During the holiday season, family members tend to visit their senior loved ones around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then the attention drops off. Kelley Smith describes how CarePartners Living ramps up activities after the holidays to keep the momentum going, so residents don’t suffer from loneliness following that surge of holiday attention.
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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 everyone to answers for elders radio. And we Kelly and I just have been cooking up all these ways that we could honor our senior loved ones. And again I’m talking to Kelly Smith from care partners living and it’s the holiday season and we are now upon us where we’ve just celebrated Christmas, we’re into, you know, the last weekend, coming up on New Year’s and you know there’s a lot of things going on in your communities right now. I’m sure during the hall always, always lots of stuff going on, carolers and kids coming to visit, preschoolers coming into saying, musical groups, a lot of gift exchanges and of course you know the twelve days of goodness. So, yeah, we’ve had a good year. Yes, and and so, Kelly, as far is your program and what you do you know with seniors? Obviously you know of seniors who are a loon. And I don’t mean to close this weekend out or this show out being depressed. I think what I’d like to do is really talk about, you know, the realities of senior loneliness. Like you just told me something in the last segment that just blew my mind away, and that was that forty, forty residents, for forty five residents in your spokane community only have no family. Yeah, now, that to me was as alarming when you’re figuring there’s, you know, maybe just a little over a hundred residents or hundred two hundred in the community, but that’s still high to me. That’s that’s devastatingly high. Yeah, but again there’s reasons why people don’t have family. Sometimes you get these older folks who’ve never had children. Yeah, their wife died, yeah, you know, and they’re by themselves. You know, there’s somebody’s and her uncle, but they’re not that close, right, right, right, so they wind up kind of spending more time by themselves. And you’d like to see, and I think, what happens during the holiday season, Suzanne is it? Everybody comes around for Thanksgiving, everybody comes around for Christmas and then Zis and to me, why can’t we get it’s kind of like when you’ve had a loss in your family and everybody brings food and everybody comes to comfort you and then after the funeral you never see him again. And why? Why are we like that as a culture? Well, I’d like to see a stop doing that. So what we do in our communities is that’s the time we ramp up activities, that’s the time we ramp up a lot of the different things we have coming in to keep the momentum going so that residents don’t suffer from all the sudden I’m alone again. Yeah, and and to think about to you know, we’ve talked about this a million times, but there’s multiple studies out there that say sixty percent of seniors are, quote unquote, without regular visitors. Yeah, which you’re saying people come around at Thanksgiving, a Christmas, and that’s not and then they’re alone the rest of the year. That’s not a regular visitor. No, no, no, and so when you really look at this, when when people, when I say that statistic to people like you, not only do you acknowledge that that’s probably true, that maybe it’s even worse in certain cases. Well, let’s be honest, you’re talking about a statistic that somebody drew numbers on. Sure people have never been in my building drawings numbers. It’s so right. It’s an estimate. So, yeah, it’s what they can document exactly. I think about seniors that live at home alone. Yeah, that’s got to be even worse. Well, can you imagine? You don’t even have friends that you can go down have dinner with. Right. You spend too much time alone. And I’m going to tell you something. I learned this the hard way. I had back surgery a few weeks ago. And what happens when you, when you have this as you do wind up some downtime. When you have downtime that you’ve chosen, that’s one thing. When you have downtime that’s been forced upon you, you really do see the world a little bit differently. Okay, and all I think about, everything I do, I always draws me back to what I what I do for a living, because it matters. And all I think about is, okay, so somebody’s in their home, they’re not ready for assisted living. What kind of programs are out there that people maybe don’t even realize that they can have come into their homes or even get mom out? You know, do they have here involved in a in a place like like, for example, you have nest northeast Seattle together wow, where there’s all these really great community together as kinds of things. Are you getting your loved one involved in that? Well, it’s a cultural events exactly. My mom was a member of the Swedish Club, Swedish Culture Nice and of course, my Swedish heritage, so that was very important to her and I made sure to go take her when they had did the loot fisk feed and I’m in, I’m I had to hold my nose because that was not my thing, but it was her thing. You Bet right. Hello, hello, Scottish Hagus, you know and you know. But we talked about the little things that we can do and it’s like big deal. Yeah, big deal, if we can do little things like that. I’m midsummer festival over and Paul’s bow or over and in both all there’s two places. Again, there was something that I would take her and I would make sure that these are some things that we could share together. But I also think just really just doing something like going and spending twenty minutes. Hey Mom, I’m in the area, or you know, Aunt Mary, I’m in the area and I’m just going to combine and say hi. Yeah, and if it’s twenty minutes, it’s fifteen minutes. There’s thrilled to see. Well, here’s the thing. How much time do we spend in our car? How many of US Have Bluetooth? Yeah, why can’t you call, even just a phone call? Absolutely I was thinking about you. How are you? Yep, well. However, things going? Do you need anything? Anything I can do for you? Send a card, I gotta tell you, that was the one thing that always meant a lot to my mom’s mom, and I would sit down and take the time to write her something and send it to her. Would make her day. But boy, if I don’t do it, snail mail cards to that generation is huge. It is huge because it’s something they can read again and again and again. But keep it positive, keep it up beat, when I would when I call my mom. Okay, she had knee replacement surgery. We don’t talk the whole time about her knee. Now, Hey, what’s the kid been up to? Because they help with my with my niece. She wiped her nose on GRANDPA’s pants yesterday. We’re having a great day. Right on, you know. Does she know she’s going to be a big sister? Weep talked about the happy things that are going on in good stuff and if I need to get a good whooping for my mom over the phone. I’m I still get that from her because she loves me. But what I’m saying is take the time. