An Interview with Joyce Williams, 2018 UK Blogger Finalist for ‘Grandma Williams’

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Joyce Williams also known as “Grandma Williams” on her journey to becoming a first-time blogger at 80!  Joyce is a fantastic example of how older adults are disrupting the long-held (stubborn) beliefs of what it means to grow older.  With a stellar sense-of-humor and an impactful pen (keyboard), no topic is too big for this writer who has publicly called out a number of aging stereotypes.

A retired Physiotherapist, Joyce took up blogging only a year ago driven by her curiosity and desire to creatively start something new.  Unsure of where to start she found herself taking a ‘Blogging for Beginners’ course and knew straight away she was a rare gem in the 20 to 30 something world of blogging…and so did everyone else!  In over a year, her blog Grandma Williams has attracted a lot of attention and is featured on channels like BBC World, Daily Record, BBC Radio, and East London Radio to only name a few!

So without further ado, The Upside to Aging is pleased to introduce you to the creative mastermind behind Grandma Williams, Joyce Williams!

For more interviews like this, please subscribe to our Youtube Channel!!


Let’s Eat! Expert Advice on How to Serve Proper Meals that Entice our Seniors to Eat.

Guest Post Author: JJ Koll |

When it comes to elderly care, there is one thing which calls for greater attention. Yes, you guessed it right- the meal. Whatever they eat affects their health physically and mentally, together. Hence, if you are struggling with the challenge of preparing a senior a meal, here is some help.

Do you have an elderly loved one living at home? Or do you have the responsibility to cook meals for seniors at an assisted living home?

In both the cases, there is a big challenge to deal with as whatever you make needs to be best at taste and very nutritious. And then there will be many hurdles like sudden shifts in their eating patterns.

There are chances that the physician has expressed concern regarding their weight. So, you will be required to monitor diet and eating patterns too. In short, there is a lot to consider when you prepare something for elderly loved ones. To simplify your work a little, below are some important considerations.

Check for Loss of Appetite

In most cases, it happens that older adults do not eat as much compared to their younger age. So, there are chances that they would prefer having a full meal only once a day. Or the other case would be that they eat several small meals or snacks a day. There is nothing wrong with either way. Here it is worth understanding that for a senior, food is about quality, not quantity. So, please don’t force them to eat more than necessary.

You can begin by offering them something healthy with what they love to eat, preferably in small amounts. For instance, if you want them to have healthy food like steamed broccoli, give it to them with a small portion of their favorite meat.

Be Regular and Consistent

The golden rule to keep elderly people happy with their food routine is to keep up with consistency and routine. Hence, get into a habit of offering them their meals and snacks at the same time each day. Don’t delay or make it early. While this will help them develop a habit of eating, it will also set their hunger patterns. Plus, be mindful that their habits and preferences of younger years will not go away very soon. This means if they don’t like raw carrots when they were younger, they likely won’t eat them when they are older. Never take away the food preference completely.

Keep an Eye on Mechanical Issues

Is there anything which prevents them from eating properly? There can be some external factors that affect eating like dentures and difficulty in swallowing. Many elderly would like to have a normal appetite but won’t be able to eat normally because of those issues. It is your responsibility to serve foods that are easy to chew. Ensure that vegetables are always cooked well and are as soft as possible without losing flavor. And if the conditions tend to be severe, look for a meal replacement. You can switch to shakes, soups, and supplements available to help provide adequate nutrition.

Consider Health Issues Too

Just like mechanical issues, there can be some health problems which affect how an older adult eats. For example, if a person has diabetes, he/she will require small meals frequently. But here you have to be more careful as you have to limit fruit and juice intake. The best thing you can do is plan their meals to maintain consistency.

Remember, there are several health issues, and each case is different. It is a must that you make a list of food preferences as per the health constraints and serve what is right.

Now once you have the answers to these simple questions, you can plan and prepare a proper diet for the elderly. Lastly; always be patient, plan meals of time, and try to make mealtime an enjoyable experience.

Have any experiences to share? Or have some other ideas to care for seniors? Share your views, ideas or experiences in comments below.

A friendly disclaimer: The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The goal of this site is to promote broad and more positive consumer understanding and knowledge of various aspects of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Author the Author:

Author Image - JJ KollJJ Koll has a broad experience of over 20 years in the senior housing industry which comprises of census growth, team building, and leadership to achieve business goals & objectives. Currently, working as a senior housing executive at Courtyard at Mt. Tabor, Portland, OR to take care of all the senior living facilities in the community. Follow Courtyard at Mt. Tabor on Facebook and YouTube.


Sick and Tired of Trying to Manage All your Medications? Try CVS Pharmacy’s New Program ScriptPath Prescription Schedule Today

I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about #BetterHealthMadeEasy, how to #FindYourHealthy and #DiscoverCVS. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at or with the appropriate manufacturers.

