Alzheimers Caregivers-Sending You Encouragement Today
00:00:00 – 00:05:27
Bean and Alzheimer’s caregiver can be one of the longest marathons will ever undertake. I am unaware of anyone who has gone on this journey alone. It’s entirely reasonable to need help with getting help and taking care of yourself is critical to taking good care of your loved one what better place to learn new things and get some needed encouragement than from another caregiver home placement consultant and certified senior advisor. Cameron Crawford has walked the Alzheimer’s sandwich generation Journey like many caregivers. She created something to help other caregivers off in addition to starting a senior placement service. She has also created a caregiver Facebook page for people with aging parents in the Denver area. Their goal is to be a resource for caregivers bounces sandwich generation adults siblings friends and loved ones Cameron and I share a lot of encouraging advice for caregivers in this episode. This episode is brought to you by caregiver Chronicles and eight-week online course covering everything from diagnosis through hospice. For more information use the link in the notes. Welcome to fading memories a podcast with advice wisdom and Hope from caregivers who have lived the experience and survived to tell the tale both of us as your caregiver. Best friend with me. Today is Cameron Crawford. She is a care home placement expert a long-distance caregiver, and we’re going to talk a little bit about both of those topics. We’re also mostly going to focus on encouraging caregivers today. So thank you for joining me Cameron. Thank you for having me. So why don’t you give the listeners your bio so that I don’t mess it all up. My name’s Karen Crawford. I live in Colorado right outside Denver my mom. On was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about twelve years ago. I’m very much the sandwich generation. I remember when I got the film called that we thought she might off all timers. I was at my preschoolers soccer game. And so I’m coming from both ends in realize I’m in fact, I call it more of a panini press sandwich generation because a lot of pressure on both sides. I literally cried the force first four years. I was just devastated. I adore my mom. She’s this beautiful Steel Magnolias from Texas and I would fly down every six to eight weeks and just kind of help out going the doctor’s appointments hoping thought processes in place. Well prior caregivers or she would fly up and stay with me for six or eight weeks and and I was just sad I was sad, I would look at my other friends and Ed. No one else was going through the same thing because my mom was pretty young when she was diagnosed and I would just totally have Mom Envy or I hear somebody’s mom flying into Palm with the kids and I just thought my mom can’t do that. I have no expectation for my mom. All I can do is help her after a while. I kind of became the go-to person for my fridge when they are parents started entering the stage and then when my mom had a really big decline my dad considered maybe in her up here to live in a community closer to me off. And so the first thing I did was kind of went online and got some information about different places around me and I was referred to a place that I knew I should have a great reputation and I just wondered why anybody would refer me to them and when I asked you know why they said well, I I don’t know I’ve never been in there. I just home. Yeah, and I’m like, well, I kind of done a Google search of assisted living’s by me, but I wish I had somebody walking beside me that actually knew what’s going on new the owner’s name Carey history. And so I that became kind of my thing is to stop crime but on my big-girl panties and do something that that can help officers. And so I started a company that would help people find appropriate memory care and assisted living’s and independent senior living for their parents while doing that. I just I just have a huge heart for other caregivers because it’s hard. I didn’t feel like I had anybody to ask questions too and I would ask my friends parents questions because they were going through the same things that I didn’t have any friends that were going through this so I started a private Facebook group that is just an encouragement for local family caregivers Club. It’s whole purpose is to encourage educate and connect other Caregivers for the aging parent Prime and it has become this lovely in a community of people who encourage each other, you know, you know, we know a lot of each other’s stories, you know, it started out really small and it’s grown 2600 people which isn’t huge but I don’t want it to be huge.
00:05:27 – 00:10:06
I want it to be local people that need to be there that are other caregivers. I have some other professionals on there that can answer questions about hospice and home care and a lawyer but all of them know that our roles are just support day care givers and not to promote our own business days. So that’s for the a real joy and a great way for me to kind of just connect with other people share what I know and then to ask questions to I don’t know all the answers so long Put on there like oh, my mom has some strange rash around her. I what do I do and by different people give me suggestions of things. I should think about or talk about or look at and you’ve been very helpful. So doing right. So, that’s me. I live in Denver. I have three kids in high school in one in college and I’m right there in between, you know God watching out for my kids and hopefully launching them but also caregiving now long distance for my mom so is do you have siblings I do and that’s I have two brothers that lived in Texas close to my parents and that has been a really neat story about how we’ve all kind of learned to figure out our roles and caregiving at the beginning that I was like the all-in package. That was my I’m the only daughter and I say, you know in those families the daughter gets the China and the mom that’s our job. That’s true. And I want the white China and Hong Kong. Care about but after a while when one of my brother’s lives with them and so we’ve all evolved in our roles and within the past three years. We’ve all kind of sucked into sharing roles and Trust in each other and communicating well and working together to to do the best for caregiving. It was a little tricky at first it took a while and how did you guys kind of go about that? Because that’s unfortunately not the norm which is yeah. Well, we argued a lot at first seriously we are again there were a lot of tears not all from me all cried at some point I think and I think we one of the big conversations that we had recently was that we just need to trust each other and that we always expect that the other person has the is doing the best job. Can and some of us can invest more time some of us are more Hands-On some of us do the background work. I handle all like calling the doctors and hospice and handling that because that’s kind of my realm but my brother’s there. So he’s doing a lot of Hands-On things. And so and even you know, right now I I made a call about something that one of my name is Dan agree with and I said, you know remember we’re all going to trust each other here. We’re going to trust we’re doing the right thing and we’re going to have a lot of Grace and we’re in this together. And so it’s it’s worked out. I feel like after 12 years. We have finally gotten a down and are working well together, but it was we argued a lot and we didn’t trust each other along if we wondered why people were making decisions or we want to control is probably the big thing and just realizing that we you know, we can do anything. Thing but we can’t do everything so you need to have a team working together and we work a lot better as a group but took a lot of conversations to get to that. Yeah, my sister and I never got to that point. I was never a lot of trust before and for a while after while our dad was in the hospital for months and then he was on hospice and then for probably the first year mom was in the memory care we were you know, at first I would go visit mom and give her my sister the feedback on what happened and then and she would do the same thing and after a while it got to the point where it was like God, you know, it was just a normal visit nothing, you know of import happened. So, you know, I probably didn’t text her and that might I probably should have text her and said, you know, I’ll just let them know if something important happens, but you know, I I think I erred possibly in the wrong direction on trying not to overwhelm with information that was unnecessary birth. And I think I might have looked like not communicating because the you know, the trust level wasn’t there.
