Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Benefits of Day Stay Programs

Episode 60

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, revisit last week’s interview with Stacy Johnston.  Stacy is full of energy and has lots going on in her busy life including caring for her mother and step-father.  Rayna and Karen discuss how to ensure a busy life doesn’t lead to an empty cup.  Additional thoughts discussed:

  • Remember to balance caregiver needs WITH the wants/needs of the one being cared for.  
  • Be aware not to pour out beyond what you have and leave yourself with an empty cup.  
  • How can you fill your cup?  Ask:
    •  How am I doing? 
    • Am I empty? 
    • What do I need? 
    • What will it take right now to fill my cup? 
  • Find some humor in the situation!
  • Putting on an “investigator hat” can help you figure out how to avoid triggers and prevent frustrations/stress from taking over.
  • Movement can help shift the situation for both the caregiver and the loved one.
  • Taking time to understand the person and their background while speaking to them in their language will resonate with their spirit and help the healing process.
  • You will not regret having conversations regarding their wishes as it will provide the assurance you need and confirmation that you are on the right track.

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 your cohost, Karen Weaver. And today we’re going to talk more about my interview with Stacy Johnston. Stacy is full of energy, has a lot going on in her life. She’s done an amazing job of moving into caring for her mom and her stepdad as they have these needs that have come to the forefront, especially during this COVID time. My heart just went out to her, I can’t imagine.

Karen Weaver: 

Oh, yes. I mean, her stories were just so amazing that she actually has lived through the stories and is able to tell them, I mean, there were so many twists and turns your heart just goes out to someone like that. And so when I look at where she’s been, and I’m listening to her heart and her journey, I just started thinking about, some things maybe we could talk about today that might help caregivers just have a better appreciation of her journey. And starting, I was thinking about this question about how do we balance what we want, with what the loved one wants or needs.

Rayna Neises: 

Tricky.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. Yes. And I think this is like an ongoing question for me. I’m balancing my husband and my father and my needs. I mean, it’s sort of like, a fine line and sometimes you do have to step back and make sure you’re, you’re considering, everyone in your decision-making process, but it’s not easy for sure. It’s not easy. And she certainly had her share of balancing more than one person well.

Rayna Neises: 

I like when you said that though is not only balancing your husband and your dad, but you included you. And so many times when I talk to caregivers, they forget about themselves and they’re only focused on, and I know in my caring season, you know, my desire was to do what my dad asked, was to keep him at home as long as possible. But I also knew that that was his desire and that meant I needed other people to help me accomplish that. And in order for my needs to be in the picture at all, it had to be a group of us to make that happen. Is that what you find helps you?

Karen Weaver: 

Well, absolutely. And I think you are much better at that Rayna than I am, but you always have the whole team approach in mind and you did a great job of giving everyone their assignment and finding the right person for the right task. And that’s what it’s really all about because there’ll be some things that we will be good at. And something that we won’t want to do. And so important to clarify and others that can feel in so that you won’t feel that burden and that sense of resentment. So I totally agree with you, which brings me to another thing I wanted to talk about was this whole danger of continuous outpouring. What are you thoughts about that?

Rayna Neises: 

I think it, yeah, it’s definitely something you have to keep in mind. People who step into a caregiving role are just nurtures. I mean, I think by nature we have a compassionate heart and so we are likely to pour out beyond what we have and really leave ourselves with an empty cup. I know for me, I think age has helped me with that a little bit because I was a teacher before. And that was one of my biggest issues with teaching was sending them home to bad situations, not being able to take them home with me. I just really struggled with that. And to a point that I didn’t enjoy it because of the needs that I saw that weren’t being met for my students. So I think age helped me figure out how to do a little better job of not always taking it all in myself, but rather, making sure that I was filling my own cup up. But it’s not an easy task. And I think definitely during caregiving, it’s easily forgotten.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think this question of how do we fill our cups? It’s a question that every caregiver has to ask him or herself. And then when I think about, some of the ways to fill your cup and how many times do you have to put your cup? And I think it all depends because, I mean, sometimes I’m having to stop to fill my cup several times a day just to get through the day. So it really depends on what’s going on and how taxing the situation is upon you.

Rayna Neises: 

I found starting my day with music. Was one thing that really helps me to consistently fill my cup. I’m a routine person, so the way I started my day, just getting the shower and just listening to the praise music, I also listened to scripture. And so that’s something that during that period of time, that just helps me start my day with a more fill cup. But I agree, I think during different times during different stressors, you have to realize and check in, how am I doing? Am I empty? What do I need right now? And sometimes it might be that phone call with the hubby. Who’s just says, I love you. You’ll make it. It’ll be okay. Sometimes it’s, I don’t know an ice cream sundae and that just help fill me up. So what about you? What things fill you up?

