Suddenly a caregiver, now what?!

Becoming a caregiver for an aging loved one can be a life-jarring overwhelming event that turns your life upside down and inside out. How do I balance my normal life with my new reality? How will this change my family dynamic? Will I ever have two minutes to myself again? If you are a family caregiver feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, then this is the podcast episode for you.

Caregiver Warrior

In this episode we spent some time with Susanne White, Caregiver Warrior. From one Caregiver Warrior to another, Susanne offers advice, helpful tips, and strategies based on the experience, strength, and hope she found while on her own caregiving journey. As a speaker, blogger and author Susanne spreads a message of encouragement and empowerment to caregivers.

I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Susanne and I know you will too. Listen here or scroll to the bottom of this page to read the episode transcript.

HALT

Susanne gave lots of great insights and practical advice, but one little nugget stood out for me. It’s something she calls HALT.  Susanne encourages caregivers to take their emotional temperature every day then  halt, stop and take care of yourself. If you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re angry, find a good way to process it. If you’re lonely, socialize. If you’re tired, get some sleep.

Show Notes

Caring for an aging loved one is not for the faint of heart. Having said that, it is one of the greatest honors and privileges to show that kind of love and compassion to one that you hold dear. Susanne White, Caregiver Warrior, shares her caregiving story and gives us some practical, sage caregiver advice.  She was a lovely guest and I know you will enjoy her light spirit and witty demeanor.

Links & Resources We Mentioned
Transcript
Closed Captioning

Sage Aging Episode 15

The Caregiver Warrior

Recorded June 2020

Host: Liz Craven

Guest: Susanne White

Liz Craven  00:00

Thank you for listening to the Sage Aging podcast. This episode is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide, your guide to all things senior care and resources. Available in both English and Spanish, you can find the guide at PolkElderCare.com

 

Liz Craven  00:28

Hi everyone and welcome back to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. If you’re joining us for the first time, welcome. I’m really glad you’re here. In this podcast, we’ll introduce you to experts in the field of aging will provide you with the information you need to make daily life easier. Like all of you, I was a family caregiver myself and as a publisher of a senior resource guide, I understand how hard it is to come by good information and I know that sometimes you just need to hear that everything will be okay. Our weekly conversations with industry professionals will leave you feeling confident that you’re not alone and empowered to celebrate and enjoy the aging and caregiving journey. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now and let’s get started.

 

Liz Craven  01:21

Hello, and welcome to Episode 15 of the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. Did you know that approximately 43 and a half million US family caregivers are providing unpaid care to an adult or child? About 34.2 million of those caregivers provide care to an adult age 50 or older? Many times becoming a caregiver is a completely unexpected turn of events that people are really grossly unprepared for physically, mentally, and logistically. So you’re suddenly a caregiver what now? Where do you begin? How do you balance your life? Where do you find support? You feel like you need a lifeline. My guest today is Suzanne White, the Caregiver Warrior. Suzanne, like many of you has faced the challenge of being suddenly a caregiver with her parents many years ago when her father, who was caregiving for her mother at the time became, ill. So began the journey. Now Suzanne shares her experiences and all that she’s learned with others who are traveling the same journey. She has a wonderful blog and is authoring a book that she is hoping to release by the end of the year. To learn more about Suzanne and all that she does, be sure to check the links section of the show notes for this episode, which can be found in the blog post for Episode 15 at Sage aging.us Welcome to the show, Suzanne thanks so much for joining me today.

 

Susanne White  02:59

Thank you so much for having me. I just love everything that you do. And together, we’re trying to get the word out for caregivers all over the world.

 

Liz Craven  03:09

Absolutely. Being a caregiver is something that…I don’t know that you can really prepare for that. It’s a very taxing and emotional journey, but also one of the greatest privileges that you can have to be able to serve somebody you love in that way.

