Annie Jacobsen is the host of the Snohomish County’s Alzheimer’s Walk. The walk is along Boxcar Park in Everett, Washington.
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The following is a podcast from a qualified senior care provider part on the answers for elders radio show. And welcome everyone back to answers for elders radio. And I am here with one of our wonderful resident dementia experts and you all heard her last week on the show and this week you’ve been a busy girl. You’ve been hosting the walk this morning up at Snawhomish County, and you’ve been kind of the code chair for Alzheimer’s. Annie Jacobson, welcome to the show. Thank you so much. It’s great to be back, Annie. I’m glad you’re here because you have been such a light and helping families here on our show and certainly we’re excited to have you back. And so you’ve been involved with the Alzheimer’s walks for a while. Tell us a little bit about your experience. Well, when I first started I was attending the Seattle Walk Typically, Uh Huh, and then I got aware of this and homish walk and what a great audience that fin my parents were living up there and I wanted to extend awareness that there’s a really rich snow homish Alzheimer’s walk as well, they absolutely and and I know that. Just where did you walk today? where? What was the area? It’s called box car park in Everett. It’s a pretty area along the waterfront and we’ve found a great way to mark a couple little spots with Purple Chalk, so it’s full of Pur Bull. You can’t miss it. So it’s I love that. Yeah, and it’s a beautiful area to be in and you know, after having experienced the walks as I have, you know it’s pretty amazing to have people come together, that there’s so many families out there in the state of Washington that are dealing with a loved one that has Alzheimer’s of dementia or they’ve lost somebody like my mom. My mom had dementia, and you know, to be around people that share that experience together, that can come together in such a, you know, helpful way, I guess, is the word that I, you know, think about in in the walks and you know I think about you know why? Why is the walks so important for the community? I mean, I know what it is for me as a participant, but I think we all, as a state, you know, and a community, need to come together on this. I really do. I think a big part of what this walk represents. This year was terrific. We have in the prior three years had people from the industry, people that work at home care agencies or placement companies, wonderful people advocating. This year we had a mother daughter team join us. The daughter got that Great High School Cheer Squad out there for US today. You saw them. They were fantastic. And we also have another community member who’s been with us for several well several we have to other community members that have family connection and just wanted to be involved. So that stretch is showing. When your heads in the industry all the time you feel like it’s commonplace conversation, but when you get out in the community, the lack of thorough understanding of Alzheimer’s dementia, where those are not the exact same thing right there’s there’s a lack of awareness and there’s still a reluctance to be out in the community, at the cafes, at the events where they can be very Alzheimer’s friendly events. So ending that isolation that families have sometimes, ending the lack of understanding or confusion, helping businesses understand how to be receptive. You two people who are having trouble figuring out the bills in their wallet. These type of things are so important and that’s a big part of why I’m involved, is raising aware I well and you know thank you first of all for what you do, because I know this is an all volunteer labor of love for you and certainly you have helped so many families here in the Pacific northwest in, you know, understanding and also taking the stigma out. I think this is really a thing. People don’t want to talk about dementia, they don’t want to talk about Alzheimer’s, and yet you’ve been such a great leader to help, you know, bridge that gap of to understand a little bit about the process, understand how to how to speak with someone. We’ve talked about it, with Alzheimer’s, dementia and just being there for families. Overall that you are certainly a beacon of hope for so many people. And and the walks themselves, I think, are really important for for families to come together, to connect, absolutely see other faing other families, that the you’re not alone. And you know, for me as a caregiver, when I was caring for my mom, I felt this overwhelming burden of feeling like I’m all alone trying to do this and, you know, to find to make those connections I think are so vitally important and I think the visibility of these events is a big part of reason that awareness huge. Well, wait a minute, there’s some work groups. Oh, tell me more about that. You know, there’s so much and this visibility really helps absolutely. So, you know, obviously you guys had the walk today. Yeah, but there’s still an opportunity for people to even if they live asa homish county, and we’re going to be there’s walks going on all this month. So obviously you can either sign up for another walk that’s coming up, you can join a team, or you could still donate, can’t you? Absolutely, and we have people sometimes call themselves a virtual walkers who can’t physically be there. Sure, but they still help fund raise right. And so at this point you can still go to AL Z DOT ORG, backslash walk to find a walk to donate to. That’s a terrific way. You can still do that. That’s awesome. And there’s also the phone number one eight hundred two, seven, two nine zero zero that you can call and ask them for ways you can participate, to make a donation and also find out what services are available well and and really what services are available for the Alzheimer’s Association with families are amazing and that eight hundred number. I mean I know that they’re counselors, there’s