00:10:06 – 00:15:11
So, you know you guys are in twelve years to work on it that we only had three practical things we did cuz your point is really good is every email we send out we copy everyone on it. And then we have a shared Google documents that has all the information in it. So it has all the doctors information all the Care routines any meds. And then when we get some calls, we do a a zoom or a conference call so that we over communicated. So we have we didn’t communicate very well at the beginning and just this year’s eve started over communicating and that’s helped a lot that’s good to know because I think because you’re not there in Texas with your parents as the only daughter birthday. That might have helped prevent you from being the primary everything which ends up happening right and in our family and this is not just my sister and I are just greedy at family. But like it seems to be the both sides both parents side of the family like we have control freak syndrome something fierce that I have that disease home. I mean, I’ve learned to control it cuz my husband’s an only child and I had to deal with my sister and you know, sometimes it’s just like you just have to understand that you want to do with your way and you think your way is best and they want to do it their way and they think their way is best and you know what you just want the best for the person you’re caring for. So maybe just just release your need to do it your way. Yes, you know, let them prove their way is not right that was always on a theory and everybody approaches things differently. Like I said, my sister still has school age kids and dead. No, it’s just I think she put like I think she probably felt seriously Panini need her in-laws lived with them and have for thirteen years. Yes thirty years or fourteen fourteen years now. Wow, and they didn’t expect the in-laws to live that long. So his typical caregiving that you know, it always ends up longer than you think it’s going to they don’t need Hands-On care. It’s just they were poor and not in great health. So, you know, she’s got them and you know, so they’re the they’ve had their kids as long as they’ve had his parents. It’s just like wow, it’s a lot. Yeah and you know, and then we have to deal with my mom. So, you know, I think it’s just a seriously got Panini. I like that term Allah well and I had someone at the beginning when I was doing most of it and I was kind of complaining I’m like, oh my God. That’s why am I doing everything in someone said, you know when other people are involved their opinions starts to matter and you have to listen to their opinions. So do you want other people’s opinions or do you just wanna do what do you think is right and I’m like, well, of course I want to do what I think is right and they said okay be thankful that you’re the only one doing this because you don’t have to listen to anybody else’s opinion. And so I got actually kind of worked and relieved me at the beginning and then when we all started working together, you know, there were a lot of advantages that too because and we take turns who’s going to be the bad guy since I’m long-distance. I don’t I can be the bad guy and I’m not in the same town as people and not in the line of fire. Yeah. So I volunteered to do a lot of the dirty work because my brothers have to do a lot of Hands-On work. So I don’t know we just kind of balance. He was good at what and try to log The person that’s good at at handle it but it’s tricky families totally complicated. There is very true. And you know, it’s just personalities don’t help. Yeah. Oh so you got a phone call that said. Oh we think Mom might have Alzheimer’s we ended up at my parents house the Tuesday after Thanksgiving 2016 off and realized that my dad thought it was 1998 and my mom already had supper. So I was like, holy crap what’s going on? So we were literally dropped off a cliff into having to figure out what the heck to do. And so, you know, most people they end up caregivers like that. It’s like want I think a lot of 1 guests of mine basically referred to it as that Tuesday afternoon a phone call that none of us, right? I can see that. Yeah, like I think culturally we don’t want to think about becoming old and frail. Yep. Eating help when seventy percent of us will need care before we die and don’t think that you’re going to end up in the 30% cuz the 30% doesn’t usually end up needing care cuz they’re gone off.
00:15:11 – 00:20:02
It’s like a plan that you’re going to need care. But what advice do you have for those who suddenly find themselves torn between their life and the needs of a loved one home mom or my mom or you know, like when you get that Tuesday afternoon phone call I said you spent what three years crime. So, how do we how do we avoid that? I think that’s when I talked to people the very first few years, I think are the hardest ones because all of a sudden your normal and all of your expectations are different your parents the roles all of a sudden switch and like you said, you’re all of a sudden trying to scramble and figure out what’s what to do next and you just have no IDE Yeah, because people learn before you have the kid people give you books you go to classes and you’re preparing yourself, when all of a sudden your parent needs care or something’s changed, you know, unless you just happen to be a social worker or have some type of background which most of us don’t so the very first thing I think is finding that community of people to support you. Whether that’s I remember going to the my first Old Timers meeting. My mom was she was so mild the whole time that the time and I was like, I was super young and everybody else there is in their seventies and it wasn’t a great fit, but I tried I was trying to find people somewhere to connect with us right now. I think it’s so much easier life. There’s so many virtual options. There’s a lot of Facebook options. There’s a lot of Community Options. And so I think you need to find people that know what you’re talking about and where you are dead. When I would go stay with my Mom I’d say it was like being in the Twilight Zone because everything in the world that moves so slowly and we’re watching The Hallmark Channel all day long and it’s just a totally different world and people don’t understand it unless they’re care givers and so finding another caregiver support group is is just really key to at least people understand what you’re going through. I agree and I would have relished having you in my support group because I was the youngest unless somebody brought one of their adult children with them and I was also the person whose loved one had had Alzheimer’s the longest so I was like, I wouldn’t Prague booby prize maybe off and it was fine. You know, I never felt out of place. My mom at that point was very Advanced and I was kind of like, why did I not think of Googling for a support group home? This before my dad did most of the the work and he didn’t accept help from my sister. And I she did eventually start I think on a monthly basis throwing together crock pot meals that were you know, like freezer bag and so he would just throw them in the Crock-Pot and and go he was a horrible cook and obviously my mom couldn’t I couldn’t manage making the sandwich anymore and that was how she helped and but he resisted everything I tried to do like I researched the adult an adult Day program that was closest to them was like way across town you had to place multiple schools including the community college and I don’t know if it was him that had problems in the morning or her thought he was just completely resistant to the idea. He wouldn’t even go look at it. And I knew it would benefit both of them. I’m like, you know in the back of my head. I was thinking well the hell if if it’s best for her you need this and home. Just like not interested and I kind of at that point physically checked out because I’m like if you’re just going to keep fighting me on help then I’m just going to do what I need to do. And so we ended up like I said dropped off the cliff when his mind went back to the way it was not a lovely day. So I ended up finding the support group cuz I went down to one grief support group after he passed away again be one of the super youngest people there and I’m trying to get over my dad and my mom is referring to him as her husband and it was just it was just I’m like the grief over losing him is one thing but dealing with her is this whole other thing and these people right? They have no clue and took I went home and I Googled like Alzheimer’s support group and found it and I’ve been in it. I’ve missed two meetings in three years one is because they’re Virtual Office. Was out walking the dog and I looked at my watch and I went Loops.
