How It All Began
How It All Began – The Wise GuideM
y Mom was in great shape. She often said, “I’m fine until something breaks!” to which I snidely replied, “That’s usually how it works for everybody!” Eventually something broke that couldn’t be fixed and when my mother passed away, I felt a strong desire to give back to the community that had been so kind during her care. BUT, I knew I was not a caregiver by nature and repeatedly explained this when asked to volunteer here or there, saying, “What I did for my Mom was out of love. I am not truly the caregiving type.” That didn’t stop me from thinking about it though.
Once Mom passed, life as an early retiree was not all that exciting. Then the economy took a dive and, as with many, I decided to re-enter the work force. All of us who have made this decision later in life, most likely asked ourselves, “What can I do that I have experience with?” We then found ourselves rather “too old” to be employable and/or not willing to work for someone else after all these years.
I had practiced Mediation in the non-profit trade association world before there was any formal organization to mediation. I would go back to school and get my certification, specialize in Elder Mediation, and help families decide what to do about their loved ones whom were advancing in age. During this time of study and certifications, I attended everything I could find relevant to the senior world. At every seminar or presentation, I continually heard side conversations like this, “Really? I didn’t know you (or they) provided that service!” Then one day after hearing it yet again, I leaned over to the lady next to me and said, “You know, if those of us supposedly serving the senior community don’t have a clue what each other is doing, you can be sure the community doesn’t! We need some sort of guide!” The very next thought I had was, I’ve done publishing in the past, I can do this, but not by committee! I’ll do it myself. That way I don’t have to argue with anyone about what I print, where I distribute, or any other aspect of it. And, if it’s successful, great, if not, I’m not obligated to anyone but myself. That was the beginning…..and I seem to have a tiger by the tail!
In 2009 I obtained multiple certifications in Mediation while organizing the magazine, The Wise Guide. (The owl in the title was a nod to Mom. She loved owls!) Once the magazine took off, I had little time for Mediation. At this point in time, I mediate only by referral, preferring to think of my publication as “Mediation in Print; here are your options, what are you going to do with this new information?”
The Wise Guide was originally intended to be a resource guide for those dealing with aging issues in Bonner & Boundary Counties. Other publications serving the area focused on tourism and local news or events. Many residents went to Coeur d’Alene or Spokane for services that existed right in their own communities, but were not commonly known, nor trusted.
I quickly realized that while there are many, fully independent seniors in our region, more often there are adult children/caregivers, like I had, who are helping in various aspects of their care. The “sandwich generation” as they are often referred to, are dealing with their own health issues as well as those of their parents, their own adult children and grandchildren. The Wise Guide is NOT a “senior publication” but rather a healthcare resource for those adults taking care of everyone. When issues develop, they are the ones asking, “What do I do? Where do I go? How do I pay for it?”
Health = Physical, Mental & Financial Health
Many non-profit and for-profit options exist. The Wise Guide gives them a place to say, “Here we are and this is what we can do to help!”
After 3 years, the popularity of the publication grew enormously and the health and aging-related agencies insistently asked that the publication be expanded to the entire region they served and in 2013 the first “southern” edition was published (southern meaning it was expanded to encompass health-related services in the Idaho Counties of Kootenai, Benewah & Shoshone to the South of Bonner County, and Pend Oreille County in Washington.
And, growing in both content and demand – it is definitely a tiger, no pussycats here!