Kelley Smith at CarePartners Living discusses Alzheimer’s and Dementia care in Washington state. They provide support groups for family caregivers, a safe place where they can talk about caregiving. We also do family nights and respites, even for early onset seniors. If we do an assessment and they’re not a good fit for us, we’ll refer them to the right service.
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The following podcast is provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio, and welcome back everyone to answers for elders radio, as we are wrapping up this final segment with Kelly Smith from care partners. And Kelly, thank you for all of your wisdom on health care. It’s so you’re very kind. Susanne, thank you. Well, I think that, you know, you guys do an amazing job and and you know, the one of the things that I love before we get into this last topic, is it you guys are always there to answer questions way before it’s time to make a move. It’s not just about, you know, people living there, it’s about no, I don’t read. To be honest with me, know, if people come into my community and get questions answered and then they go live somewhere else, I feel like I still did my jaw. Yeah, I want people to make the right decisions for their loved one, even if it’s not one of my places right I want people to to know what questions to ask and I that’s that’s important. Absolutely. And so, Kelly, you know, we I want to talk take this last segment because Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Is. You know, I can’t believe the latest PSA that we have running right now, starting to run here. Soon I’ll be a hundred and ten thousand Washington State Residence Lord. Can you believe it? Have Alzheimer’s and it grows every day. It’s horrible. And they’re being cared for by three hundred and fifty thousand family characters. You know, when you first told me that, I kept thinking something’s wrong with those numbers. But it’s true, isn’t it? It takes that many people to take care of that absolutely many folks suffering. Hmmm, because it affects an entire family. Yeah, it really does. And so one of the things that you guys do is you support not only twenty four hour care for that person that has all times, yeah, but you also a support for the family. You Bet we do. So tell me a little bit about what that means. Well, we do support groups, which isn’t enough. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve set with a family and just held their hand while they cry. Sometimes it’s hard to go and sit with their own families and talk about what they’re really dealing with because they don’t want to look like they’re not appreciative of the help they get or that they’re complaining. They need a safe place where they can just sit and kind of get that off their chest, and that’s us. They can say anything to us and we don’t judge them. We understand. This is a tough disease. I’ve said before there’s a lot of things out there due to our imperfections, this one was hand carved by the devil himself. It’s just horrible. People are morning a living person, right, and they’re doing the best they can, but we try to mind them all the time. Dimensions what your your loved one has. It’s not who they are. Let’s figure out who they are and let’s give him the best the best life we can. Yeah, and that also means that we got to support you, right. So we do things like different reading materials to help them get through things. Like I said, support groups were there to talk to. Where there to, like I said, just hold their hand if they need to cry. We also do some fun things. We Do Family Knights, we do respites, will do an overnight stay. I got a call on my way here from Susan Dale, my rock star sales going down on the south end and she said, Kelly, he’s only fifty nine, but the daughter out of the mother, you know, the wife, excuse me, was his wife. She’s exhausted, she needs a break. I said you’d take care of that family. So she’s going to wow and but he’s fiftilyne but early on set is just so. But again, there are other places it wouldn’t touch him because he’s not sixty five or over. Yeah, and the truth of the matter is you do the right thing. She needs a break, she’s tired, and that’s the other thing you can do for families is do a short respite. We’ll do an overnight, because sometimes that’s all you need is an overnight to go take a nap. You know I’m saying. So any other thing that we also do for families. If we do an assessment and they’re not a good fit for us, Yill refair. I have. I have friends in this industry that do all kinds of things I can’t do and I will walk them over there. So it’s also about being in tight with places like the Alzheimer’s Association, so we also know what references are and what what’s the word I’m looking for? Help me out here. What kind of accommodations and things are out there for families that they don’t even know exist, right, and we can set them up with a lot of those things to help them get through their days well. And you know, to talk to somebody like you guys and people that are in the industry. There are are daff named people. Know, yeah, exactly, is another good resource. The great thing about talking to them first before you go even shopping. Number one, they’re going to give you the questions you need to ask, being God every single location. Yep, the other thing is is that they’re going to ask Kelly’s going to ask you questions. I’m going to ask you questions, Daphne. He’s going to ask you questions that you may not even think are relevant about your love. That’s right. So you know you’re going to get some really strange questions, like you know, what are the things that are most important? What is your parents value system? And, like what you just said is the disease is what they have, it’s not who they are. That’s right, and so understanding that and also really keying into what happens to the mind. Is it progresses as the disease progresses, and what can you as a family, anticipate could happen and you know, we we work really hard to give that person the best quality of life, obviously for as long as possible. Well, it’s something that’s yeah, and something else that people need to understand is that another thing that we do for families behind the scenes. For example, I just had to hire some sales folks. The Yalo I hired yesterday. Her Dad died from this disease. So why did I hire because she gets it. She gets it, she wants to provide the most love and care she can for