Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Benefits of Day Stay Programs

Episode 50

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, cohost, reflect on the interview with April McCollum.  April shared her creative ideas for self-care and dealing with grief.  One specific suggestion included the adult coloring book she authored.  Additional insights discussed:

      • Having a tangible item in front of you brings the opportunity to think about grief and can help you move through it.
      • Taking time out to process your thoughts can help you identify when grief is at the center.
      • Document your loved one’s story as you go to show interest in them, to help them reminisce, and to ensure that you have the information before they are gone. StoryWorth.com
      • Caregiving for your loved one should not be a burden and when it starts to feel that way, take time to figure out what changes are needed to remove that feeling.
      • The caregiving season can be an opportunity to learn to really decide what is important.
      • Expectations can be helpful motivators.  However, when set unrealistically, they can become a source of disappointment and frustration.
      • Great love brings great loss but also growth and great gains.
      • Check out the Caring Quiz to learn about your caring style and how to build teams to meet your needs during the caring season.
      • And, don’t forget to listen and then comment on this podcast post on our Facebook page to be eligible to win a coloring book from April!

Transcript

*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation

Rayna Neises: 

Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast, where there’s hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises, your host and Karen Weaver, your cohost. And today we’re going to talk a little bit more about April McCollum and her interview. I found it so interesting when I ran across her as an author who creates coloring books. Sounds a little unusual, I think, but I love that s he really deals with grief in a different way.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I love her creative way of being. And a coloring book, it’s so simple, but it’s powerful. And I remember when I had a coworker who actually purchased a coloring book for me, an adult coloring book and gave it to me and I thought what I thoughtful gift, something I would’ve never thought of by myself. So I agree. I think that is really something else that she was able to make the connections for the grief, because I think grief is one of those things that people need something tangible to kind of help them move through the approval process.

Rayna Neises: 

That’s such a good point. I think that, we do need that tangible thing and it’s something that we avoid. By having that tangible item in front of you and having those words of encouragement to process that grief, it just brings us an opportunity to think on it, maybe when we don’t want to, or when we haven’t intentionally set aside time to do that. I think that was one of the things during my caring season I really appreciated was that long drive between leaving my dad’s house and getting to my home because I did so much processing. Whether it be praying or just talking to myself, it really gave me a chance to kind of put a finger on. Okay, how am I feeling? Why am I feeling that way? And what is it about what happened? So I can remember one time when I first started taking care of my dad, the lawn had kind of gotten a little neglected, there were some shrubs that needed to be replaced. And so I took on that project and dad and I together dug the holes put some new shrubs in, just really kind of gussied it up. It looked really nice. So the next year one or two of the firms didn’t make it. So we went back to try to kind of fill in and to do a couple of little other projects and it was just a year later, but that year it didn’t go well. My dad didn’t understand why we were digging the hole, he wasn’t helpful, but at the same time he was trying to be. And so it was just kind of a frustrating situation. And honestly, it was wet. I didn’t realize how muddy it was. So we got muddy and it just was, it wasn’t a fun experience. And we had a big kind of to do about, I’d ask him, can you take your shoes off and I’m going to take those. And I literally took them away from him. I put them in the laundry room away from where he was. I ran upstairs to get some clean shoes and socks and to kind of give him some things to clean up. Cause I knew he wouldn’t be okay without having his shoes on and it wasn’t gone that long. And I came back downstairs and he had found his muddy shoes and he had walked all over with the mud on shoes. And I knew, I, you know, he’d done all these things, right. You know, I didn’t anticipate it. This was going to be a problem. I tried to fix the problem, but I was driving home that weekend and I was just, so I was like, why was I so frustrated by that? Why did I not handle that very well? And it kind of came back to the grief, when I really asked myself those questions. It came back to the fact that he wasn’t able to be helpful and to do the things he could do just a year earlier. And it was a very, in my face reminder of the progression of his disease. And so that taking the time to process through that feeling and to realize, okay, this isn’t just because you’re not a nice person that you got frustrated with him, or that you were angry, that you didn’t anticipate that he would find the shoes or any of those things. It really was grief. And because I took the time to think about it and to pray through it. And then I was able to really figure that out and realize that that’s sadness. I needed a good cry. I needed to acknowledge the progression and say, this is where we are now. Now we’re not able to do the same thing we could do a year ago. So I, what I thought about with the coloring book was even just sitting and coloring some of those thoughts and emotions are going to be free to come up for those of you listeners that are caring.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. It’s a very. Comforting process and calming when you’re colorng. I like the idea that you don’t have to tell her in the lines, you don’t have to use a certain color, so you can be freed up to do, whatever moves you or brings you the sense of peace or satisfaction at that time. But you’re right. It is a big piece of the caregiver journey. And lately I’ve been having a lot of reflection on her loss before the loss, because a lot of times, you know, we’re thinking about it, we have a loved one, who’s terminally ill. How are we going to be able to accept losing that person? When really there was a lot of loss before you ever get to a person actually transitioning home. So. Something to really think about The other thing I was thinking about with April’s interview with you was I loved the way she talked about documenting the person’s story. And I often have to laugh about how I find that when we have people that transition, then all of a sudden we get this interest in trying to find out how their connection connects with my family history, what it means. We have questions that are unanswered and we don’t really take the time to find out as much as we can while the person is living. That I think is a, is a good practice for everyone. And I think it’s helpful to the person that you’re caring for because you’re showing some interest in their story. I have found that just in my time with my dad, that I have found out things I never knew before. I mean, my middle name is Renee and I always thought my godmother named me. And he said, no, your mother’s name was Irene. And you just took the i off. And that’s how we got Renee. And I’m like, really? So, I mean, it’s amazing what you can find out when you have conversation with people and ask them, how did this come to be this way? So I certainly would encourage folks to document the story as they go along.

