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*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 every when I am here again with Kathy Knight from the Seattle King County aging and disability services on. You’re an area agency but you also provide caregiver services throughout the state of Washington and Cathy, welcome back. Thank you very much. As a pleasure to be here. I think I love to talk about well, human be both. We can sit there probably for three days and talk about this is but I really wanted to take the time to talk about because we are this is caregiver month on answer for elders radio. What do you find, I guess, is the biggest thing that families could do. Let’s just say, for example, you have a caregiver in your family, somebody that takes mom and dad to the doctor, somebody that does things. If you’re non caregiver family member, how can you best support that caregiver? Well, I think to start with is to really so. Sometimes we have that martyr syndrome right, and that person feels like they have to do it all and to convince them, mean might take a little convincing to just say, you know, this is a lot and I want to help. I want to help. Let me, let me do some things that can help. And if it’s, you know what you’re doing, grocery shopping so they don’t have to do it, or your spending some time with that individual, I think it’s really important for people to know that it’s okay and we should all be helping one another. At what time in our life don’t we need help in one way or another? You know? So it’s you know that quote from Rosslyn Carter and love the first lady, and you know, I think she’s the one that really probably brought the term caregiver to us, that thing about there for for kinds of people in the world, you either are caregiver, you’ve been a caregiver, you will be a caregiver, you’ll need a care give right. So we’re all in this together and I think part of it is just getting people to realize that, you know, it’s okay, it’s all right, and whether you have friends who step forward to help you. That’s the thing with our caregiver program they’re unpaid, but it doesn’t have to be a family member. It could be our next door neighbor, it could be, you know, an old friend. It’s it’s people who are just on their own wanting to help. I remember there was times when my mom would be indignant or stubborn or you know, and and sometimes I’d or she’d push my buttons. Oh my Gosh, you know, mother daughter, right, yea. And I learned over time I need to take a break and I just say, mom, I need to take a break right now. I’ll be back. That’s all I would say. And I learned that was my coping Miss Mechanism. And I would walk out the door of her, you know, nursing facility, skilled nursing, and I’d walk around the block and the first thing I do is pick up my phone and I call my friendly and my friendly was so great sheet by the time I was back, we were laughing and I could go back and deal with mom and those little things, like when I talk about what can a friend do, what can I family member do, if you have a brother or sister that is taking care of a loved one off for just to pick up the phone and let him talk. Yeah, just listen, just listen and, you know, bring some lightness to their lives. You know, note most likely somebody that’s taking care of a senior that is declining dealing with all kinds of things. They’re dealing with a lot of heaviness in their life in intensity and if there’s a way that you can bring some joy, hmm, you know, and it doesn’t have to cost thing. It’s a phone call, it’s twenty, you know, twenty minutes. Of Times. It’s taking that that little step. I think just the other thing is a is a thank you. Oh yeah, Um. How many caregivers don’t feel like they’re appreciated for what they do? That’s something that I think is really common. That they talk about resentment that builds up. I think that’s one of the things that happens with families is there’s a lot of breakdown because the caregiver feels like, well, I put my whole life on hold for for this entire family and you know, and they just waltz in and, you know, try to take over. That’s the other thing that’s a big thing or or the other thing that I get from families is I’m with mom every day and, you know, Joe, my brother, comes in and informs me what I should be doing for Dad. That’s right, that’s right, you know, and I just kind of go you know, it’s such an interesting dynamic and and I always say, you know what, if you’re a non caregiver family member, your job, whether you agree with it or not, is to support the caregiver. That’s right. And sometimes you don’t agree with it, and I will say that there will be decisions at times that you’ll make. Them are controversial because your face with those options, but you know, if they’re the it on the front line, you need to make those decisions to support that person. And I think that’s really where we get into, you know, where families come apart at the seams because they don’t have the you know, everybody has their own opinion and especially if mom or dad is that, you know, the matriarch or patriarch or the family, and there’s a lot of balance that’s that shifted in family. So, you know, is much as we can understand that. You know, the families are vulnerable at this time. Everybody’s vulnerable. They’re going through all these different types of feelings and how we can best, you know, support that person that’s there every day is to just say thank you. Yeah, that goes along the ways. It does, it really does. I you know, I think of some of the phone calls we get. It’s like the brother who doesn’t quite know how to help and he’s not the one who’s going to be really good at doing a lot of the caregiving, but they’re the ones. Then you have a little bit of that emotional space and distance and they are great at doing a lot of research, not being