Katherine Lyons, the president and owner of BrightStar Care, talks about the emotions that a senior loved one goes through during the process of accepting home care.
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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.
This is a special presentation of answers for elders with bright star care of North Seattle, and thanks so much for being a part of answers for elders everyone. Today we have a special guest, Kathine lions from Bright Star Care, who we’re going to be talking about really the emotional change that your senior loved one goes through when it comes to accepting home care and can’t be thanks so much for being here when thank you for inviting me, Suz I am, you know, one topic that we all should be talking about. This is crossing more than just home care. It’s the fact of the really the emotional and mental process that seniors deal with as they start to lose their faculties and lose their ability to, you know, be their normal self. And of course it’s hard for families today, and I’m sure you deal with that a lot, don’t you? I do. And it’s so multifaceted it because sometimes they honestly don’t even recognize that they have lost it. It’s not just a bright issue because if the cognitive decline is their first sign is they don’t realize it’s been three days. They have, you know, shower, to brush their teeth, right. They think it was just five minutes ago. HMM, and so they think their prop properly taken care of themselves. Right, and so it’s not a matter even denial. They don’t have the capacity to even know. Sure, sure, so it’s twofold. It is capacity and and it’s also the ability to have the capacity. Sure, and I’m sure for family members, there’s a lot of us that are in denial about our parents. And other words, we think mom and dad are just fine and we might show up, you know, once a month for something to borrow a you know, a card table or something, and then we turn around and we realize that, you know, we’re not paying attention either. And it’s not I don’t even want to make families feel quote bad for not paying attention. It’s just that when you have a history of someone, there is so much history and ability to be able to compromise the exposure because of that history. We’re seeing what we want to see. HMM. And it’s interesting because we’re talking about everybody’s getting older. You know, obviously we’re all aging, but when it comes to what is normal aging versus aging when care is needed, there it’s probably a difference isn’t there? There is a difference and the question I often ask is what adapt adaptations are being made as we age, because we adapt as our children grow. We release some of the controls we have on them and the guidelines, and I am sometimes hasn’t use the word in parallynas paralyzing it with children, but we really do have to look at it that way because it is a total reversal of it. And you know, let’s all face at the movie Bungamin Benjamin Button. was very touching, but it’s also very true too, because that need is there and we need to be able to recognize that it’s not a negative. It is actually very beautiful for embrace it. It is it’s very rewarding. That’s how I got into this business, was being able to help care for my grandma. What became a quote responsibility became probably one of my best memories with her is the joy I was able to provide to her by enabling her to be able to do what she wanted to do as independently as she could instead of totally giving it up and in saying I can’t do this by myself anymore and it’s just I met at loss at words for it, because a lot of people perceive care in the home as a negative, but it’s not a negative. It’s totally a positive and it’s an embracing and bringing a higher quality of life to that individual. It is and once you know, I I’m lucky when I look at my experience of taking care of my mom. She was so gracious and accepted of the care and and so incredibly grateful for it. But in working with families every day, I know that it’s a struggle for many families to that, to embrace those pieces and as Alzheimer’s or dementia kind of involves too, that can be, you know, alarming to families. How you know, things that will come out of your parents mouth or or, you know, different ways in which they are not taking care of their daily bills or things like that that normally they always were on top of. And because health and safety, yeah, it’s not just a matter of acceptance. It becomes a matter of health and safety for them. You know, if they are starting to lose some thought processes, are they a wandering right, right, right, you know, and how are you going to feel? How am I going to feel, if they are one of the people that go out for a walk one day and don’t come in. It does happens daily and we always think it’s not going to happen to us until it does. Right, it’s like we’re all in denial of our own families. It’s like how many times do I talk to families and I’ll say, will tell me about your folks? Oh, mom and dad are just fine now. Just fine is all relative. It is. It’s all relative and and it’s always makes you know, me a little bit concerned because mom or dad, I mean if, for example, of Dad’s okay by himself, but he just forgets things sometimes, but he wants to remain independent. That doesn’t mean he’s beyond the need for care. Is that correct? That’s correct, because what’s he just forgetting? Sometimes it’s a forgetting to take that medication he needs to keep his blood pressure down. Or is he double taking it, you know, because he forgot he took a ten minutes ago, right, you know, it’s that he just forgets some time. Can Be so serious? It could be. It definitely could be. And for those of us that are adult children, you know, we are the type of people we have. Our lives are careers in many cases we have our children still living in our home if they’re, you know, of college age or whatever, and we’re that sandwich generation that sometimes we you know, we’re doing the best if we can. There’s isn’t any you know, rationale and by all means you shouldn’t feel guilty because you call a home care agencies. A matter of fact, that is doing