Rayna Neises: 

Yeah, it’s so important because they’re gone I’m young to be orphaned, but I am. And having both parents gone, there’s definitely been some of that in our family of just those sharing the stories and finding out more, especially because my parents seemed to not talk about life before we were born. And my mom and dad were actually married 17 years before my sister was born. So they had a whole long life, but they just didn’t talk a lot about it. We were the most important thing and that’s kind of what they talk the most about. So I think reminiscing is such a great thing for people, especially who have dementia. It does really comfort them and help them to be able to reminisce. But I also think that like you said, it just brings value because not everybody knows those stories. So learning those things, I recently ran across the technology thing that might be something our listeners are interested in. It’s called Story Worth. It’s a process where you sign up with them and they send you a prompt to write about every week for 52 weeks. And at the end of your 52 weeks, then you receive a hardbound book, with all your stories on it.

Karen Weaver: 

Wow. I love it.

Rayna Neises: 

Yeah, isn’t that great. So you could do it that for grandchildren, for your children, for yourself, enjoy passing that book along. There’s different kinds of prompts that they can send you, but it’s a great resource that you might check out listeners again, that’s StoryWorth and we’ll note that on our notes page. So you can find that resource yourself, but it looks really interesting.

Karen Weaver: 

Excellent. Excellent. The other thing I was thinking about, you talked about stories. No worries. I mean, I’m sure as caregivers, we all have stories when they’re times as you were saying that don’t go well, that make you sad. And what do we do with that sadness and what do we do when things don’t go well, and I love the way April talks about the caregiving should not be a burden and that if we are starting to feel a burden. Then were probably not doing what we’re called to do. There are probably some things that we need to find other people to do, who may be more gifted to take all that task force for us. And also it’s definitely a time and an opportunity where we need to pray and really turn it over to the Father because he has given us this journey. He has given us this assignment and there’s no way that we can. I think that we can do this on our own without so define help for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

For sure so many times the word burden comes up whenever I hear caregivers. And it’s a perspective, it’s, it’s a mindset. We’re taking on something when probably trading off is better, what needs to happen. It’s a season that we need to take on some things we haven’t done before, but in order to do that, we need to let go of some things too, because if we just keep adding and adding and adding, we can’t do this, there is no way. And so I think it’s important to really examine what is it that you’re feeling like is a burden. And why, and is it really a burden or is it something you need to look at a little bit differently? Because like you said, those shared moments are not going to happen. If you don’t spend time with your loved one,

Karen Weaver: 

Right, right, right, right. And when you talk about letting go, I think that is one of the hardest things to do, because I think it’s just human nature. That you don’t want to make the shift that you need to make in order to do what you’re called to do. And it certainly isn’t a mindset to really ask yourself, how is this serving me to continue to try to do everything? There has to be another way. And, and what does that look like and who do I need to get involved in this process to help me on this journey? It’s not my journey alone. It involves a lot of people and we’re actually preventing people from contributing when we don’t offer to give some things up so that others can share and be a part of this season.

