Millennial Caregiver Spotlight – Lucinda Koza

This Week on Sage Aging

When you think of the word ‘caregiver,’ who do you think of? You probably think of a Gen X woman, maybe somebody in the Baby Boomer age range. But the actual stats might surprise you. Here is the breakdown: Baby Boomers make up 34% of caregivers and Gen X makes up 29% of caregivers. The surprising stat is that millennials make up nearly 25% of caregivers in the US. Gen Z is beginning to appear on the scene and accounts for 6% of family caregivers. As a side note, 39% of all caregivers are men, but 47% of millennial caregivers are men, I’d say that they’re stepping up to the plate. This was an enlightening conversation for me. When you listen, I want you to pay particular attention to the things that my guest says about what is important to her and the things that she says feed her the most. I think you’ll be surprised. Hear the full conversation in Episode 45 or keep scrolling for the full transcript below.

My Guest

My guest for this episode is Lucinda Koza, family caregiver and founder of the I-Ally app for family caregivers. After her own experience of becoming her father’s full-time caregiver at a young age, Lucinda was inspired to actively advocate for other millennial family caregivers by creating an app to meet the unique needs of millennial caregivers. Learn more about Lucinda here. 

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Transcript

Millennial Caregiver Spotlight – Lucinda Koza

Fri, 2/26 5:40PM • 44:59

SPEAKERS

Liz Craven, Lucinda Koza

 

Liz Craven  00:00

The Sage Aging podcast is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide. Your guide to all things senior care and resources. Find the 2021 guide in English and Spanish at Polkeldercare.com.

 

Liz Craven  00:27

Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. Sage Aging will connect you to information and resources that will empower you to master the aging and caregiving journey. Weekly, I’ll bring you education, inspiration, amazing industry guests and caregiver spotlights to shed some light on topics of aging. There’ll even be some freebies and giveaways too. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now and let’s get started.

 

Liz Craven  01:02

Hello, and welcome to Episode 45 of the Sage Aging podcast. 45. It’s been almost a year since the first episode of Sage Aging. How cool is that? Thanks so much for coming along for the ride. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Well, today we’re gonna talk about caregivers. That’s not a surprise. But we’re going to talk about Millennial caregivers because although you might think a caregiver is a caregiver, truly different types of caregivers run into different types of obstacles and have different types of challenges. And so I wanted to chat with someone who was a Millennial caregiver to find out what it was really like and what specific challenges they faced as opposed to a caregiver who might be a little bit older. So when you think of the word caregiver, who do you think of? You probably think of a Gen X woman, maybe somebody in the Baby Boomer age range, possibly. But the actual stats might surprise you. Listen to this. Baby Boomers make up 34% of caregivers, that’s not at all surprising. Gen X make up 29% of caregivers. But the surprise stat is that millennials make up nearly 25% of caregivers in the US. As a side note 39% of all caregivers are men, but 47% of millennial caregivers are men, I’d say that they’re stepping up to the plate. Born between 1980 and 2000. The millennial generation, they’re a bit of a different animal, aren’t they? I think they’ve gotten a little bit of a bad rap over the years, but they’re really stepping up to the plate when it comes to providing care for their aging parents. This is going to be an enlightening conversation for you. I know that it was for me, I want you to pay particular attention to the things that my guest says about what was so important to her. And the things that has fed her the most, if you will, I think you’ll be surprised. Access to resources and things like that, obviously are a big deal. But it goes a lot deeper than that. And I think that the message that I came away with, and the feeling that I came away with is that we need to do a lot more to support all caregivers, but especially millennial caregivers who’ve not really had an opportunity to build their networks the way the rest of us have. So I hope you enjoy the episode. My guest today is Lucinda Koza, and she’s the founder of the I-Ally app for family caregivers. After her own experience of becoming her father’s full time caregiver at young age. Lucinda was really inspired to actively advocate for other millennial family caregivers. And so my conversation is with Lucinda mostly about her caregiving experience, but we’re also going to talk about her app a little bit too, and how that came about. So I hope that you enjoy this episode. Let’s jump in.

