Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Benefits of Day Stay Programs

Episode 71

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, reflect on last week’s interview with Jane Daly.  Jane shared her caregiving journey and how she learned grace during that time.  Additional thoughts:

    • Learning to be a family caregiver can be a journey of spiritual growth if you allow it.
    • Embrace the fact that you need help sooner rather than later.
    • Look at the structure of your care team and if there is no one under you, then you are doing things that do not require you to do them.
    • Take the time to step back and ask, “What do I want this to look like?”.
    • It is not sustainable to give, give, give, and not have any time to recharge yourself.
    • “Should” is a dangerous word as it signals that you are not sure you want to take something on and can imply that you do not wholeheartedly embrace it.
    • Compassion fatigue is when you reach a point that you no longer have empathy for the other person because you have exhausted everything in your being.

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, today we’re going to talk more about the grace that Jane found through her caregiving season. In my last interview. I have to tell you, Jane Daley, I just so was blessed by her book. And I found it after my caregiving season, when I was really exploring, writing my own book and thinking about what would that look like? And I don’t even know how to do that. And I found her book, The Caregiving Season, and I really think it just made such an impact on me, how she shared her faith throughout it and her struggles and just really was so transparent with the journey. I just was really blessed by it. So it was so much fun to be able to interview Jane.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. Well, I can tell you really enjoy Jane, but she had a great, great story. She’s a very accomplished person and I love the theme of grace and certainly as a person of faith, it helps you to keep in perspective that you’re not doing this on your own. You’re not doing this by your strength. You’re not doing this by your energy, by your patients. You’re doing this by the grace of God. And so it was certainly a theme that really resonated with me.

Rayna Neises: 

I love throughout her book. I mean, I’m just looking and even in the intro and she just says “learning to be a caregiver for your mother and father can be a journey of spiritual growth if we allow it.” And I think that is so much, the key is how important our heart attitude is. Our direction of where we look for that strength and that help in the stressful, frustrating times because all of us will say there are many of those, and if we try to do it on our own, it’s going to be, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine doing it on our own.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, no, absolutely. In fact, I’m often concerned about people who I meet, who are in the caregiving season and they don’t have a faith tradition. And they’re sort of like, out there, you know, really literally trying to do it on their own. You can really see the difference in people who have allowed their faith to be a big piece of what they do, because it’s about serving, you’re really serving other people. Having that that heart of servanthood I think makes a huge difference in and how you’ll be able to navigate. And also take care of yourself through the process. Because otherwise I think it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, burnout, and certain, she talks about that and self-care, self-care. And we’ve talked about that many times in these podcasts. The whole dual role of being able to walk. You’re in level one, home is huge. And I know Rayna, you talk about that all the time about just the privilege of being able to, walk your dad home and how you supported your, your dad when he was caring for your mom. But. In the midst of all that still having a life. And that is huge. Because most people will look at it like I can’t do both. I have to do what I have to do. This is what I should do, whatever, but it’s very difficult for people sometimes to see that there is the opportunity to still keep on living. But you have to get support. You have to get your team together. And we’ve talked about that many times about, getting family and friends and whoever involved in the process and knowing that you are not going to be an expert at everything. And that certainly, do the things that are your strengths. But also reach out to people who have other strengths in other areas that may support you so that you can give this season with grace.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, I was so surprised whenever I asked Jane, at what point did you. Start to ask for help. And her answer was like two weeks before my mom passed away. It really me. So it definitely says a lot about how helpful and encouraging her husband was because she said taking care of her mom eight years after her dad passed away. And so that’s a long time because she was working and she did have all these other responsibilities in her life. Being a wife and working and, having her mom down the street was a lot. And so I was surprised when she said that she really didn’t take advantage of the opportunity of asking other people to help and to step in and be a support for her. But it did sound like her husband was an amazing support to her.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, it sounds like her husband was of support. In fact, I don’t see how she would have done it without having him kind of involved in the process and really knowing that sometimes he had to say, I’ll do it. So that she would just be still, because she said she got her energy from just sitting and having some quiet time. So that was very important to her. So I can definitely relate to all that she was saying there. I also, I just have this concept in my mind. And in women that I’ve met especially those who are in the professional work world that they don’t think twice about if they can do it, they just do it. And they just sort of figure it out as they go along. So I really wasn’t surprised to hear her say that it wasn’t the very end of her season, that finally, the light bulb went off that, Hey, I don’t have to, I didn’t really have to do this alone. Because I think when you’re, you’re active in the work world and when you you’re in a leadership position. You’ve been very accomplished. You’re used to solving complex problems. You’re used to just jumping in when there’s a fire. So this is a personal situation, but I think people would tend to sort of handle, manage, navigate the same way they would at work. Like, I can do this, it’s just a matter of what I need to do. That’s an interesting piece and maybe it says something about maybe the way we need to speak to are those in the professional field to help them to better embrace the fact that they need help sooner than later.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, I think that’s so true. The key to that, when you say that is a true strong leader, doesn’t do everything.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely.