being able to find out resources. And you’re right, sometimes it takes a bit of a nudge to get that person to recognize and find ways to get them to understand. Hey, I there’s this class. I really you know, I think you should go to this class and sometimes we can kind of change those dynamics. Will you go with me exactly? I know there’s a lot of let’s say, for example, the daughters taking care of the the husband’s mother, MMM, or their mother or father, and then all of a sudden they want to go to a workshop. Husband, go with her. I know it’s not your thing, but just support them along the way. I’m just step into their world that you appreciate and that you know, and those are the kind of things that I love to see with families when you know it might not be the husband’s thing, right and husband might not be involved and it’s not for them, but to be there as an emotional support. I think is really important. It is. So again, what is your number to how do people reach you? Count okay, they want to be reaching out to community living connections and that number is one eight, four, four, three, four, eight, five, four, six four. And remind everyone here what areas that you serve. We serve King County, all of King County. There are counterparts to our program throughout the state because they’re thirteen area agencies on aging in total, and so we cover every county and which this is great because we have listeners all the way up in Wacom County and all the way down in Clark County, so lute, including the peninsula. So and I believe they should be able even if they’re calling from another area, they call this number, I think they can get the number for the local program that serves their county or their family members county. That’s part of the reasability for this information service. They keep track of a lot of a lot of different programs and services and also help us make sure people know about resources throughout the state. Okay, so we have now about three and a half minutes left and I want to just say I’m just going to throw out scenarios, okay, and you can say can I help if I’m going to say can you help me with yes, XYZ. Okay, here’s an scenario. Mom Or dad don’t have enough money for retirement living. What do I do? Can you help me with that? Well, financial options, yes, because what one of the things that we have available. We call it the options counseling service and it’s a good it’s a good thing for people to sit down and look at what their resources are, because then they know, for instance, if family members have very limited resources, there are programs they may even qualify. You know, to be on Medicaid you have to be really low income and we do have a number of Medicaid funded services that people can they can get paid caregivers in their home to be able to stay at home if they qualify for Medicaid. But we also have other programs that are for folks who aren’t there a little too high on the income scale to be able to qualify for for Medicaid, but they have some other options. So they’re so I would say find out about and plant start planning for what you can do. Okay, so start planning for what you can do. And know what your options are. That’s really important, I think, to you know, we don’t even recognize always that there are we’ve talked a lot about caregivers. There are caregivers that are also taking caregivers who are like caregiving for their grandchildren. We have a whole yeah, oh, absolutely, we have the whole kinship caregivers program so, you know, people could find out about resources that can help those family members, because sometimes it’s just you need school supplies and you can’t afford school supplies for your grandchildren, or you need car seats or whatever that so we even have resources for folks who are in those caregiving roles. So here’s another scenario. I’m having trouble at work because of caregiving. What do I do? Okay, well, help me with that. The the good thing that that exists now in this stay, you know, because Washington’s a pretty good state when it comes to some of these things. We’ve had it in the city of Seattle for a while, but we have family and medical leave, and so now that’s a requirement around the state and actually pros organizations and businesses. They’re just starting to figure out what that means, but I think that it’s really important that employers start realizing that families have a lots of pressures on them and you know, larger companies usually will have, through their human resources program some resources they may even know about and say call our number, find out what you can get. I hope they’re better they they sure weren’t get that great when I was no, we have a long ways to go, but I think we’re starting to recognize that we have to, you know, we have to make some modifications for the workforce. I mean your you mentioned there are people who leave their job because of caregiving response. That’s right, because they just can’t balance it any longer. They lose about three hundredzero dollars of income we figured for yes, who have to leave the workforce and they and then they are not able to. And that doesn’t count new promotional opportunities that they could have. That doesn’t count, you know, new raises that they could have achieved if they stayed in their career. So when you really look at if you looked at a long term career process, it’s even more than three hundredzero. Oh yeah, yeah, and it is crazy. This is an opportunity to make a plug for our age friendly Seattle. To just keep that in mind because they might help with these issues. So, Cathy, I just want to say thank you so much for being on the program today. I could talk to you for two hundred years. Yeah, this is great. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you. Thanks for being here yet
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.