Spring is for new beginnings, coming out of winter hibernation. Certified senior advisor Kelley Smith at CarePartners Senior Living joins Suzanne Newman to talk about how and when to intervene as an adult child or loved one of a senior who may need care. Families may be concerned about their role while honoring parents facing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Kelley Smith says to best serve parents and grandparents, first understand what you need as well as what your parents need. When you have conversations, give them time to process so they aren’t on the defensive. Create an open dialogue to figure out the next steps. Bring up that you noticed things are getting more challenging for them around the house. Casual conversations often work better than a scheduled meeting.
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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 everyone to answers for elders radio network. And we are here, obviously in the month of March, but it doesn’t really matter what time of the year that you’re listening to this program except it seems to be like the month of March kind of has spring is is coming forward and you know, I don’t know for all of our listeners, but there’s a lot of new beginnings happening out there in the world and and what that really means is new growth, new spring, cleaning. People are doing things around the house and you know that we’re kind of coming out of a little bit of a hibernation of the winter and obviously, here in Washington state, finally our masks mandates are have been listed. So those things are really amazing and we’re kind of to me, I’m I’m speaking to a lot of our listeners and thank you so much for calling us, because a lot of our listeners are calling and they’re worried about their loved ones. After this long, prolonged pandemics. So many of them sat alone, they’ve been home, isolated in there and there, you know, in their apartments or homes. A lot of them are just in a situation where, you know, they may not even be in a situation of having on really real mobility issues, but there’s a lot of things like depression, anxiety, fear, all of those things, and so we’re very lucky today to have back Kelly Smith, vice president of marketing his sales for care partners living and Kelly, welcome back to answers for elders. I always love talking to you. Thank you, I love being you. You’re so tying. Thank you well, Kelly. It’s interesting. I’m going to start out with you. I had a call on Monday from a family that of one of our listeners and it was kind of an interesting story. It was a gentleman who was concerned about his parents. He’s loved once and mom has increasing dementia and especially since she’s been in lockdown during the pandemic. Basically they’ve been isolated a lot. The family didn’t have a lot of real ongoing contact during the time of quarantine. Obviously, the sun is worked in a cential job, so he was obviously in the workforce, as he stayed away except for talking to them on the phone, but dad has some real serious mobility issues. He had he was a you know, had to injury to his knee. He’s had a stroke, really bad stroke, and so mom has been taking care of him, but due to the increase dementia that she had, US, both this gentleman and his sister, have been really, really concerned about their wellbeing and you know, more and more talking to families that are concerned about their loved ones but they don’t necessarily know what their specific role is and how can we best, number one, honor our parents? Number one, how do we make the right kind of decisions? What are the resources out there? And you know, the month of March answers for elders kind of focuses on caregiving, and so I’d love to hear your thoughts on you know, basically you’re a certified senior adviser, which means obviously you know resources, you know people, you know how this works. You work, you guys work with hundreds of families and I would love to kind of spend this hour today talking about really what’s our responsibility as a adult child? How do we best serve our loved ones, whether it’s a grandparent or parents or whatever, and what’s the first steps we should probably take. So welcome Kelly. Thank you. Well, I think the first steps is in that we always should take a special you need to understand what it is that not just your family needs, but what do you need. I think you know when you and I get these calls that are very concerned. I have wonderful conversation with the loveliest lady yesterday, very thoughtful and very find lady, but her obligation was a little bit different because her and her mom was strange. And so mom walking back into the life in your s and is like well, now I need help. Wills like well, okay, sometimes caring for a lovely room isn’t necessarily being very kindable night something setting them up for the proper here. And if you have to know first of all, what is it they really need? What do you need and what do they want? If you don’t know those two things, you can’t step in and help. But you also have to realize those two things. What do they need, more do they want? What’s that burden going to look like on you right and are you in a position to legally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whatever your thing is, are you lined up to be able to take that obligation right? And if you are, then you need to be able to put the steps in place. And if you’re not, mom and dad’s power of attorney, if you’re not any kind of legal guardian to step in and make them do things, don’t go to Lord. There has to be some conversations and have to have it for absolutely and I think one of the things that I’ve always advocated for is don’t spring stuff on them. I think one of the things that the best way, at least in my way, and what I tell families first and foremost is when you have these serious conversations, don’t say mom, I’m here to have a serious conversation. Instead, say mom, I have some serious thoughts that I want to discuss with you and I’d like to set a time for us to go through that agives them an opportunity to kind of process what their thoughts are, especially if they’re dealing with a little bit of dementia or things like that, so that they’re not on the defensive. And the other