Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Benefits of Day Stay Programs

Episode 62

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, reflect on last week’s interview with Elizabeth Miller. Elizabeth, The Happy Healthy Caregiver, has a heart for caregivers and supports them through her many passions. She shares with others what she learned during her caregiving journey with both her parents and her brother. Additional thoughts:

  • Apply “happy and healthy” to both the person being cared for as well as the caregiver.
  • Use pre-decisions wherever possible to have less stress around making decisions in the moment, and you will have less decision fatigue as a result.
  • Think about all areas of self-care and what brings you joy. Write those things down and then implement them into your daily routine.
  • Have an open mindset to not only survive but thrive.
  • Help others see the value of caregiving through conversations. This allows them to know what it is like to care for aging loved ones and will lead to changes in how the caregiver role is perceived.
  • Remember the fun a little bit more!

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 be talking more about my interview with Elizabeth Miller, The Happy Healthy Caregiver. I really enjoy talking to Elizabeth. She’s been in this space of supporting caregivers for a long time, and she’s been on a journey herself for a long time, both caring for both of her parents and her brother. As a sister coming alongside and supporting, and as a daughter, and then walking that journey of losing both of her parents I just really appreciate her perspective and her heart to support others.

Karen Weaver: 

Oh, yeah, it was, it was a nice story and it’s always nice to hear somebody else’s story. This is always something in another person’s caregiver story that sort of resonates with you, if nothing else, just to remind you that you’re not alone. And also just to remind you that a lot of times our stories have a lot of similarities. One thing I, I thought was really neat about her journey is how she was able to take her situation and just birth so many things from her caregiving experiences. I mean, she really has done a tremendous job in turning her situation, this happy, healthy caregiver concept is, is really something that having anyone needs to be mindful of because I know. As you know, many caregivers don’t feel that you could be happy, happy, healthy, and caregiver all at the same time, it sounds kind of challenging.

Rayna Neises: 

So true. And I found during my journey with my dad, that I actually used the words happy and healthy in framing, what was most important in making decisions for him. so I often was looking at, you know, is this making him happy and healthy. Well, for example, when the doctor wanted us to take away dairy for his diet, because of having reflux and other things, there were reasons, but my dad had ice cream every night before he went to bed and it was like, Oh, that just seems like cruel and unusual punishment to stop, to take his ice cream away, you know, but it was like what’s going to make him happy and healthy. And so we found an alternative, we found a Rice Dream that was an alternative to his ice cream and kid made him happy and healthy. So I love those two things together, but I also love that it’s not the person you’re caring for she’s focused on, but the caregiver.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes. Yes. And I think that’s what made it so special. Yeah, my dad too, he eats ice cream every evening Butter Pecan,I have lots of Butter Pecan it, we don’t often think is caregivers about ourselves. And I think so much focus is on the loved one that you’re taking care of. A lot of times the caregiver needs get lost. And so unless you’re being an advocate for yourself, or you have a good support system that is trying to cheer you on to take care of yourself. It’s difficult it can be difficult sometimes you realize that you are important and if you are happy and healthy, that you will be able to serve your loved one even better. So that all resonated with me and it, I really appreciated how she looked at her situation in terms of what she wanted. To model for her children and the message, she wanted to send to her children. And it was very important to them. That their children understood that just because you have this situation going on doesn’t mean that you don’t have a life. Doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy. It doesn’t mean that your needs and what’s going on with you is not important. And still, I thought that was a great sort of legacy building that she was leaving on for her family.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, and for her too, that was not making the same mistakes in caring for herself that she saw her parents had made with being more intentional about diet and, and watching those concerns so that, you know, she was healthy as well as happy in her role and in just being a person. So important. I think the legacy is huge. I know for me, my dad’s taking care of my mom, the way that he did that definitely showed me how to do that for him. But also just that taking that physical side, I thought she’s very passionate about making sure she’s doing that as well.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. And, and what about her discussion about self-care and the different types of self-care? I thought that was very interesting too. To think about the spiritual self-care, logistical self-care emotional, mental, I mean, there’s various ways we can take care of herself then I’m sure some areas of self-care resonate with different people in different ways. What’s most important for you right now, when you think about the whole self-care, when you go on that journey?