 

Liz Craven  04:26

Welcome to the show. Lucinda, thank you so much for joining me today.

 

Lucinda Koza  04:31

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy to be here.

 

Liz Craven  04:35

Well, I always love to set the stage for a conversation with a quote. So today’s quote comes from Suzanne Heronemus and she is a family caregiver. She says: My caregiver journey is challenging, but I do not journey alone. And my best is enough.” Ideally, every caregiver would feel this way, right? But we’ve got some work to do there. caregivers of any age face challenges, but millennial caregivers, they face some unique challenges. And you know that firsthand, Lucinda. So let’s start there. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your story.

 

05:20

Sure, just like what you were saying, when I thought of a caregiver, if I ever even did think of a caregiver, it certainly was not something I envisioned myself ever stepping into, in the near future at all. And that’s why it was so shocking and so devastating. Basically, you know, my parents are divorced, which is true for a lot of millennials, for sure. You know, the modern family. My parents are divorced, my parents are both remarried, my dad’s now divorced the second time. So our family, it was already sort of fragmented, in a way. And when my father was, he was having several strokes. And the symptoms were really being masked by the fact that he was also drinking a lot. So his wife at the time, just thought he was really drunk. And there was just a point where I realized, you know what, something bigger is going on? Something really bizarre is going on. He’s not just acting drunk, he’s having these episodes. So I just decided one day, you know, while he called me, and he didn’t know where he was, but he was driving.

 

Liz Craven  06:47

That’s scary.

 

Lucinda Koza  06:49

So scary. And then when I asked him to please pour over and I said, you know, I’m going to come meet you, if he just flew over, you would just laugh, which also told me, okay, he’s not just drunk, something, cognitively it’s happening. So when I finally tracked him down, I realized I had to take him to the ER. So I burst into tears. Because in one moment, it really hit me like a brick wall, that I was going to have to step up. And I was going to have to do this, and that nobody was going to help me. And it was just like, a huge realization that I was going to have to switch roles. And I don’t like to say that, because that’s sort of like a simplification of what it is to take care of a pet. It’s not that you’ve become the parent. But in that moment, I thought, okay, I just have to be a really tough, you know, the word.

 

Liz Craven  08:00

Just say it, you have to be a badass!

 

08:04

Exactly. Okay. Good, is the time is the word time, this is a time where I’m going to be a tough fit. And, you know, I’m going to have to force him to sit. And I’m going to ask him to take no for an answer, and I can’t take any crap. Luckily, I just had it within me. And when he realized where we were going, you know, he was like, you don’t run. Don’t touch me, I bury you. And I never heard words like this come out of my father’s mouth. So it was, it was like, it was like, Wow, that’s really, really heartbreaking. And then the other part of me was like, shut up. You know, doesn’t mean it. Don’t let this affect you. You can’t let anything affect you. You have to get this done. Of course, it turns out that he had had several strokes. And then I thought, you know, I thought, well, surely my brother, my older brother is going to come rushing to my side, and do this with me. And really, I mean, when I called him and told them what was going on and said, you know, will you come? He just said no, and really didn’t go a reason. And the number No matter how much I said, I was just like begging and pleading. And he just said no. And I realize Of course now it’s not my job to figure out why. You know what is going on with him. I just had to move forward, so…

 

Liz Craven  09:53

And that’s not all that uncommon.

 

Lucinda Koza  09:55

It’s not at all. and when I found that out, I just Oh my god, like what is why? Why, what is wrong? And then I had a ton of anger, which is so unhealthy and not helpful. So I had to figure out how to deal with anger and turn it into really turning into advocacy, I think I had to take that energy and channel it into doing something good for other people, and in trying to rally other people who are going through the same thing.

 

Liz Craven  10:40

That’s a big deal. And how old were you at that point?

