With 9,000 COVID deaths, many of us have lost loved ones recently. Suzanne talks with Cassidy Bastien about a difficult topic to talk about, the end of life. As a family member, how do you support them as they make that transition to the afterlife? Cassidy talks about how to be there for someone when they’re dying, and what to say. Cassidy is an end-of-life doula. Visit her Caregivers Hub Support Group at Facebook.
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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.
Is it time for someone else to do the work for you? At Care Partners, our job is to prepare meals, do housekeeping and care for our senior residents. Our Network of fifteen vibrant senior living communities covering western Washington and Spokane offers independent, assisted living and memory care options. Care Partners is the best choice for senior living needs because we deliver quality care at an extremely affordable price. Let us do the work and you relax. Visit Care Partners Livingcom. The following podcast is provided by an approved senior care provider on the answers for elders radio network. And welcome everyone to answers for elders radio on this amazing month of December. I can’t believe that the month is actually happening and we are now in our first weekend of the month and I am sitting back thinking to myself, wow, where is two thousand and twenty one gone? You know, to so many of us we’ve been in a situation where we kind of been in a holding pattern, but we’ve lost, I think the lat the latest statistics of Covid nineteen dusts have been around Ninezero. People in the state of Washington and you know, as we look back at the last two years of what we’ve all been through. You know, a lot of us in the state have lost love one ones, but a lot of us also are in a situation. I’m getting calls a lot from our listeners saying things like, you know, my loved one, they had covid but they’re having some extra issues now because of it, because their system was weakened, and those are things that we obviously are concerned about because there is going to be, sadly, some APP more after effect of what has happened during the pandemic and as a result, I am so honored that we have a very special guess that’s going to talk to us today about, you know, a subject that’s really difficult for so many of us to talk about, and that is the end of life. It is looking at, you know, at the end of somebody’s life and how do you, as a family member, support them as they make that transition to the afterlife? And we are very honored today to have cassidy best in with us and cassidy is an end of life du Lah and we’re going to find out a little bit about what that is. But Cassidy has been a wonderful friend of mine for a very long time. Cassidy has an amazing facebook group for those of you that are caring for a loved one. I strongly encourage you. If you’re members facebook and you’re looking for support online. She has a group called caregivers hub support group. So if you look that up on Facebook, I’ve been on that in that group for a long time and they’re they’re what, an active, amazing group. So, Cassidy, beston welcome to answer for elders radio. Thank you. Thank you so much, Sudan. It’s so great to be here with you finally, after all this time we’ve by know, I’ve been chasing it down like months and if not years, and I’m going cassidy, you know, and and thank you too for having these conversations because, you know, I always say that people like you are angels and because you are there that can help someone in the difficult times where most of our family members are. You know, we don’t really know how to advocate for that person that we love, that we care for, that we want, especially if it’s a parent. There’s that parent child dynamic. And I would like to take this very first segment and how you kind of share with US overall, what are you you know what usually happens between adult children and, let’s say, a parent that is passing away, and and you know what is the process? So that is it’s that is a loaded that’s a loadtle CASS. We have a whole segment on it. Yeah, because you know a lot of I mean my I’ve been a sort of fight er, says aid, for nineteen years. I’ve been an end of life Doula for two, I’ve been working in hospice and Palliative care for five. So I understood very, very early in my career that the dynamics between the people that I was caring for and their family members were very much that we have these caregivers who have sacrificed almost everything that they have to care for their loved ones. There much becomes their identity, becomes who they are, it becomes their purpose in life. And so when we have when we see that our loved one is declining to the point of, you know, we’re approaching end of life, and there’s a lot of education that needs to be done around that, because a lot of the times we are really weeks, if not months, away from death. And we haven’t had these conversations and we haven’t even allowed ourselves to entertain the thought that this, this pillar of our life, is not going to be here, and there’s so much that comes with that. So what I see at end of life a lot of times is denial about what’s happening, what’s going to happen, and people oftentimes choose not to talk about death and dying and and what their loved ones wishes are, because they seem to feel like if we talk about death it’s we are, we are, we are inviting that to come and that if we talk about it, it means somebody is going to die. And of course I’m of the philosophy that the minute were born and the minute we take our first breath, we are every breath we are take we are taking towards our last HMM. We are not going to be here forever, and so I see a lot of denial between family caregivers and their loved ones. Whether that’s very much so. And you know, Cassidy, what you’re saying is so true because I can relate to my own stories when I took when I had lost both my parents. First of all, my father lived to the right ripe old age of eighty eight. And but yet there was a part of me that thought he was never going to die, right, and even when I remembered, like the last weekend that he was still alive, it’s like, well, I was going to an eastern thing and it’s like, you know it was. There was just a part of me that was all of a sudden thinking to myself, oh, he’ll be fine, I’d am there. I didn’t really get it right and and so when he was at the very end, it’s like I’m driving down, he was in Vancouver, Washington, and my stepmom kept calling me. He’s not going to be with us much longer. Where are