A podcast where we share stories of hope for family caregivers breaking through loneliness to see God even in this season of life.

Stories of Hope for living content, loving well, and caring with no regrets!

Cherished Moments and Hard-won wisdom

Episode 181

Experience the courageous story of Yolanda Lucas as she fearlessly shares her heartfelt journey of providing care for her mother for 15 years.  Her path has taken her from the sidelines of support to the forefront of advocacy in the intricate realm of medical care. We talk about how caregiving can reveal personal growth, resilience, and strong family connections. We learn about Yolanda’s life, which has been full of challenges, successes, and meaningful moments. 

In this soul-stirring episode, we also unwrap the wisdom discovered by Yolanda as she opens up about the profound moments of divine intervention and the invaluable resources that have been instrumental in supporting her journey. The way she tells her story is a powerful reminder of the fine line between taking care of a loved one and taking care of oneself, as well as the vital support found in communities such as NourishForCaregivers.com. Yolanda’s courage and honesty will inspire you as she shares a story of hope and a plan for navigating the complexities of caring for her mother and herself during this challenging time.


  
1:28       Wisdom from a young, long term caregiver
6:26       Learning to care for both you and them
14:43.    Advocate for your loved one, your voice matters

This Episode is brought to you by:

The Caregiver's Companion

the Caregiver's CompanionThis beautiful full-color guided journal combines prayers, meditations, reflection questions, quotations, and plenty of space for personal journaling, allowing you to capture the highs and lows of your daily experiences.

You will discover spiritual nourishment and practical guidance for

  • coping with stress and feelings of grief and loss,
  • advocating for your loved one and yourself,
  • facing tough decisions and knowing when to ask for help,
  • establishing healthy boundaries with other family members, and
  • making lasting memories in your challenging but special role as caregiver.

The Caregiver’s Companion is also a useful resource for parishes, parish nurses, chaplains, and faith-based elder-care agencies and health systems. Free, downloadable resources are available on nourishforcaregivers.com.

A portion of the sales benefit Nourish for Caregivers, an organization founded by the authors to improve the health and spiritual wellbeing of caregivers.

 
Yolanda Lucas

Yolanda Lucas

For fifteen years, Yolanda has been the steadfast anchor of her family, navigating the ever-shifting currents of caring for her mother. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. There were storms of frustration, days shrouded in the fog of uncertainty, and nights punctuated by the low hum of worry. But through it all, Yolanda’s spirit remained a lighthouse, a beacon of unwavering love and dedication. She juggled doctor’s appointments with grocery runs and whispered reassurances through sleepless nights. Her laughter, the kind that crinkled the corners of her eyes, became a balm, soothing anxieties and filling the air with warmth.

Though the journey is far from over, Yolanda faces it with unwavering courage, her spirit forever tethered to her mother’s, an anchor in the sea of time, a testament to the enduring power of love and family. In caring for her mother, she had discovered a wellspring of compassion within herself, a testament to the boundless capacity of the human heart.

Resources

Nourish for Caregivers

Join us for House Calls a weekly support group to encourage your heart and nourish your spirit!

Transcript

*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation

[00:00:00] Rayna Neises: Welcome. This is Rayna Neises with A Season of Caring Podcast, where we share stories of hope for family caregivers breaking through the busyness and loneliness of caregiving to see God even in the season of life. I’m so glad that you’re here with us today, and I’m excited to introduce you to our special guest, Yolanda Lucas.

[00:00:23] Yolanda has been caring for her mom for 15 years. She’s been the steadfast anchor of her family, navigating the ever shifting currents of caring for her mom. always smooth sailing. There were storms of frustration, days shrouded in the fog of uncertainty and nights punctuated by the low hum of worry, but through it all Yolanda’s spirit remained a lighthouse. A beacon of unwavering love and dedication. She’s juggled doctor’s appointments with grocery runs, whispered reassurances through sleepless nights, her laughter, the kind that crinkles the corners of her eyes became a balm, soothing anxieties and filling the air with warmth. Though the journey as far from over, Yolanda faced it with unwavering courage, her spirit forever tethered to her mothers an anchor in the sea of time, a testament to the enduring power of love and family. In caring for her mother, she’s discovered a wellspring of compassion within herself, a testament of the boundless capacity of the human hearts.