 

Lucinda Koza  10:44

Gosh, I had just turned 32. I felt so young. And I felt so isolated, not only because my family members didn’t come to my side, but also because I didn’t know anyone who was going through this, I didn’t have any friends who were taking care of their parents at 32. You know, I was just gotten the job that I really enjoyed. I was sort of just starting to, like, get into a groove of my own race, and

 

Liz Craven  11:25

It was turned upside down.

 

Lucinda Koza  11:27

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

 

Liz Craven  11:32

Before we jump into some, there are so many great points that I would love to cover. But let’s fast forward a little bit and tell us how you and your dad are doing right now.

 

Lucinda Koza  11:46

Sure. So taking care of him. He has vascular dementia, which is progressive. So he, I remember, it took forever for me to get a real grasp of what my dad had. And I really had to ask the doctor like, what’s, what’s your life expectancy, you know, like, just, I need to know, just tell me, he was probably afraid to tell me that I was a fragile little girl, and it was break. But you know, if I needed to know, and he told me, the average is three years. So and I know that that’s just an average, you know, whatever, but, but it’s really helpful information, for sure. And then I also respect my dad enough, even though he has dementia, he still has very lucid moments. So I respect him enough to tell him to do life expectancies. This because I just saw in the future, I couldn’t forgive myself if I hadn’t told him, you know, everything that I knew, of course, every situation is different.

 

Liz Craven  13:00

Right? And I think that that’s really smart. You do have to take inventory of where are we in our relationship? And how does my loved one react to information. And a lot of us I know, when it comes to my own life, I’ll want my kids to be straight with me. I’ll want to involve them in the process. But I want to be right there too. And I think that you’re right, so many people discount the lucid moments that folks who have Alzheimer’s or dementia have. And my father in law was like that to his dementia was really bad. But in his lucid moments, he was more self aware than anybody that I knew. And he knew exactly what was going on. And to try to walk around it or sugarcoat it was not a good idea, because that was disrespectful to him. So I totally understand that. And I think that’s really great that you can be that open with your dad, and still be there to provide the type of care that he needs for him, his distinct personality and your distinct personality in your relationship together. So do you think that you have a difficult time with that sort of role reversal? I mean, we all experience it as caregivers. My mom used to call me the mommy daughter, which is a little bit I didn’t like that very much.

 

Liz Craven  14:24

But you know, that was how she described. It was mommy daughter there was the daughter she wanted to go play with and go gamble with. We all had our role. But I found that personally difficult at first, but once I was able to understand the motivation behind her calling me that I was able to really embrace that. How was that for you? As a 30 something? I mean, I was much older when I was caring for my mom I was in my late 40s But how was that as young person to try to approach that role reversal.

 

Lucinda Koza  15:04

Really, really, really difficult. I think, for both my father and me, like you said, like you, lucid moments, he was completely he was fully aware of what was going on and resigned the power of attorney paperwork. Luckily, I didn’t have to twist his arm to some state to sort of put me in charge. So he knew I was in charge and charge me he was happy, you know, more than happy to have me take care of his finances and his noodles. And, you know, I’m sure he felt great relief, that you didn’t have to worry about any of those things anymore. But there was a big learning curve when it came to, he couldn’t drive, you know, if he wanted to, and some of the pieces of his independence that he really did not want to give up. And, you know, there’s like, sort of manly, whatever this idea of society, you know, these manly things like driving and, you know, living independently, those things, I have a hard time knowing how to approach them. And he didn’t react well. So I would be firm, I had to also make sure he wouldn’t, he wasn’t drinking, you know, it was like anything. And I used to be very tough, but he would fight back about the driving. And then he would say things that were very mean, that he totally didn’t mean them at all,

 

Liz Craven  17:04

Of course, they are not in control of all of that.

 

Lucinda Koza  17:08

Right, right. And I knew that there was like a moment where I thought that if he really deep down think that I’m some sad, pathetic person. And then I realized that no, he’s just trying, his brain is trying to find ways to fight me or to get power back. But the truth was, he couldn’t drive if he was going to kill someone if he tried to drive. And I knew that I had to stay firm with that. So that was tough. But over time, you know, now it’s not even an issue at all, it’s never even talked about. So it’s right over time, the two of us that used to the full spectrum of he, you know, I sort of knew what was best, right? And it’s hard.