Rayna Neises: 

So important because that team, it is a blessing for other people to be able to be around your loved one. And that was one thing that I was always talking to a client this week. We were talking about the fact that sometimes we get tired, our loved one, and they get tired of us, frankly, right? When that new person and that new personality comes into the picture, they bring something new with them. And that relationship with your loved one is different than your relationship with your loved one. Whether it be you have history that makes some things touchier than others or that you’re exhausted. And so you’re not as patient with them as someone who’s just fresh coming incould be. So building that team is just so important. And I can’t say that enough, we talk about getting the support, but we really have to be serious about what does that look like?

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. And the other thing that comes to mind when you’re saying that is this whole idea of being right, I loved the way April said, you don’t have to be right. If the story your loved one is sharing is not exactly the way it happened. I mean, So what, you know, and so really embraced that. And then the other thing she said that really resonated with me was don’t sweat the small stuff. And when she was talking about her loved one in what the person was eating, and I started to think about the thing, you know, I’m at a point now where my dad eats popcorn for lunch and, I used to get frustrated about that, but. At this point what’s the point of getting frustrated and how does that serving me? And my dad loves popcorn, so he, at least he’s eating something. And so it may not always look the way we think it should look, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. Or, you know, we’re doing something that’s harmful to them. So I really do suffer from don’t sweat, the small stuff. So I’ve had to look at myself and step back many times is say, get a grip. It’s going to be all right.

Rayna Neises: 

I think that’s so true, that’s part of the growth. I think that God has for us in this season is learning to really decide what is important. And there are things that we have to make happen, but there are also other things that are not important. And the joy that your Dad has by enjoying popcorn every day is so important. I know when we were trying to deal with some reflux issues for my dad, the doctor’s like, you know, I really think we need to eliminate all gluten. We need eliminate all dairy, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m going, Oh, that just sounds torturous. You know? And so we had the conversation with her. Like, I don’t know that that’s doable. Can we just do what we can, can we try to eliminate some things and see if we can substitute some things. And we did, and it really did help him physically, but one of the things my dad had scream every night.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, they like ice cream.

Rayna Neises: 

I remember growing up, he had ice cream every night, you know, but definitely when he was on his own, after we were out of the house, every single night, he had ice cream. We were like, how are we going to do that? And so we ended up finding rice dream, which was rice milk and he, and we put chocolate syrup on it. And he loved it. It was no different than his vanilla ice cream. Now were there other kinds of ice cream probably that were more of his favorite that he would choose? Sure. But it helped him, you know, physically. So we were able to say, okay, how do we compromise? And let him have what he needs physically to be healthier as possible. At the same time, it’s still have the joy because my gosh, if you lived 85 years, I think you should get to eat ice cream. If you went to.

Karen Weaver: 

I know my dad eats ice cream too, eat ice cream, and he eats popsicles. And the thing that also comes to mind when you’re talking about that is when April was talking about boundaries and expectations. And I used to get so upset when I ran out of ice cream. And I’d be like at the store thinking I need two or three days because I don’t want to run out. But I love the way she said, you have to build expectations and boundaries and it’s okay if you run out of something because you have to do, what’s manageable for you and you don’t want to put yourself in a position. We’ll be running to the grocery store every day. You want to have a plan and make a plan that works for you. You can’t all be about the way you want to serve your loved ones. So that was nice to have that pressure off of me about the ice cream, running out of it.

