As caregivers tell their stories they will share encouragement and insights to the listeners who may be in the midst of their own caregiving journey. It is a source of wisdom and empowerment so caregivers do not feel they are alone.
For Toni Gitles her 14-year long experience as her mother's caregiver provided opportunities to learn how to become a powerful advocate and how to apply her skills to make it the best journey possible. She did this while intentionally creating moments both Toni and her Mom would treasure. Toni learned the importance of many things such as listening to her intuition and being honest about her feelings. Toni provides helpful ideas for any caregiver to adopt and I suggest taking notes from this podcast to help in your own caregiving journeys. Toni's website is Heart Light Enterprises.
This episode came about because of the original song "Doesn't Know Me", by Pat Thibodeau. Pat is a singer/songwriter and a friend of mine and I had reached out to ask her to write a jingle for the podcast. What she wrote surpassed my expectations with the creation of "Doesn't Know Me" - a song about the losses of Alzheimer's disease. Pat's father had Alzheimer's and the family of 10 siblings rallied around him and their mother following his diagnosis. I invite you to hear Pat's account of the family's journey together with her original song. If you'd like to listen to more of Pat Thibodeau's music, check out her YouTube channel by searching her name.
Today’s podcast introduces you to an adult-child caregiver, Betsy Haddad. Betsy’s father, Edward, has been diagnosed with middle stage Alzheimer’s. Betsy describes her caregiving role as being supportive in nature, as her mom is Edward’s primary caregiver. Edward is a gifted musician, and you will hear him playing in the background of the introduction. We hear of Betsy’s doting love for her father, and the quality times they spend together, including when he plays the piano, and she sings. At the end of the podcast Betsy sings “Life is a Cabaret” chosen as a tribute to Edward’s philosophy on life, so make sure you listen to the very end of “The Musician’s Daughter”.
Today Anne Sands takes us along on an emotional roller coaster. Her husband Stu has been diagnosed with dementia. Throughout her caregiving journey Anne has learned a lot and wants to help others by advocating that they get their loved one into the medical system as soon as possible so they are eligible for supports, respite and day programs, and placement in residential care. Stu was on the list for placement and when one of their two selected places had a bed available, she made the difficult decision to accept it. Her preference is to have Stu transferred closer to where she lives when a room comes available. When Stu first went into care, during the pandemic of Covid-19, he had to be isolated for the first 2 weeks. Since that time, Anne hasn’t been able to see his room; and visits are limited to once a week for 45 minutes. Communication with the care home's psychiatrist. has been very informative, validating and reassuring. The time that she can now spend with her husband is drastically reduced compared to the time they spent together as husband and wife prior to Stu's placement. This has not been the only change, and Anne talks candidly about a new reality that has developed in their relationship. Her approach to the shocking news she received from the residential care home is positive, exhibiting loving care and concern for her husband’s needs and well-being. For herself, the days are long and she is looking forward to golfing season. She has many supports, yet she experiences significant deficits, stressing that caregiving is draining, aging, exhausting and emotional as can be. To top it all off, she feels hug deprived. She introduces the refreshing song and concept of “Four Hugs a Day”, by Charlotte Diamond (permission obtained to use the title/see credits below). Anne ponders, what’s next for her and shares her caregiver tips whilst reminding all of us not to lose sight of our own lives. Four Hugs a Day By Charlotte Diamond and Earl Robinson Copyright: Charlotte Diamond Music 1985 SOCAN As recorded on "10 Carrot Diamond" www.charlottediamond.com
Meet Brenda Blais Nesbitt. She has been the caregiver of her daughter, Nikki, for over 27 years. Nikki is medically fragile with her severe disability, and Brenda is her voice and loving caregiver. Through her caregiving journey, Brenda has learned how to advocate effectively when the odds sometimes are stacked against them. She understands the stresses involved in navigating the healthcare system for a child with severe disability and offers information on how to prepare for the child transitioning to the adult world of healthcare.
Brenda recognizes how important it is to look after yourself and to set boundaries especially with supports coming into your home. Brenda is a Certified Caregiver Consultant, a Board Certified Patient Advocate; and has her own company Coaching for Caregivers Canada where she is a coach for others who may be facing a similar journey. Listen in to hear how Brenda imparts her experiences and shares her wisdom.
The caregiving coin has two sides: one side represents sacrifice and the other - payoffs, gifts and benefits. Ten years ago Alice and Cori asked Alice’s father Doug if he’d like them to be his Long-Term Care Plan. He said yes and for the first five years lived with them during the winter months while maintaining his residence in Calgary the rest of the year. As his health needs increased, Alice and Cori took on caregiving full-time, with Doug relocating to the Island. Doug turned 102 this summer. This caregiving story is one of mutual respect and highlights what it takes to make such a heartwarming arrangement for caregiving and how it works for all the parties involved.
Sustainable Caregiving CEO Theresa Wilbanks shares strategies she has identified through her caregiving journey for her father who is now 99 years old. Her insights include the importance of self-care, mindfulness and setting boundaries. When she faces a new caregiving challenge, she explains how she is driven to find a solution often through trial, error and tears; and from the solution come the strategies that she willingly shares with other caregivers. Theresa talks about "when winning is losing" and "when losing is winning" and provides the word picture of taking off the battle armor. She reminds us of the importance to keep the overall objective of caregiving in mind and to view each obstacle as an opportunity. Caregiving is hard, but she has information to help navigate the journey. Listen in to hear the fresh perspectives that Theresa shares… and learn about the “Jenga Tower”!
Dennis Dulniak joins me to talk about his experiences as a caregiver of his wife of 47 years, Nancy. He shares how full and rich their life was together before the diagnosis, and how they adapted to make it as full and rich as possible after the diagnosis. Dennis speaks candidly about the need for supports as a caregiver and the value of taking care of yourself in order to be an effective caregiver. Dennis provides a wealth of resources and information that he has pulled together during his journey.
Listen to Roy's journey. A journey of love and commitment that continued through health issues for his wife that changed their circumstances but not their love and committed relationship to one another. Roy shares his experiences through the trying times of Covid-19 as a caregiver.
You find yourself on a journey you did not want to take. You are a caregiver. You want to know how to make it through your desperate days, when you’re feeling stuck, isolated, afraid or hopeless. I will speak with caregivers who are willing to share their insights to help you on your caregiving journey.