Katherine Lyons, the president and owner of BrightStar Care, talks about home care.
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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.
This is a special presentation of answers for elders with BrightStar Care of North Seattle and welcome back to Answers for Elders and I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday today and we have a lovely guest by the name of Kathy Lyons, who is the owner of BrightStar Care here in Seattle and Kathy, welcome to the program well, thank you and thank you for inviting me. You know, I know that you’ve been involved in this community for a long time and you know in helping a lot of our seniors and I’ve seen you in our answers elders academy classes and how incredible your heart is with seniors. And you know, I think one of the topics that we want to talk about today is, you know, what exactly is home care and what should families really know about it if they’re if you’re looking at providing home care for your parent? Well, I think the most difficult thing that we find challenging is that families feel like that when, by inviting us to come in and provide care, they are succumbing to sentence that their family members don’t want and that’s exact opposite. By coming in and helping sure the family and their loved one. We’re actually a note, enabling them to have a higher quality of life, given them the gift of independence longer. So that absolutely so. That is what I want families really to understand is that it’s not a negative to be bringing in home care. It’s a positive because they are helping their loved one have a higher quality of daily life and then they’re also enabling themselves to maintain the role of daughter or son or which is so important, grandparent, grandchild and instead of primary caregiver. And you know, that’s a really important piece and I think I’m going to emphasize that even more so. It’s like we talked about this, talk about this on the program before. It’s the fact that you never parent your parent and when you’re putting the role of a quote unquote caregiver, oftentimes you’re having to, you know, direct them in certain ways and that dynamic, I’m sure, can affect your relationship with that loved one, that senior loved one that is really holding on to that pride and of, you know, of trying to be as independent as possible. Is that true? That is very true. It is for both parties. It’s for the loved one and it’s for the person that’s doing the caregiving. The person that does the caregiving, it puts a great deal of stress upon them. It changes their ability to be able to have the more quality, favorable memory activities because they are dealing with so much negative it carries over into even the good times. So by bringing us in as a third party to be your liaison, for us to, you know, one embrace them and help them get through the daily challenges, but also to be you know, and sometimes maybe the bad cop blame us for stuff. You know, BrightStar Care says you need to do this and I love you. Oh, you know. So that is another resource for us, is to once remove yourself from those not fun tasks that have to be completed. Well, and not only that, I’m sure that in many cases with families today, they’re not trained to have that watchful eye for potential. You know fall hazards, you know how to get in and out of a car, to transfer in and out getting you to the family picnic and you’re walking across grass, different things like that. There’s its skill, that factor that you guys bring to the table that those of us that aren’t skilled like you are and we don’t have those correct and it’s not it’s not even just actual the physical activity itself, it’s also the time frame it takes for activity to be completed. Wow, and that is the one thing that we would be I would say would be the biggest challenge we have when we families, once they do invite us in to help provide for their loved one, they will say, well, why is it taken so long to brush their teeth? And you know, my question to them is, do you know how many steps are are in brushing your teeth? Not, I have no idea. There’s over thirty. Is that right? And when you think about it, and you have, and I’m talking more for once someone becomes cognitively impaired, you know, a stroke or dementia patient, you can’t just say go brush your teeth and be done with it. And to empower and retain that dignity of the person, we have to slow down the process so they can actually process each step in that task. You know, and we’re talking steps in the task, is a go brush your teeth. You know, the first step is got to go to with the sink. Yeah, then they got to locate their toothbrush, then they got to turn on the water. Those are all steps that we just do intuitively right now, but once you become memory impaired and cognitively decline slower, motor skills. Sure we have to allow more time for that processing, and that is something our caregivers are very much trained and skilled and and they don’t have an agenda, I have to hurry up and get this done because I have to go somewhere else. They’re embracing the moment and allowing that person to live in that moment and not feel rushed and harried. And you know, talk about respect factor, when you have somebody that honors that process, you know, just to think about again. We as family members, we would never relate to that, but the fact that you guys come in and actually understand that process it’s also helpful to so many of us that are family members, and that’s also helpful to your loved one too, because imagine the frustration they are feeling when they can’t perform at an expected level. And just the way I parallel it to myself is every now and then I have a word I’m trying to think of and it can’t come to it quickly and my frustration level at that. Yeah, and that is just a word. Occasionally. Can you imagine your whole day being processes of frustration like that, one after another, and then someone overlooking your shoulder and wondering why it’s taken so long? Absolutely, you know, the other day I was at Starbucks. I was trying to reload my card and you know those little chips that are in there. I had a thing from it. Okay, the chip goes in there and my son, who is so you know, with technology, this is just their