every family she touches because she went through this. She’s not going to sit and tell you I know how you feel, because that’s pretty presumptuous, but she is going to say is I get it and I’m sorry, let me help you. Yeah, we work with a writer who wrote this amazing book on memory keepers and it’s for people were early on set, Della. I Love Della. She’s going to be with us at the journey training at the Carl Gibson Senior Center Saturday. But we got a lot of good things that we try to do to again support the families who are going through hell. There’s no other way to say it, but we also the caregivers. We train them on resident centered care, not task centered, because when they’re in school they’re taught how to shave, help in the bathroom, how to get him dressed at all this stuff. That’s great, but then we have to retrain them that this is a person, not a task. Yeah, okay, so you know, there’s a lot of things we do behind the scenes to assure this family that we see the person, not just the disease, and it’s about the retaining the dignity. Yeah, and it’s and sometimes it’s hard because a family can get frustrated because, and rightly so. First of all, that person’s need can far outweigh what you’re capable to provide. Like you said, the wife needs a break. People need help all the time. That’s number one, but number two, the other side of it is, I think that’s really key, is is it understanding that your staff. Now you get to be now the daughter, but you don’t have to. You don’t have to step in and be that person that you know says, mom, you have to get dressed now, you have to take a shower now, you have to do all these things and you’re not the parent you never will be well, and that’s the thing, I think that I so important. I think. I think one thing that I learned a long time ago. My mom had a really, really rough time a few years back. Sixteen days in the hospital to surgeries on her stomach. We thought you had colon cancer. The family was pretty scared and when she was going to get out, I said block got some time, I got a lot of vacation time. I’ll come home and take care are of you, and she said no, no, you won’t, and I was I would pretty, pretty hurt. I’m your only daughter. You kidding me? Yes, I’ll come home and take care of you, don’t she knee surgery. That was different. Yeah, I got to come home and help out. Yeah, but she, you know, did one of these, you know finger you come here kind of things. One O them, she said, I wiped your behind, you’re not going to do mine. Well, and the thing is, all the sudden the light bulb went off and I get it. I’m her kid, I’m in my s if I got sick right now, she should still come over and wipe my behind. Absolutely my booty looks the same to her, is it did? But I was too because I’m her child. Yea, her dignity means more than anything else to her and to flip that switch would absolutely hurt her feeling well, and it will never work and it dynamic. Will never work and it’s never and. But it taught me something, and that is it’ll never happen because that’s not what she wants. So it’ll never happen. And that taught me a very valuable lesson. When these kids come in and go, my mom won’t mind me, I start laughing a go, honey, she’s not supposed to. Exactly, you’re supposed to mind hers, and I think you know, I cringe when people will use terms like when the table turns, you know it’s not going to or or parenting your parents. Those are two things. When I hear that, it’s that the hair in the back of my neck. It’s like no, because against she’s and you get it. But what we’re trying to also teach people is take care of your parents to the point that they want you to, and that is keep their keep their dignity, keep keep the respect and honor their wishes. Honor their wishes, please. Just because mom has dementia doesn’t mean she doesn’t know right now. She really is right. Honor that, please. And you know, when that diagnosis of dementia for starts, that’s when you start having the conversations, but do so respectfully and do so don’t spring those conversations on like I always tell people, if you want to have a difficult conversation with your parent, tell them number one, I want I want to talk to you about some things that are going to be difficult. Could we set a time next week and talk about schedule that time. Schedule that time. But that is number one. You just set the foundation for respect. Yep. Number two is it gives mom or dad a time to kind of process what’s going to happen. You’re not throwing something on them. And the and then the third thing I always say is talk about yourself. Don’t say you need this and you need this, say you know, I’m concerned about this, because talk about the issues. Don’t address the person themselves. And if you’re worried about how to get the conversation started. I’m not trying to just plug Della’s book, but it’s one of the most brilliant as I’ve seen. Yes, you can get it on Amazon. It’s memory be keepers and memory. No, morning glory, morning glory, memory keepers. And the reason I love this book. If you’ve got early onset and you want to make sure people are honoring your wishes, yes, it’s right down to how I like my tear cough. I love that because I got to be honest with you. Put me in a freely dress and and give me, you know, mountain you I’m gonna throw a fit, but you know what I’m saying. Yeah, honor who that person is and sometimes, if you can’t take care of this is a book that will tell anybody who’s helping take care of them what they likes. Well, Kelly, this has been such a great hour with you. Thank you for your time. I enjoy every minute of you know, we enjoy every second and you are so full of information, and so everyone, please go to care partners livingcom if you have any questions. And one of the things I think that really is important is that, you know, take your time. Check out her communities. You guys have communities all the way from Mary’s fell down to lacy and coup, growing can whoop and growing, yes, and growing, and we’re growing because of the support we get. So thank wow. We’re really glad, so thank you again to all of you. The preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living go to care partners livingcom
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman 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 Newman found herself 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. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, 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.