Daphne Davis at Pinnacle Senior Placements talks about how everyone needs the confidence to speak their mind from a place of kindness, but as families begin to face these sorts of challenges, the parent/child relationship often gets in the way. For instance, the child wants their parent to continue making decisions, while at the same time the parent may have reached a stage in their life where they think they’d like to have help with certain things yet they have this parental role where they feel they need to maintain their image, or level of responsibility,or their authority. So both parties really want to come together in the middle but don’t know how.
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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.
And Welcome back everyone to answers for elders radio on this last fifteen minutes of the program and I definitely are hours always go fly by and I am you know, I get so enthralled in so much wisdom that you have and you know, I think about you know what you’ve been talking about and I come at it as being the adult child, because that’s where I came from. I was the caregiver for my mother and I always say I’m the poster child for everything that could have gone wrong. Did go wrong because I, even though I had good intentions, I made a lot of bad decisions because I didn’t understand. Specifically, I gave up my life, I lost my job, I lost my house, all of those things that happen because I really I didn’t take care of myself. I you know, I threw myself into it because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was kind of like treading water in the sea and I think there’s a lot of times that care providers, care partners, caregivers, family members, they don’t they don’t know what they don’t know and they because this is kind of like a you know, I a situation where you know I’m the mother or I’m the father and you’re not going to interfere in my life. There’s that dynamic. We is. Adult children don’t necessarily how to know how to move the conversation forward, and you know, I I’m so respectful of you because I love how you advocate for that, but at the same time you also advocate you’re still the daughter, you’re still the sun and you don’t take it over, and that’s where I’m I’m excited to learn from you in this last segment. So sorry, I wanted to frame it up properly. No problem, no problem at all, and that is exactly it. It’s everyone needs to just feel confidence to speak their heart with kindness, because that’s where most of us are coming from. There’s some exceptions, but most of the are coming from kindness and wishing for a high quality of life to our last breath, and there are ways of achieving that. One of the things that can get in that way is the relationship of parent child. Okay, and it’s usually, usually it’s from the child perspective that doesn’t want to step on mom or Dad’s toes. I want them to continue to make their decisions, I want them to be in charge and at the same time, the parent maybe at the place that says in their head, I really could use some help in this, but they have this parental role, whether it be, you know, matriarchal or patriarchal family. I have this role and I need to uphold my image, my level of responsibility, my intellect, my authority. I mean, there’s lots of emotions that come into this and both parties really want to be coming together in the middle but don’t know how to and we assume things from the other side. The parent wants help, it’s not going to ask for it because they think their child needs to have the parent and the child doesn’t want to usert the responsibilities and the authority of their parent. Big News Flash. There’s a time when it can become more equal and it’s healthy. It’s healthy to engage in conversations that say, let’s let’s try doing this together, when there is no cognitive impairment at all. Zero that can sometimes be the most challenging. What instead of cognitive impairment, what you there usually is is an energy level that we only have a certain number of units of energy each day and how are we going to use that energy? And so sometimes it’s more of an exhaustion thing or I only have so much bandwidth to take on for the paint, and so it is. And so it’s not that they can’t do it, it’s that our energy level is not the same as when we were forty or fifty years old. And I think that’s what you’re saying to is it is the fact that maybe this is several little conversations, not this one drug out, because you’re right, mom or dad may not have the same stamina that that they had, you know, aven a year ago, especially because they’ve been isolated and and if they’ve been isolated, even to go. I know for me, I walk into grocery store because I haven’t been inside one for so long and when I after I got vaccinated, I’m actually, you know, I wear my mask and I go into the grocery store and I do my grocery shopping again. But all the Studiulus, it’s like I’m not used to it into takes a little bit to change into that. And so I think a lot of what you’re saying is so valid in the fact that you know, you start where you stand in the saying goes, it’s like you know they’re they’re at different stages that were all at and we need to respect each other for where we’re at and that’s, I think, something that we can all work on, no matter where your parents. That’s exactly right. So if you’ve chosen to involve someone from Pinnacle, we’re going to talk about that energy level, and so it gives it rational thought process versus this is crass, you know, but the idea that says you’ve had so many birthdays and you’re old and you just can’t do it anymore, that is not good. No, no, no, you can do it. It’s just let’s pick the right day to do whatever it is and let’s try and eliminate the things that are so grounded in survival mode that you’re using a half of your energy each day just for survival and don’t have any time or energy from moving. So those are just some thoughts I want to plant in your head. That says why it’s okay to engage in a more equal decision making process. So I think something okay to userve the traditional roles. Yeah, I think some of the things you talk about, which I’m going to bring up again in this segment, is values. It’s not. It’s not that adult child’s values your parents value and it’s kind of hard when you’re coming from a lens of being emotionally tied into your parent as a as