Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Benefits of Day Stay Programs

Episode 58

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, discuss ways to support family caregivers as they revisit last week’s interview with Drew Brenner.  While Drew cared for his mother, he was unable to find the resources he was seeking.  As a result, he set out on a mission to create an organization to provide to other family caregivers what he felt was missing.  Additional thoughts discussed:

  • Focus is often on the person being cared for with the caregiver’s needs unseen. Taking the time to ask questions can help determine what caregiver needs should be addressed:
    •  What types of support do you need?
    • What is not getting done?
    • What type of support will make a difference for you as a caregiver?
  • As a caregiver, it is important to find someone who will really listen, spend time with you, and have meaningful conversations.
  • Be direct and ask for exactly what is needed.  This will allow others who have not walked the caregiver path to be helpful to you.
  • It is important to have conversations with someone else about what to do for the person you care for should something happen to you.
  • Make sure all members of your care team know where to find the emergency contact numbers for relatives, neighbors, doctors, etc.
  • Figure out your burnout signs and pay attention to them.
  • Thank you to all the family caregivers for doing the tough thing!

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 I am a Hannah on the Caring Quiz. And Karen is a Paul. If you want to know what your caring style is, visit Caringquiz.com to take the quiz today and learn more about how to build your team around the caring style of your team members. Today Karen and I are going to talk more about resources available to our caregivers. Last episode, I interviewed Drew Brenner, who was a family caregiver for his mom. And he found himself in a place where he didn’t have the support as the caregiver he was looking for. And so he set out on a mission to create the support he felt he was missing. And Drew had a lot of great things to share in his interview. I really enjoyed just his heart for his mom. So sad, when we lose the person that we’re caring for, but I love that he continues to have that mission to help others who are now caring for their loved ones.

Karen Weaver: 

Wow. Yeah, it was a great topic to talk about resources is always great. I really agreed withdrew when he was talking about. Well, as a caregiver, you have so many professionals you have to deal with. I mean, there’s such a wide range of people that you need to deal with when you’re managing someone’s life, affairs, also your own life and affairs and also health issues. And, and usually, I would say the focus is on the person that you’re caring for and it’s not often enough that we find the resources really available for the caregiver.

Rayna Neises: 

I agree when we’re talking to the doctors, we have all this language to learn. When we’re talking to financial professionals, we have all these languages to understand. There’s just a lot to take in and really the focus on how are you as a caregiver. People don’t stop and ask that very often, as far as when we’re talking to professionals. I really could relate to that as well And just that frustration that comes to feeling almost like you’re unseen.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. And I think it’s because people have so much empathy for the person who is ill or the person who was aging. I think they sometimes forget just how much of a strain and how much stress the caregivers actually going through. And it made me think about, as coaches, you and I being coaches, how might we do a better job of helping others to sort of navigate this whole issue of resources. I mean I started thinking about questions, like: What types of support do you need? What’s not getting done? What type of support will make a huge difference for you as a caregiver? I think that it’s something that people need help navigating because oftentimes I find caregivers don’t slow down enough or don’t feel that they can slow down enough to actually think through the things that they really need that will make a huge difference in how they care for themselves and how they care for their loved one as well.

Rayna Neises: 

As I’m working with people in their caring season and talking with the stressors that they have, the questions that I asked them are often questions they never thought to ask themselves. So I have a client who’s caring for her mom who lives in the home with her, it’s so funny because we were just talking about how the end of the day can just be so hard. And I struggled with that with my dad as well, that nighttime routine, you know, there’s sundowners, there’s just lack of reserves left, really on everyone’s part by the time you get to the end of the day. I said, have you ever thought about maybe bringing in a caregiver for a couple of hours in the evening so she can have a break? So your mom can have someone else around to talk to, and just, maybe she’s tired of you by then. She kind of laughed. And she was like, I never even thought about that. She was like, I know I’m tired, but I hadn’t thought about the fact that mom’s tired of me. I think sometimes just being able to ask the questions and help them really consider what options are available, is this a good fit for us? Do we need this? That kind of thing unless you have somebody to really talk to, a lot of times you don’t, you don’t have those thoughts yourself.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. And I appreciated how Drew talked about wanting to be the link for people to get the resources. And I talked about wanting to give people a voice and a listening ear. And I think those are two huge things that often as a caregiver, you don’t feel that you really have. I know being a caregiver myself in the trenches like right now, so few people that I have that actually nurture my spirit and I talk to them. And so I really been very selective in how I spend my time and my energy, because, there’s so many people that it’s really, it’s not life-giving when I’m having a conversation. So yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, and I think that listening piece comes back again what you just said about even coaching is that so many times it’s just having someone to listen. And when people call to check in on you, it’s not always about listening or about supporting. It’s just sometimes about. I don’t know, being a good person that checked in on you.