00:20:03 – 00:25:11
I’m like and I don’t have a strong enough internet signal to like log in with my phone. So and I got chastised for missing wage. Right? Well, they wonder where you were. Well, that’s the thing they become your people and so with my Facebook group, I I keep it private cuz I don’t want anybody to be able to see everybody else is private stuff. I wanted to be a safe place for people to be able to talk and share and share a family story of share mom. The story is without having that be public knowledge. But I you know, I was out riding my bike on a trail and someone was coming this way and I’m like seeing them you’re Sam you’re on my group and he’s like, oh my gosh, and that was like so and when I analyze those people have actually become clients of mine that I’ve help find placement for and when we meet it’s like meeting an old friend because we have shared these stories together off. I I know that your mom fell and broke her hip and so you just need people that understand and that no more than you do because even though I feel like I know a lot I didn’t know that there was a Force program thirty minutes from my house for people with Alzheimer’s but someone in that group did or I didn’t know there is a an old-timer croquet grew up in the middle of Denver that spares school-age kids with people with Alzheimer’s sounds so fun. That was fun such a great idea. And so you start mixing with these people in everybody has different experiences and those different resources and it just opens up the you know, you’re all timers World a little bit more and what’s a lot of real life positive things. So being it’s being a smaller group. I did. I did answer the questions. So you have to like let me into your group, but that was earlier today. So you’ve been busy. Make a balance on one of my issues with a lot of those Facebook groups is well, I see people who ask questions that it’s like, oh my gosh, these people need a lot more education and they’ll get like four hundred responses and it’s like I try to scroll through like one person was asking about is it normal for somebody with alzheimer’s only wash eat like junk food. I’m like, yeah it is and there’s a couple of reasons for it and there was like three hundred and eight responses and a lot of it. It was insane. I’m like crazy. It’s not much after a while, you know, and somebody I just I find a lot of those things to be more like, you know, you can do it. You don’t need to put your loved one in a in a home and and you know, it’s just I almost feel like the encouragement ends up in a negative position which that makes sense, but it’s like I have looked in on him for two years and then I’m not a huge Facebook fan off. One of my problems but I think like our support group is next week. And so I’m like, you know, if we just had a group Facebook for the people that are my support maybe other people that are like closed by like just in our town that might actually be really beneficial. Well even things like giving away equipment. Someone had a spitz establish which are the amazing less that they’re not as it’s not like a Hoyer lift where you’re lifting somebody at but it was one of our Facebook page views parents had ALS and they were able to use that almost up until the last month of her life Wow. And when her mom passed away she has this amazing piece of equipment we were able to give away we’ve given away hospital beds and Walkers and if somebody has a need they can go on there and ask. Yeah, I haven’t thought about that way but having that small dog Which is kind of how I like it. It just it makes it a lot more personal and not overwhelming. Yeah. Well when you let me in I’m I’m interested in looking so that I can maybe maybe start off well as local thank you. So you will you talked about little bit of how like the beginning you you did everything for one reason or another maybe it was cuz you just met because your control freak diseases not so cheesy, but I have talked to people who you know. It’s like, oh mom needs, you know, she can’t really Drive anymore. So let me take her to the doctor and the next thing they know, you know, they’ve they’ve over the years they’ve started doing all this stuff and one day they wake up there exhausted they’re burned out and they they just they’re overwhelmed and yet the person that they’re taking care of needs more and more of And so how how do you how do you think we can help families that find themselves in that position where they they feel like they’re drowning and they don’t feel like there’s any life preserver am aware.
