Faith Marshal, author of “I Miss You, Mom: A Daughter’s Journey Into Dementia Land,” works to build communities and awareness. (more…)
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The following podcast is provided by care partners, living and answers for elders radio, and welcome everyone back to answers for elders radio. And I’m here with a brand new guest again, as we’re educating and building awareness for Alzheimer’s and dementia, a lady that you’re all going to love hearing from. Her name is faith Marshall. Welcome to the show, faith. Thank you so much. Suzanne, welcome. Thank you for having me. Well, I’m glad you’re here too, because we met not too long ago at the Discovery Conference on Alzheimer’s and, of course, those of us that have this passion to help our families here in the state of Washington, our crap, you know, our crossroads, come back together again, and I’m so glad you’re here because you’ve been doing some amazing work to help families. Do to your own personal experience, isn’t that correct? Yes, yes, tell me a little bit about your background. So me personally has to have one foot and my bookkeeping business, which is my investor, in in this launching program to help families with dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. But when my mom was diagnosed with with dementia. First I was in denial and I was in my own fear. So I started journaling and that Journal has evolved into my book. Amazing, amazing, and my goal was to just help families and give them my live and learns that I had, you know, gone through and I wanted them to not feel as lonely as I did in that journey. Isn’t that true? It it was finding people that you could talk to about it, that understood. So my mission now is building communities that can support each other and supporting those communities through speaking and coaching. MMM, and you know, faith what you’re saying about the alone feeling as a family caregiver. I think that’s one of the most common things that those are caring for their loved ones have. But it’s also interesting because dementia is a really unique thing. Yes, physically they’re you know, in many cases can be fine and even sometimes they can rise to occasion. If a sibling or something, you know, they’ll come home or come over to visit and then they’re doing a turnaround and look at you say, mom’s just fine, I don’t know what you’re so upset about. Isn’t that correct? Exactly, which is common in the disputes among siblings about MOMS. You know, current state of affairs is what one person is witnessing on an ongoing basis, versus the phone call, the the drop by on a weekend perspective. You, because I swear my mom could fake it. Oh absolutely. She was an entertainer, she was a tap dancer, so she could put on her game face and convinced even the doctors that she was fine. I have know what you’re talking about. I’m fine, absolutely, you know, and and the feeling of you know, I remember. You know, you and I both share that my mom had vascular dementias, so hers was obviously, you know, getting her facts straight and things like that, but also, you know, when she would get a Uti and you you’re anary tract infection, of course it would get ten times worse and she would go through these waves, and I’m can I know you can probably relate to this, where there’d be good days and they’d be bad days, but somehow she get herself up to win. If there was a family event, a holiday event or whatever, mom was just fine. Yeah, and it’s amazing. Yeah, but there’s a chapter in my book about Mom’s utiys and how their dementia gets worse at that point, to the point where my mom saw butterflies in the room, kind of dementia. Yeah, and that was to in that was like, well, wait a minute, no, there’s no butterflies in the room. Let’s look into this. Yeah, yeah, so, obviously, as you went through this process and you know not feeling like you you know, you felt like you’re alone in it, and I totally get it. It’s like, I remember the feeling of having the weight of the world, of my mother’s care on my shoulders and feeling like there was nowhere to turn, and I’m sure that you can relate to that very much so. And it’s not a happy topic to bring up with coworkers or friends, and sometimes bringing it up with family just creates conflict. So you do feel very alone, and which is which is why I’m a really encouraging peer to peer support and connecting other families with each other so you have someone who really understands what butterflies in the room mean. Yes, and also I think it also helps you peer to peer you can have a sense of humor about it, of course, because you have to. You have to have some sort of a release, in some way, to be able to have that ability to come together and say, you know what, you wouldn’t believe what my mom just did today hot and have a good laugh, because that is so important. Yes, yes, and some people don’t understand when I say that my book is a mixture of reality and humor. Yea, because there were a lot of funny stories that mom presented us with and and that brings forth my I really want to help people bring joy to the journey, because you can laugh at just about anything, no matter how sure traumatic it feels at the time, and if you can make a joke of it. My mom would even say, I think I forgot. Yeah, exactly, and I don’t know that she knew she was being so hilariously funny. Would she do that? But right, right, well, and let’s talk a little bit about your book, faith. It’s called I miss you mom, a daughter’s journey into demential land. Tell me what inspired you write the book. Well, I think back to the lonely feeling when I had my mom with me at a pool side and she looked