Suzanne Newman talks with 14-year-old Hailey Richman from Long Island, New York. Hailey is executive director for two non-profit organizations that help seniors.
In this segment, Hailey talks more about the process of how people can get involved in Puzzle Time. Sometimes people email directly, or schools, teachers, or scout groups will reach out, and Kid Caregivers will get a recommendation from teachers. They show volunteers how to talk to someone with Alzheimer’s – how to be nice, understanding, and how to cope when a senior gets forgetful. During COVID, everyone was isolated, and Puzzle Time was done virtually, though they’d still drop off puzzles. Now they can do Puzzle Time outdoors and things are starting to get back to normal.
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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 is a podcast from a qualified senior care provider, hurt, on the answers for elders radio show. And Welcome back everyone to answers for elders radio network. And I am here with the wonderful, inspirational Hayley Richmond from Long Island, New York, and she is here with us I and I am so blessed to have her on our program and Haley, you are the founder and executive director of kid caregivers and puzzles to remember, and we’ve been talking about getting just you know what’s happening with intergenerational type programs and and what you’re doing with kids. And Haley be’F I want to talk a little bit about your puzzles program but in a second let’s intergenerational is a big word on to a lot of somebody that’s may not necessarily know what it means. How do you have a definition for what that looks like? Yes, so my definition is two generations coming together. So, for example, kids who are about like under eighteen coming together with someone who’s eighty. It’s an intergenerational connection because it’s too generations that may have not talked before coming to dinner, coming together her intergenerational connection, which is really amazing. Now and obviously there’s a there’s a big process. So we’re going to talk in our last segment about how you’re you know, you can get involved if you know of you know, if you’re a listener and you have children or grandchildren or something like that, that this is an important step. We want you to pick up the phone or, you know, reach out to Haley, because she’s amazing. We have communities GALORE that would love to have you and I know that. So tell me, Haley in this next segment about how do people get involved? What happens? If once they reach out to you, what happens? Yes, so there’s many different ways people get involved. Sometimes schools will reach out to us, high school students reach out to us, girls scoubts and teachers. So we get them in many different ways and we talk to them and sometimes we get people from the honor society. So they get a teacher’s recommendation to do this. MMM and yeah, so then they contact you. And then what happens? So then we do a training process and recruitment. So we get a recommendation for their teacher or if it’s a whole school, we get in contact with the teacher and we have to train them. So that sometimes takes a little bit. So we have to teach them how to talk to someone with all Zimers. You know, you have to be understanding, you have to be nice. If they forget something, you have to understand how to really cope with that. And what we did, who is I come sometimes to train them, if that’s okay, or we have videos we send them, sometimes all zoom, and sometimes the ambassadors who have been trained will even explain to them what they have to do. HMM. And do you, and you know this is an important thing because I know I work with therapy Docs. I don’t know if you know that about me, but we have a therapy dog organization and one of the things we do is we teach people on how to deal with people with the mention. One of the things is they’re having a hard time forming sentences. You don’t necessarily want to finish their sentence. It’s like it’s you want to allow them to process it and I want to allow them to finish. So we do a lot of that. I’m sure you do some of that as well. Is that correct? Yes, so we we tell them. You know, be patient of them. They might not understand stuff, they might need a little help. When we’re solving puzzles, you know, we want to engage them. You don’t want the volunteer just solve the puzzle themselves. We want them to help. You know sometimes, if my own experience, my grandmother would say I can’t solve the puzzle two week. So I would help her. Say, I would put the piece of it’s supposed to be at say can you push it in and shoot a feel that sense of accomplishment. So I all my volunteers. You want them to feel that sense of accomplished. Yeah. Yeah, now when you when you’re training them, do you help them in engaging in conversations and how do you do that? Yes, so we did that in many different ways. The first is if we have them stand up the puzzle box so they can see the image and we tell them to explain stuff about the details. Say to them if they’re selling a puzzle belt birds, what’s your favorite bird or do you like this bird? I like this bird, and it really engages them in and they’re like, Oh, I like this bird and it’s a really great conversation starter and HMM, and it probably to in engaging the conversation to is there. They’re probably going to be confused and who they are and probably not remember them from time to time. So there’s a lot of different types of education that they’re going to receive. I’m sure is I’m assuming yes, so go ahead. Yeah. So we tell them to just take their time with the puzzle because we don’t want them to rush and to make sure that the person is engaged. We don’t want them going ahead and we tell them, you know, we explain when all Zeimers is and how it can like sometimes make people frustrate and if they feel fresh rate to just take a breather and obviously they’re their plan visit. You know, it’s it’s having I love the thirty five pieces because not only is it great, but we also know that the attention span for for someone with Alzheimer’s is, you know, can’t, cannot be very long. So what you’re talking