00:25:11 – 00:30:01
And then I have a Part B that question but let’s well we’ll answer them one at a time. So it’s a hard question cuz it’s so true. I recently told someone that and I don’t put myself in the same category as somebody that’s taking care of the mom at the house right now because that’s a whole nother ball game. But I said, you know right now my focus is so narrow of what I can and can’t do and so my even though I work I own a company I have kids my goal. Every morning is I want to wake up. I want to sit by my fire pit outside with the glass of tea. Even if it’s just for a few minutes with a blanket off. I have a little devotional that helps to like kind of calm me and keep me focused and helped me not to go to the stress areas and not want to walk my dog. And so I kind of set up in my mind what we’re goals for me that I knew help set me up to have a better day and to be able to handle all the stressful things that are coming because they’re going to come back. You can’t avoid them yourself and you kind of to see how you have to be healthy so that you can approach them in a healthy way and calmly because it’s so much it’s so easy to go the other way. So I made a list of these things that were important for me to do everyday and I’m like even if the rest of the day gets blown away, which it usually does something changes or comes up sore. There’s an emergency at least I’ve had some time in the day to balance it and to focus I would say whenever I posted on my Facebook group all month. Everybody says walk their dog. So I don’t know what that is. So everybody should have a dog but there is something about getting outside and walking even around just the Block it’s changes your whole perspective. I think that’s important. I also think that the quote about that we can do anything that we can’t do everything and realizing that you have to have a team and sitting down and writing down the list of who should who is on your team. Even if they’re your the major caregiver you’re doing 95% of the work and it’s a lot on your shoulders. You need to look up who your team is and you need to use them. So if you have you know, a sibling that can come once a month, they should come once a month and you should have it on the calendar. If you have one of their friends that offer to come sit with, you know, your mom for an hour. You need to you need to build your team and you need to ask for help which is hard and administrators don’t like a dog. For help, but so it’s easier when you write it down. Then you look at these and you realize it’s a gift to a lot of these people to be able to help you to they’re getting something out of it. You’re not always a burden off. And so if you can use that and then finding any resource, you can whether it’s you know, I think adult daycare is amazing. We have some amazing programs in Denver. They’re closed right now cuz the covin but um, but figuring out whether the resources around you and how you can use them. So definitely do some Google searching like especially early on I know there’s a gal that I know through social media, her mom has Alzheimer’s her dad has dementia and she has a special needs sister. Oh right and wrong unhelpful family to the extreme as in she could I mean she has to fight them off their only after Mom and Dad’s money, which they don’t have very much of their in English. And I believe in a assisted living community. And so she has to take care of like their medications and they don’t have like a med-tech that no, they do have that Tech the defensive. The bottom line is is it doesn’t like if it went or not. Well, I mean not if cuz we all go but regardless like if her dad dies she still has her mom and her sister if her mom, you know, it’s like her sister’s younger than she is. So it’s I mean she just sees this the rest of her life just being completely carrots and trying to support everybody and just oh yah. Yah. It just I don’t I think she needs to work on finding a team that’s outside of the family cuz she almost needs a team to help fight them off absolutely. Well, and that’s the thing that there’s definitely times when having professional people is appropriate and and like I would probably start off by calling your area of a job. And I’m asking for any resources.
00:30:01 – 00:35:10
They have Google I say that in that just as hell placement people but I feel like we’re kind of like referral gurus. Like we would collect referrals and I would say home care companies probably do the same thing and a lot of them are just really nice people that are happy to share resources. And so I I wish I had people call me all the time and they’re not ready to place their parent and assisted living but I can give them a v a person to talk to I can so they can get some VA A detention benefits. So they’re they didn’t even realize that their dad might have many that can help pay for his care. You know, I have a medical person that I send people so at least they can talk to about options or you know, there’s some grants for care in our area. So if you plug into somebody they might be able to share that stuff with you woke. Might message her and see if she’s done a couple of those things. She is in a less liberal State shall I say and the impression that I’ve gotten is there just it’s it’s hard. I don’t I’m trying to be careful how I word this but it almost seems like culturally it’s just expected that she will continue running her company and take her sister and her mom and her dad and everything else and I guess her kids are like your kids aged, you know young, you know twenties probably not older than too much longer than late twenties. And you know, it’s just they’re just days that just you know, she really needs to do something different. Her mom is really really struggled because she can’t go home. You know, she’s had to use like an Amazon Echo to talk her dad through helping her mom in a shower made her mom means a lot more support, but the money is not there an Choi. Time is not there in the being able to go in. It’s just like it’s been it’s been too much, right? So yeah, how do we so knowing that you know, I mean obviously hers is an extreme case. But as I said before 70% of us will need care before we go my family, you know, it’s like my husband’s an only child my sister not close. My daughter’s an only child. We’ve had conversations about expectations and I try to let people know, you know, I’m on the older end of Gen-X black people know it’s like please don’t ever say I want to live in my home until I die not as just a burden that you put on your family that they may not be able to to my mom said that I’m still lay there. So and there’s so much skills that adult kids have on that. There’s plenty of guilt. Anyway, yeah, but then to him Add on you is really hard and we we kind of talked about I’m the worst place that person in the world cuz my mom still at home, but they’re able to do that because they have full-time care which they play an incredible amount of money for it would be way less expensive for her to be an assisted-living and their house is all wage level and my brother lives with them. So they’re just happens to be some things because she’s extremely Advanced Alzheimer’s family and she’s on hospice. So we were in we could put her on hospice 3 and 1/2 years ago and so hospice even though it doesn’t take over caretaking and supplements and it helps with shower we would have been able to keep her home without hospice home. So for us that’s worked, but on the flip side, you need to talk as a family and decide. What are your your what’s your limit? And those are things yep. Should write down before you get to the Limit because you’re always going to think you can do more or that you should do more. And so what are your limits? Are you going to be able to handle shower Ian my my dad showered my mom or is this at her son at the beginning but then when he broke his hip and he can’t shower anymore and and part of it. I was also getting nervous showering someone hard there’s slippery and you’re in a shower and they can all that’s where most accidents happen. So is it safe? Can you you know, so for us showering was a big deal we had to have that figured out a lot of people that’s that’s one of those things that they that’s going to make the decision if they need to go into assisted living in you is there somebody that can handle their meds if they’re wandering and that’s the that’s the issue like that that’s a game-changer my mom never wandered and she really doesn’t walk anymore either so we could stay at home, but when somebody leaves House or a I have a friend who’s her mom went for a walk and she said about 30 minutes later the husband who has Alzheimer’s drove by and the car and waved at her off.
