Daphne Davis at Pinnacle Senior Placements talks about how to have those difficult family conversations. Every single day she has these types of conversations with families. She suggests keeping an attitude of love in your heart and to try hard when discussing changes to be gentle and use affirmations, letting your loved ones be part of the decision-making. What often happens is we get to a point of frustration and anger, which gets in the way of the conversation. She encourages having a trusted third-party expert come with you. Suddenly the conversations come with a bit more credibility.
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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 pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. And Welcome back to answers for elders radio everyone. We are here with our Wonderful Daphne Davis from pinnacle senior placements and we’re so blessed to have you on our team, Daphne, especially this month of March as we’re dealing with supporting family caregivers and you know, you come in and a really unique time. So I’m glad about this topic today you’re going to help us talk about how do you have those difficult conversations with mom or dad or husband or wife or all those things? So welcome. Thank you. Thank you so much. It is a hard, hard conversation to have every single day. That’s not even an exaggeration. And every single day, five days out of the week, I am having this conversation with families and the number one thing that I can say to all of you out there is keep an attitude of love in your heart and try very hard, when you have to have the conversations of change, to do it gently and slowly, MMM with a lot of questions of affirmation to that person of does this make sense to you? Could you see this being a benefit? MMM, letting them be a part of the equation and the decisionmaking, so rather than the bulldozer that just says and this is what happens usually. So if you’ve done it, don’t beat yourself up. But usually we get to the place of utter despair, frustration, anger. I at my wits end. I don’t know what to do with mom or dad anymore. They won’t listen to me. I hear that all the time. What my role is, besides doing everything with love and compassion, I would encourage having a third party, somebody that you trust, somebody that you’ve built a relationship, and that’s, I have to say, a lot of the role that I play is that I go in with families and you know, I just met with a family of six children, oh my goodness, six major family dynamics. When on there and we went through it, we had a plan of action with the power of attorney. This is my position of how I help get through family dynamics. But if you have that third party in there, all of a sudden things have a little more credibility. Very true with you being the son or daughter or grandchild or whoever your relationship is, next door, neighbor, you’re that primary role, whatever your relationship is, versus an expert, and you will be saying the same things I’ll say, but they just come from a different perspective. They’re heard differently, they’re a little more open, people don’t put up their defenses. There’s a lot of body language thing that goes into having that conversation, but the most important thing is not to ignore the conversation and understanding to that. Your parents know how to push your buttons. Your husband or wife knows how to push your buttons and when they feel defensive, that’s exactly what they’re going to do. They’re going to go to that end. So you know, I always tell families, first of all, don’t spring something on if you can help it. Sometimes it’s there’s it’s not avoidable, but but in the most part you know, sit down and just say, you know, mom, I’ve been having a lot of fears and concerns and what I’d like to do is set a time in the next week or so that you and I can sit down and have a conversation about those so that mom or dad are a little bit more aware of what the conversation is going to be. They can kind of formulate their thoughts. Give them a little bit of time before you’re just springing stuff on them, and I think that’s you know, that’s what I did wrong with my mom is I just showed up and said, Oh, and I have everything under control, because I’m a controlling personality, and that went over like a lead balloon. Yeah, and so understanding to that that dynamic with whatever you’re having with that family member. It’s going to be present in difficult conversations, and so having somebody like you that kind of removes out of the picture is that it doesn’t right now, you’re on the right track. It absolutely does. It diffuses everybody. Human Nature is we’re going to put our best foot forward in front of right, public right, and we are by nature, and appropriately, so we should be the most comfortable with our own family to let our rawness show. But that can bring up a lot of other issues. One thing that I want to kind of point out is most families, and I think this is human nature more than anything, is that we’re like, well, we’ll just wait till we really have to do something, you know, and usually those are very traumatic things. That have either happened to the mind or the body, something that’s brought on a hospitalization, or it could be something not as traumatic, but it could be dehydration and brings on confusion, or a UTI that’s gotten out of control because it doesn’t present normal symptoms, and so you didn’t know what’s going on, but all of a sudden mom or dad are kind of crabby and disoriented and doing things like normal. Dimension is more pronounced than normal us. Yes, I always knew that when I had my when I knew my mother was going to get a urinary tract infection, to Uti that she you know, I could always tell because she’d get like really get the paranoise a little bit more, yes, and things like that, and I’m going like Akay, day, go to the doctor’s. Yeah, and it was true. Every single time it is. But when, when you wait for that critical time, then we have a whole nother set of emotions. Adrenaline and Cortisol are running a little higher. You feel a little under the under pressure making decisions that you don’t