 

Susanne White  03:29

Absolutely. And I love that you you get that and that you feel that? Because it is it’s an honor, you know, it’s an absolute honor to care for people. And I think so many caregivers, so many of us don’t…and that’s the thing that’s just so amazing about caregivers, in general, is that we just sort of jump in, you know, it’s not something that we debate. You know, it’s like, well should I care give, should I not care give? Yeah, well, gee, I don’t know. No, we just say, here we go. And, you know, along the way, we find out that You know, it’s just such an honor and it’s probably the greatest thing we could possibly ever do in our lives.

 

Liz Craven  04:07

That is so the truth, you know, when my father in law was caring for my mother in law, when she had cancer, he used to, every single day, hold her hand and tell her that she was his queen, and that it was his honor and privilege to care for her. And he told her that every day. What an amazing teacher he was, to us, and the best part about that story is that in the end, we did the same for him.  And it was just such a beautiful thing to be able to look to his example and how he cared for her when we cared for him and learn from that.

 

Susanne White  04:47

You know, I had such a beautiful story and he reminds me of my dad with my mom. I was lucky enough to put together this great team. My parents had a wonderful friend, and it was my friend, and his nickname was buddy and it was so perfect. He always said to me, you know, Suzanne, when you care for someone, someone will always show up and care for you. Because that’s how the that’s how the angels work. You know, that’s how it works. And I believe that, you know, I believe that that’s true, because it’s really a blessed experience. You know, and I think these people, caregivers, are really extraordinary people. And just the power of example, my dad was very similar to that story in that he just loved my mom. My dad had open heart surgery at 87 because he wanted to stick around to take a care of my mother.

 

Liz Craven  05:45

Oh, goodness. Well, let’s go back. I want to hear your story. Tell us all about how you found yourself in the caregiver shoes.

 

Susanne White  05:54

Oh, how I found myself in my caregiver journey. You know, like so many of us, you know, my parents kind of as they got older and my mom started, you know, getting into the throes of dementia, they hid it for quite some time. I mean, they worked together. They were a team for years. They were married 60 years, you know, they were real big team together. And they kind of hid it from us that how my mom is sort of slipping into dementia. And we all were joining together, my sister lived in Florida. We all went there for the holidays. My sister and I would fly my parents down every year and we would all kind of gather down there. My parents and I are on the east coast. And one year, you know, I got a phone call from my sister, and my parents were scheduled to arrive, you know, around four or five o’clock in the afternoon, and I got a phone call from my sister and said, Oh my god, they just took Dad off the plane in a wheelchair. I was like, What? And she goes, I know, oh my god, I’m at urgent care right now. And you know, my dad was a WWII Bombardier pilot. I mean, you know, six foot tall, really, you know, stayed Hiro like great guy, easygoing. Nothing ever fazed him. And really strong. I mean, so the fact that he was taken off the plane because he was so sick and exhausted, just completely freaked us out. And we came to find out that he had walking pneumonia. He had some heart issues. And as he was sort of recuperating, and my sister’s house, you know, they said, Go home, give him a lot of rest. Well they didn’t need to tell us that because he was like, out for the count. While he was getting rest, we noticed how confused and upset my mom, and agitated she was and how she was repeating. So, at that point, you know, I was sort of, you know, kind of reading the room and I said to my dad, hey, pop, you know, I kind of feel like you’ve been taken care of Mom a lot, is that true? And he said, yes, you know, and I said, Well, do you kind of want some help? Do you want me to help you, like, just sort of manage the whole situation? And he said, Yes, so fast. I was like, okay, and I had no idea what I was getting into, but as I said, you get it done. And we were off and running. So, you know, like so many of us, I just jumped in, because that’s what you do you take care of people who took care of you and your loved ones. And that’s where the journey began. And it was an interesting one for me, because I didn’t really get along with my mom really well. So it was a life changer for me. You know,

 

Liz Craven  08:28

that’s a really common scenario.

 

Susanne White  08:30

It is. And that’s one of the reasons that I promised myself that I would get the word out, because I had to really go through a lot of self awareness and life changing challenges, to be the best caregiver I could be. And I just promised myself that when it was over, I would share whatever I learned and things I survived with other caregivers, because I thought it was really important to share my story.