Rayna Neises: 

You are the problem-solver. You are the visionary. You are the one who has a tendency to see the big picture, but true, strong leaders know how to delegate. And how to hand it off and leave it there. So, listeners, if you find you are the Superman, who’s wearing the cape and doing it all, and you’re not taking advantage of other people around you and delegation, really look at what you’re doing and think about what is the organizational structure of your team. If there is no one under you, then you’re doing things that don’t require you to do them.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. Yeah, no, I, I totally agree and understand what you’re saying. And I think the other piece of that is managing the personal life, like your professional life, it’s not the same. And at some point you have to understand there’s an emotional impact of caregiving that is totally different from the challenges that we will face in the work world. And the way we’d be able to address them, because they don’t all have that emotional impact that you experienced when you’re caregiving for aging parents,

Rayna Neises: 

That’s true. You know, my work profession, I owned a Sylvan Learning Center. My dad and I were actually in partnership together and so there was a lot of emotional pulls to the work that we did. But at the same time, I understood that I physically could not teach all 100 students myself. There was no way I can do it because we had one teacher with three students at the most. It wasn’t even possible for me to do that. So I wonder if that’s part of how it affected me whenever I went into the caregiving season, because it wasn’t possible for me to do everything. I wasn’t there all the time. Whereas you are right there with your dad and your husband day in and day out every day. And so I can see where it’s a little easier for you to think, oh, it’s just easier for me to do it than it is to have someone else do it, or to train someone to do it or to pick up after them or whatever it is, managing people is not always easy. And so sometimes it feels like it’s just easier to do it yourself.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. Absolutely. The other thing that that really sort of resonate with me was this thought about trying to figure out what does having a life look like, when you’re in the role of a caregiver. I mean, you know that your loved one is getting what he or she needs, but what does it look like? And I don’t think. The people often take the time to step back and say, what do I want it to look like? Because that’s where it starts, you know, what do I want to look like? And then you can go from there as to figuring out how can you make it happen. So I really, really, really enjoyed, hearing her talk about that. And some of her stories were so funny. How she was almost like hiding out from her mom, trying to have dinner with her husband. And her mom, like looking out the window, you know, wondering what, where are they going? You know? And so I find that to be quite amusing to just to think about. And the fact that her personality was very different than her mom’s. And I think that was a very interesting dynamic to understand as well, because she had a very extroverted mom who wanted to be around people wanted to talk, wanted to socialize, and she really needed a lot of quiet in order to to get her energy back and to keep going. Yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

And actually my dad and I were very much the same. He was very much a people person on the go like to be doing all the time and I like to do, but I don’t like people so much. I was kind of the same way that I knew I needed my time to myself. And because again, I wasn’t there 24/7. Then I had that time to recoup and to regenerate and to get what I needed before I went back and joined him in his world and helped him stay in engaged and involved. But I think it is important. Again, it comes back to understanding our strengths and weaknesses. Bringing those other people in to help meet the needs that we can’t meet.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. And of course, if we don’t really recognize some of these things upfront, we can be heading down a road to burnout. And that certainly is not a place you want to find yourself. So it’s really important to have some self-awareness upfront about who you are? What you need? What does your loved one need? What can someone else do, that you don’t have to provide everything? I mean, all those are things that I think Caregivers need to take the time to ask themselves sooner than later, you don’t really want to wait until two weeks before your loved one passes to say, oh, I get it now. This was not meant to be a journey for me to do all by myself. So.

Rayna Neises: 

And that’s part of what we’re here for listeners is to just keep offering different ways and different ideas that might trigger for you to say, oh, I could do it that way. Instead of continuing down the path that you’re on. I was reading a really interesting article recently from Denise Brown and she was talking about the analogy that everybody uses about being on an airplane and putting your oxygen mask on yourself. And she said, this has never really resonated with me. And I thought, huh, because I don’t know that I think it’s that applicable either, but you hear it all the time and she put her finger on

Karen Weaver: 

Oh yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

why it doesn’t work for her. She said, When you’re in the airplane, there are enough masks for everyone. When you are caregiving, there is not enough for everybody. And I thought that was really interesting to think about if you didn’t have a mask for yourself and the person that you love, you’d be in a whole different predicament wouldn’t you? So many times caregivers find themselves in a place where they don’t have enough to care for themselves and for their loved one, which is why it’s even more important not to do it alone. If your pie is only as big as you, then there isn’t enough to share. But when your pie includes other people’s pieces too, then there’s enough to feed your loved one off of other people. And they have more to give than you do. And so by putting my little bit and your little bit together, we have enough to meet the needs of the person that we’re caring for. And I thought that was such a great way of really understanding in a concrete way, why it’s not okay not to take care of yourself.

Karen Weaver: 

Oh, that makes perfect sense. And we all know that if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of your loved one for the journey. It’s because it’s not sustainable to continue to give, give, give, and not have any time to recharge yourself. For sure.

Rayna Neises: 

Exactly. So I think caregivers, as you think about that, self-care is something you’re going to hear about all the time, because it is, I say it’s even more important than what you hear it is. Which doesn’t seem possible because we keep saying it over and over again. Right?

