About the Authors
I have retired from my career; first in nursing education, then as a gerontological nurse, and then later, a marriage & family therapist. My work included a variety of settings; education, clinical, and private practice. Throughout the diversity of my work, I always had a common theme; my desire to help individuals and families find their own path to healthier lives and healthier relationships.
Now in retirement, I enjoy the opportunity to volunteer in ways that allow me to continue learning new things and to contribute to my community.
Married for 52 years, I am so grateful for my family: my supportive husband; our wise daughter; two accomplished sons and their talented wives: and two very impressive grand-children.
There are many role models who showed me the way to aging with grace. The first, our neighbour Minnie, who had a stroke and returned home to recover, long before the days of home care. My mom, who lived to age 99, despite many long-time health challenges. Even in her last years, she greeted each day with a bit of curiosity and ended the day with gratitude for any kindness she experienced.
I have a background in nursing with experience in acute, community, home, and continuing care that spanned forty years. Care of older adults became an important area of focus in my practice, which I attribute to strong relationships with my grandmothers. Later I moved to nursing education and worked with undergraduate nursing students until my retirement in 2017.
I am a founding member and consultant in Affinity Consulting and Training (ACT) with my husband, Brian Ward. He is my anchor. We have been together in life and business for twenty plus years. It’s been an exciting time and between us have six adult children, their spouses, and eleven wonderful grandchildren. Since retirement from teaching, I have been more active in ACT’s day-to-day work during this new chapter in my life. I am also grateful to be able to spend more time with family and friends.
When Maureen and I wrote the first edition, I was completing my Master of Nursing and mom was a strong supporter, always championing my goals. When she reviewed the first edition of our book, her comment was, “It’s very good dear, but did you know there’s a typo on page __.” Always sharp and attentive. She was an exemplary role model to my siblings (5) and me about aging with dignity and grace; in spite of mounting chronic illnesses that taxed her physically. She showed us how to take charge and demonstrated resilience for living a full life. The photo was taken in 2012 when she was 80 years of age. She died in 2016 and I still miss her a lot, yet her lessons continue to guide me as I become the aging parent.
Like Maureen, my career has been varied. I worked as a nurse in acute care for the first 17 years. In 1989, I began working in the field of aging, first as an education coordinator in continuing care and later as coordinator and faculty in a Gerontology: Studies in Aging certificate program at a local community college. My initial retirement at the age of 67 was short-lived, and I spent 2 years teaching gerontological nursing, then the following 7 years as Director of Quality Enhancement for an innovative assisted living company. The last two positions were part-time, enabling me to ease out of a lifetime of working and raising a family
Though I am fully retired, I continue to pursue my interests in both aging and dementia. My volunteer work is directed at improving the quality of life for older adults and those living with dementia. My current life goal is to debunk the many myths and stereotypes associated with aging and dementia. Though in my later ‘70s, I am currently halfway through a Masters of Dementia Studies program. I continue to hike, bike and cross country ski with the same energy, enthusiasm and ability as I did when I was 50 years old. I am determined not to be defined by my chronological age, but rather by my attitudes and responses to the events in my life’s journey.
I have two sons and four grandchildren (2 boys and 2 girls), of whom I am very proud. I enjoy the time that I get to spend with them.
When Maureen invited me to assist with the second edition of her book, I was honored. Maureen’s career and my own have crossed paths many times since 1975, and I was very familiar with her values and goals related to families, older adults, wellness and interdependence. With this new version of Your Aging Parents, I hope to not only bring current credible information to the readers, but also some wisdom gained from a life well-lived.