there’s people that can answer questions. And doesn’t that line go like seven? I believe it does, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, and one of my clients said it was her lifeline. She said when she was having a horrible time at three am, she called and somebody. They can’t make it perfect, but they can brainstorm ideas, they can be compassionate in hear you just have you feel seen a little bit and come up for error, which is sometimes what the caregivers really need right and then they can help guide toward respite resources so you can truly get a break, which caregivers need, and also learn what’s going on in the person’s changing brain so that they you can understand more. They’re not doing this intentionally, they’re not trying to be difficult, they’re doing the best they can. Well, and and the load, obviously for a caregiver is overwhelming and that’s why you’re here and we are so glad to be talking to our wonderful Annie Jacobson, who is the founder and CEO Dementia Care Coaching. And then also you are work. You work with home care assistants as well as a case manager, has a client care manager for them and men to specialist. That’s amazing. So you know all the work that you do and with your organization, and then you also take on the walk that is amazing for family. So you certainly have a great passion for working with families and you know, obviously you know. I know for a lot of families they’re hesitant to pick up the phone. I call, you know, they think, oh well, this this question is too stupid or I don’t know, they’re not going to have you know, my case is unique, or they’re not going to understand. I’m sure between the two of US there’s no question out there that is too crazy or too out there or anything. Absolutely not. The other thing I hear where they don’t call is there just too tired, I just can’t do it today. Right. And yet that is where you can get a little bit of self care and come up for are a little bit. It’s worth making the time to make that call because it is so immensely supportive to you, the caller, and it feels like another thing to do sometimes, and that’s what I want people to really understand. This is something that’s going to help you have more clarity, more energy, rather than be a task that you have to handle. And you know you can only be so many places at once. So having that lifeline to be able to call the Alzheimer’s Association and to get the resources on you know, how do I? You know, bring somebody in and yeah, and maybe you know every caregiver, I have to say if you’re a family caregiver, the first person you need to take care of is yourself. Absolutely cannot give to someone from an empty vessel, and therein lies the resources that are all available to not only your loved one, but the Alzheimers Association can be your greatest lifeline. Absolutely and I love when I can give people these resources. Then I’m training that the Alshomers Association has. I sometimes see him smile for the first time or you see their shoulders drop a little bit they realize there’s some hope. They connect with their partner, their loved one, in a way that they haven’t been able to do in ages because a little bit more entering what’s going on with their perfort vision or their anxiety or whatever it might be. The other thing on the Alzheimer’s website that’s so fantastic is the coaching on a doctor’s visit, thanks to think about what it’s going to look like. That is so telling for some people because they don’t know what they’re in or. Yes, that is really well put together section of the website, very true and I think you know just really the other piece I remember as a caregiver is I felt so much guilt because I felt the resentment of my life being, you know, put on hold for my mom and, you know, the overwhelming feeling that I had of, you know, feeling guilty that I was resentful of my other family members and everybody else that got to do everything and here I was quote unquote stock, and then I’d feel guilty for having those feelings and so absolutely things. You know, this is a cycle that’s very, very normal for family caregivers and certainly one that you know, you can, as a family caregiver, get involved and I think you know with our closing, I would really like to talk about how what ways can people can get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association? Of volunteering for self care, one of the ways that they can get is going to the support groups that the Alzheimer’s wonderful sets up and has all over the location. Sometimes specialize for certain forms of dementia and both for caregivers, and then there are support groups around for the person with dementia to go have some engagement and activity. As far as getting involved with the association, there’s volunteering for our annual walks. We do it year round. There are opportunities to be at events and represent and speak about it. There’s some research studies that you can sign up and be participant in. I do have the exact name, but it is on that website again, Alz dot org. You can find a huge amount of information. That’s awesome. So if I want to volunteer, I want to. Before we close today, I really like to number one, give out the eight hundred number, if you will, and then also the Washington state website to please sign up for the walk or support a walk in your neighborhood. So what absolutely so the phone number is one eight hundred two, seven, two, three nine zero. Zero and to specifically get to Washington state. It’s Alz wa Dot Org. That’s awesome and thank you so thank you so much for being on the show again. We’re so let it. I’m happy to be back answers for elders radio show with Susan Newman. Hopes you found this podcast useful in your journey of navigating senior care. Check out more podcast like this to help you find qualified senior care experts and areas of financial, legal, health and wellness and living options. 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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.