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. When the conversations are over, and something doesn’t go right, Kelley talks about next steps. You can’t control another human being. There are other options if a loved one digs in their heels. Northeast Seattle has NEST — Northeast Seattle Together — and other neighborhoods have programs like this. For a small fee, people will come to the house and do chores, mow the lawn, and do other tasks, so you don’t have to be overwhelmed. A family advocate or caregiver needs to keep their balance and boundaries.
Learn more about CarePartners Senior Living at their website.
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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 to everyone to the answers for elder’s radio network, also heard on itunes, Google, spotify and more. We are on your Internet right now. So anytime you have questions on elder care, we are here for you. And we are back for our final segment with our wonderful Kelly Smith from care partners living. And Kelly, thank you for all of your wisdom. I’m just really using my time that I sent with my mom my six years of being her advocate and certainly you know I remember the conversations we had just like what you’re talking about, and you know how we got to a certain point. And when the conversations are over, even no action is a decisive situation, isn’t it? Maybe it’s done, something doesn’t go right. What what are your recourses at that point? I think people also need to realize that you can’t come control of other human being and in the bottom line is, if mom and dad really do dig in their yield, you know there’s other recourses to the other things that happened at like, for example, nor Pie Seattle has missed North Seattle together. There’s a lot of neighborhoods that also have things like that where you can look into that for a very small few months. There’s all these people lined up that will come in and do your mom’startway coming move, you know, and you don’t have to be over there all the time for little things, when you can actually enjoy your time that you’re with your parents instead other resources. Sometimes we’re in their own neighborhood. You may not even know about. True, and will not be a bad idea to look into those things. There’s also like in my neighborhood, you can go online and there’s, you know, Redman neighborhoods where there’s people looking for things to do. You know that you can, you can sort of you know that come with references and all kinds of things. Be More happy to come over and you know, like I said, outside work things like that, if you don’t have to run over there every weekend to do things had moderately. Absolutely exactly and, as a matter of fact, it’s like to me. I think the next step is is that number one. Whatever’s going on to the next step is, I think, a care family, caregiver. Quote. Quote. Advocate, son, daughter, granddaughter, whoever, whoever you are in, what relationship you have to that loved one. The word balance comes to mind. It’s there’s an element of boundaries and balance that needs to be established, and I think that was one of my biggest mistakes when I first started being a caregiver because when we finally got mom moved into assisted living, she’s calling me every day for stuff that I was running over there every day and until finally the nurse took me aside and said, Susan, as long as you’re coming over every day, your mom isn’t having a proper opportunity to make a, you know, positive adjustment to her new living situation. You know, she needs to learn to rely on us, the caregivers, at least she needs to learn to rely on us as as a medical team. And we’re here, and we certainly are here to support both of you, but we need you to understand that there’s you know, you deserve a life too, and that was kind of like an eye opening thing for me, because I didn’t even think about it in and I went down the rabbit hole to serious burn out because I didn’t take care of myself and I think that’s the thing that I would like to leave our listeners with, is to find a balance. But what say you on this topic? I agree a hundred percent, because a lot of things too, after the decision has been made, a lot of times the person that helped make that decision will feel guilty the other every day, constantly trying to make up for their feelings and like no, let them get acclimated, let them let them have a good time, don’t. You don’t have to jump in and do everything again all over right now. You don’t find a healthy relationship now in the new circumstances that they’re in, and let those people do their job. Absolutely, absolutely, and I think, Kelly, when you say that it’s like, you know, I learned, when I was going every day, if I learned to sign balance, that I would go two days a week to see her, was the Tuesdays and Friday, and every other weekend I would go visit her either on Saturday or a Sunday, and that would seem to be kind of my pattern and it helped me a lot because it kind of worked within my schedule. I was able to arrange, because I was working a fulltime job, that I would leave my job at three o’clock and go see mom from three to five and sit have dinner with their on Friday evening. So that was really a nice thing. I learned that that would be a new routine for me and it was fun for her and it was fun for me. I think that there’s some really great things that we can all think about that can help integrate your life with their life, that you’re not losing out, and I think that’s one of the things that we think that. You know, you used to really important word, Kelly, is guilt. You know, so many of us feel guilty because mom or dad is in senior living. Most so many of us feel guilty because something we did in our childhood that we weren’t the best child to them, or they put we put them through all kinds of turmoil. You know, whatever those guilt feelings are, know that we all not. Nobody’s perfect and you still deserve a life and that’s the thing, I think that’s really important for all of us. And I think the other side of it, which I want to address on I really want to get your take on it, is because there’s usually a primary person that takes care of mom and dad. The the rest of the family’s role is to support that primary person, and it’s not to contradict it may not be your way of handling things, but your you as a family. It’s your siblings and your sister is the primary person that’s taking care of your seeing your loved one. Then your job as a sibling is to support that sister, and what that means is maybe you know, giving her a break every once in a while, and maybe it’s taken over dinner to her house, maybe it’s