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. I never thought about the impact of music, but now that you say that? I know when I have really stressful days, I put music on and I find that it’s not only helpful for me, but it is so therapeutic for my dad and my husband. There’s something about music, I guess. It’s the side of the brain, the right side of the brain that it’s attending to, it just has a nurturing sort of healing impact on all of us. So definitely, and sometimes, I do hide out in the bathroom sometimes I must’ve gotten to find at least one place where you could say. So that people will, gimme some piece or a minute or two. Yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

So I’m an introvert. Are you introverted?

Karen Weaver: 

yes.

Rayna Neises: 

Yeah.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. Let’s yes. So need a lot of processing time in quiet time, to get my energy. And my husband is totally, totally extroverted and he needs people. He needs noise. He needs interaction. He’s activity 24 seven. Yeah, so.

Rayna Neises: 

That’s challenging. So you have to know your own needs and his needs and figure out a way to have someone other than you meet his needs.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes, absolutely because he can be a handful. Sometimes I can just leave him to the caregiver, who helps me and say, Oh, Miss Renee, Can you help Mr. Weaver get his lunch today? I go hide out for a few minutes. So, that really makes, it really makes a difference for sure. Yeah. And that just brings me to this thought about our mindset, the mind shifts we need just to get through the journey, which is going to have ups and downs and sometimes I wake up and before the end of the day, I’ve done more things in different things or had experiences or we’ve had some challenges that I would have never, ever imagined. So it maybe think about, what do I need, what is the mindset that has helped me to make it through? And I think it’s flexibility has saved me, on top of humor. I mean, if all else fails, find some humor in this situation. Yeah, because there certainly is some things that won’t serve us. I mean, you can only have a pity party, but for so long. Then after a while, you have to kind of pull it together and and move on not only for yourself, but for those who you are supporting and taking care of.

Rayna Neises: 

I would say one of my strengths in my caregiving season was putting on an investigator hat or a detective hat. And so I was always looking to solve the problem. I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it. I always, always looking to solve the puzzle so simple things, I think I might’ve mentioned before, but my dad usually did fine. He wasn’t trying to leave or escape. He did a few times, but overall that wasn’t a consistent problem that we had, but there was a period of time when it was becoming more of an issue of having to have this conversation? No, it’s dark out, dad, we’re not going anywhere. Well, I realized that his ball cap was laying on the sofa right by the door where we went downstairs to leave and he would see that ball cap and he’d put that hat on. And as soon as he put the hat on we were leaving.

Karen Weaver: 

Right, right, right.

Rayna Neises: 

And it was like, No, we’re not leaving, it’s nighttime. We’re actually going to go get our jammies on, and he’d be like, no, let’s, let’s go. And I’m like, we’re not, we’re not going anywhere. And sometimes we’d have to get in the car and drive around and get some ice cream come back and, we would leave just because he was sure he needed to leave. Well, I decided, let’s try to hang in the ball cap downstairs at the bottom of the steps so that he doesn’t see it. And it doesn’t prompt that. And even sometimes a caregiver might leave his ball cap in the bedroom. And that, again, as soon as he put that hat on, he was looking to go somewhere. So I just really enjoyed the challenge of trying to find the patterns. And figure out the puzzles to try to remove the prompts that were causing the issues. I really think that was helpful to me. It was sometimes frustrating because the patterns didn’t always help, but more times than not, there were ones that did help. And that frustration, that anger I was always looking at what is it? What order did I do things? Did I start early enough? How can I have done that to bring less stress to him? How can I calm him down if he’s feeling stressed. To be able to avoid any conflicts with him. But I think that was a trait that instead of taking it personally, I was always trying to step outside of it and just put on my investigator hat and see if I could figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

Karen Weaver: 

No, that’s great. And I would call that the posture of curiosity.

Rayna Neises: 

Yes. Perfect.

Karen Weaver: 

Sometimes just asking questions does help to shift your mindset as well. You know, in addition to movement, movement is another thing I use. I mean, is not abnormal to see me in the kitchen doing kneebends or stretches or something along those lines because movement does a lot for me. It does a lot to help me to actually just get myself together as a good way to say it.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, and I think that’s a great reminder, too, for those of you that are caregiving with someone who struggles with dementia, movement can also change their state of mind. And so just sometimes getting them up out of the chair and walking into another room, that movement itself helps to reset and help them let go of something that they might be obsessing about. Or, the fifth time they’ve asked you that same question. If you can get them moving, then oftentimes that resets their brain as well. So I agree movement was helpful for me walking, getting outside, getting a fresh air, I think can really be helpful. But remembering that that movement can also help the person you’re caring for too.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. And lately we’ve been taking rides on the weekend and I mean like an hour, an hour and a half rides, and that makes such a difference just to get a, a different sense of scenery. Even if it’s some place you’ve been before. I find that it’s good for the two that I’m taking care of and it’s good for me. So those are also things that have helped me along the way. So what were your thoughts about the story or music? About how those attending to her mother, they want to know more about her. And the fact that they found out that she was a dancer. I just thought that was just so cool that someone would go to that level of detail to try to connect to someone who was recovering from a stroke.