 

Liz Craven  09:00

Absolutely. Wow. So you find yourself caregiving for your parents? What was the first thing that you did when you returned back home from your trip to Florida?

 

Susanne White  09:12

Well, the thing that was interesting is that due to the fact that my dad was sick there, you know, I sort of had to pick the ball up immediately because he couldn’t… my mom couldn’t do it., it was obvious. So I sort of had to help him sort of get everything together and get medications and medical records. And I remember the beginning. I can still feel and see myself pacing…because I pace when I’m on the phone, so many of us do…pacing in my sister’s bedroom, trying to get the medical records sent to their primary care doctor in South Jersey. And I was shocked at what a big ordeal it was. I could not believe the issues I was having with the healthcare system, not only urgent care in Florida, but my parents’ primary care, like they couldn’t get the facts. They didn’t have the records. They didn’t see it. They didn’t understand them. I mean, I was like, Oh my god, what is this? Little did I know that that’s the normal situation. Dealing with the healthcare system, and doctors and hospitals is just challenging. And it was the beginning it was the first time I realized that maybe this wasn’t gonna be the piece of cake I thought it was gonna be.

 

Liz Craven  10:42

I’m impressed that you thought it was gonna be a piece of cake in the first place.

 

Susanne White  10:47

Well, you know, I’m a control freak. I’m an A type personality, you know, I can control this. I can take over this. I got this. And therein lies the first, and this is to new caregivers, therein lies the first, not mistake, but the first challenge that you may have that you really need to be aware of. A, you can’t do it all. You can’t do it all at once, and you can’t do it by yourself. And there is nothing wrong with you. This is an overwhelming, intense, big journey. And you have to be really mindful about it and understand, you don’t have to be super people. And you don’t have to do it all at once. You have to get your balance and you have to ease into it. And I’m going to carry on about this a little bit because I talk to so many caregivers that are thrown into the caregiving situation and turned to me and go, Oh, my God, what do I do first, and I say the first thing you do is breathe. And the second thing you do is just show up. You can’t Know what you need to do all at once there’s a learning curve coming at you, there’s a curveball coming at you and just relax, show up, you got this, you’re going to figure it out, but you’re not going to figure it out right away.

 

Liz Craven  12:16

That is such good advice. Because I think that in any situation, don’t we all want to feel like we’re in control?

 

Susanne White  12:23

Sure,

 

Liz Craven  12:23

When things start to spin out of control, it can make us a little crazy. And we can start to feel and and behave in an overwhelmed fashion. And I love the message about just breathe. Because really, that is the first step, breathe and get your bearings about you. And I’m curious, did your parents have any pre planning in place? Did they have an estate plan and had they figured out what they wanted in their later years? Or was this just something that had to be handled all at once?

 

Susanne White  12:58

No, you know, my mom, God bless her, I’ve learned so much about my mom. I mean, she was the boss, she handled everything. They had their wills together, they had their healthcare proxies. They had a lot of their wishes written, you know, written down, they had quite a few documents in order, what I had to sort  of work through and kind of not struggle with Well, I did have to struggle because she gave me a really hard time about, power of attorney, I had an issue with medical power of attorney which we can talk about if we get to it today. If not, we can talk about some other time. But so there were certain things that I had to sort of ease into as far as the financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. But in general, I was really blessed because they had the health care proxy, they had their wishes, they had their wills, and she really had them set up, you know, a good foundation for me to jump off of.

 

Liz Craven  13:57

That’s really important. You know, we just did a complete series on elder law. And if those of you listening have not listened to that, please do yourself a favor. Go back to Episode 10. Listen all the way through Episode 14. No episode is longer than about 35 minutes or so. It’s worth the investment of time just to understand the pieces that we were just talking about and understand where to begin. So I encourage everybody to do that. Because I know my experience has been on both sides. My mother did not have pieces in place my mother and father in law did and the caregiving experience on both sides of that coin were so very different. And there was a lot more stress as it relates to what to do and how to get through things and and getting permission and signatures and all kinds of things on my mom’s side whereas on my Father in law’s side, it was all spelled out. And so it was really just about the caregiving and loving on him. And I wish that my mom didn’t have to have that kind of stress surrounding her last years because there was no plan in place.