 

Liz Craven  18:04

It is hard. There’s so much of it. That’s hard, because you have all of the personal relationship stuff, right? Those a lot of changes there. But also, then you’re in a position to say, Okay, here’s my new reality. I have no idea what I’m doing. What’s my next step? What things should I be looking for? What are the red flags I should be aware of? How should I be preparing for what comes next? Where are the resources? Is there someone who can offer a ride, if I have to work or whatever the case may be? What are the local resources that I can tap into? And that is challenging for anyone. But as I mentioned before, Millennials have some very unique challenges as it relates to caregiving because the age difference does make a difference. I mean, honestly, those of us who are a little bit older, we’ve had more time to establish some pretty good support networks around us. But as you are just starting your life and just getting into a career, you know, you were sitting here trying to accomplish this on your own without the help of family, you don’t have the support network in place, that someone who’s a little bit older than you might. So how did you begin as you started this journey to find the resources that you needed?

 

Lucinda Koza  19:33

You’re absolutely right, because millennials, we don’t know what we don’t know. Exactly. We don’t know even what these resources are, you know, and no one was was handing it to me. Last thing millennials, you know, definitely have a handle on is using the internet. for, you know, any and everything, and I think I just searched ferociously for anyone else who was in my position. And then I was able to find, you know, a few Facebook groups. And then on Reddit, definitely there are some subreddits on Reddit, which is a very interesting sort of like wild west of the internet. Just talk about anything. And it’s very useful, because there’s sort of a radical honesty that happens there. And people I could see people posting, you know, this is happening, I have no idea what to do about it. And then other people responding and actually helping and saying, you know, who’s a resource that also I can be a resource to you, you know, there’s this amazing ability or capability of the sort of millennial group that had been through this, of, you know, realizing we didn’t have help from these external sources, like our families, or health insurance, or the government or whatever, or we didn’t know how to access them. So we were not afraid to ask each other and help each other, which was the most. I mean, it was like a total revolution for me, was, Oh, my God, like, we are willing to actually solve problems for each other. This is how I’m gonna get through this.

 

Liz Craven  21:52

Right, mutual support. Yeah, it’s so important to have that camaraderie and to have that togetherness, and if it makes you feel any better. Most caregivers, regardless of age, feel exactly that way. I can’t think of a demographic of caregivers who doesn’t feel like they’re lost. It isn’t unique to millennials, to not be able to find and access the information they need. That’s very common. But I’m happy to say that I see a lot of movement in that respect that things that were a little taboo that we just didn’t talk about before, are now being discussed very openly and readily all over the place. And that’s because of people like you, who said, Wait a minute, I can’t suffer here in silence alone, you know, that quote that we used at the beginning, my caregiving journey is a challenge. But I’m not in this alone. And the more that we can get that message across to people, and encourage people to speak up and say, Hey, you know, you might be a little embarrassed about your situation. Maybe you think it’s a silly question. Or maybe you think you should know something? No, there are no silly questions. There are no situations too embarrassing to share with another caregiver. So jump in there and find the support that you need. That’s funny, you mentioned Reddit, I’m in a few groups there too. And you’re right. It’s pretty raw. And it’s pretty open conversation, but it’s very good. Because sometimes there has to be TMI to get the answers that you need. And there are also some Facebook groups and I find that there is quite a large community, on Instagram, and frankly, on tik tok, I’m starting to see a lot of dementia families who are out there, putting the videos up so that others can journey with them to understand the process and make it something that’s not taboo to speak of. So I’m excited about the direction that’s going. And I know that you’ve been a big part of that movement. So you turned your situation of frustration and fear, and something that was very new to you, and turned it into an opportunity for advocacy. Tell me about what you’re doing.