even know what their positions are. But yet now we have to do something right now. Try Really, really hard not to wait to that time many times. I also hear, well, we’ll wait until mom or dad doesn’t know if they have dementia. Will wait until it doesn’t matter. Absolutely. I’m going to boldly say not the right thing to do. Please hear me. Give the gift of cognition and time to your your loved one, so they can process. Where they are, so they can process. That’s my room, this is where I have my lunch every day. I have seen this person but before. Not to wait until they can’t process at that level, because now they’re going to have a fearful morning, a day, every single day. So we are talking to Daphne Davis and Daphne, you’re with pinnacles senior placements. Tell us a little bit about Pinicle, where you serve and how you help. Absolutely so we serve from Olympia up to about Arlington, that area sketchet county. We go over into the peninsula and Port Angelis, all of the people out there, and we serve certainly son homesh king and Pierce County. We have a team of people that are advisors for Pinnacle senior placements and they do exactly what I do, and that is come into your home, meet at the coffee shop, have a phone conversation to find out what your story is and see how we can best help you in terms of being an information post of your options. And you guys don’t spring stuff on families either. So the Nice thing about you know really I want to emphasize because in our month of March we’re really supporting family caregivers and to understand that you are not being deceitful with the parent by picking up the phone and talking to Daphne or sitting down and talking to what a Daphne’s team for a couple of coffee or whatever, just to talk about your parent, because what you’re really doing is you’re really getting information on how to best serve them. That’s exactly and I think that that’s something that we really need to say. I have a perfect example of that. Just last week I went into an assisted living community. Two sons were the people who are taking care of their mother, and she is vibrant, capable, except that her body is starting to get weaker and weaker and they cannot even fathom telling mom that you might have to move to get twenty four our care. I mean at all. I took my badge off, I was a friend of theirs just coming to have a conversation, checking in. was in the neighborhood whatever. I followed the son’s lead in terms of how candid or not candid we could be, but it gave me an opportunity to get to know that client, that potential client. No decisions are being made. The Sun’s totally do not know how to approach even talking to mom about something more care. And the sons are going there every day. They’re picking up the slack and they’re happy to do that, but they know they can’t do it continually. And bear in mind that that’s a huge piece it is. How many family caregivers, including myself, give up their life because they feel guilty? Yeah, about I can’t ask for help right and you know I have to put it all on my shoulders and mom. You know, mom’s used to me, she knows me, she doesn’t have to adjust to anything. It’s the gift I can give her. I don’t want to spend any of MOM’s money, you know. I don’t want to make you know I and the thing that we turn back with this is that there’s so many other options out there that they made that you, as a family, may not even know about. That’s boys that are so failable to you, and there’s no downside whatsoever to pick up the phone and just say, Daphne, you know, here’s where we’re at. I’m going to have let you know that I want to do right by my parent and you know, I will say that is the most honorable thing you can do as a son or a daughter is to have these conversations well an event advanced. It is the most respectful thing to do. Is Apparent. It absoluteely is, and to ask for somebody who knows the communities, work with somebody and and this is just from my heart, but that somebody that can give you as as unbiased of information as possible, listening to your story, your needs, your loved ones needs, the things that make them uncomfortable, the things that give them joy. Those are all the things that’s called holistic care. It’s right everything together. And for you to try and walk out into the community and say, well, I’m going to go see a B and c buildings, or I’m going to explore what adult family homes are, or why would I choose a memory care, I promise you you’re going to get inundated with a language that you’ve never heard of, and not to mention people are going to harass the cat crap out of here. Well, Suzanne can say that, but it is true. My experience with with trying to go interview retirement communities on my own was overwhelming. It was truly and and the thing was was that I was faced with the situation that then they constantly obviously they’re all salespeople and, bless their hearts, they’re doing their jobs and all that stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the point of the matter being is you never know what the right fit is like. Somebody like actually Daphne is going to say, Oh, you know, dad really likes this type of food. Right, I know the place. I know the place. Or Mom is a book reader and there’s a book club over here that you may not even think about asking. And that’s the key. I think that’s right. That is it exactly. That is it. That is why I’m so proud of having eleven people in twenty years that have had to move from their original placement with me. That is astounding. Yes, I am breaking my arm pat and myself on the back, yes, but it is that is the number one goal. Yes, yeah, not to move again. So definitely. How do we reach? Eight hundred and fifty five, seven, thirty four, one thousand five hundred is our phone number, and then our website is at Pinnacle senior placement’Scom I’m so glad you’re here and thank you for all you do for family. Character’s so welcome. The preceding podcast was provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. To contact pinnacles senior placements, go to Pinnacle Senior Placementscom
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.