Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!
Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, reflect on last week’s interview with Adrienne Glusman. Adrienne shared her experience as a young caregiver and how she now supports other Millennials in their caregiving season. Additional thoughts:
- Regardless of age, we usually do not think about being a caregiver.
- Sharing your story can be a support and help to other caregivers and help you find others like you.
- Caregiving is something that can become a part of your life at any stage.
- Those in the business world need to be aware of and consider how the caregiver role impacts their employees.
- Raising awareness and being an advocate for caregivers helps everyone.
- Sometimes it is necessary to pivot to find a job that provides the flexibility and freedom that you need to be available as a caregiver.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living, loving, and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Nieses, your host and Karen Weaver, your cohost. And today we’re going to be talking more about millennial caregivers from our interview with Adrienne Glusman. It was really fun to be able to have someone so young and full of energy and just really a different perspective on the podcast last week.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, that was one of the first things I thought about was her age. And then I started like, calculating, what, what is that millennial group? Because you’d be talking about my children and it was saying it was from like 1980 to 1994. Census Bureau says is around 1996, but they’re also called a Generation Y. So it certainly is a little bit away from what we normally think about caregiving because most of the information that I’ve come in contact with people are talking about the Baby Boomers and how they’re trying to retire and vacation and play with their grandchildren. And all the sudden they find themselves in a caregiving role, which they had not anticipated because most people do not plan their retirement and think that caregiving will be a part of it. It just sort of happens, the way it does.
Very true. We don’t think about it in any season of life that we’re going to be a caregiver. Like you said, so many people work so hard and save and plan and look forward to not having the responsibility of work and then find themselves either caring for their parents or even caring for their spouse. That really changes things for people. But definitely being a young daughter is a whole different place than I can really identify with her. Just that finding yourself, dealing with the humanity of your parent, young. I think that’s one of the things that I remember, being a teenager and having my mom diagnosed with a terminal illness was just that humanity of your parents. When you’re in your twenties, you’re just out to set the world on fire and mom and dad are always there and it’s not really something you have to worry about. They’re hopefully behind you, praying and supporting you and sometimes shaking their head because they see the decisions you’re making might not be the best decisions, but overall you’re not finding yourself in a place where you feel like you have to be responsible for them.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And to tell ya the truth, I was just very impressed, just thinking about someone 29, actually taking the time, putting her life on hold in some aspects, just to care for her mother. And I mean, she went through a lot of different situations and trying to get her situated. So it wasn’t like she found out that she was ill. And then she got her settled and that was it. No, this was actually a journey when she talks about for 10 years and I think she did a great job. The one thing I really enjoyed was the fact that she was really focused on trying to keep her own identity. She was very self-aware in realizing that one day her mom would be gone so that she had to make sure that she was engaged enough in life that when her mom made that final walk, that she was able to have something to go back to, in a more full-time capacity. So, but very impressive young person. I don’t know that everyone that young would have embraced it as willingly as she.
Yeah, she definitely made that big pivot when she talked about the fact she had the dream job offered to her right at the point that she knew she had to leave New York. Even just talking to her, you can hear that longing for New York. You know, that that was just really a dream that she was living out and was so happy there. But at the same time, the pivot that she made in going back to Florida, bringing her mom to where it was a good fit for both of them. I thought that was so wise for her not to go back to a small town, but to go to a city. So she could have the life that she enjoyed and really look forward to. She had a lot of wisdom and I love that she was able to discover those things for herself without the support that she was looking for.
Yes, yes, absolutely. But of course, I think all of us as caregivers. We don’t know what we don’t know. And it does take a while before you actually are able to self-identify- I am a caregiver. I mean, you’re just sort of doing what you need to do. Being what you need to be to the person, but you’re not really thinking cognitively or emotionally, then I’m a caregiver. And until one day you realize as you start to see information and things coming in different directions, you realize that’s me, they’re talking about me. I thought about the whole uniqueness of the different generations, like I said, I’m most familiar with people talking about baby boomers, but I can see how that Gen Y generation, they would have their own unique sets of challenges and struggles because some of them may be in school. She could have been getting a graduate degree. And then career is such a big piece you get out of school, you have your career and you try to move up the ladder. And, you know, people are always concerned that, you know, how is it going to be perceived? If I tell folks that I have to take care of a parent or take care of my spouse. What is that going to do to my career potential in the long run? I can see where she was able to sort of actually really carve out a market and, and as she started to tell her story and share it on Instagram, of course she wasn’t trying to share her story to market anything. She was just using it as therapy. She could see how sharing her story was really a support and help to other people. And I think it helped her to see how many people were out there that were just like her.