their child. You’re not going to see them in the same way. Definitely’s going to see them. I you know, with my mother, like you talk about the newspaper, I didn’t even really think it was that big a deal. It was a huge deal for her that she got her newspaper every day. I you talked about the couple just in a previous segment. Their dog was a huge issue. You know, they’d better be able to keep that dog. And what if the dog is is bigger than the requirements of the community. You know all of those things. Maybe mother or Dad, they belong to a Bible study and they want to make sure that they’re part of that or anything those things like that we may as adult children. They not realize the weight of what those are in the in the hierarchy of who they are. I guess it’s what I’m saying is that is that a good play? As absolutely, and what that does is when you’re searching for a place for some going to live, if they need to leave their home and create the next chapter of life in a community of care and explore new adventures and new, you know, hobbies or something. How do you even begin to choose a community of care right and if you don’t have the insight of knowing what’s really important to your to your family, to your mom and dad, how can you even begin to make that decision? It’s that’s where you have to start. You know, is it important to be able to have a door that walks to the outside from their apartment if they’re at a community, you know, on assistant living, or isn’t that important? NOPE, I don’t care. Window air is just fine. I want to be on the third floor. Did you even think to offer, you know, that option or know what to offer exactly? And you don’t know necessarily why? You know what would be important? I could, I know, like my mind. My mom was a gardener and I just assumed now she liked your flowers and she wanted me to plant flower pots in the spring, but she didn’t care about the rest of the stuff, and I was like wow, I thought you were really into gardening, mom. No, I mean, yeah, that was nice because I had the yard, but I don’t really that’s not important to me. Oh really, since you would be no, it’s actually too much maintenance for me. I don’t want to deal with it. So it’s like so I goes back to the energy. You know, the energy have you today. That’s not where I want my energy to go anymore. Those things are all important to figure out. Now, when you go to an assistant living community, there’s going to be community relations people there. There’s, you know, going to be the people who help you know what their services are. Make sure they take the time. If you’re doing this on your own, please make sure that taking the time to really understand highest values, understand personality types. Are they outgoing? Are they shy? Do they take a while to warm up? Do they ever warm up? Are they more of a were close? Those things have to be known in order to have a successful move. The other thing that I hear right now is because people have been in the same spot that they’ve been living for a year because of our covid situation, they’re now saying, you know what, my mom is just miserable, miserable. She’s never really liked it there. She thought she was going to make use of the activities. There’s been no activities. Now they’re starting to come back. Yes, we can fit, you know, a couple people at a table in the dining room now. But she never assimilated into the community. What do we do? How do we how do we navigate this? And what I hear from families consistently is I wish we would have talked to you the first time around. I hear it all the time. I empower all our listeners. Yet right the first time around on it and that. The other thing is just because of community is in your neighborhood and you think it’s convenient for you, it may not be the right fit for your loved one. So understand that even if it’s a great community, it may not fit with their values, it may not fit with the quality of life that your loved one is looking for. And so with that I am just really this is important, very important conversation and and you know, I guess. I guess for me and as we close out this hour, you know what would you say that, and I’m going to put you quickly on the spot. One of the top three things as a as an adult child, what should we be thinking of? It happen, you know, in these conversations trying to be observant, not an automatic pilot with your parents. Everybody’s on automatic pilot and we’ve been doing the same thing for the last year from a distance. So try to be a little more aware of what’s actually being said and happening on a daily basis when you’re interacting with your parents. Okay, be a little bit of a fluth. Second thing is, please reach out to someone to do this journey with you. This is another whole chapter. When you were looking for child care for your kids, if you were working, you did research, there were services. You did not just choose the first child care to have. You know your children taken care of. When you were getting ready to retire, you probably talk to somebody about one. Are the best decisions and how to maximize my retirement benefits? When do I get social security? You talked to a professional. Do the same with this next chapter of life for your parents. So so don’t be afraid. They’re and then the other thing is to remember, and you brought this up, it’s not about you sentences, but Iye sentences, and to try hard not to alienate people through your tiredness, to your frustration, to your emotional weariness. It takes a lot. Your emotional weariness and your emotional place in life is just as important as your parents, but you are the stronger of the two people right now. Perfect. So definitely, how do we reach you can reach me at eight hundred and fifty five, seven, three, four, one thousand fifteen hundred or at our website, which is Pinnacle Senior Placementscom, and I want to reach out to all of our listeners and talk about these conversations together, as as your siblings, with your with your loved ones, the people around you. Let’s come together as a community, let’s find immunity together, let’s talk to each other with respect and I look forward to definite always being with us in our journey as a community coming together. And until next week, everyone, be good to each other.
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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.