Moria Veston aids family communications and teaches workshops on helping families get along.
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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.
And Welcome back to answers for elders. Everyone. I am here with a very special guest, a lady by the name of Maria Veston, is that the right correct and more yet, welcome to answers for elders. This is your first visit with us. Yes, it is, Maria. I have known of you for a while and and I remember we first met by phone and I’m so glad, first of all to meet you in person because it’s exciting. But one of the things that Maria, that you do is you handle are you help with communication with families, and I think that is so important. It’s a big piece, isn’t it? Absolutely so, tell me a little bit more about you and how you’ve gone into this. It’s a long road. I started out as an Iowa Catholic farm girl, one of nine kids, and I got my master’s an adult education back on the S and I have done several different things, but the last thirteen years I’ve been teaching workshops on either dealing with difficult conversations or getting better at getting along. And then you used to work in the senior care industry as well, didn’t you? I was admissions director for a few years at nursing homes well, and that gave you boot camp, for sure. Admissions, you’re dealing with families that are really in conflict and in having to make these changes and bring their senior loved one into a community, and I’m sure you are on the front line of a lot of that type of conflict that happens in families, absolutely, because everybody has their own idea of the way things should be. Hmmm, yeah, exactly, and somebody wants to control the world and and mom or dad may be dig in their heels and saying, you know, don’t, I’m you’re not going to put me here. And yet you know you’re trying to do right by your parent and sometimes it’s really hard. I know that with my mom I did everything wrong at first and I learned through the hard way how what not to do in in helping to take care of a loved one. So I am really thrilled that you were here today because I think we need to talk about some of these issues of how to have these conversations with our parents. Absolutely more you tell me a little bit about what happens with families when they’re going through a transition and and how that can affect, you know, conflict. It depends on how they see themselves. If they see themselves as somebody who can listen and hear both sides, it makes it a lot easier. But often people make up their minds that this is the way it needs to be and if instead we could connect with what’s going on in the other person, to me that’s the most important thing, is to try to get inside the heart of another personally exactly. I actually talked about in my book about the biggest thing with seniors isn’t that they don’t know that a change needs to be made, but it’s that fear of the unknown. And it’s terrifying when you’re vulnerable as it is if you’re having mobility issues or memory issues and you’re not tracking a hundred percent, but then to just say, oh well, you know, I’m just going to leap you blind into something that I don’t know about. Of course you’re going to get resistance indeed, and you know in in also, you know on the family side, how many of us adult children have built a strong enough foundation of trust with our parents to know that we are always going to be there or we all you know that we truly have their back. I I think there’s a lot of foundational things that go on with families that may be part of it. Is that true? Would you find? I suspect so, especially a lot of us who’ve had particular experiences when we were young and they unconsciously still impact us today. Absolutely, and you’re no matter what happens, it’s like it will never go away. You will always, you know, be the son or daughter of that parent and you know, the parent child dynamic will always be there, and I think one of the most important things you can possibly do is to commit to never raising your voice. I know that sounds sort of blause a or something, but if we can talk matter of factly to anybody in our lives and say what we’re feeling and what we’re needing, instead of saying who the hell do you think you are right, right, exactly, exactly, and even if mom or dad may be afflicted with a little bit of Alzheimer’s Dormentia, you know, I think I think it’s so important to remember that it’s coming from a place of fear and to have, you know, open your heart to that instead of being antagonistic. I think is really the important thing. So you call it non violent communication and I love that because it’s really about peaceful it’s about creating peace as the ultimate coming together. Is that, you know? Am I getting the right yeah, Marcia Rosenberg started that in the s and he’s my hero because he’s done more good for more people and helping them, Uh Huh, get together in an understanding way. So, and one of the main things that I always emphasize on my workshops is that everybody’s always doing the best they know how to try to meet their needs. You know, there are all things like rapes and murders, and obvious they are responsible for that, but at that moment they thought it was the best thing they could do. Doesn’t make it easy for us to understand, but at least we can see I’m doing the best I can. She or he must be also. So I don’t need to take things personally when somebody does something. I just need to try to understand right, right, and and sometimes it has to do with your own personal work. I know that with my mom when she would say things to me that we push my buttons and I knew that I’d been caught up in the moment and that I was feeling, you