Rayna Neises: 

I love that it’s broken down into sections. And so that’s something I actually am looking at exploring more to really give people. Those sized things in each of those areas that you can do, because I think self-care is this big, huge pie. And oftentimes we look at it and go, I don’t have time for that. Or I don’t know what in the world, what that means, go to the spa, get your nails done. You know, there’s this concept of it, but I love how breaking it down really helps you see. So logistically, one of the things that I talk about in my book is a term called pre-deciding. And that’s making decisions, not in the moment, but before the moment arises. Something as simple as laying your clothes out at night before you go to bed, it eliminates the decision in the morning. You pre-decided I’m going to take care of this and those pre-decisions. I think logistically are huge that if you learn to pre-decide things, then you have less decision fatigue. You have less stress around making those decisions in the moment when. Dad just spilled milk on himself and we’ve got to change his clothes before we get out the door. We aren’t running late, worrying about being able to accomplish all the things that needs to be done because we taken care of ourselves by three deciding earlier. I think same thing spiritually, getting those rhythms in place and understanding that when we are spiritually dry, we’re not happy and we’re not healthy. So realizing what it is I need spiritually in order for my cup to stay full. So I can be happy and healthy physically. I mean, you can just go through each of those lists say, what is it that I need? And many times I think we focus on the physical needs because we talk about sleep and water they’re all important they are. But if we’re neglecting the other pieces, then it’s not enough either to keep us happy and healthy as a caregiver.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. And I think it’s an easy way to have a conversation with the caregiver is to talk to them in terms of probably what area would best resonate with him or her. So and then I really enjoyed how she talked about the little moments, like really taking advantage of the time she had in Starbucks or the time she was waiting for one of the kids to come out of practice. I mean the whole self care piece, it didn’t have to be some big logistical planned out item. It can be really taking advantage of the time that you have available and doing something for yourself. And it doesn’t necessarily mean like you’re saying nails or something like that. It could be. Her writing was important to her. So it could be something that gives you some fulfillment to help you to feel more like you’re yourself. And you’re not the caregiver, but you actually have a personality as well

Rayna Neises: 

a good point. And I think one of the things that came to mind whenever I was thinking about all the different kinds of self-care was just jotting down. What does bring you joy in each of those areas? So that you think about it. Number one, and number two, it’s not hard to implement, so you can’t have it on the fly. I think I’ve mentioned before creativity is one of my things I love to sew and I love to do crafts and things like that. But during my season of caring for my dad, I found that time limited. So I started looking for other ways of doing that, and I found a little kits that you could order and it came with stamps and you could just make some cards. 30 minutes to an hour and you could sit down and stamp some birthday cards or thank you cards. And so I’d take that kit with me to my dad’s house. And when I had 30 minutes, When he was in bed or taking a nap, I could pull out that little project and do something creative. I had an available because I knew that I loved to do it and it would feed my soul. And so I think sometimes just having those things at hand. At top of mind of how it’s going to feed your soul instead of being lost in social media, or, some of those things that are time-wasters and not necessarily fill us like they need to.

Karen Weaver: 

Right, right. But it takes the right mindset. And I, I think that was the other thing that, you know, she mentioned, when you think about what is the mindset that a caregiver needs to not only survive, but to thrive. You have to have that mindset of being open of wanting to grow, wanting to learn, wanting to, accept opportunity. I mean, it’s, it’s a whole different mindset because it’s very easy to get into the victim mentality and really shut down to even the little things that are already available to, that you might not be taking advantage of, because they’re not open to take advantage of what’s already there.

Rayna Neises: 

Good point and happy healthy caregiver. I think it comes right back to that. Are you open to this being the possibility for this season of your life? Or are you determined that this is a season of regret and loss and resentment and all of those things? Really opening your mind to realizing it is an option for you to be happy and healthy, even in this season.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. And I think the other thing that I took away from your interview was this whole idea of wouldn’t it be nice if the medical field, if people pay more attention to the caregiver, not that we want to overlook what’s going on with a loved one or. The fact that we need to understand diabetes or stroke or whatever the, the disease or ailment maybe, but that somebody would just stop in and say, you must be going out of your mind. I mean, I could so resume with that thought because after all it is, it’s overwhelming. And a lot of times, so much focus is placed on love when people just totally overlook that you are a person as well, and you are trying to manage yourself and also manage the needs of your loved one at the same time. And in my case, I am taking care of two people at the same time. So it can be quite a challenge at times trying to just feel like Hey, I’m here, I’m here. You know, don’t forget about me. So I thought that would be a wonderful improvement. And then just thinking in general about, what would be some nice improvements that could be done to support caregivers? I thought about policies and just the way we view caregiving. And sometimes it’s just the value of caregiving. It’s has so little value in our culture. The way we pay people, the way we talk about caregivers, even caregivers who are on the outside, I just, I don’t know that the culture is nurturing even that they value what’s being offered. What’s being brought to the table. And just how this is to our society.

