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Transcript for EP #167: The Best Seven Years of My Life. George and Carol Shannon were on their last night of vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico when Carol had a stroke. A day later, in a hospital back in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, a million questions went through George's mind. He was still working. How would he handle this? How would he be a caregiver? Would he be a caregiver? How long would she be in this condition? Distant and selfish by his own admission, George realized he'd taken his wife for granted during their entire 41-year marriage. But he not only rose to the occasion and cared for his wife Carol, along with her he went on a remarkable journey of discovery which allowed him to fall in love with Carol all over again. Co-authors George and his son Chad Shannon share the story in this interview inspired by their book, "The Best Seven Years of My Life: The Story of An Unlikely Caregiver".
Transcript for EP #166 - Medication Overload: America's Other Drug Problem. We hear a lot about how the opioid crisis is destroying families and communities. But the scope and impact of medication overload is much bigger: in the last two decades the number of older adults taking five or more medications has increased 300 percent. There’s also been a spike in the number of serious adverse drug events (ADEs). These alarming facts and others are outlined in a new report from the Lown Institute titled, “Medication Overload: America’s Other Drug Problem.” In this engaging, information-filled conversation we hear from the report’s co-authors: Judith Garber, a Health Policy and Communications Fellow at the Lown Institute; and Shannon Brownlee, Senior VP at the Institute.
Transcript for EP #171 - A Grief That Has No End: Dr. Pauline Boss on Ambiguous Loss. Coronavirus has forced many residential care facilities to go on lockdown and implement “no visitor” policies. As a result, family members with loved ones in care facilities are feeling a heightened sense of “ambiguous loss”—a term coined by pioneering educator and researcher Dr. Pauline Boss to describe a form of never-ending grief. Common in caregivers of family members with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, this feeling of grief arises because the person with dementia is “there but not there.” Dr. Boss tells us how she has experienced ambiguous loss in her own life. She offers suggestions for how to lower stress levels and increase our tolerance for ambiguity, for caregivers and non-caregivers alike who are now confronting new and confusing relationships, ruptured by dementia and social distancing.
Transcript for EP #159 - John Leland: Happiness is a Choice You Make. In 2015, award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest growing age group: people age 85 and older, or what gerontologists often refer to as “the oldest old.” What John discovered during his deep dive into the world of elders upended his own ideas about old age. It also challenged the widespread notion that old age is nothing more than a grim period of physical and emotional decline. John shares some of the lessons he learned from six elders profiled in his best-selling book, “Happiness Is A Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old.” He reminds us of the huge influence we all have over the quality of our lives as we age. Hint: research shows that a positive view of old age results in adding 7-1/2 years to your life.
Transcript for EP #174: Author Liz O'Donnell on "Working Daughter: How to Care For Your Parents While Making a Living". Liz O'Donnell was riding high in her career as a marketing executive and raising two children when both of her parents were diagnosed with terminal illnesses on the same day. Her book, "Working Daughter" is filled with vivid anecdotes from Liz's white-knuckle experience as the primary caregiver for both of her parents. A roadmap to caring for aging parents without losing your job, your marriage or your sanity, "Working Daughter" is a book for caregivers everywhere but especially working women. Liz O'Donnell is the founder of WorkingDaughter.com, a community for women balancing eldercare and career. Besides "Working Daughter," she is also the author of "Mogul, Mom & Maid: The Balancing Act of the Modern Woman."
Transcript for EP #179: Contemplative Caregiving with Dr. John Eric Baugher. Pioneering educator and researcher John Eric Baugher was just eighteen when his mother was murdered. Filled with rage, John felt he was fated to join his mother's killer in life imprisonment. Not behind bars, but behind psychological walls of unresolved grief and anger. How he channeled his grief and discovered compassion and even humor in the face of death is at the heart of John's book, "Contemplative Caregiving: Finding Healing, Compassion and Spiritual Growth Through End of Life Care" - an indispensable guide for end-of-life caregivers and anyone seeking to transform experiences of caregiving and grief.
Transcript for EP #190: Nancy Picard: Caregiving in a Crisis. Like many adult children, psychologist Nancy Picard is determined to prevent her aging parents from contracting Covid-19. But Nancy and her parents live in separate states. So she's in daily communication with them, and has wired up their house with cameras placed at strategic locations - at foot level, to give her parents some privacy. A returned Peace Corps volunteer who has supported people from age four to 94 as a clinician and researcher, Nancy also focuses on supporting people's needs for reminders through her health care startup, MemoryBeach. As a psychologist and as a daughter who has cared for her elderly parents, Nancy understand the stresses of the moment and how everyday can feel incredibly long. In this interview she offers comfort and advice to caregivers, for surviving as individuals with their own needs, and as sons and daughters tasked with filling the needs of family members and friends.