00:35:11 – 00:40:06
All right, that’s that’s one of those triggers that you need to make a change. So the site and they could look different for anybody could be you know in Colorado about forty hours of care ends up costing about the same as moving to Assisted Living. So once you go past 40 hours of care, is that your trigger that may need to you know, look at moving someone to assist to live in and just being writing those down cuz you’re going to forget and you’re going to feel guilty and all those emotions come into play and that way you can look up and say no When I Was same six months ago and I wrote these things down and I wasn’t feeling emotional these were the triggers that I said that we would look at and then when you hit those triggers off, You really need to consider it because my mom always said well, I don’t want to be a burden to you girls. I want to live in my home forever. Guess what? Those are actually exclusive and after mom dad passed away. I mean, I felt terrible originally now my aunt took care of their mom and I will never understand how this decision became the way it happened my aunt stopped working to take care of their mom. So when my grandmother passed away my aunt ended up on welfare. Now, I know at the time my mom was already getting bad and my dad was a little bit ornery and probably went I have to deal with this over here. You guys are on your own which I don’t really approve of that decision, but somehow the decision was not great. And so originally we were going to have my aunt move in with Mom and we were going to get a caregiver like eight hours a day so that my aunt didn’t have to deal with them. Sister full time cuz that wasn’t right. My aunt is a I think she’s eleven years younger than my mom. So, you know, that’s that’s pretty significant since my mom had younger onset Alzheimers and being a planner and I have to fight my very pessimistic negative Tendencies. I sat down one day and said, okay, you know my sister-in-law agreed on this so I had to blow it up, right? So I’ve sat down and said what’s like the worst case nuclear disaster that could happen my aunt does have a drinking problem and I just started thinking about like well, you know obviously chances are my mom will go first and then we’re going to have to basically house my aunt until she can go back on the cross section eight housing and I’m like, you know, will she accept having somebody else live in the house with her to cover some of the expenses like the property taxes and the gardener and wage? Wasn’t a lot of expenses but you know, I and so I I went looked at a assisted living community with the memory care. There was one that literally a mile down the hill from my house and I thought that that wasn’t a good one which was a bummer because it was a mile from my house and it would have been better for my sister but it wouldn’t have been great for Mom. And so I went to one like the next one closest and they said she could keep her dog and I practically could not give them money fast Subs are a big deal. Yeah. Well and I laugh because I picked the place all fully on gut instinct. I did not look at Google reviews. I did not talk to anybody. I just went get this place looks good. We’re done. I don’t necessarily recommend that wage, but got Instinct isn’t bad. But I had to get my sister on board and then there are ants said nowhere. I’m not doing that. So thank God she blew up that plan. So then kind of let me off. The hook the day before we moved my mom. My mom was going to come stay with me so that the next morning like my husband and my brother-in-law can watch mom and my sister and I can set up her room as homey and is similar to her home as possible. She was leaning on the kitchen counter looking out the window kitchen window into her backyard. Now, they had lived there almost forty seven years and we had basically told her that we there was things in the house that needed to be fixed which was true. And after we got him fixed she can move back that was not she’s leaning on the kitchen counter looking out the window and she goes well, you’re not selling my house and I said, oh no, no, no, we’re not selling your house. She whips around looks at me with that Mom look down what that means is just and you’re not renting it out either and I was like, oh good. I won’t say anything. Yeah, that was awful. So I went to my hair salon. I managed to slice both tires on my less than 1 year old car that was eight months old.
00:40:06 – 00:45:01
So I had to have it, you know flatbed truck to the tire L know when I have my mom and her super obese poodle, which I mentioned to you off earlier and regular listeners know my mom’s dog was like double her acceptable body weight which made it very difficult for the dog to keep clean after using bathroom stuff for the day after she went to the bathroom. So I’ve got this poodle this huge fat poodle my mom her stuff and walk the dog stinks because she’s got stuff caked on her and and my mom was jumping every time the whatever they used to put the lug nuts on the car was like it was horrible horrible job. Awful, right and I really really really wish my dad had like realized that the two of them needed to go to Assisted Living because I think he would have been a lot happier and healthier longer. He had diabetes and other issues. But you know, like I said earlier the control-freak syndrome did not go into remission with him right now. It’s a challenge and it was it was awful the first two months. She lived there. She she acted like she was in prison I’d show up and she’d burst into tears and oh thank God you’re here. And you know, I I’ve been left here alone. And oh God, it was horrible. It’s just it’s hard and I think a lot of times family members think once they go to Memory Care Assisted Living then it’ll all be relieved and and it’s not it’s it changes everything but what it does it goes back to that team that you have a job. At least it’s not all on your shoulders. Yeah, you know you’re working with a team of people and that’s a what amazes me is for one mom, you know, we have a team of life. Well five hospice people and three different caregivers and 3. I mean our team is huge to take care of one person. And so, you know, it doesn’t solve all the problems when they move to assisted living and memory care, but at least it helps to to share the care with other people and that people that can specialize in something. You know, we have a gisin that gives my mom showers. I I love magazine. I see that is her job. That’s her role. That’s all she does is shower and get my mom dressed up and and what a God said that there’s somebody that I can share that with because that’s that takes time every single day. They have to get showered they have to get dressed and to be able to share that with the somebody else just dead. Leaves a little bit of your caregiver burden and like my mom was not open to being helped so that there was one time I think it was about a boy was back in 2019. It might have been even late 2018 where she was not changing clothes like literally every week when I went soccer. She’s wearing the same sweater off. I’m like it is 90 freaking degrees outside. Why are you wearing a sweater now? It’s a lightweight 3/4 length sleeve sweater, you know, and I know old ladies get cold easily I get cold easily and not really an old lady because my grandmother was a hundred and two so it’s just relevant. It’s like, you know compared to a two-year-old. I’m old the compared to her. I’m not so, you know, it’s like wage is like to tell people that and I asked the caregiver if she was giving them trouble showering or an excuse me changing clothes and she’s oh, yeah, and she doesn’t want a shower and I was like wage Well that explains it cuz I’d take it. I we went out a lot to parks and pools and the library. We we like to see liked I did not I liked to take her out where she could go watch kids that made her happy and making her happy made me happy. So then I’d taken her out the next morning. I get my car to go in the gym. Like I said these were in the old days when you get home right now, like kind of like my car smells like old lady nursing home. Yeah, and I and thankfully it was, you know early early fall. I believe Light Summer and so it was still nice. I drove to the gym with all the windows and the sunroof open and everything. So when I saw them again and they’re like, oh, yeah, she’s giving us a hard time about that. I’m like, oh that explains. She is actually must have been summer cuz we went to the pool and she only got in up to her knees and then we sat on the edge and watched the children playing and splashing which was dead. Well, that’s so fun. Oh she loved it. And so when we got back I thought well, we got back a little earlier. They’re they’re little behind on the dinner.
