Kelley Smith at CarePartners Living provides advice on how to go through the process with aging loved ones. The role reversal in caring for a loved one needs to preserve your loved ones’ dignity. You need to preserve your role as the son or daughter.
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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.
The following podcast is provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. And Welcome back to answers for elders radio and I’m here with our wonderful Kelly Smith from care partners living. Then you, Kelly, is the vice president of sales and marketing, and we are so glad you’re back. Then, we always love to have you so, Kelly, I’m so glad you’re here sponsoring this entire show today. Well, thank you. We love what you do. So it’s a privilege for us as well well. And we’re all talking to caregivers and we just had a wonderful segment from Sean who talked about really, you know, how to start to intervene? Yeah, right, what’s that beginning step? And Sean did an excellent job talking about really how do we notice the little things? But I think one of the things that I want to dial back with you now is you’re working with the families when they’re in transition. Yeah, and you’re watching family members sometimes go down the rabbit hole as a result because they’re not taking care of themselves exactly. So I wanted to take the time with you today and what are some words of advice you. There’s nobody better to talk to than you. Thank you. How do you help family members go through this process? I think to start with, once a family realizes that there’s a crisis or situation with their loved one who’s older, who really needs, you know, that advanced care, a lot of times people feel like I’ve let mom down if I’m not the one that takes care of her, I’m being selfish. You know what? Are My siblings going to think? Other people in the family? What you have to get over is the fact that if you step back and you you say I’m going to do it all, you watch, your family’s going to they’re going to disappear on you. They’re going to let you do it. And I don’t care how kind people are, how wonderful people are. We’ve seen it time and time again. Older sister, there’s only son that lives here. You’ve been through it. Next thing you know, the families are saying, Oh, she’s she’s got suse, Hans got this, it’s okay. And then the more you allow yourself to be that person, the more guilt becomes an involved. I tell families about the story with my own mother. I’m the only daughter and I really thought, when she got really sick many years ago, that, you know, they want her to go home with some extra help, and I’m like, I’ve got vacation time, I’ll take care of you. No, no, you won’t. And what my mother very politely explained to me was that once upon a time she wiped my rear end and I could be as old as I am now. And because it’s radio I don’t have to tell you how old I am, but let’s just say. Well, all I’m saying is is that at that time, what my mother was trying to get across to me was that if I got sick right now and I needed her to commit and do those at l’s activities of daily living with me, she could do it and there’s no dignity issue because she’s taking care of me before right my rear doesn’t probably look any different to her, just a lot bigger. So what I’m saying is is that that’s different. When you do that role reversal for a parent, depending on what’s going on with them, very good, but a lot of times the parents the resistant to you, and it’s not because they’re trying to give you a hard time or make your job harder. It’s because that’s a role reversal for them and their dignities involved. Very good point and and really what you’re talking about is preserving that relationship, yes, which I think is so valuable of what you’re saying, Kelly, because I’ve seen so often, you know, people in art industry specifically. It drives me nuts when I’ll hear things like the tables are turned or it’s time to parent your parent. Yeah, no, I think are on the back of my neck goes up. It will never, ever, ever, and we’ve said this on myself five thousand times right, that never changes. You know, you are always the son or the daughter and you need to stay in that lane and get a professional that can intervene. And I think that’s one of the things that’s really important in all this process, is that, in the day to day care, in mostly taking care of yourself in the process. Yeah, preserving that relationship. You have to, because when you’re when you’re having a rough day, think about it. I don’t care how old I ever get. You know when I had my history act me, when I’ve had next surgery, but I’ve had some things come up. The only person I really want is my mom. Yeah, well, now how is she going to feel? How am I going to go to her and have her still be my mother if now I’m not just a care taker, but I’m a caretaker in a way that does not give her the dignity she deserves. And and we hear people say, well, my mom, my mom behaves for you. Well, first of all, she’s not a child. She’s not going to behave if she’s given you a hard time. There’s a reason, so let’s take a look at what that reason is. But you’re right on point. You can do certain things for your parents and still be the child exact. I don’t care if you are the hostess with the Mostess of a radio show. I don’t care if your vice president of sales, I don’t care if Your Business Development, you know like Shawn is. I don’t care what you do, you meet are in it doesn’t matter what you do. The minute at your parent you become somebody’s kid and the things you know go right out the door. And what we’re saying today is it’s okay to raise your hand and say, Hey, there’s certain things my mother doesn’t want me to do. Let’s bring the professionals in for that and and you know you’re so, so important, and we are talking again to Kelly Smith, who is a vice president of sales and marketing for care partner’s living, and you guys are gracious enough to sponsors this entire so just for family caregivers, because you guys work with families each and every day and that’s part of this overall package that you guys do. And you guys have communities and Shomish and piers and King. Yeah, we sure do. That is awesome. Now tell me a little bit about what your expertise is. I guess what would you say? What’s your what’s your sweet spot in the senior living in just say well, in all honesty, we do assisted living very well, but when you’re looking at what makes you different than everybody else, I would have to say it’s our memory care buildings. It’s like a little village, the cottages. Anytime you hear