Right. She mentioned that one article that she saw, somebody else that was similar in age and in that place. And then she was the one who was out there sharing that. The other piece that really stood out to me is finding that life partner didn’t happen for her until the end of her mom’s life. And so she always imagined she would be married earlier and all of those things. And, that can be really difficult when you are putting your heart into your job. And then you have the caregiving side of things. There’s not a lot of extra time. And so that was one of the pieces that was also put on hold. I’m a gen X-er. I’m that typical sandwich generation. And I think that’s where we find, and, you know, millennials could be as well having young children, but your gen X-ers are typically have been the ones that have been in that. In-between both having the parent and having school aged kids that are needing, attention and support. So each generation has those challenges. I also was talking to a colleague not too long ago, and they were talking about how the greatest generation is still caregiving. Now most of the time, it’s the spouse that they’re caring for. And they are silent in so many areas of their life. And caregiving is one of those areas that they’re just very silent about their needs. And I think they are ones that have not embraced the caregiver label. Therefore they’re not realizing, number one, what supports out there, but number two, what support they need. That can definitely be challenging. And I think too, just like she mentioned, just searching the word caregiver was like a whole and opened up a whole Pandora’s box for. We’ve mentioned it before, but just those hats remembering to embrace that hat because it does help us to understand better our roles.
Absolutely. And I think just hearing you talk about, people not even recognizing that they’re caregivers, I think it goes to show you how much more needs to be done to reach out and to support people no matter what generation they’re from. Caregiving is something that can become a part of your life at any stage. I know your mom took you when you were younger. So, that really does have impact. And I remember when my. Husband had his stroke at 39 and my youngest son was in junior high. And I always remember, I don’t think there was anything we could do to recapture some of what was lost by him. Losing his father, playing such an active role in his life. You know, during that time it was really something that you can’t even realize or imagine until after it’s all over with. Yeah. I love the way that she was thinking about, how to be an advocate. How to be an advocate for, for that generation to actually get more support, more services. And I think she’s really looking at things, not just on the local level. I think she’s the kinda person that’s really interested in making an impact, you know, on a larger level as well because it’s definitely something. That needs to be given more thought and it needs to be given more attention. And it seems like those of us who are in the caregiving role, I mean, it seems like we’re talking all the time and sometimes I’m thinking, well, maybe we’re just talking to the choir, there’s still seems a whole nother world out there that people really need to have awareness. And the workforce is the key piece that I really took away from her talk. About how important it is for employers to have empathy, to have different programs in place so that people can work as much as they can. And they can have the flexibility to do what they need to do to care for their loved one. I mean, that’s always a very uncomfortable spot when you find yourself working and then you have to ask for permission to get leave. It shouldn’t be an area of stress, especially when the person has so much going on on a personal level.
I find it really interesting with the book coming out. I have been having the opportunity to be guests on other podcasts. And one of the things that I’m finding is a lot of conversation with the business world and I’ve actually been able to be on some podcasts and it’s been interesting to listen to them, introduce it to their audience. First of all, that I have an unusual topic that we’re going to cover today, but I really think it’ll be applicable to you. And they talk about how in the business world, this is a piece that we need to consider. And I am always, just trying to make it really clear that caregiving is one more role, but it is an impactful role in our lives. And when we’re an employee and we’re in a caregiving role, it really does impact our job. And I had a host asked me, what do employers need to know? And I thought, that’s a great question. I wasn’t quite ready for it. But I said, I think it’s important that they understand that they are going to need some leeway and they need some opportunities to have that sit down with you, explain the situation and have you know, that things are going to come up. Just like a mom of a young child, you know that they’re going to miss work. That there’s going to be times that, that child’s going to be sick. And that you need to understand there’s going to be doctor’s appointments. There’s going to be times that there’s hospital stays and that’s what caregiving is. Like you said, having the flexibility to be where you need to be, to offer the support that you need to offer. It’s tricky because I’ve been that employer as well. And I know that the job needs to get done. So it is a hard balance to be able to have those conversations.