00:45:01 – 00:50:16
And I’m like do I dare if doesn’t hang on and not get in the shower and my mom but I said, oh you you wanted to shower real quick before dinner wash off all the sand and Gunk from the pool. Oh, yeah, I did. So I got her in the shower. Now, they have the chairs, you know, she didn’t need it to see walked up until she broke her leg and I was really shouldn’t have been surprised but you couldn’t even get hot bath water. You could only get like warmest warm water. So you couldn’t even didn’t have to worry about scalding cuz I was I thought about that and I actually got her shower and I washed her hair and then let her handle the towel and getting breast and I was like, okay that wasn’t so awful. But as as she progressed in the Alzheimer’s she literally I mean she likes khong Watched Andrew blood on caregivers and I thought there’s no way in Heaven’s I’m going to even attempt to do this again because I don’t want that memory and she my husband’s last name encounter with her. We had to get her. She fell on New Year’s the December 30th nineteen and she from that point forward was having a lot of pain walking and I kept telling them she fell gym a lot of paper working, you know, it doesn’t take a brilliant doctor to figure these things out and they x-rayed her hips and they came back with all his arthritis and like arthritis does not flare up all at once as I’m aware. And you know, what what it turned out was when she fell she actually cracked her pelvis. Oh, yeah. So yeah, but I I had to like trick her into getting extra. She was all fine. She nodded off while we waited and we didn’t wait very long. Ten minutes or so literally wasn’t very long. But I think getting from the home to the in the car and I mean just that was a lot of effort and then the pain so I think she kind of just nodded off and then she refused and I was like hell no, honey. We drove all the way we’re getting some extra is well, it’s like I had to rearrange my appointment for my chiropractor. So yeah, you’re not just throwing away my whole morning cuz know so I said, can you just sit in the wheelchair might can you stand up for me then she did and I literally put my foot up next to hers home and pivoted her and just like plugged her onto the table. She was not appreciative of that and the x-ray technician realized like, you know, normally they like make sure everybody is protected and covered and no woman got my mom in position and hit the button. I’m not even yes. She was covered. I yeah, it was like she didn’t even ask me if I could change. Heard before and we got her x-rayed and then she wouldn’t get off the table so funny. So my husband came to you know help cuz he was always good at sweet-talking her but it did not work. She was just oh she was so pissed and she’s just like I’m going to go back to my room and she’s like literally laying on the X-ray table like a corpse and it it was just horrific Lee funny and there’s like literally half the staff looking in the door going on what’s going on? Why is this little lady screaming bloody murder and cursing those it’s just awful and so he he reached out a hand to help her up. And she just she scratched so hard she drew blood and he was like, oh hell no and he picked her up and plopped him. I’m going to have him this so it got you know, it’s like even though we’ve had like things that worked that day everything failed. I mean the yeah, she was a bit of pediatric nurse. She couldn’t sweet-talk my mom. My mom was beyond angry and was not getting birth. Out of her chair right off the table. So it was just insane. That was unfortunately his last encounter was it was not a good day for either of them, but one of the things that I’ve experienced doing this podcast and and through social media and stuff is that there’s a lot of caregivers that don’t openly admit they want out which you know, there’s days when we feel that way but then we kind of regroup and I think there’s some people that are just so burned out, you know, you promise never to move a loved one to a care home and that might not be a financial option package, you know, but they need to regain a significant portion of their life and then I find other caregivers keep telling them. Oh, no, you can do it you can do it and they’re trying to be positive and this is a lot also on the other Facebook pages cuz you’re sounds much better. Yeah Shameless plug, right? Yes, it is so much better. So how do birth Help people who need to make a major change except that it might actually be for the best for both of them. And how do we help them find an option to do that? Cuz I think some people just they’re just so overwhelmed with just the day to day care and and yeah of their loved one that thought of getting on the computer or the phone or both and trying to find options is just like oh forget it off.
00:50:16 – 00:55:06
Just keep going until I die as the that is some of the unstated Expressions that I’ve gotten from people that I know personally and through social life. It’s overwhelming. So I think using a local placement person is just a huge and I I A lot of times I’ve talked to people I said, I kind of like the sister you wish you had I’m going to be the sister that will take care of all of this and I know you have a to-do list over here that includes doctors appointments and off. Things on this list. I’m going to take this list over here and I’ll handle all of the placement things. I’m going to do all the research for you. I’ve been to Palm the majority of the places with covet. There’s a couple of new places. I haven’t been too but you know in Denver there’s 480 auctions for Senior Living wage. And what’s the population of Tahiti in Denver? Yeah. What’s the population? I don’t know that that wasn’t mine said no less often, you know everything from small Care Homes the big places to you want to know somebody that knows all of the options knows the pros and the cons of each one of them and not narrowing down to three or four and they’ll be able to narrow it down to you because of your budget your loved ones care needs and birth. Budget care needs a desired location locations always that can change because the budget and the care needs are the most important to things and then location is nice, but that’s not a half to but what they’ll do is they’ll take all the options and they’ll narrow them down for you. They’ll set up the tours for you around your schedule and then they should go on the tours with you and people sometimes say well, why do I need you to go on the tours? And I’m like well because when you get in their number one, everyone all the sales people who are really nice. They all have very kind Hearts. They all have great things to say about their communities. And so you start talking and you forget the questions that you have in the first place, but you forget maybe maybe the place on person knows something that applies to your loved one and the sales person doesn’t know and so they can inject and say oh, you know your mom dead Well, they have pain in your every Thursday and so they can inject things like that. They can also help negotiate prices. So it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a huge discount necessarily but they know what the deals are right then sometimes if they have a relationship with them, they might be able to work with someone on negotiating on my community fees or you know a discount and yeah, it’s just can be helpful because they’ve they’ve been there and they that’s their whole focus is doing placement. And so it people say well how hard can it be? And I didn’t think it would be that hard but then I did not I guess I have realized all the parts that go into it. And so I love if I’m taking somebody to a board-and-care home. I can say not only is this the owner dead. This is why I like her because you’re going to be working with the owner very closely. I know that the owner has done this and this and this I saw her take care of my other client and did this month in this is our communication skills. And this is Angie who is my favorite caregiver and I’ve seen Angie when someone was passing away and she was there and she facetimes in to say goodbye to the loved one and I’m like, that’s the kind of caregiver of one that well you don’t get that from a you know, looking in the Yellow Pages or doing a quick Google search. You don’t know all those stories, but then on the flipside is it’s also a free service. So the you don’t play with most places on people don’t take a fee from the family that they receive a commission from the community, but their job is not go to just the communities that they’re going to get the biggest Commission. From but it’s defined who’s the best fit for your family and I work with a new organization called the national placement and referrals Alliance and them and several States.
