Aging Mother Defines Better Senior Care with a High Tea Life Celebration

Recurrent cancer is defined as cancer that has recurred usually after a period of time during which the cancer remained undetected. It may come back to the same place as the original tumor or elsewhere in the body.

Such was the case with Sarah Glavin. At age 51, she was diagnosed with renal cancer and then at 71 it had reoccurred with a vengeance. The matriarch of a family of seven children and a multitude of grandchildren, she confronted her reality boldly. She gave audience to all her progeny conveying lessons to live their lives by. Cajoling her children and grandchildren to continue living their lives and carry on she remains a formidable voice in a family that adores her. But, one of her most inspiring  creations was the High Tea that she orchestrated for her family. Having immigrated from Ireland, the Tea idea was intrinsically “her”.

family gathered outside home for high tea with cancer patient
The linens were ironed, the china was cleaned, and the food was prepared for a grand event. Surrounded by her family and devoted Complete Care Strategies caregiver Margaret, the tea was a monumental celebration that the family will remember for a lifetime. One of her daughters, Ellen Glavin, was the Director of Nursing Services for Complete Care Strategies (formerly Elder Connections). As she balanced the needs of her clients and her mom’s care, Ellen’s reports about her mother’s journey had an impact upon how we all manage our lives each day.


Facing Advanced Cancer

Incurable does not mean untreatable. Elizabeth Edwards is an example of an individual with such a diagnosis who continued living her life. She did not define herself by her diagnosis and still realistically acknowledged her situation. While this type of cancer cannot be eradicated, that does not mean that it cannot be treated. Each person needs to decide what path to take based upon how they define those things that matter in their own life.


4 Tips for Talking to Your Doctor and Health Care Team

  • Remember that you are a consumer. Educate yourself! Also, you are in the driver’s seat and your physician works for you.
  • Attend doctor’s appointment with someone you trust. Individuals engaged with challenging situations can not always depend upon themselves to hear the information communicated accurately.  A trusted family member or friend can be another set of ears and help to ask relevant questions.
  • Prepare a list of questions and concerns before the appointment. Write down your concerns in a concise clear manner. Ask your most pressing question first.
  • Write down your doctor’s answers. Taking notes gives you the opportunity to review and return to the responses after the appointment. It will also help if you wish to research this information.


Define Your Own Terms for Better Senior Care

If you are the caregiver for your aging parent — learn to celebrate life’s moments and create your own terms of better senior care. Need more help? Download your free Planning Kit


About the Author

Beverly Bernstein Joie is the founder and president of Complete Care Strategies, a senior care management company serving Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. A Certified Aging Life Care Manager with more than 20 years of experience, Beverly has worked in senior care since 1994, both in assisted living communities and in private practice. She is a member of the Aging Life Care Association and was a former president of the Philadelphia Chapter.

Complete Care Strategies consists of care managers, specialized human service professionals, who advocate and direct the care of seniors and others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, its expertise provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Along with its licensed home care division, it can help clients safely remain at home under the watchful eye of skilled professionals. Families are afforded an integrated model of care that, with guidance and advocacy, lead them to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love