Rayna Neises: 

Expectations are where we do find so many disappointments and we set ourselves up for those things. We bring our own frustration and disappointment by having unrealistic expectations or uncommunicated expectations. For us, as we brought caregivers into my dad’s home, it was frustrating when you went to. Use something and it was gone. There were so many hands in the kitchen that it was like, guys, you got to write it down when he used the last part of it.

Karen Weaver: 

Right, right, right,

Rayna Neises: 

some of those things being able to communicate it, it’s made a big difference because then it was letting other people be on your team and help you versus working against you. Having those expectations can be. You know, they can be helpful because if we expect ourselves to do certain things those are, can be helpful motivators. But at the same time, when we set our expectations up for other people, that’s when we can expect me to disappointed and frustrated.

Karen Weaver: 

The communication on that team is so important. So key, especially when you’re operating with several people. And then I think the other thing that makes it challenging is when you have a loved one who is suffering from some mental health condition, then our expectations have to change too, because that person’s not going to be able to really understand all the time, in the way that they would understand in the past. But I think when it all was said for April, when she talked about the risks of loving and just the fact that this is an opportunity for us to serve in our season and, just putting ourselves into this role. And I think of it in terms of thanking God for the opportunity. And He’s really freed up many things for me to make it possible for me to be a caregiver to my husband and my dad at the same time. But what, if we don’t take that opportunity to just rather than this way, and really put it all out there on the line, do the best we can. And when I ask for help and utilize the resources that are available to us, because there are so many resources available out there. That’s for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

And that just reminds me, you know, great love brings great loss,

Karen Weaver: 

Yes.

Rayna Neises: 

but we often stop there and forget that there’s also a great gain. And being able to love well, and. Be able to look back on the season and have gains and realize how our characters grown, how our relationships have changed. All of those valuable things that we get because of the things that we were able to do in this season makes us have a chance to look back with no regrets. And that’s one of the things I’m really passionate about is realizing you can look back at the season with no regret.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. And that’s what you talk about in your book.

Rayna Neises: 

Yes, I’m so excited, it’s coming. We can, pre-order the book now. I will be in bookstores in June, but No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season is just me being able to share ,my stories and things that I learned in my caregiving season to help encourage you to be able to have a season that you won’t have regrets when it’s over.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. And listeners, I’ve had a peek at it and you don’t want to miss it. Because if you work here giver or who knows someone who is in the care giving season, then you definitely want to share Rayna’s book with them.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, thank you.

Karen Weaver: 

Highly recommend it.

Rayna Neises: 

So teams are something you’re going to hear a lot about, and I’ve actually developed a Caring Quiz and it is all about learning about your caring style and how to build teams to really meet your needs within that season. So listeners I’d love for you to check it out. It’s at caring quiz.com. And you can just pop on there and answer about, I think, 20 some odd questions and end up learning a little bit more about your personal caring style. So I love to invite you to do that today. Also, April gave us a copy of her coloring book and we would love to be able to pass it onto you. So listeners, pop onto our Facebook page, a season of caring for an aging parent, and you will find the podcast, this podcast information available comment on that post. And I will randomly draw the winner. And then I will private message you and get your address to be able to send that out. I can’t wait to be able to share that with you. It was such a blessing to have April give us a copy of that to be able to pass along.

Karen Weaver: 

That’s great. You don’t want to miss that.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, listeners, thank you for joining us today. And just a reminder A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have a medical, financial, or legal question, please contact your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

Resources

  1.  Share your story with family via Story Worth.  
  2. Purchase Your Copy of Reflections of Love.
  3. Comment to Win on Facebook.

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Meet Your Hosts

Rayna Neises and Karen Weaver

Rayna Neises, ACC

Your Host

An ICF Certified Coach, Author of No Regrets:  Hope for Your Caregiving Season, Podcaster, & Speaker, offering encouragement, support, and resources to those who are in a Season of Caring for Aging Parents.

Her passion is for those caring and their parents, that they might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected.

Karen Weaver, PCC

Your Co-Host

An ICF Certified Coach, Author, and Caregiver Advocate offers a safe space for self-discovery and self-reflection through career and life coaching.

Her passion is to support and empower those navigating change from a holistic perspective.  

Visit Karen's Website

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