Karen Weaver: 

Yes,

Rayna Neises: 

so important and it’s a matter of finding how to do it for yourself. What worked for me is not going to work for everyone else. You have to find what fills you up and what keeps you with the energy and the peace and the grace, all of those things that you need to make it day in and day out. Offering to your loved one, what they need. And so that I think is so important, but understanding that the only way that there is enough to offer it to your loved one is for you to feed yourself and to get it for yourself.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely. Absolutely. So and again, we can’t say. Self-care, self-care enough, because if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of someone else. So it it’s, it’s really a challenge, but it’s a non-negotiable to tell you the truth.

Rayna Neises: 

Well, you’ve brought up already. One of the things that I think people frequently avoid and that’s grief, and I think that significantly impacts how you take care of yourself. If you’re ignoring the grief, then you’re closing part of yourself off. And eventually that leads to ugly. And so you don’t want to do that. One of the things that Jane mentioned that stood out to me was that guilt. And I hear that a lot, both the grief and the guilt are a big piece of caregiving for a lot of people. And the guilt side one of the things that I noticed is even when she was talking about not having other people help, she mentioned I am the daughter and I should be the one to do it. And that should is what leads to guilt.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes. And I always tell my coaching clients should is a dangerous word. Because that means that you’re taking on something that you really are not sure you want to take on. You’re taking it on for maybe the wrong reason because should by itself just saying the word, it, it implies that this is not something that you wholeheartedly embrace. That is something right for you. So it’s really important because sometimes you may not be the person who should be the point person, perhaps there’s somebody else who should be the point person. And that’s Okay. It’s really important to know your limits too. So that you won’t experience, feelings of guilt when all is said and done

Rayna Neises: 

well, I think it’s so important to realize what you just said that sometimes you’re not the best person to do a certain part of the job. And my role was to do the hands on and to help to pick up the mess, to cook the dinner, to do those things. And that was my role. And I was fine with that role because we had a good relationship, but I talk to people that they don’t have that relationship with their parent. And it doesn’t make sense to put yourself in a place where if there’s abuse or verbal abuse. Talking down to you or any of those types of things that are going to impact you emotionally, that doesn’t make sense to put yourself in the line of fire day after day, after day, it doesn’t mean you drop them off and you never look back. It means you find a way to do the things that you need to do to help honor them and care for them. It just doesn’t mean that caring has to look the same for you as it did for me.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes. And I think there are folks out there that actually probably need permission to say, this is not right for me. This is not going to work for me. This is more than I can handle. I can manage, I can emotionally take on, whatever. And a lot of times I think, you know, whether it’s your. Your position in the family, the being the oldest, or whether it’s the fact that you’re a daughter or whatever gets you to that should. I mean, I think people really need to have conversations with people in their support circle or give some outside perspective to help them to really determine if this is really the best avenue for you. The other thing too is, things change. As, as we go along with our loved ones, I mean, sometimes you, you take something on and it looks one way and then sometimes six months later, it shifts and looks totally different. So that makes difference too. Being able to understand what your capabilities are and your limits and your boundaries and what you really need to happen in order for you to sustain for the longterm.

Rayna Neises: 

You know, my season was four and a half years long and the first two years I was there. I think I missed three weekends and the last two and a half years, I was able to go to every other weekend because emotionally it got harder. He was not always interacting kindly and he was needing more help at night. And so I wasn’t sleeping as well. There were things that I just saw that it was wearing me down. And so it was a time to say, Hey, let’s look at this. Can we find somebody to cover every other weekend so that I can spend more time with family or go to that family wedding or graduation or whatever those things were that were happening in our lives? It just, it has to be what works for you in your family. And if it’s not working, it’s time to talk about it and figure out what needs to happen in order for it to work again.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s the tough part is people really taking the time to talk about it and, realizing that if they don’t talk about it, it doesn’t make things any easier.

Rayna Neises: 

Right.

Karen Weaver: 

For sure. For anyone. Yeah.

Rayna Neises: 

Elder abuse is real and it happens because of burnout. I believe, I don’t believe that anyone is intentionally neglecting or being cruel or unkind to their loved one. They’re just at the end of their rope or probably beyond and things happen. Make sure that you’re aware of where your end is long before you get there so that you don’t find that burnout. So you don’t find yourself in a place where you do something, say something that you don’t want to, and that you will regret and that you will have guilt for those things.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, absolutely. I’ve also what I’ve heard it referred to is compassion fatigue. When you really are at a point where you just have no more empathy for the other person, because you have exhausted everything in your being. And you were at a point where you are at burnout and you need to kind of step back. Renew, recharge, regroup in order to be able to continue serving in that role.

Rayna Neises: 

Listeners, I can’t encourage you enough to pick up The Caregiving Season: Finding Grace to Honor Your Aging Parents by Jane Daley. Again, you can find Jane’s blog articles and other things on caregiving at janesdaily.com. We look forward to having you join us again next time listeners. Just to reminder, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you need medical, financial, or legal advice, please consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

Resources

Denise Brown’s article Rayna referenced can be found on her website. Grace Not Guilt About Our Self-Care

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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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