00:55:06 – 01:00:11
I’m not sure if they’re all in all of them. But we wrote down best practices that you should receive from a placement person so that they’re really caring for you and your family and finding the best option for your loved one when I did was I used A Place for Mom because somebody a friend of mine had recommended it so they did part of what you said, I think because they weren’t local local try to remember where that guy was. I mean it was in California is in Northern California, but he wasn’t in Brentwood or Concord where my mom lived and so I went to the places by myself. I think I called them. So he did like the first part of the work right with what I wanted was someone else. Not do all the work because you you still as a family member you make the decision and it’s always your choice, but I wanted somebody to hold both hands. I wanted somebody to do the homework for me and to walk beside me through the process and you know and to check on me afterwards. How did it go? You know, if if your loved one doesn’t adjust well at the beginning, you know, I had a client that just called me and I said, you know what, you know, I reminded her usually this takes, you know, some people takes two days but some people it takes two months and a local placement person is just kind of that fear that will listen and then give you feedback that this does normal. This isn’t normal. This is going to be okay. I trust this. Oh, that’s a concern. I don’t know why that’s happening. So you should have a care conference, you know, no one allowed. Some people don’t know that they can call a care conferences things aren’t off. Well at the beginning and replacement for the transition isn’t going well. They’ll encourage you to talk to them and to start addressing that at the beginning and and walk you through that if you change that. So yeah, when we moved mom, like I said the first two months were not fun at all. The executive director of the community told me it would probably take a month. I laughed at him cuz I figured she could never happen. So thankfully he was much more right than I was and I’ve I’ve said this story many times, but you’ll get a kick out of it. You know it been like six seven weeks. I show up. My mom is following behind this much taller female resident and my mom had a tendency to like clutch her hands to her chest show him like she was worrying Raymond. She was and she spotted me and she goes. Oh come with me. I have to help my friend and when I heard the word friends, yep. Almost burst into freaking tears. It was like somebody had said you’ve won the jumbo National Lottery. It was yeah. I was like like God it’s going to be okay and it really really sucks because after that, you know, the people who follow me on social media I post on Thursdays throwback pictures. My mom started to hate my mom’s name was Diane. She started hanging out with them and I am and at one point I think they were hanging out together for about eight months a certain day and became part of the group. Oh extremely confusing for everybody else. And so it was Diane other day and and other other days rather. Yes, and my mom and the first Diane I swear to God they got into trouble all the time. We after we rehearse the dog, there was a period of time where my mom had a six by eight area rug in her room and they I went showed up when it was missing like where the hell’s wrong. Like it didn’t just walk away and they’re like, oh the dogs soiled it. We took it out to clean it. I’m like, oh, okay, like the next week it was still gone. I’m like hello what’s going on? Where’s the I can clean the rug Yap dogs all my life. I unfortunately know how to take care of these kind of problems and they’re like no. No, we got it handled. And so then my sister who had happened to be going to Ikea decided, you know, I was starting to get to the cooler time of year. I say cooler cuz you know, it’s more in Northern California doesn’t get cold cold compared to some places like you guys and she bought this really cute rug was like a crazy background with plate-sized buttons as a design and they were all different colors black and purple and orange and it was really cute. But unfortunately it was five by seven. My sister did not realize that it was smaller. So they brought the original rug back in after we rehomed the dog that rug was gross. So I’m like, you know what? I’m just going to get rid of it and my husband’s job. Updating is like I don’t I wouldn’t put this back in Mom’s room. So so we I put in the really super cute one that my sister gotten and Mom and other Diane I swear they talked about it for an hour was first it was hysterical that it was like seriously the skinny really old but the other Diane kept saying how great it would be as a wall hanging.
