Coaching is a language that uses techniques to ask questions, reflects on the answers, and continues the conversation from there, says Linda Mazie of As We Age … Health & Wellness Coaching.
“The best way to coach someone is to know someone,” Mazie said.
A coach focuses on what matters most to the individual based on physical, social, emotional, spiritual, educational and vocational needs, and guides and supports them to live their best life, Mazie said.
“You listen and use language to help the person reach an ‘aha’ moment to reach their goals,” she said. “It’s not therapy, but if I feel as a coach someone needs therapy, I will refer them.”
Mazie has a long history of working with aging adults. In 1990, she launched Partners in Fitness. After becoming a certified health and wellness coach in 2014, she changed the name to Partners in Health, Fitness and Wellness Coaching, and recently rebranded to As We Age … Health & Wellness Coaching.
Coaching the adult children of aging parents has become a niche for Mazie, who received her bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation and a master’s degree in education from Boston University.
“The adult child may be in crisis because the parent may have dementia and physical needs,” she said. “The parent may be unhappy with their placement in an assisted living facility, and the adult child is stressed and can’t manage their own needs.”
To help, Mazie said, she first asks about her clients’ life story, strengths, values, accomplishments and struggles so she can provide resources and guidance to take them out of crisis mode.
“I listen and guide them so they can also find some time in the day for themselves, whether by taking a walk or spending time enjoying being a parent to their own children.”
It’s particularly important for couples to communicate their needs with each other before cognitive decline sets in, Mazie said.
“That way, they know what’s important to each of them, and can share that with family members, so once they do have memory loss and it comes time for a decision, children are able to carry out their parents’ wishes,” she said.
With many people retiring at the beach, Mazie said, there is a great need for this type of service.
“If I can coach them before they decline, I know what’s important to them and can draw on that, so they can verbally express their needs,” she said. “It’s best to have this conversation with aging parents prior to any issues when both are healthy, but it’s never too late to have the conversation.”
Due to COVID-19, Mazie said, she is currently coaching via Zoom or phone. For more information, go to Partners in Health, Wellness and Fitness Coaching on Facebook, call or text 617-930-4510, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.