[00:01:22] Welcome, Yolanda. I’m so glad to be able to talk

[00:01:24] Yolanda Lucas: Thank you. Thank you. I’m still on this caregiving journey.

[00:01:28] Rayna Neises: Well, it has been a long journey.

[00:01:31] Yolanda Lucas: Yes. It has been a long journey 15 years. I started when I was around 19, 20 years old, so I was one of those young caregivers, so it was put into my lap but yeah, but it does have a challenging.

[00:01:45] Rayna Neises: and I know with me in caring for my mom when I was that young, it just kind of was what you do. It’s always been, it’s so, it’s always been a part of your relationship with her

[00:01:56] Yolanda Lucas: Yes, it has. It didn’t start out like how it is now where I’m talking to most of her doctors and stuff like that. It started basically just catering to her wounds and stuff like that. So, so that’s where we started. But then as the years went on and. She was getting sicker, I would have to step in more and all of that.

[00:02:15] And at first I was not comfortable with that ’cause I wasn’t a person who likes to speak up and speak out. So I’m normally just to myself and quiet. So I had to learn to try to just speak up and speak out. As far as not trying to be scared to talk to the doctors and making sure that she’s getting the best treatment possible. sure

[00:02:34] Rayna Neises: definitely a learning process in that, and like you said, you haven’t really had a choice. I mean, you’ve had so much to deal with that you’ve had to be that advocate and it can be really uncomfortable.

[00:02:44] How do you think you made yourself get comfortable with that?

[00:02:47] Yolanda Lucas: Just learning that I have to talk and speak up.

[00:02:49] Rayna Neises: You do a good job of it. And so it’s definitely interesting whenever I hadn’t thought about your personality just being, kind of being quieter and then putting yourself in that role.

[00:02:58] So what kind of challenges in caregiving with your mom have you guys been facing lately?

[00:03:02] Yolanda Lucas: Lately just trying to get her doctors to at least talk to me. Well, her specialist as far as her specialist trying to talk to me I don’t have an issue with her primary care, just her specialist. They don’t think they should have talk to me and just talk to her and that’s it. But due to other health issues they have came on now. They don’t really have a choice. They have to include me into it because she has memory issues. So I try to remind them, that she has memory issues, so can you please just include me in the conversation, or I’ll send a message out to her doctors myself.

[00:03:35] Rayna Neises: And at this point you are even looking at maybe changing what your caregiving looks like. ’cause you’ve lived with her all this time and been available 24 7 pretty much. And it’s gotten to a point where the needs are just really outweighing your ability to handle everything. So tell us a little bit about the transition you’re looking to make.

[00:03:55] Yolanda Lucas: Transition I’m looking to make is to get her into a long-term care such as a nursing home um, because she needs more care. And I explained to her that even though it was some backfor a long while, but she finally

[00:04:08] agreed.

[00:04:08] agreed. so trying to get her placed in there will be the best option for her.

[00:04:13] Rayna Neises: And you guys have had in-home care support for quite a while, but that hasn’t gone so well because you’ve struggled with getting people to show up.

[00:04:23] Yolanda Lucas: Yes, we had had people who didn’t show up or they came and didn’t come back, but they didn’t let the agency know, the As far as not showing up and all of that. So we had that issue. So not this past weekend, but the weekend before that somebody was supposed to show up and the person never showed and contact the agency at all.

[00:04:42] Rayna Neises: Working with that can definitely be one of the biggest challenges and you’ve been doing that for years. Just feeling like, okay, why is this so hard? Right? Trying to find the right support and the help, and then personalities can always be challenging. So you definitely have your hands full.

[00:04:56] So share with us a favorite caregiving story that you have.

[00:04:59] Yolanda Lucas: Me and mom I guess when she had to go to the doctor’s one time , she wanted to go out to eat and because her doctor’s office is near a train station, which is Union Station so we were able to go out, go down there and get something to eat just look around as far as the train station it’s old. So we were able to see different things and go upstairs ’cause there’s levels two to the train station. So, and we were able to do that and just walk around and be outside. That, which was nice. And we also were able to see the capitol. Because I’m in Washington DC so we were able to see the Capitol and all of that. So we had a good time that day.