straight at me and asked me where I lived, and my heart sunk and my own confusion and my own step through that denial to figure out what, what does that really mean? And then she proceeded to tell me that her daughter lived in Redmond and she told me all about me, and I’m looking at her, yeah, trying to not give her any facial responses that showed my shock. But she was telling me all about me to someone who was seemingly a stranger at the pool wow, and the reality was she was stepping further and further away into demential land. And so stepping through that and feeling that loneliness inspired me to try to help others with those funny stories. Yes, yes, and keep keep the communication going through a family. Mom’s journey was ten plus years, which is a long time. Yes, it is, and you don’t know that when you start that road trip. So we are talking again to faith Marshall and she is the author of I miss you, mom, and that book is available on Amazoncom and the the thing about it is it is a book for families that are going through the process and I think one of the things that you’re not going to feel alone when you read this book because you’re there’s going to be a lot of parallels in her story that if you have a loved one that has dementor or if you’re a family caregiver that is going through the process, you’re going to find some great ways to relate. So I think that’s a really important part of your story and also some solutions. And obviously the next step that I want to talk to you faith a little bit about is, now that you’re through the journey, how do you help families today? So I have developed coaching program where we can connect as a group and they can meet their peers on one of a modality called, you know, Zoom, where you can actually see people’s faces and have conversations and it’s as close as I could get a big conference room with many people in it. And then I encourage them to connect with each other m hopefully, buy zipcode maybe, and and have coffee together and support each other. And then I provide individual coaching as well as family coaching so that we can work through who’s good at what. Every every family member has their own genius and maybe they’re good with helping with the finances, maybe they’re good with staying on top of the Medica medications and keeping them ordered. Maybe they’re good with going to the doctor’s appointments with mom and try to form it’s almost like a business relationship within a family. You just went into business with your siblings helping manage mom’s finances, her care. So sure the long term effects of all of this on the family themselves, and when we can pull them together to do that, it just makes a stronger team. Well, and I think in the fact that you’ve been through the journey, you know you can look back. Of there’s things that you would do different. Of course, tell me about that. Of course. I think I was in denial and fear far too long. M Well, it’s very common, yes, and I would try to fix it and bring mom back to the reality of today. One of the things that she kept going further back in time remembering her mom, and she would talk about her mom is if she was still alive, and I finally learned the lesson the hard way to not remind her because she went through that, that trauma of losing her mom each time we reminded that her mom was gone. Absolutely so letting her lead where we’re going for the day, the trip does your yeah, could have been going back to her high school because she wanted to go for a job interview. Yes, I and not bring her back to the present right, right, and my reality and just let her lead that way. Well, and also, you know, obviously you can help understand those parallels in when you’re coaching other families, because I know for me I didn’t know initially how to have conversations with my mom and sometimes with her dementia, she would digger heels in I’m not doing this, and the worst thing in the world that I could do is just say yes, you are, because it would go down a really bad rabbit hole. Right, and I learned about things like deflecting or giving choices or reassuring or finding a making her think that she’s made the choice to do it. Yes, and it’s a little manipulative, but it’s a good thing. And the other thing I think I learned, and you’re going to probably realize this, is that I didn’t always things always didn’t have to be right. You know, her perception of things was what it was and you know what, the truth was pretty much irrelevant, and I think that’s one of the things that you know, it’s so goes against my grain sometimes the things she’d say it would be like. But there was no point in arguing what I mean. What would you to say of exactly you have to park your ego on a shelf and just live in the moment and be present where they are. Exactly? Yes, yeah, so, faith, obviously you’re doing family coaching. Tell us a little bit about how people can reach you and what they would they can expect your do it? You do a coaching session. Is that correct? I do. I offer a complimentary strategy call to get people started, to see if we’re a good fit. And there is a way to reach out to me, which is faith Marshall Dot as dot m forward slash coaching to schedule a forty five minute appointment with me to just connect. That’s great, and then always by email, faith at faith marshallcom. And you know, the other thing that I really want to remind everyone here is check out facebook. I miss you mom on Amazoncom. Faith. That’s so much for being on the show. Thank you to the preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders. Radio to contact care partners living code 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.