something with the cottages, that’s one of ours. And what we’ve done the cottages of rent in university place. That’s your brand, Naw rent. I know, Whooo, it’s beautiful, but what I love about them is it’s like a little house in a little area where there’s a house across the street and when over here on the corner and you can go visit your friends, they can be outside. Don’t look at this day. Who wouldn’t want to be outside, sadly, but again it’s about letting the resident be who they are, even when they’re suffering from things is serious as the different forms of dementia that are and and the thing that’s important about the cottage is concept, obviously, is things can get overwhelming. I just had an interview with an Alzheimer’s expert and we talked about the fact that, you know, with her mother who had vascular dimension, my mother had to met vascular dementia. You’ll walk into a grocery store and sometimes the racks and everything they just get to it’s too much right and they go into meltdown and you don’t realize how much. You’ll sometimes going to a noisy restaurant and how that’s just way over the top. And so having that smaller concept, it kind of helps ground them, which I think is so valuable in the process. We think it really does make a difference. So what we see is success stories more than not. Yeah, and that’s the kind of stuff that gets you up and drives you every day because you remember there’s a reason we do this. Anytime I lose my focus, even for a minute, I go plant myself into one of the memory cares and just sit for a minute. You know, Hulo, come sit next to me, you know. You know I get to go see marge, you know, or my favorite, Nellie. You know. It at Meult like terrace. And and they might not know who I am, but they know I love them and it’s obvious by the way they interact with me. But they interact like that with all the stuff because they know these are people who care about me. Well, and and and part of that you guys, as a role is you work with the families. If you don’t support the families, you only support the resident with dementia and you don’t take a really good look at the caregiver themselves, you’re missing the point. People do not put Mama in a place like that because they don’t love her right. They put in place like that because they do and they want what’s best for her. Well, what are you doing to make sure that the daughter who’s the POA is sleeping? HMM, she’s getting proper nutrient so she taking care of herself. That’s very true, you know. And what is she doing for her that’s why you have things like support groups and and we’re so connected in the industry for different people they can talk to that can give them back some of what they need. Well, and I think to when you’re the adult child, yea, and sometimes when you become the it, the primary caregiver, you wrap so much of your identity around your role. You Bet you do. So many of them have lost jobs, of they’ve left their jobs to take care of a loved one and they’re on, you know, overwhelm, and so it’s kind of hard almost to let go. It is when they come to live in a wonderful place like care partners. So you know, how is what’s your words of advice on? How do you how do you help them let go? Well, the first thing you do is I hate it when people say, you know, just let us take care of mom for the first few days, don’t don’t visit. MMM, okay, I’ve been taking care of mom for how many years now? She’s gotten to the place where she really does need a secure environment with people who really specialize in this, and I’m supposed to want go home and do what exact so no, no, no, don’t do that. You can integrate the main caregiver, whoever is responsible for mom. It’s been taking care of her. You can get that person. It’s almost kind of a weaning and you have her come visit. She can help out a little bit, have her volunteer for some activities, get her involved, but show her. You got to show them first of all that the care is going to be the standard they’re they’re hoping they’re loved one receives. Once you get that and build that trust with them, you’ll notice they will start to get more involved. To get some grandkids again. Yeah, maybe they go back to work or, you know, they take that trip they’ve been hoping to but they can’t because they’re so worried. What if their mean to mom? What if mom doesn’t make any friends? What if? You know, what if? What if? And then you prove to them, no, it’s not going to well. And I think true. You know, as we get ready to go into our next segment where Annie is going to come on and talk about how to deal with that day to day care once they are right there, making that transition, is probably what you’re saying is is impactful for the resonant is, it is for the family caregiver, it is it’s finally understanding new purpose and it’s also saying I remember with my mom and I talked about this lot. I learned to set what days a week I come visit her. You go and how long you’re going to visit when you’re there? HMM, well, I would spend like an afternoon, like two or three hours, depending on what we had on our plate. But what I would do is I’d say, mom, from now on I come on Tuesdays, Fridays and every other weekend. One day every other weekend and we’ll figure that one out, but Tuesdays and Fridays, you can count that. On Tuesday and Friday afternoon I come to see you. So when she calls and says I need half and half, I’ll say, oh, okay, mom, we’ll go get that on Friday when I’m here. I’m there. Put It on the list. And I think that’s something that I had to learn, Kelly, that it was okay for me to lay the boundary down and I wasn’t going to be a bad daughter because of it. No, and I got to be honest with you, a lot of times. So people don’t realize is getting the proper care for your mom and the care for yourself right is actually what your mother would want anyway. Well, you can’t take care of her if you are in the hospital because you don’t know when to quit. Absolutely so telling those boundary sometimes just the best care. It is. It is. And so how do we reach you? Oh, you can reach me at care partner senior living. That’s our website and if you go in under the admissions page you’ll actually see a picture of me. I’m the only goofy one on the whole page. You can finally talk to you into getting your phone on there. Yeah, for Shawn took if that tells you anything. But they can also reach me at Kelly Kloe y at care partners livingcom I am so glad you’re hair and you’re going to do with us throughout the hour. So I’m glad you’re hair. Thank thank 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
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.