[00:05:35] Rayna Neises: Yeah, it’s fun to be able to get out and do something other than, I mean, you had to deal with the doctors, but then once it’s over, just to kind of be able to break up the routine a little bit and do something different and you’re at a point where your mom has to have transport all the time, and so that can be really limiting in how often you guys can get out. So it can be fun to do different things and definitely that variety makes a difference.

[00:05:57] So what would be one thing that surprised you most about caregiving? You’ve been doing it for a really long time, so does anything stand out?

[00:06:05] Yolanda Lucas: Yes. How time consuming it could be., um, so for me, because time will go by fast, I could be taking care of. Of doing something for her. And I’ll look at the time and I’ll say, okay, the time has passed by very quickly. And I’m gonna add one more thing. Um, putting in their needs before yours, even though I’ve been doing it for so long, putting, their needs, um, before mines.

[00:06:32] Rayna Neises: That’s a hard balance, isn’t it? Being able to know what they need and help make sure their needs are met, but at the same time, even considering your needs. Have you found yourself at times during caregiving that you totally kind of forgot about your needs?

[00:06:48] Yolanda Lucas: did. Sometimes I I will forget to eat. So I’m at that point where I have to remind myself to eat, and sometimes just to get away for just a little while. While her home health aid is here, I’ll actually shut my door to my room. And just to be alone for, just for a while, while I’m listening to music or reading or something like that.

[00:07:08] Rayna Neises: Yeah. It, it can be. I hadn’t really thought about forgetting to eat, but I can see where that can happen just because of how you get into the thick of everything. But it’s so important to find the things that are helpful to you in keeping you healthy I know you’ve gone back to school and being able to juggle that with caregiving. Any suggestions on how you handle

[00:07:30] Yolanda Lucas: Um, try to schedule stuff such as me scheduling for me study. And still making time for myself, even while I’m in school. So if I decide to go to the movies or I go outside for a walk or um, out with, with a few of my friends, is what I try to make time for.

[00:07:48] Rayna Neises: So I know for me, just in my caregiving, one of the things I had to do was just really plan ahead and make sure I had those things, like going to the movies and seeing my friends on the schedule. Because I think it can be easy to just let time go by and not even think about how long it’s been since you’ve been able to hang out with other people it’s important, and I’m glad that you’ve figured out that balance, especially. you’ve been doing it so long and you’re, you were so young when you started. I can see where it would be really easy to just let life be only what you guys do together instead of doing things outside of home.

[00:08:21] We’re going to take a moment out here. This episode of A Season and Caring Podcast has been sponsored by The Caregiver’s Companion, a Christ Center Journal to Nourish your Soul.

[00:08:32] And this is a beautiful book. I highly recommended if you’ve not found it yet. Every caregiver story’s unique, but one thing you have in common is that you need to be nourished to have the resilience and compassion to tend to the needs of your loved ones. The Caregiver’s Companion approaches, caregiving, not as a burden, but as an opportunity to grow and receive graces and blessing. It’s written by two amazing women who are the founders of Nouish for Caregivers, an organization that seeks to improve the health and spiritual wellbeing of caregivers. Both Kelly Johnson and Deb Kelsey-Davis have been guests on a seasonal caring podcast. So if you haven’t caught their interviews, be sure to search for them. The journal is beautifully designed. It’s full color. In fact, I told them both. It is so beautiful. I’m not sure I want to write in it. It is a practical resource with encouraging readings, prayer, and guided journaling to help you draw strength from your faith in a few sacred moments each day. It’s a unique resource to remind you to care for yourself while you’re caring for others. Each entry in this beautiful full color guided journal combines prayers, meditations reflection questions, quotations and plenty of space for personal journaling. Allowing you to capture the highs and lows of your daily experience. I know you will love your copy of The Caregiver’s Companion. Get yours today at www.AveMariaPress.com.

[00:10:01] Now let’s get back to our great conversation with this young, strong caregiver Yolanda.

[00:10:07] So when you think about how God’s shown up for you in your caregiving, do you have a story you can share with us about when God’s shown up for you?