Karen Weaver: 

Right. Right. And I think sometimes it’s just to help them to feel better so that they could say, well, I checked in on them to see how they would doing. And Karen said everybody’s doing fine. So everybody must be doing fine. So, you know, I can really appreciate anyone who is trying to sort of gather resources in one place to help caregivers to have link that will give them access to many resources instead of just one or two. And of course, with all of us in this COVID environment Drew’s organization was impacted by COVID, which we would expect. Cause I don’t think there’s anyone who has been touched by it. But. It is still up and running. And so, I give him credit for what he’s, contributing to this area.

Rayna Neises: 

Yeah, his compassionate heart. I mean, not only has he endured COVID, but he’s endured losing his mom in the middle of COVID and that’s such a difficult, challenging thing. But when I talked to him after. I found out his mom passed away. He just said, you know, this is my passion. And I want to help other people, even though I’m not caregiving anymore. I just know that the needs are still there and it helps give me purpose and passion to be able to help others. And I think he really does that compassion that Aaron blight talked about that. Competence and compassion Drew is just a very compassionate person. So he has that listening ear and the people that he’s brought into his nonprofit are there to do that as well. So I love that too.

Karen Weaver: 

I can appreciate that. And another topic that’s near and dear to my heart that he talked about was appreciation how to make caregivers feel appreciated. I was thinking about the retreats that are done in my area, where yearly they have retreats, which provide a learning experience, lunch and some pampering activities. And I always look forward to, of course it was different this year because they had to do it virtually, but it really is a nice gathering time to be with other people who can relate to your story. And I think appreciation is a huge topic that we probably need to talk about even more. And when I think of appreciation. I want some tangible gestures. I mean, just calling and saying how you’re doing is not what I call appreciation. I want, maybe some time off or bring me a meal. I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

Rayna Neises: 

I agree. I think we need more than just the thought. We actually need something behind that. We need someone to know, even if it’s just coming and sitting with me, I think the presence, the physical presence with someone else makes a difference. But like you said, bring the meal, but let’s eat together. You know, because especially when I was taking care of my dad he couldn’t really have normal conversation. So the days could go on and on and on because we weren’t able to have a full conversation, a back and forth, give and take beyond the Royals game or the weather, you know? So just that longing to really, again, be seen and heard and really acknowledged as a person, I think can make a difference. Not just saying, give me a call. If there’s anything I can do, but really offering, if I know you’re having trouble with your car, then Hey, can I pick you up at the station and take you to lunch while you’re getting your oil changed? Or just those kinds of things really offering to be with you? Not just sound like it.

Karen Weaver: 

As caregivers too, we have to be direct as well, because I think sometimes people do have good intentions, but we have to be very direct and say, I need someone to take me to pick up my car or, I need someone to prepare a meal this day because we have a lot of doctor’s appointments or something like that. I mean, I think we have to be direct, unfortunately, because people just don’t get it. If we’re not direct sometimes.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, and they haven’t been there. Most of them haven’t been there. I think those that have been caregivers are a little more understanding of what you really need, but those who haven’t walked a mile in our shoes just don’t understand what the need truly is and why. Like you said, just getting out to the doctor can be just exhausting. It can drain all of the energy that you have. And when you bring someone home from the doctor’s appointment, they’re drained as well. And so you both have limited resources and you still have to make it through the rest of the tasks of the day. And that can just be super challenging. Realizing that number one, this is a need that I have as a caregiver. I need to make sure that every there is nothing else that day. I haven’t put more obligations on my plate and that I have planned ahead for those meals and ask for the help that I need when I need it. That’s an important point too, to really think through. What can someone do for you? And then just go ahead and ask for it. I also think it’s hard for the person we’re caring for to express appreciation. I think it’s hard for them to receive the care. And so they aren’t good at the appreciation of it, but really realizing that even if they don’t have the voice to say, thank you often enough to encourage a caregiver with that thank you. And I do that frequently through social media and things. I just think of our listeners and think of people who are in that season. And I just want to say. Thank you. Thank you for staying in the whole course and doing the tough things. It is not an easy job and I know it’s not, and I appreciate it even though it’s not directly impacting me, but I know that the person you’re caring for appreciates it. So I want to be that voice for them too.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, that’s so true. And what did you think about the card that Drew created? I just thought that was such a neat idea. I mean, I do think about this more often than most people do as a caregiver, but what happens to the person you’re caring for if something happens to you as a caregiver?