Medication Management Made Easy

As a family caregiver, you know how difficult it can be to organize and administer all your loved one’s medication.  Medication management is a critical aspect of a family caregiver’s duty and ensuring your loved one receives the proper intake of medicines at the appropriate times each day is vital to their health and safety.

The sheer number of prescription drugs your loved one takes can be overwhelming. The Health Policy Institute at George Washington University reports that the average number of prescriptions filled increases with age, from thirteen orders for those ages 50 to 64 to twenty-two prescription for those ages 80 and older.

With so many instructions to manage, it quickly becomes cumbersome, and the risk of errors significantly increases. CVS Pharmacy understands how difficult medication management can be and has created a new program that addresses these concerns for its patients. CVS Pharmacy’s new prescription management system, ScriptPath Prescription Schedule, is designed to make it easier for patients to locate and understand prescription information and dosing instructions to ensure greater efficacy and improved adherence.

 A Better Way to Understand Doctor’s Orders.

A doctor’s appointment can certainly leave you with more questions than answers.  We’ve all sat there as the doctor quickly overviews the new regiment they’ve prescribed and outlined each drug lengthy list of instructions. We nod our heads in complete understanding only to leave and pick them up at the pharmacy with no idea which is which.

ScriptPath includes the newly released Prescription Schedule, which features the patient’s prescription information and includes specifics on when and how much medicine to take, as well as clear refill instructions and personalized notes. The Prescription Scheduler automatically manages all your medication’s and organizes the prescribers’ instructions for each.  It even provides you with a schedule of the most effective times to take medications by separating it into four dosing times (morning, midday, evening and bedtime).

Not only will you be able to easily access and manage your prescriptions, but using such a sophisticated system will save you hours of your time and significantly lower the chances of a medication error!

And, Wait There’s More!

In rolling out their new ScriptPath Prescription Scheduling program, CVS Pharmacy took great strides in ensuring they understood the needs of their patient’s. Too often, the small and lengthy text makes reading prescription instructions a hassle!  CVS understands how important it is to understand and manage medication instruction is to medication adherence and has made several changes to how they share medication information with patients.

In addition to the ScriptPath rollout this year, CVS Pharmacy is introducing a new Prescription Label, which will feature more explicit directions, larger text and color-coded icons to signify different times of the day for dosing, as well as a new Prescription Overview that will include easier-to-read dosing and refill information.

No Time to Waste!  ScriptPath Prescription Schedule is Available NOW!

ScriptPath Prescription Schedule is available now upon request at all CVS Pharmacies, more than 9,700 retail pharmacy locations. Already a CVS Pharmacy member? If you are one of the more than nine million CVS Pharmacy patients who take more than five medications each day, the system will be automatically offered along with a consultation with a store pharmacist when you pick up your prescriptions.

There is an infinite number of items on your To-do list as a family caregiver.  With so much to do and to worry about it is easy to feel that you may be in this alone.  Caregiving is a tiring job, and many of the finer details of care will take up a significant portion of your day. Fortunately, with programs like ScriptPath Prescription Scheduler, effective medication management is one less thing you will have to worry about. Their easy-to-use system will keep you up-to-date and organized on a schedule that is convenient for both you and your loved one.

Want to learn more?  CVS Pharmacist are excited to offer this helpful and thoughtful service to their patients and are more than willing to answer any questions you may have.  Just stop by or call your local CVS Pharmacy to learn more about the ScriptPath program today!

​Understanding Terms of Endearment: The ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ of calling the Older Adults in our Care “Sweetie” or “Honey.​”

Some people have a strong affiliation either for or against the use of terms of endearment. They either love it or hate it, and the middle area of when their use is appropriate is grey. When about older adults, there is a multitude of reasons why you should not exchange an individual’s name with a term of endearment. And only one reason for why it is okay.

The only time calling an older adult “Sweetie,” “Honey,” or any other term of endearment is if you ask them directly and they say yes. Or at best in the cases, that a person is no longer able to communicate an answer close family members and friends can confirm that these names are appropriate.

So why draw such a sharp line?  It’s not like these nick-names are deliberately offensive. And on the surface, there are many reasons why people use them. Some of the most popular reasons I’ve heard over the years are:  “I call everyone, Sweetie.”,”They call me, Honey all the time.”, “I was raised to call people that,” or “I am horrible at remembering names.”

However, when used to an older adult, particularly older adults who are in the care of someone else the use of terms of endearment can raise a dignity issue.

What’s in a Name? 

Something strange happens when you receive a diagnosis. Suddenly your name becomes that diagnosis, or if you are living in a long-term care facility, your name become’s a room number and diagnosis.  Too often, I’ve been told “room 204 with dementia” can’t go to activities today because they have a doctor’s appointment.