 

Susanne White  15:16

Exactly. And it’s stress for both the parents or the people that you care for, and then stress for the caregiver because you know, if, if you have a relationship, and I’m going to encourage everyone to go and listen to that, because I’m going to tell you a very quick story in a moment. But when you have someone who has a very hard time relinquishing control, like my mom did, and they do get in the throes of dementia, it can be really painful for everyone involved. I mean, my mom was not happy having me, help her. So to get her to sign a power of attorney, you know, it was a real struggle for me. And I had to do it in degrees and I had to be really patient and I had to really persevere. And I had to be really gentle, but persistent. And I mean, it really stressed me out. I mean, it was something that was really on my mind all the time, until I figured it out. So the sooner you have the conversation, the sooner you can get people to sit down and get the documents in order, the better. And just a very brief story. Here I am, getting all the documents together. And my dad died in July and has his anniversary is coming up shortly. And my mom collapsed after the luncheon that we had after his funeral, and she wouldn’t go with the ambulance staff the first day and I had to get a nurse the second day to come and she said oh yeah, you got a call 911, stuff is going on here. And the ambulance came. And my mom said she was fine. And the I had two EMS people, a man and a woman. And the man said to me, Well, she’s telling me She’s fine. I can’t take her and I said, Oh, he says, Do you have any paperwork? And I said, of course, I have my power of attorney. So I handed over to him and he said, this is a financial power of attorney. This is not a healthcare power of attorney. I’m not taking her.

 

Liz Craven  17:27

Oh, no.

 

Susanne White  17:29

And of course, you know, Miss caregiver warrior, was speechless, and I tried to argue, but indeed he was correct, so thank goodness through power greater than myself and my mother’s best friend and a lot of angels, we finally got her to say, Okay, I’ll go and just let them see what they think my condition is. And the young woman who was an EMS person said, that’s all I need know, we’re taking her. So the moral of the story is, you never know who you’re going to get. And that guy was not going to help me and he was not going to bend and I did not have the proper paperwork.

 

Liz Craven  18:11

Wow, that is the best testimonial I’ve heard about why it’s so important to have the right documents because a lot of things we can put into place, you know, you find forms online and you think you can just go take the easy way out and the quick route. It’s really not best to do that. And you just displayed exactly why.

 

Susanne White  18:33

Absolutely. And listen, you know, I thought I had all my, you know, eyes dotted and my T’s crossed. And I did I had a tremendous amount of documents in order, but I just I missed that one because I got so involved so quickly during me. So please go back, everybody. Listen to all those other episodes and get your ducks in a row. It’s so much easier and you know, I mean, I could have been in real trouble. My mom like mom could have suffered a lot more than she did. Had I not gotten her into the hospital then you know,

 

Liz Craven  19:06

Right. Wow. So what was your favorite part about caregiving? We often talk about the stress involved in there’s a lot of that, but there are also really beautiful moments too.

 

Susanne White  19:18

Oh my gosh, you know, I’ve got to tell you, there are so many and immediately what comes to mind is a hug my dad gave me, I can still to this day get teary eyed. You know, he was very appreciative and he was a really great guy. And actually my relationship with Him got even better. We got even closer and I had wonderful times with him. But I was leaving to go you know, I was driving because I commuted for a while. And I went to get back in the car and he just gave me the biggest hug and he said to me, You are amazing. He said, thank you so much for everything you do for us. You are just the most special kid. Thank you so much and I Love you so much. You know, and I can still feel that hug. And I think that’s one of my favorite memories. And one of the amazing things that comes out of choosing, you know, to take care of someone you love. It’s just the greatest gift that you give get so much out of it. And other gifts for me was my relationship with my mom, I completely healed my relationship with my mother. When my mom, it was amazing. When my mom passed, my mom and her deathbed told me how wonderful I was. She told me exactly what I had wanted to hear all of my life. And it was unexpected, and I didn’t ask for it. And it was just so beautiful. We forgave each other. I forgave her, and we had the best relationship. And I will tell you that I can’t even remember I don’t have to have I don’t have any bad memories of My mom anymore, and she was a piece of wonderful and that and that’s that’s the gift. I mean, that’s why I tell everyone please do it it show up, be there, hang in there, because the serenity and Peace and blessings you are going to get are just magnificent.

