Cathy Knight provides an overview of aging and disability services. Cathy is the Director of the Aging and Disability Services Division for the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department.
View Episode Transcript
*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome back to answers for elders radio everyone. I am here with Kathy Knight and she’s with Seattle King County aging and disability services and I am so glad you’re here for a second segment with us, Cathy. You know, tell me a little bit about you know, we talked a little bit about set up that set up your support network. Get get connected early on. How often do you find caregivers actually doing that? Not Enough, because by the time we’re hearing from people, and I can say this across the board for most services that we provide through the AIRY agency, that people we think we prepare, but we don’t and we don’t pay attention until we have a crisis. Well, and I always say the family caregiver is usually the quote unquote, sacrificial lamb of the family. You know, that is usually an adult daughter. Sixty five percent is the you know, is the adult daughter that takes care of things. And you know there can be so many aspects of that piece where the daughter, you know, oftentimes will take on a load that she doesn’t even realize. It’s kind of your on autopilot because you’re used to doing things for others. You probably are taking care of a family members, you know, other your children, you know, different things like that. You’re probably in a you know that type of a personality, type are in basically, and and what I find is I think a lot of us are in denial about how much stress that is and until it’s too late we get burned out and then it’s really hard. If you go down that rabbit hole, it’s not easy to get back out. I know that it was very hard for me. I hit the skids a couple of times and luckily, luckily, I had friends that were able to pull me out. But it’s great. It was hard. Yeah, I always say when I took care of my mom, Cathy, I always say it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, but it was also my greatest privilege. HMM. You know, it is a absolute double edged you know, two sides of the same coin. And you know. So talk a little bit about how can a US caregiver take care of themselves up front? Okay. Well, this is a good place to start in terms of explaining our model, because I mentioned research and we’ve learned something. We over the years and we actually participated in a full scale study and we we have a different assessment tool that we use now because of that, because we don’t go in with any assumptions. And, like you said, so often people reach out. Where in the call is I just I can’t do this anymore. I need to move my mom to a nursing home or assisted living and they want to go and she doesn’t want to go. Yeah, so, so again. That’s why we’re encouraging people to it’s okay to to reach out. We all need help from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with that. But with what we call the t care assessment, which is stands for tailored care assessment. That was an approach we learned. So, as I said, when we first started the program with thought what everybody just needs a little respite. So when people call and they say I’m a caregiver and I really need help, we would have respite services that we could help them with. Not a lot, because it didn’t take a lot and we’ve discovered that what we really need to do is find out what are the things that that person would find most helpful. Don’t make assumptions. Good. So this tailored assessment process that we go through with the person is to really find out what they identify and we use the term burden, but that’s not a good term to use and right we’re learning that. That was they had a whole assessment process where it’s there, where they are on the burden scale. We don’t use that term anymore because, like you said, it’s a privilege, it’s an honor privilege, right, and you don’t want to say my mom’s not a burden to me, but it is a way that we can determine where that person is feeling their most stressed and you know, just the process of going through that assessment. What people said is, wow, this is the first time somebody asked me how I was doing exactly I was feeling what I need, and that’s really the whole the whole foundation of our family caregiver services. The focus is on the caregiver because the support we can give them will allow their family member to stay at home longer because that person feels supported. Wow, and so we found that for some, say some people. There are some people that the burden for them is is low because they don’t have any problem with Oh, I don’t mind bathing my mom, I don’t mind dressing my mom. There are other folks who find that very uncomfortable right, and it’s like a son and as mother. Well, I can do everything else for my mom, but I can’t bathe her. I don’t want to address her. I feel really uncomfortable doing that. It’s understandable. So we find ways that help the the individual, and we tailor it to them. And that can be because it’s not a again, it’s a small, little state funded program so it’s not a lot of support, but it’s enough. It’s like there can be support groups, there can be training and we can talk later about why training is really important, for instance, when you’re dealing with folks with dementia or Alzheimer’s. We have learned so much, a whole other Oh yeah, subject. Yes, but we focus on really providing what that person would find helpful. And again, if we can get people to reach out earlier and identify what they need to help, then continue on this journey as long as possible. And there does come a time where it may not be the best thing for them to be