Rayna Neises: 

So important. Yeah. It’s, it’s invaluable to know that you have that information in an easy place to communicate, especially when you’re a primary caregiver. I think my experience was I was coming and going. So when I was in town, I was usually with my dad. So if something was going to happen me, he was going to be there with me, which is scary too. But for others, when you’re the primary caregiver and you live there all the time anytime you leave, you’re thinking about them and what your timeline is to get back to them and what their needs are. And so I think it’s a great idea. Again, getting the emergency personnel to realize that content information is right there available for them as important piece of that too. But I’m sure it has to give you a sense of peace knowing I’ve communicated this information.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. And certainly I believe that anyone as a caregiver should be having conversations with someone else with regard to what to do in case something happens to you as the caregiver. It’s going to be unexpected because you’re not expecting it to happen. So it’s not something you’re planning. So, but definitely I think there was something that some thought should be given to for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

I think even equipping other members on your team. We had paid caregivers and making sure they knew where the emergency contacts were. If I wasn’t available, who else do you call? You know, neighbor? Or we had a situation where my dad fell down and caregiver physically couldn’t get him up by himself. Contact information was right there on the fridge for the neighbor to help. So, making sure you really communicate all of those things to everybody involved.

Karen Weaver: 

And then it all comes down to the self care information as he was talking about burnout and how many times have we heard that. And certainly when you feel that coming on, then that is your cue that you need to step back and do some reflection. Of course all of us we really need to know the signs of burnout for ourselves, because it may look different for different people. So it’s really important to kind of know your limits. But at the same time know that you’re not alone.

Rayna Neises: 

Knowing what your signs are, which is what you said, but what are some signs of burnout? How do you know when you’re close or how do you know that you’re just getting to a point that you need to take a break? For me I think it was the impatience. I think anytime you’re dealing with somebody who has dementia. My dad, I always used to tell my sister, he just doesn’t have a hurry button anymore. There’s just no way because my dad would never, ever have been late to anything,

Karen Weaver: 

Right, right.

Rayna Neises: 

But even saying Dad, we’re going to be late. Come on. Let’s go. It didn’t matter.

Karen Weaver: 

No,

Rayna Neises: 

There was no hurry button anymore. I wanted the hurry button back, but it wasn’t there. When I found myself not planning ahead, not taking the time, the more I pushed, the more he didn’t go. So, that was one of those things that I was like, okay, I know I need to walk away. I might need to cancel this appointment and reschedule it because I didn’t plan. I did.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes. I have been there. I have been there for sure. Yeah, because we always have we’re getting ready to go somewhere and it’s always that last run to the bathroom, but getting him out of the bathroom is the challenge. So I have learned to really start very early in the morning. If I’m trying to get to a morning appointment and you know, sometimes, it just still doesn’t work. And like you said, sometimes I need to do better situations where I think I’m going to have to reschedule appointments. So, but I think you have to learn how to be flexible because there’s no sense in getting frustrated because the person being cared for really doesn’t have the capacity to understand what you’re trying to accomplish or what you need to be done and why it has to be done in a hurry. So I can so relate.

Rayna Neises: 

Really realizing what it’s like when you’re at the end of your rope and paying attention to those things, whether it be a headache or restless sleep, what are your burnout signs and pay attention to them so that you really realize that you need to do something different. You need a respite, you need a break. Something to help you be able to take that step back and, get rejuvenated. And re-engaged, it’s very important.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. Impatience definitely is my key sign If I start to become impatient then I know that I need to take a bathroom break or something, go hide out or because it’s just not working. So, but yeah, that was a great interview. I’m sure people will find some value in actually going to his Facebook page and following up with his organization.

Rayna Neises: 

You can reach Drew at info@kcncares.org. And that was where you could request your I Care For card as well as the caregiver bag. So Kansas Caregivers Network was that contact information if you haven’t listened to our episode with Drew Brenner, I recommend that you go ahead and do that as well, but I just really enjoyed being able to feature a caregiver who was in the trenches and at the same time was looking at ways to serve and love on other caregivers through that opportunity to be a listening ear, to be a voice and advocate for them as well as to pull some of these important resources together. So thank you again, Drew for doing that and listeners be sure to visit our website aseasonofcaring.com/podcast to leave any comments for us. We also appreciate any reviews that you leave on the podcast format that you listened to us. Reviews help others find the podcast and be able to receive the hope for living, loving, and caring with no regrets as well. Thanks again for listening. And just to remind you, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have medical, financial, or legal questions, please contact your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

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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.  

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