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Blog: Organizing for Boomers
March Madness and Coach John Wooden

We've marched into March. This is the month many of us start thinking about basketball finals and spring. With thoughts of hoops, jump shots and buzzers many of us recall John Wooden with fondness.

John Wooden, the father of college basketball, the leader of the UCLA Bruins for years and years, the coach, the philosopher, the inspirer. John Wooden is a legend, one of a kind. Even though I am no Bruin fan, by any stretch of the imagination, I, along with legions across the country, love this man for his many words of wisdom, his quiet leadership, his ability to coach by example. Visit his website at www.coachjohnwooden.com to view video of him, learn his philosophy and his Pyramid of Success.

He's written at least nine books about leadership and success. More books have probably been written about him with maybe a movie or two in the making. Born in 1910, he's quickly approaching the centenarian mark.

And he is still teaching us.

Coach Wooden lives alone in a condominium in Encino, California. And he likes it there just fine. Loves the independence. No group living place for him. His home is where he wants to be, surrounded by many memories of his late wife, Nell.

This is still a very active person. He attends events, speaks publicly, and participates in the world at large. His two adult children have added grandchildren and great-grandchildren to his full life.

Last week he fell in his home sometime during the night. His daughter had left his home around 10 p.m. and the UCLA trainer, Tony Spino, who had been checking on him just about every morning, found him on the floor early the next morning when he arrived. Coach might have been down on the floor for as long as seven hours.

This was not his first fall, nor was it the first time he has spent the night on the floor alone and unable to get up. However, both his collarbone and wrist are broken, and I hope are repairing rapidly.

Quite awhile back his daughter, Nan, insisted he wear a medical alert device because he was adamant about living on his own. He acquiesced to her wishes and shortly after had a fall. When someone asked why he didn't hit the button on the beeper, he said that he had promised his daughter he would wear it, but he hadn't promised that he would use it!!

And thus is the dilemma for the members of the Sandwich Generation. We have been raised to be independent thinkers, to stand on our own two feet, to not have to be dependent on others. But when our parents take that stance, we are frustrated and flustered.

My mother did the exact same thing as Coach Wooden. She didn't want to bother me she said, so she remained on the floor of her bedroom through the night with a broken ankle, her medical alert device sitting pretty around her neck.

So what are we to do?

They want their independence. They want their dignity. They don't want to be a bother to others. This role reversal is a tough one. Write me at and let me know what solutions you have found that work best for your family.

Many government and private organizations offer information and assistance to those who want to remain in their own homes. Here are just a few for you:

www.aahsa.org – American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, a network of organizations that provides services for older Americans living in their own homes.

www.naipc.org – National Aging in Place Council offers businesses information on forming networks to serve seniors. It also has a chapter locator and a consumer guide.

www.aarp.org – AARP has information on housing, home design and care-giving.

www.aging.ca.gov – California Department of Aging has a home modification fact sheet and home safety checklist.

www.nahc.org – National Association for Home Care & Hospice has information and a provider locator database.

Until next time…

Making Your Space a Special Place


the R.E.D. team – Reinventing Everyday Designs

posted on: 3/7/2008 12:30:00 PM by Sue Crum
category: Special Populations

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Organizing for Boomers

by Sue Crum

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About Sue:

Sue Crum knows and understands the life of a Baby Boomer all too well. Having served as the filling of an Oreo cookie for many years, she has reinvented herself in San Diego as the owner of The R.E.D. Team, Reinventing Everyday Designs, doing professional organizing, real estate staging, and interior redesign.

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