know, like I wanted to lash out. I learned to say, you know, mom, I need to take a break for a little while and if it even means to go walk around the block, Amen, to just get ahold of my own self, and that is a valuable thing to do. Or, even if it’s really bad, call a girlfriend, invent or right, do something like that. But don’t get into it because, again, I really truly believe I always talked to families and I say, you know, I can understand and appreciate that a lot of families come from extremely difficult childhood’s and it me you, you know, like we talked about, your parent may have been the worst parent that you’ve ever had, ad you know that you could ever imagine, but I don’t believe that there’s any parent out there that lays awake at night trying to figure out a way to hurt their child. I agree. And so, coming from that place, knowing that they’re, you know, just as damaged as you know and trying the best they can, like what you’re saying. I think that’s so powerful and it’s an important platform to come from and I five hundred percent agree with you. Well, and I think self empathy is very, very important too, because we can catch ourselves any time of Day Thinking, Oh God, I’m so far behind, or whatever we’re thinking, and if we can stop and say, Hmm, what am I feeling right now? Discouraged? What do I need? I need to feel that I’m accomplishing something, that’s something’s working well. What has worked recently? Well, I did this and this and this, and it’s not that hard to get back to a place of I’m ready to move forward. Wow, wow, and that’s so important. So now you go into mostly into senior centers and retirement communities. Is that correct? You do like workshops. I’ve been doing that particular arena for the past year. I’ve been doing this for thirteen years in nonprofits, for profits and so forth, because everybody can do better at getting along. We all have times when we just are pushing against some thing instead of saying what’s going on, and that’s so important right now in this day and age. Oh yeah, where we are in the world and all of the Division that’s happening. I am it’s truly something that I think that most of us have. Our hearts are really hurting and we want to find a way to connect, and I think your words are very important well, and if you go to Youtube and type in nonviolent communication, there are hundreds of one minute to three hour videos giving you examples and exercises and practices where people are interacting with each other. It’s a wonderful way to connect. So you have an I I’m is it okay for me to talk about your age during your S, which I am incredible to me, and you are still passionately involved in this work, which I am so impressed with? Tell me a little bit about what it’s like to be an quote unquote elder in this world and, and I mean I’m so impressed with you that just I never see myself literally as an elder, even when I place an ad in a singles thing to meet a guy, I say seventy six going on fifty, because I have so much energy, so much love of life, so much curiosity and wonder. Life is good. Yes, it is, and that’s, you know, that’s the important thing. It’s about attitude, yes, and it’s really you know, it’s probably why you you’re involved in this work, because it’s self talk in the same way, I’m sure, isn’t it? No, yes, what do you mean exactly? Well, I mean like what you’re saying. Is is is when you’re when you’re working on yourself to stay positive. It’s like the same kind of dynamic of what goes on, whether you’re communicating with someone else or communicating with yourself. It’s that positive outcome. Connecting with myself, connecting with others, trying to have a link between the two of us so I can understand who you are and how you feel. Yeah, so, Maria, I have heard an expression. I’m just going to throw it out to you. I I had a teacher that told me once life is nothing but a mirror of your consistent thoughts. That sounds sensible. Yeah, that’s sort of what the law of attraction is about. To focus on what you want, what feels good right, not on what doesn’t work. And really it’s about coming together with you know, with both of you and that and your loved one, and having that foundation of keeping you know, just keeping your heart open. I think is what’s really important. So, Maria, if I’m a family member, how you know, are you available to come into like my family, and how helped me with communication with my loved one? How do you work specifically with families? I haven’t done very much of that going into families. I usually do a workshop in an institution or retirement community, a business or whatever, but I’m certainly happy to do that if that works better. All right, all right, great. And how do we reach you? My phone number is two thousand and six, three hundred one, six, five seven, or my email is Maria Mr Eah v at gmailcom. If you go to my website, communication coaching DOTNET, you’ll find lots of information there too. And do you have any future events that you’re going to be featuring at that people can come and see you? Well, I have a couple on set retirement communities that are at the organization themselves and so forth. But if anybody would like to gather some people, I don’t care if it’s a church or a community center or whatever, and have several people come, I would be delighted to join them there as well. Well. We would be delighted to definitely encourage people to do that. I think communication is the found rate foundation of everything that makes caregiving and aging really a mix a difference. So I totally agree. Thank you so much for being on the program Maria. You’re very welcome
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Originally published August 19, 2017