twenty minutes sometimes. Yeah, so good day. Yeah, would what are you finding? The average length of a visit takes? So sometimes we do hours, one hour, and it really depends if someone has solved a puzzle of their person. They’re matched up with and they want to stop, we let them do that, or sometimes people want to keep going and it’s really much. We want to do whatever works best for the senior. Yeah, that’s awesome. And how do you said something about matched up. How do you match people? So, yeah, so our goal is to have at least one or two students for every single senior. So like part of them coming, we explained to their see, we say, you know, for example, this is Catherine and she’s going to be your senior today, and they introduce himself. So they say hi, you know, my name is Haley, and they just talk of the person. Do you want to solve a puzzle? And then the person’s like yes, because you know, everyone loves to solve puzzles of kids. So they get to introduce and me and then they get to solve puzzles. That’s amazing. And how I’m assuming you still make visits, don’t you? I do. I go to my local facilities and I go to a facility that has people of cerebral policy and ALZIMER’s disease. You’re amazing. You’re amazing. And and how often do you go? Um, I go once a month or once a week, depending on how much I can go. Yeah, course, with covid everything changed, right. So, you know, we’re all too kind of starting to get back to the real world again and it’s been you know, there’s a new process again. What are you finding since covid? That’s an interesting question. Of Seniors. Are they more what’s what’s changed in the last two years? Yeah, so, over covid people are very isolated. I know my grandmother was herself because she was scary. Know she couldn’t see her family and it was very upsetting and we couldn’t get children and facilities. So what we would try to do is virtual puzzle time where they would just talk to their senior and we would have the volunteers send cards to their seniors. They were matched up before, and we would still send puzzles to the facilities, like our students would go there to drop off puzzles. But now we’re able to luckily, do puzzle time outside and facilities and they’re starting let people come back, and so we’re getting things back to normal now. Yes, we are, and I’m very glad to see that. I know that. You know, here in Seattle we got some we got creative. Like so many times, we had facilities like created booths with the plexiglass between and then they could use their cell phones, kind of like a jail visit, but they were on outside booth and then the if family could reserve the spot. So those were kind of fun. But we saw a lot of that kind of thing during you know, we did the best, we all did the best we could in our industry to connect seniors with people, but again there’s still so many that have fallen through the cracks. Now what are you doing? Are you doing anything with talking about marginalized? What about seniors that are isolated and still at home? Is there a program available for that yet? Yes, so we do zooms and we send puzzles to them and our students write letters to them, you know, stay talking to them and they can be pen pals. You know, sometimes, obviously the senior can’t write back, but just getting that letter and someone thinking about you really like, you know, worms your heart and it makes them happy. Yeah, and do you find to Haley that you’re that you’re you know, as you’re doing things you’re getting more response from different types of communities. What is there any sort of trending things that are happening at this point? Yes, so we’re trying to get into black and Latin next communities who don’t have a lot of resources and we really want more students to get involved there and we’re reaching out to facilities. Yeah, I’m mom, I’m on that five hundred percent and I have some people here in the Pacific northwest of I definitely want to hook you up with. Okay, it’s important. We have some incredible communities that are serving, you know, more in depressed areas in our country, in our city and different things like that. Is Seattle and certainly I know of other places around the US. So I would love an opportunity to bring you in and and have you introduce you to so many more, but also to so many kids out there. So, obviously, how do people you’re basically now? You mentioned the girl scouts earlier. How do you work with a girl scouts? Yes, so troops reach out to us or girls stops individually reach out to us. I’m also a girl’s Scout, so I would have my troop go and I would contact other girls stops and they can go their tribe and and they can go there and really solve puzzles. That is so cool. So we are going to talk then to wrap up our hour on a big, major call to action, and that is we want volunteers. We want people to go to Hayley’s website and we want people to start inquiring. Let’s get more people out there to serve our seniors. So, Haley, how do we do that? So you can do that by reaching out to us or emailing US or finding a local facility and telling us about it. You can bring puzzles, you can set up your own puzzle drive, left Puzzles. There’s so many different ways. MMM. Well, I’ve got a few ideas that I want to run by you, and one is we would love to sponsor a puzzle drive here in the Pacific northwest and maybe what we could do is partner with the local church communities here as well as some of the major senior living communities, that they would be collection points for you and then we can find a way to get them distributed in, you know, throughout the greater northwest region, and I would love to help you do that. If that would be something you’d be interested in. Would you be at I love that. Thank you so much. All right, girlfriend. And so anyway, Haley and I are going to be right back and we’re going to talk about inspiring the Pacific northwest and beyond. How do you get involved? Right after this answers for elders radio show with Suzanne Newman, hopes you found this podcast useful in your journey of navigating senior care. 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Originally published March 27, 2022