 

Liz Craven  21:21

That’s a great story. So were you a caregiver that was living with your parents or did you have different homes and do the caregiving that way?

 

Susanne White  21:32

We had different homes for everyone that care that was been taken care of. We had different homes. It worked out I had, it was hard for me because I was in New York and they were in South Jersey. So I had a 90 minute commute either way, so I commuted every weekend. I worked full time then commuted every weekend for about four years. But it worked out you know, it was it was we were able to do it my dad was able to do it and I had a great team. So So they were independent pretty much up until about seven weeks towards the end of their lives.

 

Liz Craven  22:07

Hmm. You know, caregivers come in so many different forms. And I often talk to people who maybe they live in a different state from their parents, but they handle the logistics of everything. And they don’t view themselves as a caregiver. And I always tell them, oh yes, you most certainly are a caregiver, you are carrying the stress of, of the well being of another human being. And that is quite a stress and what a job and what a blessing that they have you to do that. So caregivers come in all sorts of shapes and forms, you might live there with them. You might live in the same city or at least in close proximity like you did, or you might be states away and just be handling the financial end and the logistics of everything. But caregivers of all kinds are a wonderful thing and, you know, should feel like that what they’re doing is worthy.

 

Susanne White  23:06

Absolutely. And I and I think the thing that’s interesting is that I think, commute, you know, people who are long distance caregivers have a certain type of stress. In other words, because we all worry, you know, as we’re caregiving, I call it like, sort of the river of fear, that kind of runs underneath everything we do within that never leaves you, you know, you’re always worried about the next shoe that’s gonna drop the next health crisis. And I think that long distance caregivers have a certain type, you know, because they’re always worried about when they’re not in the room where it happens, you know, and then I think caregivers who live with the people they care for, they have a different type of stress, because they’re with a constant, sort of a constant every moment sort of intense challenge of living with someone so I think The strike I think the stresses are equal, absolutely equal. I just think they have sort of a different quality to them. So the bottom line of it is, is you know, there’s, there’s no, there’s no, there’s no race. There’s no, there’s no goal at the end with an award. You know what I mean? If you are caring for someone that you love, even if you are a professional, and you’re caring for someone, you know, and you’re empathetic and compassionate, you’re worried and you’re stressed. And no one’s journey is any more difficult than anyone. It depends on your personality and makeup and, and and how much self care you really plug into. Because if you don’t do radical self care, no matter what type of caregiver you are, you’re eligible for burnout.

 

Liz Craven  24:58

I am so glad that you You brought that up, because that is probably the most important point that we will make today that self care is so vital. So while you were in the throes of caregiving, and you know, you mentioned the others that you cared for, who else did you care for, besides your parents,

 

Susanne White  25:16

I had another family member that I care for that I was the secondary caregiver, someone who had cirrhosis of the liver, and had a very painful journey and a rather beautiful hospice situation. But that too, is a commute situation. So you know. And again, burnout was, you know, a potential and is a potential in any caregiving scenario, no matter what the challenges, so just to talk about that for a minute, I definitely hit a wall. I hit a wall very early in my caregiving, and thank God, I had other caregivers that I was able to tap into Because I knew I had other friends that were caregiving. So just briefly what happened for me is I, you know, I was doing it all myself. I was trying to do it all I was trying to do it. Immediately, I was trying to fix everything. And I just woke up, I was staying at my parents and I woke up on Sunday morning, and I literally, I was literally shaking, I woke up in such a panic attack. I mean, just, I just thought I was going to die that I and that my parents were going to die, and I wasn’t gonna be able to take care of them. And I was I just, I couldn’t do it. And oh my god, I just felt like the world was gonna end. And I mean, I literally beset sitting on the bed shaking. And I did probably one of the smartest things I’ve ever done in my life. And I think it was a little gift from heaven. I picked up the phone, and I called another caregiver warrior who proceeded to tell me to do everything I had to do because my parents at that time, you know, we’re pretty Be self sufficient. I mean, I, you know, I was doing the shopping and doing the medications and setting things up, but to do everything that I could possibly do and get out.