caregiving for that family member at home, but if they can, we can help them do it as long as they can and as long as they want to, then we’ve been a help to them. So remind us again, Cathy, how do we reach to and what specifically your overview of what you’re there for sure. So are the number we recommend that people use? We encourage people to think in terms of our community living connections program and you can google that and find it online, because it’s really just community living connections dot org. So it’s not hard to find. But we also have a number and that’s one, eight four four, three, four, eight, five, four six four, and that is a place that people can call us for all kind kinds of resources. So I think that if a person’s listening to this segment and they are a caregiver, I would encourage them to say I’m really interested in knowing about what kind of caregiver supports there are available, and that will immediately get you. They do have specialists who are dealing with caregiver supports and they know about our assessment right and that way we can get that person more quickly into write the services they need. Well, and I think you know, as a caregiver for my mom, some of the times, how I don’t know how many times I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t go back to sleep because, number one, I was too tired to sleep. You know this, that exhaustion. But you know, as an adult daughter or son taking care of I senior, you’re bound to deal with conflict, resistance, different sorts of you know, communication breakdowns, but also just misunderstandings or ignorance about what’s available out there. And how many times that I lay awake at night thinking did I, number one, make the right decision or you know, I don’t. My mom won’t hear what I have to say, dad won’t listen to me. You know, I got to do something. I’m dying on the vine hair and and so you know that not knowing and that anguish is, I think, causes more stress than the actual quote unquote caring for a loved one, like you said, at least for me it was. I used to stress over you know, I’d have all of a sudden have to make a decision. You know, I always say if we knew what the crossroads were going to be ahead, we’d be able to prepare for them. But you never know when you’re caring for an ancing love one right something new could happen. You know next month that you don’t even realize is happening. and Are you likely prepared for those things? No, because you don’t know anything about it. I even just the understanding. How many families, if your mom or dad has dementia, you know a little bit of dementia, all of a sudden one day you walk in and they’re just, you know, off the walls, cranky in and paranoid and all of these things and you want to know what’s going on. And it’s like I learned over time. I bet you anything. My mom has in your an airy trapped infection. And Are you too? Uti is had an up and you know it. That would be the beginning stages, because my mom had dementia. But I could always tell you know over time. Now, had I known this in advance to say you know, this is one of the things that happens with dementia is to get dialed into learning about the progression of the disease rather than just what do we have to deal with now? And I think your resource can really help people with a lot of these kinds of things. Yes, yeah, we how I feel like we’ve learned so much in recent years about how to support people with dementia and you know, we now know there’s so many different forms of dementia with different causes. Alzheimer’s just one type of dementia and in and it gets expressed in different ways and learning how to support that person, how to interact with that person. I mean it’s I just I my motherin law had dementia. I used to correct my mother. That was like really that you wind up, you waste a lot of time and get frustrated and they get in frustrated conflict right, and instead what you want to concentrate on is how can that be the special time I have with this person, with the time we have left? How can we best interact with one another? And so I’ve just been so impressed. There’s some folks who’ve done amazing work and you know, that’s one of the things, just getting some support and training. I think people can learn. It’s like, you know, somebody keeps repeating themselves or keeps asking you the same question or says where’s dad and you say, well, Dad died ten years ago. I mean, you know, what you’re doing to that person is they’re reliving every time that happens, that tragedy and instead say, you know, I don’t know, I think you found my should the store. Yeah, it’s kind of like you got a business trip, mom. Yeah. So, so I think that took into the airport, remember, mom. Oh, okay. And so this is really important because we, as you said, with the aging at the population and the increase, we also see an increase in folks with all kinds of cognitive limitations, Alzheimer’s other dementias, and we can be a better place to support people. We can do more in our communities to be what we called dementia friendly and and in allow people to feel more accepted and just be able to interact with people in different ways. And so I think and we have great resources out there, like you said. I mean we have the Alzheimer’s Association is a wonderful partner with our agency and they’re amazing. They do they’re doing and they’re doing so much work, all related to research. You know, we may at some point be able to I don’t know if it’ll be like taking your cholesterol pill and if we know early enough that you have the issue. Who knows? So would you stay with this one more segment, cappy. We are, like I am really excited about keeping on this conversation
No post found!
Originally published March 17, 2018