 

Lucinda Koza  24:15

Yes, it’s exactly what you said about not suffering and silence. I think I realized I have to speak up and I have to tell my story, even the parts of it better if you and, you know, I think this is sort of a side note, but I think that there is a even more of a stigma when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s, because it’s not cancer. And I am actually I would rather my father have cancer, but I do think that people are uncomfortable with cognitive changes. And I think that’s why we My family didn’t come, you know, get involved and help, I think they were afraid to see my dad like that. And I think that’s why my dad was cut out about TMI. And I think that’s why his friends and colleagues didn’t visit and help as much as I thought they would is because they were cognitive changes. And I think there’s a stigma in society. And people are afraid of seeing that I can find thing that

 

Liz Craven  25:31

I would agree with that. And that is such a great point. Because part of this what we’re doing here, I mean, even this podcast in general, the social media that we throw out there, the messaging that we are trying to contribute and put out into the world, it’s important because it’s also educating people who are not necessarily caregivers or who are not in this situation, we have to create a situation where we could speak openly, and help others be prepared, so that when they do encounter someone who’s experiencing issues with dementia or Alzheimer’s, that they know how to behave, that they know that it’s okay. And so a lot of that has to do with just public awareness and public education. If you know what you’re walking into, it’s easier to react if you’ve seen things out there, maybe videos and films and photographs and just hearing other people’s stories. If you know how to behave when you’re walking into a specific situation of any kind, it makes those engagements better. And it makes those engagements happen more often. And so our public awareness piece of this is so so vital.

 

Lucinda Koza  26:45

Yes, yes. People could just know that, first of all, it’s so common, it’s so common, and we can’t ignore it as a society, and we shouldn’t ignore it, because it’s there. You know, my dad didn’t become less human, just because his brain wasn’t functioning as it used to. And that he was treated that way. And then by extension, as his caregiver, I’m treated that way. You know, it’s like, oh, you deal with that, you know, you you’re, you’ve got that under control, you’re taking care of that is sort of the vibe I get from people who used to be his colleagues for 30 years, which it just makes no sense to me. That

 

Liz Craven  27:42

What you just said, I have to repeat that what you just said, because that is one of the most striking statements that I’ve heard in a long time. My dad didn’t become less human, just because his brain isn’t working well anymore. Oh my gosh, like, that’s, that’s the quote of the day. It’s so true. But it’s the discomfort that people feel when they are encountering somebody with dementia, they just don’t know what to say. It’s just like you have fear with caregiving, they have fear that they’re gonna say the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing or offend the caregiver, or they’re gonna break down and cry. I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do. And so I kind of give people a mulligan for that. But I believe that we need to push more education out there so that we can change that stigma. And we do have an episode a couple of episodes coming up in April, where we’ll be talking more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, specifically, but thank you for saying that that was a very striking statement.

 

Lucinda Koza  28:52

Yeah, and I only just realize that relatively recently, that, that I think that’s why I’ve been so alone in this. So I think that’s also why I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops is, you know, I just felt so angry. So while at my family and at my father’s ecosystem of people, and I thought, well, it wouldn’t be fair for me to suffer in silence. So I’m going to tell my story. And that’s only fair.

 

Liz Craven  29:32

I’m so glad that you are telling your story. I think it’s making a difference for a lot of people. So I’m curious, in your journey through caregiving. Have you found any good mentors or people to connect with that have been able to help you through your journey?

 

Lucinda Koza  29:49

Such a good question. I can say that there’s one woman who was a friend and colleague of my father’s My husband had had strokes, and she was his caregiver. And he has died. I mean, we never talked about it endlessly, but she would just always say, you’re doing the right thing. You’re doing great, you’re doing great, you’re doing the right thing you’re doing great. Don’t worry, don’t let this be real your life, you still need to have your own life. He’s fine. And just that simple. I mean, gosh, so much of what I needed from anyone, you know, I needed that from my mom, you know, even even though they’re divorced, you know, I just needed someone to say, you know, you’re doing so much, and that’s good. And you but you also need to have a life too. And just know that everything is good. And you’re serving love. And so you deserve love and return. And that was just on a spiritual level or something that that helps so much.