[00:10:14] Yolanda Lucas: , I would say probably last year sometime. Um,

[00:10:18] basically I was crying out to him literally because I was frustrated. I was tired, and there was really no one else to fall back on at that point in time. So it’s just, you know, I prayed to him, I said, I need her to understand that she needs to go. I can’t take this no more. I can’t do it So God was able to finally get her to understand. It was time, even though it took someone else to talk to her again. But, um, she was able to finally agree and happened outta nowhere. I didn’t ask her any questions anymore. She just said, okay, I’m going to agree to go to the nursing home. So, which I was happy about.

[00:11:00] Rayna Neises: You just kind of found the end of, of your ability to just keep doing what you’ve been doing and her needs just kept increasing. So I can only imagine how difficult that was of just feeling like she’s not hearing me and just really crying out. And as usual, I always say. It feels like God’s really slow, doesn’t You’re like, come on, Lord. Now I’m, I’m at the end of my rope now and He waits as long as it’s the perfect timing, but I always feel like God’s pretty slow. And there is actually a scripture that says God is not slow. It’s his timing, and we’re the ones who have to get on his timing. But it can be so hard because, you know, you really find yourself at the end of your rope and you’re thinking, I cannot, there’s no way I can keep doing this. But yet you really didn’t have a choice. The rejoicing that happens whenever you see God move and actually see her be willing to make that change for you too.

[00:11:57] What’s one thing that helps you to live Content, love well and care without regrets?

[00:12:02] Yolanda Lucas: Just making time for myself.

[00:12:04] as far as putting myself first at this point, ’cause I wasn’t always like that. I usually put others before me. So that’s how I usually work was. So I started therapy and my therapist made a point, and you have to start putting yourself first because you’ve been doing this for so long. You’re used to just putting everybody else needs, but now you’re getting to the point where you’re burnt out.

[00:12:26] So

[00:12:27] Rayna Neises: Yeah.

[00:12:28] Yolanda Lucas: it’s just putting myself first time for myself as well as still still tending to her while she’s still at home. Even though once you go nursing, I’ll still have to attend to her, make sure everything is okay, but it’s more involved now because she’s still at home.

[00:12:42] Rayna Neises: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I think it’s such a hard thing because when we think of a first and second and third, when we put things in priorities, we think of a winner and a loser, don’t we? And so it’s like, well, if I’m winning then, she’s losing, and that’s not really true. You can still take care of yourself and take care of her. Have you found that to be true? Or how does it feel to put yourself first time in a long time, or ever?

[00:13:09] Yolanda Lucas: Um, It, it felt weird at first, so,

[00:13:14] Rayna Neises: Yeah.

[00:13:14] Yolanda Lucas: but now it is, if it was good to put myself first, um, such as I will tell her, Hey, I’m gonna go out for a couple of hours. I’ll be back, or she may notice that I’m going out. So she would actually say something. She said, oh, I see that you’re going out a lot. I’m yeah I am making time for myself and, just making sure that I’m okay.

[00:13:32] Rayna Neises: Well, and you’ve had support there, but it hasn’t always been support that you felt like you could go out Right.

[00:13:38] Yolanda Lucas: Right. Yeah. I still have that support now, so even still, I. , As far as the family friend, she has been here for basically a year, almost two years. Um, so she has been a support. She actually will tell me to leave the house, so even, even if I don’t have anything planned, she’ll say, just go to the movies or something. She said, but get out the house.

[00:13:59] Rayna Neises: Yeah, that’s good that she is also helping you take care of yourself. ’cause sometimes it can be hard to do that. Sometimes it can be hard to see that, but it definitely makes a difference. Not being the only one and having her there. That’s been a blessing. That’s a, an important tip that when you can bring other people in that you trust, then you need to do that, even if you don’t have anything planned. Because sometimes we have a tendency to go, oh, I’m just here anyway. So it’s not a big deal, but it is because eventually it drains you always being on call, always being needed.

[00:14:32] So when you think about other caregivers who are in different stages of caregiving, maybe just starting or been doing it for a while, what would be one tip that you would have to share with them?