senator a bouquet of flowers because you love her and you care about her, anything like that. I think is so valuable for families to to come together like that in to support one another. I mean, I think about all that. Well, how often do you see that there’s three siblings, or for siblings, the oldest ones are girl. She winds up taking care of mom and Dad. There go long Alah, they go live their lives. If you ever called her to say hey, I know you were with mom and dad, old am dropping off dinner for your family. Hey, do you can help pick it up the kids this week? What can I do to support you? You know in a lot of times that that whoever that one person. Is Most of the families willing to let him do it? HMM, you know it. Maybe you can’t take care of mom because of your relationship with mom, but what can you do? The support the other sibling Exa they can do without losing their mind. You know, there’s got to be some balance in that. And again it’s all about the word balance. But remember you, because our parents have gotten older and frail and there’s some different circumstances. It doesn’t need to be made. Does Not mean that you lay your sacrifice on the altar that is you and you give up your entire life, you know, sacrifice everything to be at they’re you know, their back and call to make sure that they get everything that they need. It doesn’t work like that. Yeah, you know, really still has to be some balance there because, again, you don’t want to wind up in a situation where you you’re sick, you’re miserable, you’re unhappy and you’re trying to take care of other people. That doesn’t work like that, right. So again, finding that balance, even when they are moved to a place where they’re getting the care they need, you being there every day still doesn’t still want balance. Yeah, yeah, very true. And I think really what’s really important with all of this is the fact that nobody is going to agree. As a family coming together all the time, everybody is getting like you talked about in our very first segment. Everybody has a different opinion. When, whoever that person is, it’s in charge of the care, your opinion is secondary and and that’s the thing that I think is really important, that that you understand that there’s more than one way to do things. There’s, you know, there’s more and more more than one roads the wrong right. So the whole point is is that it’s not about you. It’s about your your loved one and who they chose to take care of them, and it’s usually the oldest, you know, daughter, and some cases it’s the sun, but not often, and it’s so they’re in. lies the challenge with with this whole program is making sure that families, when they come together, that there’s an element of you know who’s on first, who’s on second, kind of like who’s on first is the primary caregiver, and that means you know, when you have conversations, you know support them. I I know for me, the greatest thing I had I didn’t really have much of support from my family, sadly, but I did have amazing friends and my friends were incredible and sometimes my mom would push my buttons and I had a friend that said, Susan, you know what I’m going to do for you? What I want to do for you is I’m going to be a primary source to bring joy to your life. You’re going through a hard time right now and I’m going to be your joy center and and that means you can call me and you convent to me. We’re going to go out to lunch once a week, whether you like it or not, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to go to movies anytime that there’s stuff happens and doubt. Those are the kind of things when you look at, when I look back at my time of taking care of my mom, that friend of mine was my lifeline. How many times did I call her and I would tell her the latest of what my mother said and demented to me and she would have me laughing at the end of conversation. Those are the kind of friends that you really need in your life and certainly I was blessed to have that. Sometimes it’s not your siblings, sometimes it’s your best friends that through this, and it’s not snitching on your parents, it’s not make just being able to laugh at you don’t going to believe what happens to me. Get that off your chest. You can breathe. Yeah, and we laugh and it’s like no, I got to have a laugh at some of the stuff are you will lose your mind, you know, if you think our parent shouldn’t call her those friends, Dude, oh my gosh, you know I mean. And it’s some of the things that my mother would do, and you know, just because she had dementia, and I was like, I would say, mom, it isn’t like this, it’s like every you can’t reason with somebody that that is as made their mind up. And I learned that too. I learned the fact that I had, you know, that kind of support. And I think finally, and in our closing, Kelly, I know we only have just a few seconds, but rely on your staff, your care staff, if you’re having a hard time this communication or something’s not happening right when they adjust. You are their advocate. You can go to the community like care partners, and they will help you. And and I think one of the things that you guys have you know staff that can help and you can do care conferences. You would do all kinds of things to help help people adjust. Every community is going to be like that. If you have a concern, it’s a lot of it. Choose in the approach to go in there, Hooton haller and go in there and say, look, I want to sit down talk to the nurse or whoever’s in charge my mom’s care. I want to adjust your care plan a little bit. I want to talk to somebody. They will cordonly sit down and explain what’s going on, make adjustments is necessary these, let’s be honest, we may know that person six months, a year, a month, however longing with us, you’ve known them your whole life. The more information you can again, that’s advocating as well, but also in boys, this time enjoying it. Become their daughter Shawn again, become their spouse again. Let someone else be the caregiver. And absolutely DUB Kelly, it’s been so great having you on the show today. I am so blessed that we spent this our celebrating those that take care of their loved ones, and I know Kelly’s will be back next month. They will have a little bit more trinkets for you guys, because she’s a wealth of knowledge, and for each and every one of you, spring has sprung. Get Out in the gardens, have some fun. You don’t have to wear a mask anymore. Go to the gross tree, say hello to a stranger and for each and every one of you, remember one thing. He’s good to tail. 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.
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