Kelley Smith at CarePartners Living talks about the end of the caregiving journey, after your loved one has passed, to find a new purpose.
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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 again back to answers for elders radio and I am here back with our wonderful Kelly Smith from care partners living. And Kelly, I’m so glad you’re here to talk about our final segment as we talk about the caregiving journey we’ve been through. Sean talking about the beginning stages. We talked about you, how do you make that transition, and then Annie did a beautiful job talking about how to advocate for your loved one in the day to day care. Once that happens, well, there’s going to come day. One of the things that I always remember, Kelly, is there’s only one thing that’s going to put an and the caregiving and that is when that loved one passes. Usually and then there’s a time that all of a sudden you’re left with you and in many cases I remember Kelly. For me, my journey was I had this amazing support network around me when I was taking care of my mom, people like carrot partners. I had, you know, the caregivers for my mom. I had the doctors and health her, all of her health care practitioners that helped prop me up to be a good daughter and gave me advice. When she passed away, it was like everything was cut off from me. Yeah, and I had to find new purpose, and I think that’s one of the things that we had answers for. Alders kind of want to be that step for for that family member. But you know, you deal with families every day that are dealing with all of a sudden they’ve lost the loved one. Yep, how do you suggest or what do you advise families to do to find that purpose again? Well, for one thing, I think the saddest situation we see when somebody’s married and they lose a loved when they’ve at least got that partner that can kind of help buoy them up and get them through it, when you’re by yourself to begin with, and that’s why all the siblings go well, you’re single, you take care of mom and then mom passes away. Where then? What? So I think a lot of it too. What we want to encourage people to do is, if you have a if you are a faith based individual, reach out to your your church, your hall, whatever it is you get you get involved with and let those people know that you still need support. We’ve had we’ve had deaths in our family too, and people are there and they’re there and they’re there, and then after the funeral it’s like crickets and it’s because people don’t know what to do for you. So sometimes you’ve got it be. They don’t realize that. Yeah, they think, oh, they need their time alone now, they need time to mourn their mom. That doesn’t mean you can’t call them and take him out to lunch. It doesn’t mean you can’t. You know, you can’t come over and just visit. You can’t just call them and say, Hey, I’m thinking about you today. But I lost my brother, I had many friends that called and said, Hey, you know, I don’t even know what to say to you, but I want you know I’m thinking about you. That helps, but sometimes you have to be the one that reaches out and says, Hey, you know, I’ve spent years taking care of this person. I got, you know, nothing to do. Now. If they go back to the place their mom lived as an example, they can come in and do volunteer work M and sometimes that gives the purpose again until they kind of figure it out. I tell them. What’s the one thing you’ve always wished you could do? Let’s figure out how to help you get get to that place. But volunteer works, getting back involved in your church works, spending time with your friends, but raising your hand and saying, don’t assume that I’m enjoying this quiet time. You know. And and one of the things I think that you know, finding new purpose. How many of us that have gotten in the elder care world, like I me, have come from a background, I’ve taken care of a loved on. Almost everybody I know is done it and I think it’s because of that deep commitment that we have that we’ve had the honor of living that privilege of caring for someone, and everything else is kind of empty after that. I mean to me, I look it. You know I have two passions in my life. One is everybody knows I’m crazy about the orchis. Right away, I’m in, but I’m also so passionate about our seniors. And you know, when your eyes are open, when you’ve taken care of someone, that you’ve seen the world through their Lens. Yeah, it’s like you feel like there’s this overpowering need to make a difference. Well, and like, for example, Susannis, who’s what’s wrong with me today, my friend. What we’ve also done is we will bring in like caregivers. Lose these people. Yeah, and it smarts because they were taking care of a min it hurts, you know, to not be there and and what did we let this person down? And you think, well, how do the families feel? We’ve brought in Chaplain’s, even non denominational one, just to be there. So the staff has somebody talk to me. Let families know. This is for you too well, and I’m sure your communities themselves. If someone that’s high profile in your communities passes away, everybody’s affected. Well, everybody’s affected, every resident matters like. We just had a gentleman pass away this month. He was one of the first postman in Mountlick Haras, oh my goodness, and him and his wife moved in. They’re part of our bonded pairs program and he passed away and I couldn’t go there, I couldn’t even be in the building for a while and all I kept thinking was, I wonder how his daughters do. This is breaking my heart. How’s his daughter doing? And you worry about these people because you you don’t just get attached to the resident. You get to where you really care about the parents. We’ve got a lady in our memory care community. Her daughter means the world to me. Last time I saw her I was honest with I said a kid, you’re looking tired. How you doing, and we started a conversation because I care about what happens to her. The entire community does. Well. We are talking again to Kelly Smith, and Kelly Smith is the vice president of marketing and sales for care partners living and we are so honored again to have you guys sponsor this entire hour that we’ve had shared talking too family caregivers of how to go along the journey. And