 

Liz Craven  27:11

That was really good advice.

 

Susanne White  27:12

And I was like, What? And she said, Tell them you got to leave early, because there’s traffic and get in the car and go home. And I was like, she said, I don’t don’t argue with me just try it. I told my parents I said, Guys, you know, I, you know, I took care of everything. You know, it took me hours, but I took care of everything. And I said, Would you mind if I left a little early today for the traffic? Oh, no, no, no, that we that would be great. We don’t want to worry about you great money leave. And I am telling you, I got in the car. I hit like exit for on the New Jersey Turnpike. And my whole body calmed down. I felt such a sense of relief. And I thought to myself, Oh my god, I would have never thought to do that. But I had to get out of there. And it was scary. To do it, and it was the best advice, and I took it, and I reached out, and it saved me. And from that moment on, I said, Okay, I need to make a change. I need to start reaching out and getting more help, and trying to find out what I can do before I get that burnt out. And that really started me on a journey of self awareness, which I recommend to every caregiver, you must take your emotional temperature every day. Don’t let it get that bad. check in with yourself. How do I feel what’s going on? Am I short tempered? Am I hungry, I have a great little thing for you to do. I call it the halt process. You halt if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Halt. If you’re hungry, eat if you’re angry. Find a good way to process it. If you’re lonely, socialize, if you’re tired, get some sleep, real simple. Check yourself out and then halt, stop and take care of yourself.

 

Liz Craven  29:12

Wow, that is really impactful. Thank you. I absolutely love that it worked. So what what were your go to things that you did for yourself when you found that you needed that break?

 

Susanne White  29:26

You know, it was trial and error. It was a bunch of everything I caught it caught my toolbox, and I think everybody should try everything until they can figure out what it is. You know what I mean? I mean, I went from bad I understand that very much. You know what I mean? Like bad things from like chocolate to like, you know, videos of Sophie rolls down the hill. That’s one of my favorite. Check it out, to meditation to calling other caregivers. I think joining caregiving groups I found a therapist. I spent a lot of time on the phone. I did a lot of exercising. I changed my diet. I mean, I have a toolbox of so many things. And sometimes I had to go through like 19 of the things until the 20th kind of got me to breathe and take it easy, you know, I mean, just you know, getting outside walking in the hallway, walking around the block, breathing taking a hot bath. I mean, just when you take your emotional temperature and you feel like you’re gonna explode or you’re uptight? No, you’re allowed to take at least five minutes to sit in the quiet and figure out what it is you need to feel better.

 

Liz Craven  30:47

That’s great advice. Really good advice. You know what, this is a great opportunity for us to talk a bit about your website because you have a terrific website with a wonderful blog. That I want my listeners to know about. So will you tell us a little bit about that? Absolutely. It’s called caregiver warrior. And you can google me and I pop up. Thank goodness, Google likes me. My awesome. And I’ll put that in the show notes. I’ll put a link so people can find you easily. Thank you. That’s very sweet. And you can find me on Twitter. I do a weapon of the day every day. And

 

Susanne White  31:23

I started my blog because I just I wanted to share things that helped me. I just wanted to share my experience, strength and hope and tell people how I coped with things. So I blog about everything I blog about anger, I blog about guilt, they blog about my mom, I blog about crying, I blog about grief, and it’s whatever sort of strikes me or which I feel was something that maybe would help someone else. Because it’s really difficult. And I think that so often we think we’re feeling things that we shouldn’t be feeling and I just want to put everything out there on my blog to let everybody know Whatever you’re feeling is legitimate. So it’s just my personal take on my emotions and everything I went through as a cared for everybody and what helped me get through and survived with empowerment, Grace.

