Kelley Smith at CarePartners Living discusses Alzheimer’s Care during September’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, of which CarePartners Living is a major sponsor. The Walk increases awareness for opportunities offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, including its support network. Talking about it improves awareness, leading to more research and support.
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The following podcast is provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. And welcome everyone to answers for elders radio here on our special weekend of the walk to end Alzheimer’s that is gone on today and is going been going on all this month, and we are here with one of the major sponsors and one of our very favorite people in the world, Kelly Smith from care partners, because my mom send you a check. Well, you know, I am really you know, this month has been so profound. Yeah, on the program because we have had so much amazing content from so many people that are there for our seniors, and I also want to thank care partners. You guys have not only our sponsors for the walk, but you also have sponsored some amazing psays that we have running right now on the radio. It’s an honor to do it. So you guys are all about education, so it’s Kye tell us a little bit about the walk and why it’s so important. The memory walk is a good way for the Alzheimers Association to get a public awareness for not only this terrible disease but the options that are out there for families. People don’t realize how many really good opportunities the Alzheimers Association has for them. You need somebody to talk to, you need some information on on options for your loved one. There’s so many different things that they do, but they got to get the word out. Yes, yes, and also, you know, just getting that word out too, is there’s there’s more than that. It’s about how do you respond and it’s really about the support network. That exactly. I know that we just had information with Kevin Adaberry, who’s got you know, he’s told his story and Kevin is amazing and such an you know his story, the heartbreak of what he went through. But it’s the feeling that you’re not alone. Yes, and I think the one thing that the Alzheimer’s walk does is it brings families together. Being people together star does. And it’s not a stigma. No, like like where you’re out in about you start talking about Alzheimer’s, it can be uncomfortable topic for many. Well, it can’t, and I’ve said this for a long time. There’s so many topics that ten years ago were taboo and now we live in a world where our children know things we wish they didn’t just by watching the news or our commercials. And again, why do we treat dementia, any form of it, as as something to be afraid of? We talked about it and get rid of that stigma, then what we do is we open up the doors for better research, more help and more support for those families and loved ones well, and I think that’s so important because, and that’s I think one of the great things it care partners does, is that you are such a lifeline also for families. Not only do you care for their loved ones, but you’ve telled me so many times about how you’re there to help counsel the families anytime, that sometimes they just need a friend to talk to. But, like you said, they also need to know they’re not the only ones going through this. It feels like it when it’s your mom. Right, it does, and it does because it’s going to be unique to that individuals far as what she’s dealing with, but the support for the families really doesn’t change much. They need to know they’re doing the best they can. People see the love and support were there for them and it’s okay to be sad, angry, tired, all of those emotions that go with this horrible disease. It’s okay, right, let us help you walk through it. Well, and you know, it’s so interesting because we I talked about the long goodbye with last timer’s. Yeah, you know, we greet. I think families grieve differently when they have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Well, yeah, we refer to about that. We refer to it as morning a living person, because they’re not gone, but they are gone in a way. That relationship used to have with this person you love so much isn’t the same. You get I’ve had I’ve had a, you know, young man come into my office and be very upset because grandma didn’t remember him. Honey, it’s not that she didn’t remember you, it’s that where she’s at in her journey, you weren’t born yet, but people don’t understand that. How can somebody forget me when we’ve had so much together? You know, you bring up a really good point. So where she is and her journey, Yep, you know, you weren’t born yet. Tell us a little bit about what happens to the mind of Alzheimer’s. I think this is really important as a care professional. They there. I know that that the connectors aren’t there, but obviously people start aggressing. Is that? Sure they do. It’s very common in in different forms of dementia. We see it more more with the Alzheimer’s patients right and it is they digressed to a place that they feel safe. Whenever you hear dementia resident or a loved one say they want to go home, it’s not about a house, it’s about a place. It’s about a time when they felt safe, when the world made sense, and as that brain is dying they’re looking for that person, you’ll or that place or that feeling. What our job is is to duplicate that feeling. We’ve had people that one of my one of my favorite residents that are Mil Creek community her she had digressed back to one thousand nine hundred and forty five Ohio and that’s where we all were every single day with her and her anxiety was gone, all of her concerns about where things were at. Sure, once we all got on the same journey whether she got very calm and very, very relaxed and the rest of her quality of life was wonderful. Well, and you know, home is didn’t like you said it. It’s different to every person. Yes, certainly. It’s where you feel the safest, is where you felt the most loved in and it’s about the familiar. Yeah, and you know, we talk about a lot just it’s natural tendency whenever you’re stepping into the unknown. The one thing you know, people resist change and coming into, you know, oftentimes moving into a care environment where it’s actually a better, you know, fit for them. There’s going to be an adjustment period, obviously, but obviously if you’re in a care situation or in an Alzheimer’s situation, there that’s a little bit of a