Rayna Neises: 

I don’t know about your experience, but I think being a daughter of an elderly man, it was even interesting the interaction we had with the doctors. Them, not necessarily appreciating that we were there to help. So not only overlooking us, but we had some physicians that resented us being there and felt like we were talking for my dad and we were answering the questions. Just a real lack of understanding of what was happening. So I agree. I think being ignored and overlooked as part of it, but I guess, most people can’t understand unless they’ve been in those shoes. But you would hope that in the medical field, there’d be more understanding of that. When dad had hospital’s days, we had somebody there 24 seven with him because he would pull that IV right out. But yet each person who walked in the door didn’t really treat us like we were there to help, but rather we were in the way.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. Yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

so I think that understanding overall I agree with you in that really policy needs to change understanding, but just again, respect for the job that we’re doing And we do want to be as big of a support and care as we can be that’s why we’re here. So Just getting that team really wished that more people understood that we were a team and that they’re part of it And we’re a part it. Our loved one is part of it and that we all need each other. But I think policy  is tough because we do just step into the role so often and our employers don’t even realize what we’re doing at home. What’s on our plates beyond just the workday. I think COVID has kind of changed that a little bit because we’ve seen the family members, we’ve seen the pets, we’ve seen those things, but. I do wonder how we can make the workplace a place that allows us to be a whole person. the same time we have to produce, I also have been an employer. I know what it’s like to have a job that needs to get done. And so I think it’s a tough balance, but the conversations need to be happening of what it looks like to be caring for aging loved ones, or just loved ones in general, as well as our children and all that we’re seeing in our zoom calls today.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. Absolutely. And what were your thoughts about them planning for the year items that bring you joy? I thought that was a great idea. She, she had some things that she was interested in that I probably would never be interested in, but certainly, I do think it’s important to have some goals set. And not only work things, but things that are fun, things that bring joy. So did you can say at the end of the year that, that you accomplished some of the things that were important to you in your journey overall? Yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

I love that she does that list. I think it’s really fun. I’m not sure. 21 things seem like a whole lot. And I love that she had the attitude of it’s. Okay. We might not get to them all, but at least we thought them up. Some of them are small and that was good too. I. Have done some work with clients on vision boards and things like that. And that’s what kind of came to mind to me was year at the beginning of the year I kind of look at some of those things whether it be sewing projects or writing a book, it had some of those things kind of laid out and goals to accomplish through the year But I really did like that she brought in more fun. So I probably need to remember the fun a little bit more bucket list ideas.

Karen Weaver: 

Well, I think we all need to remember the fun a little bit more.

Rayna Neises: 

I think as caregivers, that’s something that’s easy to, to just let go and not to be intentional with. And probably the more stress we have in our life, the more we have to play in the fund.

Karen Weaver: 

absolutely. I think being intentional is a big piece of being able to thrive in the caregiving season because it’s not going to happen unless we do something to put some effort forth it to make it happen for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

When I was caring for my dad, I have one friend that I always called my fun friends, and I’d be like, okay, I haven’t had enough fun lately. We need to get on the calendar and get some dinner, go for a walk because she just always brought out such joy and was so fun loving that I think just being intentional about taking time for those things, planning those things and making sure that you’re bringing those people around you more often when you’re stressed is an important self-care tip, right?

Karen Weaver: 

Yes, it is. It is. And I have my whole little group. I’ve developed my own little intimate support group and it has truly made a difference in my life. You know, knowing that I have two to three people that are my go-to people going to, when I’m having a bad day or when I just wanted to release some frustration or whatever. So definitely.

Rayna Neises: 

I love the work that Elizabeth is doing with The Happy Healthy Caregiver. Again, listeners, you can access her resources, check out her daily journal that she created as well at The Happy Healthy Caregiver.com and be sure to check out her podcast as well. We know you’re a podcast listener cause you’re here with us. So you can visit Elizabeth’s podcast at The Whole Care Network and learn more about all the things that she’s doing as The Happy Healthy Caregiver. Thank you Karen, for our conversation today. Listeners be sure to check out our website at www.Aseasonofcaring.com/podcast for all the resources available and to check out any episodes you might have missed. Just a reminder,A Season of Caring Podcast has been created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have medical, legal or financial questions, be sure to contact your local professionals. And take heart in your season of caring.

Resources

The stamping kit I used was Paper Pumpkin.  Visit their site to learn more.  https://paperpumpkin.com/

www.HappyHealthyCaregiver.com

 

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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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4 Things you need to know as you begin your season of caring

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