the right thing for your parents. It’s so any right thing for your parents also doing the right thing for yourself. To it is conserving your energy and ability to be there for them three months and four months down the road when more difficult, challenging questions will may come up. You are preserving your energy and taking a track to build yourself with a team of people to our care. So we’re talking to Kathy Lions from Bright Star Care here in Seattle, and Cathy give me this. Give us a quick overview of the area that you serve here in puget sound. Well, our office is located in the North Seattle area, but we service clients anywhere from, you know, des Moines area all the way up into ever it we have clients and mill creeks, no homemage north band. So it’s the whole east side and I would say evert down to about Burien. That’s wonderful. And you guys provide what’s called a non medical home care. Is that correct? That is correct, and so that means basically assistance with activities of daily living, and this is something I really want to share with people out there is that this assistance of daily living isn’t something that is, quote, medically right diagnosed. It’s something that you know, the doctor must may say, I think your mother or aunt may need help with this, and it’s up to us as a family to say, okay, how are we going to achieve that? Sure, and that’s where Bright Star care comes in. Absolutely, and really to work collaboratively with the family, like we’ve done in an earlier state segment that you talked about. And I think the other side of it, and just kind of in our closing times, is what are some tips you can give families that are looking to provide care for their loved one? How should they approach the conversation? I think they should approach the conversation is very information thinking, not saying this is what we have to do, but let’s discover what our options are and make a decision with the facts of out there right, not just react at the moment when something has to be done. Right. So let’s be more proactive, let’s know what our options are and if you know, you’re not thinking that they’re going to succumb to care right now and or be inviting to care right now. Let’s say, okay, so when you do feel like you may need care and we’re not going to discuss what that looks like, what’s it going to be? Are we going to have someone come into your home, or you going to come live with us, or are you going to totally move out of your home and go somewhere else for care? Yeah, and so it’s more of a discovery stage, HMM. And let’s just discover and know what our options are and then when a time comes, you have those tools and resources to be able to say, well, remember when, or let’s just try this for a couple weeks, because nothing is this right. Really, haven’t us come into the home. Is the low let least permit of all options and it can be changed very quickly when I think the other piece of this too, is is that get the doctor involved. If you’re going to your family doctor and you’re going to a doctor appointment. I know a little trick I used to do with the doctor is I would just write a note to the doctor and I would put it in a white envelope and I would say mom’s having challenges at Xyz Hmm, and I felt it was the most honoring of her that I didn’t get into that dialog with him in front of her, but yet it gave me an opportunity to give that information so the doctor can say, well, I understand you’re having some challenges with, you know, bathing and dressing, and you know my suggest I’d liked, you know, say to the doctor, I’d like you to discuss potential home care options, and it’s amazing when it comes from a healthcare professional or something like that. That, I think, is an important part of the process and doctors really do like it when we get involved because our nurse is on right instant contact with them, especially their clients that are medications, and if they’re noticing a difference, you know, we they nurses called a talk pair to pair with the doctor’s nurse and you know it’s just it’s more of a collaborative team environment, because a doctor’s only see them for that short amount of time. When they they’re in the office right, seeing them on their home on a daily basis really gives them the tools that they need to better do their job. Yes, absolutely, is that important? So, Cathy, tell us a little bit about how we reach you. You can call us at our office, at our numbers to zero, six, seven, seven, seven, one, husand and Ninetyzero, or you could choose to Google us on the web, and that’s a bright star Carecom and just put in your Zip Code and our number of pop up that way. And when we cut, when people call you, what should they expect? Do they expect you to come to their home and meet with you or what? What would be the next step? Well then, first of all, you know, we’ll get some basic information, but that would be our next step. Is, after we rather the basic information, to set up at the time for the nurse and myself or a client care manager to come into the home and speak with the family and share what we can do and assist with them and see what the family’s goals are, see how the patient feels about all of us. That’s answer some of their concerns, because sometimes they just need to know that they still have a choice and power in the decision and one question I hear them often ask is, what if I don’t like my caregiver, what can I do? And I say well, you let us know, because we need to find someone that you’re comfortable with absolutely and if you’re not comfortable with that person, you’re never going to develop a bonding relationship with sutter. And just having them know that they’re not going to have someone come in that they aren’t comfortable with day and and day out is such a peaceful feeling to Cassie, thank you so much for being on the program today and thank you for inviting me. This has been a special presentation of answers for elders with Brightstar care of North Seattle. For more information for bright STAR CARE OF NORTH SEATTLE, go to a Bright Star carecom that’s Bright Star carecom
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.