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Now you can take two minutes to let somebody know you love them absolutely, absolutely and, like you said, pick up the phone or write a card. I mean even if it’s just in it you’re in a grocery store, grab at you know thinking about you. Card, sign your name saying just thought of you today, I love you, aunt Mary, and pop it in the Maut, in the mail. It’s no big deal, but it’s something that can be done and I’m going to take your something now that they matter. The other thing that we are not doing enough of is bringing our children and grandchildren around our elderly loved one. Thank you for bringing that it. I was blessed because I was raised around both my dad’s beside the family my mom’s side of the family. My greatgrandmother lived with us for a while. To us, they’re not weird old people. Know they’re family and we love them. One of my favorite memories is being about eight years old and sleeping in the same bed with my ninety year old great grandmother and her telling me stories about growing up in Minnesota. I love and her sister, grace, and her sister Burnus, and I don’t know them, but I can’t wait to meet them. Yeah, you know, God neat, ladies, yes, and but they brought that, they bring that family connection together. And isn’t that what a lot of people are missing right now? People, why do people take DNA tests? They want to know who they are and where they’re from. Absolutely, dude, mom’s two miles away. Go find out where you’re from. Yeah, right, but we’re not tapping another rest. You take a DNA test art with mom. Yeah, you know, mom, this is what I learned. And what side of the family does this come from exactly? Or this is my family tree? Yeah, and I learned that. You know, so and so. It was a was a cropper. You know, our true are farmer. Yeah, and they came in through Maryland. Well, I never got this country and it’s like who my father’s my father’s dad knew I was coming but never got to meet me. He died and before I was born. So I’ve never met the man, Uh Huh. But I got to see on that ancestrycom or whatever it’s called. I got to see his handwriting on a on some stuff that he had signed for some sensus things. I found out that my aunt, look, you know, one of my aunts lived with them for a while. That’s whole culture. That’s all things that tell you who you are. All of us did the DNA test, my two brothers, my mom and dad, and it was awesome to sit down here. Hey, we got our big head from you. Yeah, well, and I think and I think the other thing it’s it’s surprising to see the lineage. It’s like my father is, my father used to be, you know, teas, the sweets, because my mother’s a hundred percent Swedish. Right, this is what I’ve always known. My mother was a hundred percent sweet. Yeah, so I figured I’d be like half Swedish, but I wasn’t sure. Right, I came out seventy percent Scandinavian, which means my father has Scandinavian blooded him. Don’t shipping. Didn’t know. That’s not awesome. But see, just like in my family. Yeah, my niece WHO’s too, yeah, it’s being raised around her grandparents, oh my gosh. And I keep every time I see my dad mom with her, I think my brother is such a smart guy because he’s raising her to love everyone. She will now she will be that grandchild that will go take mom and dad my parents dinner. She will be that grandkid that will be there for her grandmother because this is how they’ve raised her and I just think it’s important. But I think that we need to get this back on track. Absolutely. Get our own families and we get busy. We understand that. Please don’t forget our elderly. We can’t make it without and twelve days a goodness is a reminder of that. And men, we have done that now through social media, through a lot of reminding to the twelves and all the people around the you know, puget sound, and you know, we invite every single listener here today good to think about what could you do in your neighborhood, in your community, to Brightness Senior’s Day, and I think that’s the you know, that’s the message. I think that, Kelly, you and I both want to share with everybody. And if somebody’s at home, how long would it take them to go out and rake their leaves versus you and your kids running over there? Yeah, are Tu say? You know, we just made some hot cocoa and we wanted to bring you a cup. Yeah, what’s the warm cookies? You know, we just make some cookies, something like that. Or we’re going to the store. Would you like to come with us? Yeah, something like that. So I think there’s little things like that they do and they add up to make such a difference in a senior’s life. Yeah, so, Kelly, how do we reach to get hold of us that Care Partners Living? If you want to see what I look like, you go to the meet your admissions team yet and get to know the staff, some of the kindest hearted people you’ll ever meet. But can also check out our website and get get a chance to get to know us a little bit. Yes, and you know, thank you so much for sharing this hour with us and for all of the things that you’ve done. Thank you for twelve days of goodness, all of the programs that you support us in, and you’re such a big part of this. I can’t imagine this holiday season without care partner. Will say thank you so much. We’d like to take a moment to thank you because without you there wouldn’t be the twelve days of goodness, and that’s such a joy for our residents. So thank you for this. You are very welcome and happy new year. Youtube. The preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go 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.