Side note: a Resident has the Right to choose their schedule.  So if they want to go to the day’s activity instead of their doctor’s appointment, it is their right to do so.  Of course, under the advisement that a doctor’s appointment is important. 

To then replace their name with “Sweetie” or “Honey” only further distances themselves from who they are.  A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s already ripped away pieces of their identity from them, as their caregiver we should try everything in our power to maintain their sense of self.  One of the best ways to do this is to call them by their preferred name.

Now, if they have spent their whole life being called “Baby” then yes, of course, that is what we should call them, but to know this requires us to ask for their preference and spend the time to learn more about them.

Right to Dignity

The Resident’s Rights don’t explicitly spell out that terms of endearment shouldn’t be used. However, a resident’s right to be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity does encompass a preference for their name.

As a society, we have learned the power of a name. Calling someone something other than their birth name or nick-name can have very serious connotations. There is no difference when discussing the dignity of an older adult. As harmless as it may seem, and no matter the reason for their use without knowing the older adults preference, calling them “sweetie” or “honey” can be offensive and even demeaning.

Have a Conversation

While this article has taken a bit of an earnest tone, there is an excellent opportunity to get to know the person in your care.  So often terms of endearment are used as a personal sign of respect. However, their use isn’t one size fits all and the quality of care really should be person-centered.

There is so much in a name and asking someone what they would prefer to be called can offer great insight into their personality and even a life story. Finding out how someone came about receiving a nick-name has brought on wild tales that I still think about today.  The older adults in our care deserve the respect of a name preference, and we should always offer that choice to them.

How to Start an Activities Program for Older Adults

Guest Post Author: Danny W. Pettry, II, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS |

A Review of Sandra Parker, Carol Will, and Cherly Bruke’s (1989) Activities for the Elderly

Book Title: Activities for the Elderly, Volume 1: A Guide to Quality Programming

Authors: Sandra Parker, Carol Will, and Cheryl Burke

Released: 1989

Publisher:  Idyll Arbor

ISBN: 9781882883004

Starting a recreation program for the elderly can be a challenge for a person who is just starting out. Fortunately, there are many experienced professionals and resources available.  Dr. Sandra Parker’s (1989) book, Activities for the Elderly is one of those useful resources for beginners.

How I discovered the book:

Dr. Sandra Parker was my academic advisor for my undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Marshall University (in Huntington, West Virginia).  Dr. Parker taught a course on Leisure and Aging. Her book, Activities for the Elderly, was one of the required readings for this course.

Dr. Parker provided students (who were mostly younger people right out of high school) with opportunities to interact with seniors.  She set up a series of guest-speakers of seniors, who were active in life, including musicians, artists, and authors. Students in her course took a tour of local nursing homes and senior housing.  The majority of this class was outside of the classroom.

Practicing is the key to success

Practice facilitating and leading activities are the best way to increase competency and confidence. Dr. Parker created a “lab,” through the University that allowed students to practice facilitating activities for the elderly. Seniors who lived in local high-rise apartments (senior housing) were invited to participate in the activities program, which was on site to allow for easy accessibility.  Students in our class took turns leading group activities for this program. Students observed and assisted other students when it was their week to facilitate an activity. Students often implement activities from Dr. Parker’s book or from other related books. There was a wrap-up discussion each week to discuss the group facilitator’s strengths in leading activities as well as to identify areas of needed improvement.

Some useful information from the book:

Dr. Parker’s Activities for the Elderly is like a “recipe cookbook” with 75 activities. Each activity includes a list of resources that are needed for each activity and instructions on how to implement the activity.  There is also a summary of potential benefits for each activity (for example increased concentration or physical endurance).

Training and motivating volunteers and activity assistants is covered in the front of the book. This is a very valuable skill to have. An individual who is hired to start an activities program may be required to teach and train direct care staff or activity assistance on leading activities as well. Practice and experience build abilities.

The rest of the chapters in the book are separated into various types of activities. These include:

  • Large muscle activities;
  • Mental/ memory activities;
  • Arts and crafts;
  • Music;
  • Dance and drama;
  • Outdoor/ nature activities; and
  • Religious activities

Who else would be interested in this book:

Recreation therapists, activity directors, and other programmers who work with the elderly may enjoy this book. It could serve as a useful reference tool. People who provide services for other age groups (children, teens, or adults) can be creative and adapt many of these activities for those age groups as well.

About the Author


Danny Pettry, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS  has worked as a practitioner at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Program for children and adolescents with various mental and behavioral health needs since 2002. Pettry has provided continuing online education for recreation therapists since 2007. Follow Danny on  Facebook or on LinkedIn.