. She had to climb up there to get both the view AND the photo! That's our Carole - fearless!

Love is indeed greater than fear. I'm grateful to my friends at WomanSage for supporting this cruise for caregivers, all of whom are close to my heart. What a wonderful world!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Join Us at the ASA Conference!



Today Iā€™m writing to you on behalf of the American Society on Aging to invite you to attend the largest multidisciplinary conference on aging and health care in the country ā€“ Aging in America ā€“ taking place in San Francisco, California, April 26-30 (a beautiful time of year in San Francisco). This photo of me and my dear friend, Dr. Ann Harwood from Montana, was taken at last year's conference in Chicago.

This year, I will be presenting an informative session at the conference with my friend and WomanSage founder Jane Glenn Haas. There is also a panel discussion featuring my colleagues from Silverado - our Co-Founder, Chief of Culture and Alzheimer's Futurist Steve Winner (co-author of "The Silverado Story-A Memory-Care Culture Where Love is Greater than Fear" - www.silveradostory.com), Senior VP Health Services Anne Ellett and Silverado-Belmont Hills Administrator in Training Maryam Mahbod, talking about our famous golf program that was written up in the Wall Street Journal. I hope you will plan to attend the conference and also schedule time for our sessions. To find out when and where I will be presenting, simply visit www.agingconference.org and click on Search the Sessions, and then enter any of our last names in the space provided.

This conference is amazing. Last year was my first time attending. Aging in America is a very important subject I've written about in this blog. With 78 million Baby Boomers turning 65 over the next 18 years, aging is a hot topic. What I'm interested in right now is what happens when all of us who are used to technology - who use ATM's, iPads, Blackberries, Kindles and shop and pay our bills online - can no longer remember our passwords? That's the kind of conversation that happens at the ASA Conference. You or your company may have an answer, or more importantly, you may be interested in answers and solutions.

Make sure you register by February 15th to get the early registration rate. Also, if you are planning to come, you should definitely take time to make your hotel reservations as I've heard hotel rooms are going fast. Please see below for more information on the conference. You may also visit the conference website at www.agingconference.org.

To contact ASA directly to request a conference brochure, call 1-800-537-9728 or e-mail jutkam@asaging.org.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Next?


I love the power and simplicity of a one-word question. This one - "Next?" - is about change and movement. It's about welcoming something new, even scary, because it's what you have to do.

Who's next? What's next? Are you next? Am I next?

Sometimes there is a little fear of the unknown in asking the question. Yet if you've just completed a fulfilling conversation, then maybe it's a question of excitement, delight, even love.

Tonight I'm thinking about U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, lying in a hospital bed in Tucson, breathing on her own and holding hands with her husband, astronaut Mike Kelly. Both of them are staying present, yet somewhere in their experience is that question about what's next. I'm thinking about a dear and treasured friend who left a job last week to move onto something new and I'm very aware that this question is a positive one for him and everyone who loves him. I'm thinking about my soul sister, Sandy Moore, whose book debuts February 1st and everyone who knows and loves her wants it to be a best-seller. "Next" is what will be revealed.

My own experience of this question is both exhilarating and scary as I embrace moving to a new home, a new neighborhood and a new perspective about how the days, months and years of my life will unfold. I'm embracing changes with trepidation, remembering that LOVE is greater than fear. Oh yeah.

Things change. We change. Sometimes "next" is something mysterious. And sometimes "next" is the same old thing, but maybe with different colors. There's a gift in the answer to the question!

Next?

What's next for you?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Light of the World


It's a new year! I'm happy to be out of the darkness and now basking in the light of the world, namely the love of my family, friends, associates and God. I can feel myself vibrating at a higher energy than I've experienced in a couple of years! I've lost weight and am enjoying a healthier body and attitude.

We spent the weekend with niece Lindsey and her fiance, Nels, a.k.a. "Cupcake and Thor," visiting from Seattle, as well as my wonderful sister-in-law, Nancy, and the extended Sumner-Haeckel family. The family calls this "late Christmas" gathering "The Fatted Taco Fest." Don't ask me why....but wow, those were some awesome fat tacos prepared by my "Sister Aunties," Susan and Margo (who cares if Margo forgot the tomatoes and black olives - we chopped martini olives instead).

Football reigned, putting smiles on the faces of the guests of honor with the big playoff win for the Seahawks. Thor did an authentic happy dance, although he doesn't look anything like Snoopy.

What's lighting up your world as we approach 1/11/11?