you? How you know? And all of these things that I remember after. You know, luckily I got there in time and, I would say, able to be there with him for the last couple hours of his life. But I think to myself, you know, it was so irresponsible of me not to take that weekend and go be with that. But there was just this thing within me that had this denial. And I think that this is what’s good, what’s normal with families. This is what I see in many cases. Is that not correct? One hundred percent. And you know I mean so I lost my father at the age of sixty six almost two years ago, non covid related, but and I myself, given all of my experience and my knowledge and walking other people home every single day, I myself had my own denial. No, I didn’t start the medicaide, you know, process in August and I didn’t start it until October. Yeah, it’s that interesting. I mean it’s just one of those things where, no matter how prepared you are, we can have all of these conversations, but until we get in that wave of end of life and that roller coaster and we start living that and experiencing that, even as professionals, you know, we just have to take everything that’s thrown our way and do the there and and and obviously having those conversations with a loved one if they’re in that denial phase. I mean as an adult child. I guess. What is your opinion on how to have the hard conversations if they are in denial? Well, I think that you know. So the the first thing to think about and to understand about the death and dying process is that our culture doesn’t normalize it. First of all, we’ve gone from this culture where people were set up in the parlor and they had their they were cared for in their homes until they died there. After death, care was provided in their homes. They their wakes and their funerals were in their homes. So we have gone to a culture that does not want to talk about death and dying. Now we don’t end so having those conversations are hard and sometimes, unfortunately, it does end up having to be that kind of that slap in the face of reality that there’s this is where we are and there’s literally no going back here. Right and sometimes that’s weeks, sometimes that’s ours, sometimes that stays and if we’re lucky, that is months to prepare for that and to have those conversations that are difficult and I know, you know, I remember a really, you know, poignant moment with my mother and it was just it happened, it was blessing, but we had been to a funeral with someone else and we went to lunch and my mother ordered a Martini, so she wasn’t feeling any pain and I just said what I said to her is mom, you know, that was a really nice service and I think about sometimes, how can I do right by you. Is what I said to her. How can I honor you at the end of your life if, if that’s what you want? And I was shocked what she said. It was like I realized what she wanted. And then I said, you know, maybe what we should do is set those up in advance. And so she prepaid everything and it was due to that one little thing. And then when I learned about the cost of funerals and how it’s like, is it true that the cost of a funeral doubles every like three to four years? I would say an average at traditional funeral right now runs between twelve a lot, like between ten and twelve thousand dollars for a traditional funeral. Unbelievable, unbelievable. Yeah. So, so the thing is is that to have an option where you know she prep you know she paid it so much a month. So it was done and over six years it was paid off perfect and you know it wasn’t. It wasn’t a burden. And the other beauty, I always say, is one of the greatest gifts she ever gave me at the end of her life is all I had to do is make a phone call. It was all handle me too. Wow, and I think, I think that that literally is the thing we have to get to us a point where we are not afraid to sit down and actually ask the people that we love. Okay, what do you want? What you know? I literally had the same conversations with my dad and it was just kind of what do you want? And and I was so grateful, and you’re absolutely right, that my dad gave me that gift of pre planning allowing me to do that. So all I have to lose make a phone call to yeah. Well, and so now, as we’re going into the next segment, we’re going to cassidy’s going to be with us for this entire hour and we’re going to be talking about this difficult conversations that we have with our loved one. So, in the meantime, Cap Cassody, how do we reach you and how? Where does a good resource for families to go to? So you can absolutely reach me at my end of Life Northwestcom. That’s my website and there is a ton of information about end of life. Du Lah’s advanced care planning, you know, all the things that we need to do. There’s also a calendar of death positive events, Death cafe coming up you can find us on facebook at my request. So yeah, that’s how you can find us. Well, this is fabulous. And Cassidy everyone. We’re going to be talking about this process of how do you help a loved one go through the process of their you know, until they take their less breath, and this is an important process and conversation for all of us, and cassidy will be right back everyone. Right after this. We at answers for elders. Thank you for listening. Did you know that you can discover hundreds of podcasts in our library on senior care? So visit our website and discover our decision guys. That will help you also navigate decision making. Find us at answers for elderscom. Are you overwhelmed looking for a senior living solution for yourself or a loved one? We at care partner senior living pride ourselves in helping seniors or their loved ones navigate the often new and confusing process of finding the right senior living option. Hi, I’m Colette With Care Partners. Care Partner senior living has fifteen vibrant communities throughout western Washington and spokane providing independent assisted living and memory care at extremely affordable pricing, and if you ever run out of funds and need to convert to Medicaid, you will never be asked to move. Being locally owned and close to our communities means care partners can provide you the personal assistance and education to find the right senior care solution, one that allows you to stretch your assets, preserve your estate and stay active and safe, all well giving you the peace of mind that you never have to worry about moving. That’s the care partners experience. Visit 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.
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