Kelly tell us a little bit about care partners and how you work with families. Well, again, you provide support groups. Every single family that comes into our memory care community for a tour, even if they don’t wind up having their loved one, they’re you’ll, they don’t need it Coffee Cup with a bunch of candy in it. What they need is help. You send him out the door with the Alzheimer’s three hundred tips book on things that can help help them in around you guys are very involved with, like the Arnlzheimer’s is such better believe walks and all those things. So every Elier, everywhere, and that just shows your commitment to the community itself. Tell me how you can tell these families we care about your mom who’s suffering from Demas your dad, whatever it is. We love this person, we’re going to grow to love them. But yet, oh the Alzheimer’s associating. Good time for that. You’re not. You’re not walking the talk that you’re trying to tell these families. So for us, we would gladly turn our buildings into something else if we could get rid of this horrible disease now. Absolutely, absolutely, and you know, and really to learn to move on is hard thing. I remember there’s Times I would walk into the grocery store after my mom passed away, and this is probably close to a year afterwards, and there would be something that would be programmed in my mind that I have to buy certain items. That was always on my grocery list for her. It’s crazy, isn’t it? But you’re very typical. I was very typical. There’s this void that happens in your life and you know. But let me ask you something. What’s wrong with buying the half and half nothing now, and what’s wrong with sitting in your car and crying? I think a lot of times people feel like when they’ve had this loss, they some of the reason they don’t always get rid of it right aways, because they don’t they won’t let themselves feel it. You know, you you’re saying something really profound to me, because I had a reaction one time at a grocery store and I saw a lady that was in front of me, actually two steps, I think two steps in front of me, and she had four items in her cart and those four items she had coupons for. That’s all she had and you could tell she was very low income. And the clerk at the counter said really tiny, tiny expiration date on the on the coupon that any senior wouldn’t be able to see. I’m sorry, those expired four days ago. I can’t take these. I blew up. I Been Kelly, I blew up. I and first, first of all, I tried to find you know, I blew up at her, and I realize it’s not her fault, but I did. I was upset. Why wouldn’t you just give her you know the discount and like what is it? What is it to you to do that? And I remember going out to my car and crying. Yeah, and that’s probably was a triggered experience like what you’re saying of my mom. Yeah, but what’s wrong with honoring that life? Exactly, and I’m a lot more sensitive now when I see elder people. You know, are elders in the community, like my parents, and I saw this guy walking across the street and all we my dad’s about pulled the car over because our first instinct is we want to help him across the street. He gonna be okay. He’s not our parent, but it doesn’t matter, you know, seeing other people as human beings, not somebody who’s old and not needed anymore. They’re still valuable. And you know, where is society gone? It’s like we talked about where society gone? where? You know, I see some many times a senior will walk on and there’s a meme going around facebook like what’s happened to our world when kids are all sitting on the bus and there’s a senior ladies standing up trying to keep the balance, and those are the kind of things I think that we think about that maybe trigger us, that maybe we can make the world a better place as we as we move forward in our world and try to take that experience of what you’ve been through and aren’t there’s nothing wrong with feeling how you feel, but for you to be able to move on, you have got to sit down and have that cry. Absolutely got to be angry, all those different that you know what are the different levels of grief. You’re going to have to let yourself feel it. You’re not going to die sing to be okay. Yeah, you got to get through that. Once you get through that, some of that film comes off your eyes and you’re able to take a look at this beautiful world out here and say, Hey, maybe now I can do this, maybe now I can do that. Don’t do it alone. You want to start a spin class, you want to go for a walk, you want to go have coffee, call your friends, call your other family members and get back in touch with the people who loved you and have missed you through this exactly and and to understand that you know, even though you might feel it like you’re alone, you’re not, and there’s there’s so many things that you can do with your life to move forward and I think one of your greatest pieces of advice, especially on this station, is to reach out to your own church community, your own spiritual home, because there’s obviously a lot of activities and ways and which you can get involved and move forward and just find new purpose. And I guess that’s the thing that there are, and there are a lot of people don’t realize. There’s a lot of opportunities out there for volunteer work. You can train to be out on Budsman, you can go out and volunteer, you can do classes on what it was like to work with your loved one, you can educate other families. There’s all kinds of things where you can still feel like you took what you had right and you can teach somebody else. And if you need any information on that, feel free to reach out to us at care partners. We can hook you up with the right people and we’re right at the end of the show. So how do we reach you? You can go to care partners senior Livingcom and that will give you a list of all of our information, all of our communities, but you can also go into the admissions page and see a picture of yours. Truly don’t be scared. You can also reach me at Kelly K Elle why, at Care Partners Livingcom Kelly, thank you so much for spen of coilage. Thank you for having us. The preceding podcast which provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go to care partners livingcom
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.