It is, it is a hard balance. I remember in serving as a manager, I had an employee who wanted to take off six months for childcare purposes and I told her, okay, we’ll figure it out. She was like, Just, you know, we’ll figure it out. I mean, you’re not concerned. I’m like I was thinking all the caregiving roles that I played in my lifetime. I know if somebody says they need to take a time out to take care of someone, they don’t say it lightly. you’re always concerned about not only is my job in jeopardy but, will there be a place for me when I’m ready to come back? Of course in the meantime, I had to find someone to, cover her responsibilities, but it worked out and I’m going to tell you that woman has been so grateful to me to this very day. And just the fact that, she was able to do that without the stress of worry of, I’m worried about her job being there when she got back. But I think that’s what we need. And a lot of people have done that for me. I mean, on my journey, with my husband’s stroke, my husband having a kidney transplant, I mean, I would start, new jobs and I would have something going on with my husband. And I have lots of people advocating for me and giving me the time I needed to take care of what needed to be taken care of at home. And my job was still secure. So I was very grateful for that. And I think it’s something that you want to pass on to other people. The hope would be that every manager would have the mindset of understanding that we’re all humans. And this is just a part of a life, the caregiving process.
I think small businesses are impacted so much differently than larger organizations, but at the same time, learning to go with it can make a big difference. When I owned a small business, I had an employee who had a baby and we hired some help and we knew she was going to be gone for a certain period of time. And it was really ironic because we feel like something’s gonna last forever. And it never really does. Right. But she had her baby and was gone for a period of time. And then the person I hired to have her take care of her got pregnant and she ended up having her baby right after the other one came back. So it ended up working out really well. And the temporary one that I had hired in, she decided not to come back, but to stay home with her child. And so it all worked out it at the time. It doesn’t quite feel that easy. It feels like it’s a pretty big deal, but it is amazing how often times it comes together for us. And so just offering that mercy and grace, I think you got to be honest, but you also have to do the best that you can to offer them what you can offer. And I do agree that employers today have to consider caregiving. The support of people who are in that caregiving role, understanding what they need is so important because it is such a large part of so many people’s lives right now. And it’s only going to continue to be a demand. And so raising the awareness, being an advocate, I love Adrienne’s doing that. I think we can do that. Being in a good employee and being honest about where you are and letting your boss know. That was one thing I said in my interviews, I said, I was lucky that in my positions, I had a good relationship with my boss and I would just sit down and say, this is where we are. They would check in how are things going? What’s happening now, but it’s tricky. It’s a difficult tight rope to walk, is what comes to my mind, is just kind of walking that line of serving and having the ability to focus and do your best job while you’re working. And then when you’re out of work, being able to focus on the person who needs you at home.
Yeah. And certainly being a good employee does help you because people want to help you if you’re actually doing what you need to do when you’re at work. So I think that makes a huge difference for sure. But really, something to give some, some thought to is how to continue to raise awareness and to make it more on a national scale. So that people can be more sensitive to something that’s happening. Whether people want to recognize it or not. It is something that is happening. As we speak, somebody is getting ready to shift into a caregiver role. And we’re not just talking about aging parents. I’ve worked with people who live siblings who had a stroke or people who have children who have autism. I mean, it’s just a massive thing to think about. And then now with the pandemic and with people, all being at home and with the whole COVID and people not being as comfortable having outside support, it adds a whole nother layer of complexity to what we’re talking about.
It definitely does. And it also kind of reminds me a little bit of what we had just talked about with the side hustle and having that opportunity to have that support. Adrienne and I both kind of made a pivot in our jobs. I left teaching and pursued my coaching profession, she pivoted and became self-employed as a project manager and that gave her the flexibility and freedom that she needed to be able to be available for her mom as she needed to in those later years. I felt like that was important for me as well, having that mobile job that allowed me to be at the farm when I needed to be and do the work and take it with me to my dad’s home and do the work there as well. So, I think sometimes as an employee if we don’t have a position that allows us the flexibility we might need to look at what other opportunities are out there and start as a side hustle and see how it works for you, whether it be, if you’re a teacher going to tutoring or going to something, more like that, that allows you, the flexibility that you need. So I think that’s something that really has to be looked at as well, because. Not every job can give you the flexible.
Absolutely. Absolutely. So it’s, it is really important that people take a look at, what’s possible. And if it’s not possible to make it happen at your current job, then what are some other ways or options to making money because that’s what it really boils down to being able to financially support yourself while you’re going through the season as well.
Considering our generations, our workplace, advocacy Adrienne had a lot to share with us in her interview. I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear her perspective and to talk a little bit more about that. Thank you, Karen.
A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you need medical, financial, or legal support, be sure to ask your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.
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