Rayna Neises: 

I think that’s invaluable. I mean, that is exactly what I felt like it was so important in helping my dad with things. It was interesting after my dad had his blood clot and had the surgery to have it removed, it was in a rehab facility and they were having difficulty getting him to participate In his physical therapy. And one of our caregivers her name’s Sarah. And he just, he loved Sarah. They had an amazing bond, but Sarah went with him one day to physical therapy. And she said to the physical therapist, you know, Bob used to play ball. My dad actually played for the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was young. And so she said, why don’t we try this? She said, Hey Bob, why don’t you run to first base? And he was like, Where’s first. And she said, it’s over here where I am. Can you get to first before the ball gets here? And so she totally put it into softball or baseball terms and dad engaged in his physical therapy with a whole lot more zeal than he was having before, when he was sitting in the chair going. I don’t want to, or just staring at them and not, not participating. So I do think that can be so important. And I love that the hospital, she was in really had that John Maxwell training to focus on the person and define the motivation for that person, because as a dancer, wow. I mean, sure. Her mom had way more control of her body and the muscle memory that her brain had to have had that really helped to get her back up on her feet again. So I love that as well. I had never heard the statement, the shoulders back dots. Yeah,

Karen Weaver: 

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah, I do. Okay. That must be a dance thing.

Rayna Neises: 

yeah. Was a dance thing. And not one that I’d heard before.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, but often I think when people are elderly or people are ill and they’re in those vulnerable situations, I think we often forget about who they are and where they’ve come from, what they’ve experienced and what they’ve contributed to the world. What was their offer? And I think that’s all a part of the healing process is really taking the time to understand that person and to be able to speak to them in the language that, that resonates with their spirit.

Rayna Neises: 

As a person, helps the caregiver engage with them as a person too. And I think that is also so valuable.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. And what about this Hero Builder endeavor. Thoughts about that?

Rayna Neises: 

I was actually able to be featured as one of their everyday heroes that’s how Stacy and I met. And I really enjoyed the opportunity to not just be brought out as a hero of someone who’s helping others, but then to shine the light on my personal hero. My dad was my hero and I shared in our interview a little bit about how my dad took early retirement to stay home with my mom and care for her during her Alzheimer’s journey. And how he just really showed me, what love in action looks like, and that it’s not always easy to love somebody, but it’s always worth it. So it was a great opportunity to shine light on who he was as a person too.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I just thought that was such a great endeavor. I really appreciate it how she said she was reaching or touching people all over the world. So that in itself is huge cause sometimes we do overlook. The ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things and their stories always encourage someone along the way. And so I think it’s, it’s really important to get those stories out as much as possible for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

Being able to encourage her mom by having that chef, I just thought was such a neat story. And I know.

Karen Weaver: 

Oh, wow.

Rayna Neises: 

COVID has brought so many of those kinds of stories out, but it was such a neat thing to hear of her and her friends, all being able to cook together and just interact in a way that they couldn’t do anymore because both she’d moved and the restrictions with COVID, but what a neat story and, and what a great memory for Stacy to have.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, that absolutely like I’ve always said, COVID, has been very trying, but there have been some amazing things have come out of it. So a whole new appreciation.

Rayna Neises: 

It does for sure. Some of us are tired of zooms but at the same time, gosh, I can’t imagine this time of life without it. I love the fact that she and her husband had made the choice to relocate, to be closer to their parents and to make that investment I also appreciate the fact that Stacy knew where her limits were and that as her mom and stepdad were adamant, they were going to be independent and on their own, she’s respecting that and she’s offering the support that they need to do that. And I think that can be challenging as a child of an aging parent because we learn to come in and we just want to take over and make it what we want it to be. But as we talked about earlier, we always need to consider them because they are adults and they do have a right to make their own decisions. So I think in that situation, the way that she’s supporting is just beautiful.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, and I think it’s great that she was able to have those conversations too. She was not only open to doing they wanted her to do, but she was also able to facilitate the conversation. Cause I think sometimes that can be the hard part is just trying to have the conversation about what should we do in the event that something happens. And unfortunately, sometimes the conversation doesn’t happen until something happens, but we always would hope that people would have these conversations with their loved ones before something happens.

Rayna Neises: 

The stroke kind of came out of nowhere the first time. And so that offered a lot of opportunities to dig a little deeper of what do we want this to look like before the second one came and then as well as before her stepdad’s came. So it is true. Take the conversation whenever you can get it so early, now, in the crisis, whenever you can do it, talk, talk, talk, because you will not regret being able to have those conversations and just get the assurance that you need, that you’re on the right track.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, thank you, Karen. I think we found some interesting things to reflect about Stacy’s interview today. And listeners I hope that you found some new things to maybe fill your cup or some thoughts on how to make some mind set shifts that you need to make in your caring season. We would love to have your comments on our website at ASeasonofCaring.com/podcast. Visit us there or leave a review on the podcast platform you listen to us on. Thanks again for joining us. And just to reminder, 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.  

Visit Karen's Website

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