 

Liz Craven  32:14

It’s a terrific website. I’ve been through there and reading a lot of your blog posts. And I think you really hit the mark, because a lot of the resources that are out there, me for instance, my resources, let me tell you where to find things. Let me try to educate you about things and get you on the path to good information. But you’re hitting such a personal place for people you are helping people to own and embrace the journey and to understand that they’re not alone. You’re hitting that really emotional side of the whole caregiving journey.

 

Susanne White  32:53

Well, thank you because that’s the mission you know, and and I you know, and I can’t do the work you do, because it overwhelms me, you know. So I mean, I’m not it’s not i’m not capable of, of, of giving that kind of information and what I what I can share is, you know, how I felt when my mom was sitting on the tub and I had gotten around the shower and she burst into tears and just said to me, it’s so hard for me to let you help me. You know, and and what that did to me and how devastated that made me feel. Because she she was like in the throes of dementia. So that came from such a deep place inside of her to be able to actually express that to me the pain she was in the heartbreak. So, you know, I want to blog about that, that, you know, it’s such an emotional, heartbreaking experience. Yet it’s such a miraculous opportunity to you know, figure out things about yourself, and about the people that you love and those relationships, you know, I mean, it’s it’s life, changing. So I can talk about that and get real about that. And then hopefully people, you know, one person at a time, maybe I could help you know, if you if I throw a pebble in a pond, maybe the ripple will hit somebody else and maybe do something and someone else can be more comfortable with what they’re going through.

 

Liz Craven  34:19

And I love your weapons of the day, by the way, and just so our listeners know, I’m gonna make sure that I provide all of the links to reach Suzanne, her social media, her blog, and website, all of those things will be available in the show notes so that you can connect with her on your own. You’ll be glad you did. She provides a lot of really great stuff in those avenues. So before we finish, do you have any favorite resources, whether that’s websites, books, videos, things that you can point listeners to that they might want to take advantage of, you know, the all you

 

Susanne White  35:02

You have an incredible resource. And I think that’s really important. And it will take so much off the so much fear away for everybody thinking, you know, because it’s really because information is power. And I think it calms us all down. I think Alzheimer’s organization was invaluable to me and to a lot of my friends and family. Because they can, because it’s, it’s, you know, statewide, it’s city wide. And they’re just an incredible source of information, the Dole Foundation for veterans. Those two organizations are really quite amazing. And I think, for me, you know, any kind of spiritual path or books that you can have the time to read or get into yoga and breathing exercises, any of those things that you can find, that you personally can relate to, I think are wonderful sources and resources. I think, I encourage people to use Google and use YouTube. You know, there’s Wonderful meditate, you know, guided meditations and yoga and exercise videos. And I think that you know, and cat videos, I think cat videos have a great, great value.

 

Liz Craven  36:12

Cats and babies and dogs.

 

Susanne White  36:14

and dogs and horses, you know so I mean, you know, just just anything that can make you laugh and, and help you to relax I think you know that works for you, I think go for it and allow yourself to enjoy them. I think that’s, that’s the key.

 

Liz Craven  36:30

I think that’s a great message for us to leave on. Suzanne, thank you so much for joining me today I can think of a million topics that I’d like to have you back to discuss further. So I hope we can do this again. Oh, it’s been terrific. And thank you so much for your work and I love all your lifting and all my love to all your listeners and I’m available anytime I just love doing this. So thank you for having me. Well, thanks for listening, everybody. If you found value in today’s conversation, I would appreciate it if you would click Subscribe and Share this podcast with a friend. I’m sure you know somebody who could benefit from the message that we shared today. And if you have topic ideas that you’d like for us to cover, we want to hear from you. So drop us a line at info@SageAging.us. Check back next week, every Tuesday, we put out a brand new episode for you. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you soon

Thanks for listening. If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would leave a positive review and share the sage aging podcast with a friend. If you have topic ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at info@Sageaging.us

 

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.