 

Liz Craven  31:21

That’s another really, really good point. Because a lot of us when we encounter our friends and family, and you look around you and you see that this person over here, or this person over here is dealing with a situation like this, where they’re caring for an aging parent, or perhaps even a spouse that’s had some kind of debilitating occurrence that a spouse has to now provide care. Oh, my goodness, that little bit. Did you hear how Lucinda said, that’s what I needed to hear. I needed someone just to tell me, you’re okay. And you’re doing the right thing? And what a lovely thing you’re doing for somebody that you care about that that’s going to come back to you. And so we all can have an effect a positive effect on people who are caring for someone else. Sometimes it’s just that kind word that we need to pass on.

 

Lucinda Koza  32:16

Yes, that’s all you really need to do is show up in whatever way that is whether you show up physically, or just show up emotionally and not to just say you’re doing something great. And and I see you I see that because we feel like we’re invisible. And for those for someone to say I see you, it can carry you for years.

 

Liz Craven  32:47

Yes, absolutely. So let’s talk more about what you decided to do. You took action. You just didn’t sit there and say I don’t like my situation. And this frustrating. You did something about it. Tell me about the eye alley app.

 

Lucinda Koza  33:05

Yeah. So the app is basically it’s for millennial family caregivers. But absolutely. It’s for every caregiver, of course and their allies, because the educational piece. So there is a community, which is the sort of linchpin of the app, there’s peer support, which we’ve talked about is totally paid off. There’s mutual aid, so you can ask for help. You can offer how there’s mental health telehealth. So caregivers, often we don’t take the time to get treatment ourselves. And we really put our house on the backburner. So the focus of the app so much is the health and well being of the caregiver. Taking away barriers to access mental health treatment, coaching, financial coaching, someone like me, at my age, you know, you have your job and your financial situation and then all of a sudden you need to take on my dad 73 so he has this lifetime of financial situation that needs to get a handle on and in addition to my own. So that’s financial coaching, spiritual coaching, life coaching, career coaching, which is so important to have, because I think it’s possible for for family caregivers to preserve this caregiving role and still have a happy healthy life is possible. of all, we just have to get there all of us, we just have to figure that out together. So, so if you join, I asked, you have access to, it’s free to sign up and you have access to the community. And you have access to mental health, telehealth 10s of coaching, you have access to tons of anti anxiety, anti stress technology, meditation classes. It’s really like all of these partnerships that I just thought I’m just gonna reach out to these experts and say like, Look, have you ever thought about young family caregivers, they need you and your services. So let’s partner. And that’s where we are.

 

Liz Craven  36:00

I think that was so smart to reach out to folks within the industry already. It’s important that people reach out for the help that they need. And like you said, the caregivers health and this goes for caregivers of any age, pretty typically goes on the backburner. Self Care goes out the window, and you are focused on being the nurturer and the carer. And while in concept, you know, you think well, gosh, that’s what I should be doing. I’m younger, I’m healthier, I’m okay. Really, it’s a very big disservice not only to yourself, but to the person you’re caring for your you know, you’re going to run yourself down. And frankly, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to become more ill than the person that they’re caring for because of the stress that caregiving entails. And the fact that we don’t take care of ourselves. So I think it’s great that you have mental health access, and that you’re focusing on the health of the caregiver to create a situation where they can be better at what they’re doing and still have a life. What are some of the strategic partnerships that you’ve created,

 

Lucinda Koza  37:11

There’s a company called Aiapy, that basically, as a user, you can go directly to a provider’s schedule, and you can schedule a therapy session. And it can be really telehealth, obviously, but also those, what makes me different is that they sort of came up with this interesting concept of walk and talk therapy, but you can, you know, meet up with your therapist in a park, or even a coffee shop, and just do a walk and talk. And I think that is so perfect for our family caregivers, because we really don’t have any flexibility in our schedule. And if we can do a walk and talk, or if we could do quick telehealth after our loved one has gone to sleep or their evening or something, that’s a way that you can do therapy without having to you know, get in a car and drive somewhere and park and I mean, that to a caregiver feels like such a huge opposite, like a Herculean task. And since it’s just for you, you’re like, I don’t need to do that, I can’t do that. I’m not going to do that. So this way, it’s really something you can fit in. And I think that’s just fabulous. And I think that’s, you know, where mental health is going, which is awesome. reaching more people are making it easier, taking away those barriers to get help.