[00:14:42] Yolanda Lucas: One tip would be to advocate, as far as for their loved ones, especially

[00:14:48] in the beginning. Depending on the situation where the person cannot speak for their selves or they may have a hard time doing as far as the person, as receiving anything from, from the caregiver, I would say to advocate. So that’s been my number one is to advocate as much as possible. And if you think something is wrong with your loved one,

[00:15:08] contact the doctor. And if they’re not doing anything, try to talk to them some more. Try to push it so that way they’ll do something to fix the issue.

[00:15:17] Rayna Neises: I love that you mentioned it wasn’t like your natural instinct to be that kind of person. I’m a little bit pushier by nature, I think, and so I definitely found myself pushing for that, but it was so frustrating how often I felt like they weren’t listening. And so I think it is hard to be that caregiver and feel like I’m always having to push, but you really do.

[00:15:39] And I know initially, you felt like that primary care person wasn’t really listening, but eventually you guys developed that relationship that you are being heard. And he does know that you, you know her better than anybody else. And when you say something’s wrong, he knows that that’s true. So definitely being that advocate helps to eventually maybe not make it so hard. Would you agree with that?

[00:16:03] Yolanda Lucas: Yes, yes, I do agree.

[00:16:06] Rayna Neises: I think that can be a tough role at times, and I love that, not only advocating for her, you’ve learned to advocate for yourself.

[00:16:14] Yolanda Lucas: Yes. And that was a hard one for um, because I wasn’t used to really doing that. So when I did have to advocate for myself as far as with, , just making sure that I advocate for myself, speak up for myself, especially when something doesn’t feel right to me. And, and speak on it and say something.

[00:16:31] Rayna Neises: So how have you felt, have you struggled with guilt when you’ve tried to advocate for yourself compared to what you’ve always done before?

[00:16:38] Yolanda Lucas: , In the beginning, yes I felt a little bit guilty, but then I said, you can’t feel guilty because you need this. You need to be able to advocate and speak for yourself. So, um, you shouldn’t feel guilty. So, at first, I did.

[00:16:51] Rayna Neises: So you just kind of had a mindset shift in the way that you looked at it and realized that you don’t need to feel guilty, so, so you don’t now,

[00:16:59] Yolanda Lucas: Yes.

[00:16:59] Rayna Neises: is that a good way of putting it? Yeah, I think that can be tricky. I think it can be really hard because again, oftentimes we think of if I’m taking care of me, that means I can’t be taking care of her, but that’s all or nothing. And it’s not true. I can do both and it just doesn’t have to look the way it always has. And I think that’s one of the hardest changes too. I know during Covid for you guys, it looked different than it does now, and then hopefully as she transitions into the nursing home, then that will look different, but it’s still you caring for her and advocating for her, and I think that’s amazing that you’ve been able to do that and really just, help her to have the best life she can have.

[00:17:39] Yolanda Lucas: Yes, I do agree with that.

[00:17:41] Rayna Neises: So Yolanda and I met at a support group, and so I’m just gonna give a plug to Nourish for Caregivers if you haven’t found a support group yet that fits for you. I facilitate the Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock central time Nourish for Caregivers, and then we have a second and fourth Thursday evening at 7:00 PM Central Time available.

[00:18:02] It is a Faith-based support group, which I love. So I have the opportunity to not only share our caregiving journeys, but to have that prayer and opportunity to see scripture and just be encouraged by the word. So we would love to invite you. If you’re interested in looking for a support group, come give us a try.

[00:18:20] Visit www.nourishforcaregivers.com and find the link to sign up for House Calls. So thank you so much Yolanda, for sharing your story and just being able to encourage other caregivers that are maybe just now learning how to advocate for themselves.

[00:18:35]

[00:18:37] Rayna Neises: Thank you for joining us today on a Season of Caring Podcast. It has been created to share stories of hope for living content, loving well, and caring without regrets. If you have financial, medical, or legal questions, be sure to consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.​

            Meet Your Host

Rayna Neises

Rayna Neises, ACC

Author of No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season, Editor of Content Magazine, ICF Certified Coach, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Positive Approach to Care® Independent Trainer 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, so that both might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected.

Would you like to be a Guest?  |  Email Rayna

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Rayna Neises: A Season of Caring