life, is rolling his eyes about how long it took Mom to do this. Right, yeah, you understand that one, but that’s how I was feeling. I was thinking, Oh, this is how sometimes our seniors feel when their family members are with them and wondering why it’s taken them so long to do such a good little check and balances in our own life. It is. And we are talking to Kathy Lyons from BrightStar Care here in Seattle and before we go on in the in the topic today, could you give me a little bit of information about, you know, what areas you cover in Greater Seattle? Okay, we were located in North Seattle area. That’s where office is at, but we serve primarily any where from like South Burien up to the effort area and then, you know, the east side, east side all the way, you know, to North Bend. That’s our territory. That’s wonderful and and so, Kathy, when if somebody calls your office for for care for their loved one, what are their expectations up the front? Do you usually come in for consultation or how do you work with someone calls us? First of all, the person that’s taken the intake will start asking some primary questions. What was initiating the calls, so they can have a little bit of a grass but the sense of urgency? Do we need to, you know, clear up our calendar, get out there right away, tomorrow, or you just looking for the future? And so they’ll take some just basic family background information and then we would invite ourselves to come into the home and meet with that person and their family members. And that is their opportunity to get to know us, because this is a very personal decision. You have to feel like we are part of the team and there you could do all the bedding you want on the phone until you actually meet someone person to person and actually know if you could work with that person long term. That is what you know. We really encourage families to get to that point and then make their decision. Sure, and you guys do. Primarily was called non medical homecare or assistants with ADLs, and could you explain to ADLs as activities of daily living? Explain to me a little bit more about your service. Okay. So, um, when we’re coming in the home and we’re providing our home care services, that is when its activities are daily living, and that could be anywhere from transferring of someone is mobility impaired and they need assistance transferring, or if they’re cognitively impaired and we need to guide them through the process of something. You know, for example eating, so we have to guide him to the table, then to guide them to get and dressed. You know, it’s what we do on everyday basis. Like I said, our subconscious takes over and we do it. So it’s eating, it’s dressing, it’s toileting, it’s transferring. Those are the activities of daily living and, like what you talked about, those are the things that we, as regular family members, take for granted. Correct. And yet they become challenging as you get older and for your senior loved one. And it’s hard, I know when I was taking care of my mom, you know, to say mom, you really go need to go take a shower, and she’d look at me because she had to mention it’s like, I’m just fine. And and it’s really hard when you’re in that situation where you, as the daughter or the sun, have to be that drill sergeant. It’s not, it’s not. It’s very uncomfortable situation to be in. It’s uncomfortable for you. And where’s your energy level then, once you got done with all those tasks of daily living, to actually be her daughter and sit down and go through the memory album or talk about other family members and reminisce? Where was your energy level for that? Or take mom to lunch or anything like that, which is these are golden like literally their golden years. There’s a kind of times that you, as the daughter or the sun, need to spend the quality time with right and spend energy on that quality time and let us do the other tasks so you aren’t worn out through that. And so when you meet with the family now, do you assess at that time you know how much care is needed and what a recommended visitation would look like or so what who happens is when we come in? Well, usually have someone from our office, as far as and Ministry of person to come in and our client care manager that goes through all the paperwork, that would partake of US coming in and if the time is scheduled around to win our nurse is available, she will also come into and she’ll do an assessment at that point in time one and would discuss with the family what their goals are and provide a plan of care with the family. So she would have her suggestions. But it’s not hard and stone because each family looks at things differently, you know, and that’s what we do, is we work with the family. Sometimes will come in and we’ll do a couple days a week and they’ll have, you know, the granddaughter come in just on Tuesdays, you know, because sometimes it is a fin financial concern, sure, and people have to be fiscally responsible. And so we work with a family the best we can to not compromise quality of life in the name of the school negligence. But yet how can we work collaboratively to meet this unilateral perfect. So, Kathy, how do we reach you? Well, you can give us a call at to zero six seven, seven seven, one thoud hundred and ninety two, and that is our office. Or you can look us up on the web at BrightStarCare.com and just put in your zip code and our number will show up there too. If you can’t remember it. It’s to zero six seven, seven seven, one thousand hundred and ninety two and Kathy Lyons, you are amazing. Thank you so much for all you do for our seniors and also thank you again for being one of our key presenters in the Answers for Elders Academy, as we are taking classes out in the community and those for those that you that are interested, you can certainly meet Kathy there and I thank you for providing this venue for families to be able to know what resources are out there for them. Wonderful. Thanks so much for being on the program Kathy. Thank you. This has been a special presentation of Answers for Elders with BrightStar Care of North Seattle. For more information for BrightStar Care of North Seattle, go to BrightStarCare.com. That’s BrightStarCare.com.
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.