unique circumstance. It is, it really is, because again, this person isn’t being forgetful because of a medication. Sta they’re not being forgetful because it’s normal aging. What they’re dealing with is unique to that disease, but the the life that they’ve had before this is going to play a part and how this plays out. Right, and that’s something else families need to understand. Mom’s journey is going to look very different than the lady she’s sharing a room with or the woman down the hall. Sure, because again, the life experiences are going to be different and that needs to be honored. Yes, yes, and certainly you know there’s so many breakthroughs that we’ve had. Yes, I want to reintroduce you. This is Kelly Smith and you are the vice president of sales of care partners living. Yes, ma’am, and you guys are amazing. Than in Alzheimer’s Dementia Care and you have seven locations around this manage its sound. Tell us a little bit about your cottages. The cottages footprint is what works for people with dementia. You’ve got little houses they can go and visit. They have an outside courtyard so they can go out and be out in the in the beautiful weather that we do. We do get here from times to time, yes, but again it’s it’s more more of the activities that make them feel successful, that make them feel like they’re part of a community. And it’s done very well, well, and you know it’s so amazing because you have this amazing concept. And I don’t know for your familiar with what the Queen of Sweden is doing with Ikea, and it would is I forget the other name of the organization, but in our sage advice newsletter I wrote a whole column on it. It’s very similar to your concept that they’ve got a whole village and it’s fantastic and it’s modular. Yeah, and it goes so awesome. Yeah, and but all the things that are that technology has been built in with with, you know, Matt, so we always know where mom or dad is inside. So it’s giving, you know, a glimpse into, I think, how a lot of future is going to be and I am so blown away by a lot of the efforts that are being made and your concept is very similar to that. That’s the whole thing. I was thinking of these little modular villages, same kind of thing, like a community, and there they got they’re going to put their own little store in and their own little, you know, community place where people can come together like that. So they feel like they’re going to a coffee shop exactly. And that’s the thing that I think is so cool about the breakthroughs of Alzheimer’s, of what. Yeah, there’s so much that they’re doing now, and it’s all residence centered. It’s all around taking care of our folks with dementia, because we’re finally getting to a place where people are learning that this disease can hit anyone at any time. Our job is to give these people the best quality of life and that’s a great way to do it. And you guys do a lot of things to help with you know, just music, are therapies and things like that. Before we get into that, I’m going to do that in our next segment. We’re going to talk specifically about the cottages, but I want to talk about as families are today. It may they may not be ready for moving them yet. Oh No, what are some tips that you have for families today on how to communicate with somebody that has all signs? Well, first of all, slow down and really pay attention to what’s happening. Find Out, especially when somebody’s been first diagnosed. It’s really important, I think, for families to sit down with that person and say, talk to me, mom, tell me. Do you want me to finish your sentences for you when the time comes when you can, or do you want me to be patient and let you do it? What kind of help do you really want us to do, or what do you want us to try to let you be as independent with? I think it’s important for families to understand those preferences and make sure that we show that respect to that person you got to remember the one thing that they’re always afraid they’re going to lose is their dignity. So, no matter what, don’t don’t treat dad like he’s five just because he’s forgetful. He’s still eighty. He just has got a little bit of some memory concerns now and we have to keep him safe, right. That doesn’t mean we have to treat him like a child. Well, and you knew. You bring up such an important piece. It’s the fact of don’t correct, you know, distract, or give alternatives or you know, there’s different things. I know that when I had my mom with me, and you know some of the things that I had to learn the hard way. Yeah, and the hard way was I wanted to correct her, I wanted to finish your sentences, I wanted to do those things because it was a natural thing for me to do. And what I learned is that was not the right thing to do. It was allowing her her own process and just being there. And you you made such a very powerful statement about slowing down. Yeah, we don’t have to run it five hundred miles an hour. And and that’s the thing, I think that so valuable about our you know, the path that we walk with our loved ones. Yeah, just again, it’s about it’s about their journey and it’s about making sure that we’re in step with that journey. Yeah, yeah, absolutely so. Obviously you guys also do a lot of community events and you now you are one of the main sponsors of the alzhammers walk. Yes, and you’ve been doing this for how long? At least ten years, maybe even longer. Wow. Wow. And and it’s really a powerful thing for for families today to have a resource like you, because obviously your meeting and kept and talking to families right now at the walk, doing different things, you know, and learning their stories and us and we encourage each and every one of you. I know Kelly’s here and you’re going to I’m sure you’re hearing her spots all over the radio right now and I just want to thank you, Kelly. Thanks very much for number one, doing this because I think it’s important. But the other thing that’s really important is the fact that you’ve just been such a huge resource for people and support for the alsi thank you. Very proud of our company. We’ve done a good job as a team and and it’s not just me, it takes a village and I’m very proud of care partners in the way they’ve handled the response to this terrible disease. Yes, and so for those that want more information, please go to care partners livingcom the preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go to care partners livingcom
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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.