 

Liz Craven  39:03

And thankfully, I think that the mental health conversation is getting bigger all the way around. I’m really happy about that. Because access to mental health is just small people just don’t know where to access it know how to ask for it, you know, or embarrassed to ask for it. Because again, it’s been been that taboo thing that you don’t talk about. So creating the conversations and being a part of that, I think is a really positive thing. That it is a normal thing. It is absolutely okay for every average person to take advantage of some therapy, some mental health care, that’s part of self care. So I’m happy to see. So how do people connect with you? Where can they find you?

 

Lucinda Koza  39:53

So I would love if anyone, you know if you want to contact me directly You can email me with Cindy. l UCI en da at i dash li.com. You can also follow me on social media, I am on Instagram, same handle on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest even. Yeah, I think that’s it and use. And please do please do I want to talk to anyone and everyone.

 

Liz Craven  40:33

Great. Well, I will be sure to include all of your links in our show notes. So if you’re listening, and you want to connect with Lucinda, or check out the AI ally app, I’ll make sure that all of those links are included in both the blog posts for Episode 45. And you can find that at Sage aging.com or in the show notes at your favorite podcast app. Well, one last little question that I like to ask every guest, do you have any last little words or sage advice to leave our listeners with?

 

Lucinda Koza  41:10

Yes, I say there’s power in vulnerability. Please tell your story basically, is what that means. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. Because once you cross that threshold, and ask for help or tell your story, it’s so much better. On the other side, there’s freedom, there’s help, there’s pure support. So just don’t be afraid Don’t suffer in silence as power is actually you will feel powerless, that there is power in vulnerability.

 

Liz Craven  41:51

Wow. And that is a very powerful statement. Thank you so much, Lucinda, for joining me today. And thank you for all of your advocacy and everything that you’re doing to create the conversations that will create change.

 

Lucinda Koza  42:05

Thank you so much.

 

Liz Craven  42:09

And thank all of you for listening. I hope that this conversation today caused you to stop for a moment and think. And at the beginning I said I was going to offer you a challenge. So here it is. I want everyone listening to take inventory of the people around you. Take a look at your neighbors. Take a look at your co workers. Take a look at your family. Take a look at everyone that you encounter and find out what’s happening with them. Are they caring for an aging loved one? Are they a sandwich generation mom struggling with kids and aging parents at the same time? Is there someone caring for a spouse? Is there somebody in your sphere who is providing care for someone else? The challenge is after you take that inventory, I want you to reach out, whether it’s a kind word, like we talked about earlier, or an offer to mow the lawn or do a grocery run whatever that is reach out and make a difference in someone’s world. You will not regret it. It will be the best thing that you do all day, I promise you. But it’s important. And I think that the value they get and the value that you’ll get in return will be something that you’ll always remember. And I hope that that’s a habit that you’ll create that you’ll continue to do on a regular basis.

 

Liz Craven  43:40

So next week on Sage aging, we’ll be talking about all the ways that hearing loss can affect an individual and I’ll give you a hint. It’s not just physical. Hey, did you know that you can get the sage aging podcast directly in your inbox? You absolutely can. It’s super easy. Just go to Sage aging comm scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a spot there where you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter. So I hope you’ll do that. And I’d also love to connect with you on social media. You can find Sage ageing on Facebook and Instagram and tik tok and you can find me Liz Craven on LinkedIn, I’d love to connect with you. I’d love to have some great conversations. So thanks again for listening friends. I sure appreciate it. We’ll look for you next week. Talk girl soon

 

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.