01:00:11 – 01:05:01
I’m like, yeah, if you had a sewing room it would be kind of cool next week. I show up rug gone like what the hell is what does Roman run. So I go over to the executive director or the memory care director. And I said where the hell’s the rug are you kidding me? And I’m like no and so she goes okay when they go into dinner will go into other Diane’s room and there was like a whole bunch of my mom’s stuff another day. It was awesome. It just I they both had to have rolled up and stuffed it in the corner of the other gals room cuz it was five by seven. So, you know, I’m sure the other Diane problem wage. Carried it just fine by herself, but it’s you know, they’re bulky and they’re awkward and right, you know, I I would have really I mean there was times. I really wish we had like the nanny cam or a nest camera because I was curious about things. I kind of wanted to make sure Mom wasn’t a sitting in a room by herself, but I found out I just asked them so cuz they didn’t allow cameras, but it was just crazy. But unfortunately other Diane got really heavy paranoid, it showed up one day and she’s literally got like all of her clean laundry is in her lap and she’s clutching it and I said, you know knowing they were I said heck dumped all of your laundry in your lap. Would you like some help and I reach out to, you know, grab it from her home and she jerked away and looked at me like I was giving like steel all her clothes and I’m like, okay if you want to hang on to your laundry and about two months later her daughters moved her out. So I don’t know if she was becoming Problem or you know, it was just I never I saw the daughters like one time cuz like I said, I went Monday afternoons when other people like me were at work. It was just thought it was an adventure and it was nice. Like I said last week I went and saw I went and delivered Halloween cards and and little trees of bad. Yeah. It was really nice. Although I think it’s it’s kind of insane that they have the square dining table separated by an ex of plexiglass. I’m like really you have not had any covid-19 are here and now you got these poor little ladies practically in like a little box might be a little much but you know, my maternal grandfather always said we never get out of this life alive. So I’m a little bit more on the you know, like my grandmother’s board-and-care home. They let us in they prefer you to wear masks grandma doesn’t wear masks. I have to take it off to talk to her cuz like I said, Is very hard of hearing and I already have to yell and wearing a mask means used to yell twice. It’s loud and was not trained to scream at people wage Norm. So you have any last advice and encouraging words for caregivers like us well more like you my I’m caregiver to the caregiver these days that’s that’s just care give him it’s all care give him that is true. And it’s important because I’m here to support people and you know help them through the Journey that you’re on that I was on that either people will end up on unfortunately. Yeah advice find people to support you. It’s a very isolating job and life. You know, you feel lonely you feel like a lot of times you’re the only person going through this no one understands what you’re going through and it’s it’s hard and went off. You’re lonely and isolated which is ironic right now because isolate yourself, but it’s just not a healthy place to be even if you’re an introvert you need other people and you need other people that I understand your story and know what you’re going through so find your people reach out to them find whether it’s from the senior center on Facebook find a Facebook group you like aging parent tribe is open to y’all whether it’s a a friend, you know, our our church put me in charge of seniors or elderly and and we were doing a gift baskets for people and they said now is this for the senior or is it for the caregiver? And I said, oh it’s for the caregiver the caregiver needs to be loved on because they’re loving on so many other people that is so I wanted to give something to them that was just for them and was a joy for them and and the when I woke They said we just had no idea. We don’t ever think of how the care and the caregivers need to be loved on so find your people wherever they are.
01:05:01 – 01:10:04
There’s people out there that understand life is very true. Local rotary clubs can help my Parkinson’s support group. There’s Alzheimer’s support groups, you know start their that’s a really great place to smoke and those people know other things and you use them to network and find other people. I have a funny last story. You said Parkinson’s group. I was at my Alzheimer’s support group. The facilitator is a godsend on suggesting other support groups other everything classes, whatever support she’s aware of them. I mean she can spend like the first third of the meeting just telling us all this other stuff that’s going on. Now. She has to email us this web stuff and I was so excited. She had one flight down. For a Parkinson’s support group and our neighbors down the street her husband has Parkinson’s and I was so excited. I’m like Oh, my neighbors got Parkinson’s and he’s really tall and she’s really petite and I walk them all the time, but I got my mom to worry about him alone. And I said can I please have the one flyer and she goes? Yeah, that’s fine. And like oh, thank you. Thank you. I was so excited I go home and I’m literally holding a flyer going. How do you look I found a support group for for the the neighbors down the street and goes you need to look at that flyer closer and I looked at the front and I went. Oh for the love of God. Our neighbor was the one that started off. I was so excited like he was helping and it was I was like, well, I tried yeah, you know and I told her that story and she really appreciated it. I thought it was just you know, I gave her the flyer and like well here you can have this back and give it to somebody else well and you know assisted living’s especially right now are offering class is constantly, you know for different support groups or keep us know. I’m a huge cheapest. No fan. I think she’s my girl crush song and she is going to be on a virtual Assisted Living, you know here in Denver. So looking at assisted living is another great place to find resources to because they have a lot of classes that they’re constantly offering and and they’re usually open to the public not just the people that live there for the families. They’re the Alzheimer’s Association is doing all their classes virtual. Yeah, which has been really dead. Reading the pandemics been really good for people, you know sharing stuff on long. It’s been easier to find resources like there’s ample amount right now, which is great. But yes, you’re right there are tons of options. So I hope we’ve shared ways of finding them and definitely look talk to a local placement person out for resources and assistance. That was the best suggestion that Cameron gave today. So I really appreciate it. I’ll give you the NPR a link to put in the notes and that’s a great wage find a local placement person that has agreed to work with a lot of friends practices that I’ve talked about that are important and then my Facebook page is aging parent tribe or off. If you’re in Colorado awesome need to help with finding a place. You can look up my next step senior placement. Awesome. Well, thank you very much and all that will be in the show notes, and yep. Is can check it all out. All right. Thank you. Nice talking to you. You too, bye-bye. Bye. Well there you have it. If you’re a sandwich generation or a recent empty nester turned caregiver. I hope Cameron was able to share her feelings and make you feel less alone. I know we shared a lot of different ways of finding and acquiring help and resources. There are so many resources out there. You just have to know how to tap into them. And this is one of the best places to find out about as many of them as I can tell you about. So share this episode with caregivers friends family. That’s the way we met each other. Feel free to reach out to me via social media or email. I’m always here to answer as many questions as I can and if I don’t know the answer I will help you find somebody that does. Coming up next week. We have a fantastic topic with a previous guest Donna marant a is coming on to talk to us about dementia needs our human needs money. And you know what? It was a really big Insight talking to her. I know you’re going to totally enjoy that one. So make sure that you’re subscribed Apple podcast Spotify wherever you’re listening right now home. And as always I will be in your ears again next Tuesday. Well, I’ve got your attention.
01:10:04 – 01:11:08
Let me tell you about the modules in the eight-week online course from caregiver Chronicles. It starts out with what is a caregiver then educating yourself on the diagnosis. Caring for a sick loved one and observing your loved one’s religious beliefs how to live a healthy lifestyle as a caregiver navigating the medical professionals understanding medication a super important legal matters also important the decision-maker insurance Community Resources durable medical equipment, when a caregiver is needed finding a caregiver placement in a Skilled Nursing Facility or Memory, Care residence family Dynamics challenges and conflicts learning how to navigate that wage is probably worth the entire fee. Then there’s Home Health hospice been planning for your loved ones transition. Be sure to check out their weekly live ask. Dr. Yvette anything off the link for that is also in the show notes.