thing I always say is, as you know, when you have that that conversation, no decisions need to be made at that moment and tell them that up front. It’s like this is something that I want to create an open dialog with you and I want to have an opportunity to do the right thing by you. And I think that’s one of the things that families don’t necessarily even know how to begin that conversation. I mean I think, I think sometimes to Susanne with families. You have to remember mom has dementia. Sometimes scheduling a family meeting isn’t always going to work, for sometimes it’s those casual conversations that happen. I mean that’s so you know, and it’s hard because people will ever want to have that conversation. So it’s like sitting down with somebody when you’re doing your will do. We all have wills. We’ll have to sit down and have those converss. Nobody ever wants to talk about it. Now. What do you want to have happened at or in the life? We’ll talk about it some day. Well, some day never happens and then something happens and we never talked about it. No, you need to talk about these things. Yeah, and no, they’re not comfortable and though they’re not fun, but it’s the truth of matters. We have lots of conversations in our daily life that are fun, but if you don’t know what somebody’s wishes are, how are you going to fulfill them? You can’t. You can. Mom movie wants to stay in our home. If you have that conversation, do you know anything about what alternative options are out there for you, if she’s really open to looking at other other options? Do you know what the differences are between retirements, you know, and assisted living and and being able to help make those correct choices? A seniors, not just seniors, anybody. Do you want to give up your home right now? Well, nobody does. Nobody wants to give up their home. We don’t buy our what I was saying yesterday and I was telling you earlier, you know some of the cusps, like I had this lady of the day. It’s we know we don’t get married and raise our families and the kids find to get out of the House and you look at your your better half and go wow, how doey, I can’t wait till we live in assisted living. Nobody does that now. Now I don’t do that. So we plan our lives the best we can. If Remo, you know sally say you hope for the best, but your plans for the worst. Well, if we never talk about those plans for the worst, how do we know what our parents, even our grandparents or spouse, even what exactly? And it’s not always going to be a planned conversation. If your parents are planners and they’ll sit down and plan things with you, great, if they’re not, you may have to have more of a casual you know when you’re over there’s some day going through things with them. Say Hey, you don’t noticed things to getting a little tough around here for you? What you thought about talking to me? You know what you know. What do you want to see come out of all this? And start those dialogs by what they want, not this is what I’m seeing and I’m worried about you. Then they talked to me. I love that and and understanding to that. Like what I said to this one family. I ask them specifically, you know what your parents wishes. You know, did have? Do you have a power of attorney? Is there one? It has if your mom has got advanced dementia, you know says she has the power of attorneys been activated by a doctor. A lot of times families, if they have a document, they think that Oh, well, I have power atturney. Well, it owns only as good if a doctor declares it activated, right, and then they’re in lies. The other thing, another thing that families will say is is all, I’m fine because I’m on my family are, my mom’s bank account and that’s with me out. Like to know end because again, our families don’t understand about the financial liability that that involves. And there’s other types of factors that can you know where in if you don’t have that document, your power of attorney is your protection against anything that could be, you know, considered a liability situation. So that’s one of the things, I think that our families don’t nececessarily realize. So in power of attorney paperwork is pretty clear. You have, I thought, on there where you can check the box that says not, you know, to be used immediately, not to be used until I’m incapacitated, you know. So you can set that up. Just to give somebody power of attorney doesn’t mean they walk into your home and suddenly start telling you what to do and look exactly, exactly. Never, yeah, and it’s which is good. So that’s a good thing. So we have about a minute left, Kelly, and I would like to kind of do a little bit of that summary of care partners. Tell us a little bit about where you’re located and where all your communities kind of exist and what type they are. What we have assisted living, independent living in memory here from Mary still all the way down to Lacey and then two beautiful properties over in spokane. So we can fit just about anybody’s needs, depending on the kind of where they’re out of there and their in their journey with aging, which is cool. But we also have the largest Medicaid volting license, which I like. Soar residents, all, you know, are allowed outlive their savings, which I’m pretty excited about, which is cool. I guess that’s something that I love. Yeah, that’s going to be needed with all these baby boomers. That has kind of nobody. It’s then, aren’t saving from Rainy Day right, right, most that he’s my folks back when they were younger. He’s to tell him that wasn’t that they were in their s. That worried me was that they were from the s super mind on that one. Yeah, so, yeah, that’s that’s little the them. Yeah, absolutely so, in the meantime, Kelly, how do we read you? The best place would be to check out our website, care partners livingcom. Wonderful, and you know to everyone I’m Kelly and I are going to be here the entire hour. What is Your Responsibility As an adult child? What are the ways in which you can help facilitate the best type of care for your loved one? And Kelly and I will be right back with the preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go to care partners living dot com.
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Originally published March 20, 2022