Transcript for EP #169: Choosing Joy: How One Couple Reframed Alzheimer's. A few months after their 50th wedding anniversary, Helene Berger's husband Ady was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She vowed to find creative ways to make their lives as joyful as possible for as long as possible. How she did it and what she learned, is captured in her book, "Choosing Joy; Alzheimer's: A Book of Hope". In this interview Helene shares hard won tips and tools such as how to communicate in a positive way, allowing both caregiver and care recipient to feel empowered. She shares coping mechanisms for trying times and explains how she went from giving unpleasant aides the benefit of the doubt to sending them packing. We all have the power to respond to mental or physical decline in a positive way. This interview will inspire you to respond with grace and courage.
Transcript for EP #183: Suzanne Garber: Unraveling Global Healthcare. Single Payer, Medicare For All, Universal Healthcare - as these phrases get tossed around the political landscape we get real with Suzanne Garber, whose documentary film, "Gauze: Unraveling Global Healthcare" compares and contrasts healthcare systems around the world to determine what "best healthcare" means and what it really looks like. Suzanne shares her own experience with medical care, both in the US and abroad, what she discovered during the making of "Gauze" and why many Americans are choosing to go overseas for affordable, quality care. A lively interview with a filmmaker who traveled to 24 countries and 174 hospitals in search of the best healthcare systems around the world.
Transcript for EP #189: Eugenia Zukerman: Like Falling Through a Cloud. Renowned flutist Eugenia Zukerman has performed in concerts and recitals all over the world. She was the artistic director of Colorado's Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival for 13 years, and the arts correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning for over 25 years. And then in her early 70s, Eugenia was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Instead of crawling into a corner, she picked up paper and pencil and started writing - in poetry. In this episode Eugenia talks about how she stays positive and about her vivid memoir, “Like Falling Through a Cloud: A Lyrical Memoir of Coping with Forgetfulness, Confusion and a Dreaded Diagnosis.”
Transcript for EP #188 - Jason Resendez: LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's. Growing up in Alice, Texas, Jason Resendez didn't have any experience with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. But now, as Executive Director of LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's, all he thinks about are the changing demographics in the Alzheimer's community, and in our nation. Jason talks about the growing impact of Alzheimer's and dementia on America's 55 million Latino families, and he tells us how LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's is coordinating Alzheimer's awareness and brain health promotion efforts in the Latino community, where individuals have unique barriers to the health care system, or issues around stigma and language access that other communities don't necessarily have.
Transcript for EP #187: Leslie Gray Streeter: Black Widow. Former Palm Beach Post entertainment columnist Leslie Streeter talks about her memoir, "Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like 'Journey' in the Title." Written five years after her husband, Scott, died of a heart attack, "Black Widow" is a candid and thoroughly engaging account of Leslie's loving marriage and her twisty path through grief and loss toward healing. This interview brings the book to life, and is filled with humor, wit and real talk on grief and aging.
Transcript for EP #186: VIP Care Management with Sonja Kobrin. Geriatric Care Manager Sonja Kobrin was in her twenties when she began caring for the grandparents who raised her. She had no help and was traumatized by the experience, but it influenced her holistic and comprehensive approach to helping her clients at VIP Care Management, the Palm Beach County, Florida company she co-founded with her husband in 1993. A compassionate care manager, Sonja shares her insights and advice, plus stories of families in crisis that may sound familiar.
Transcript for EP #100: Deirdre Fishel on Her Documentary Film, "Care". Award-winning filmmaker Deirdre Fishel walked around in a state of rage during the making of her documentary film, “Care,” which delves into the world of paid care from the perspective of both workers and care recipients. In this episode Deirdre talks about the making of her film, and about how her vibrant but frail mother influenced her decision to make it.
Transcript for EP #185: LGBTQ Sandwich Generation. Brent Wright is one of 64 million sandwich generation Americans who has simultaneously cared for an aging parent and his kids, all under the same roof. What made their setup unusual? His mom moved in with Brent and his husband, Sandis, and their two adopted daughters. Brent tells us how the dynamics in their family changed when his mom moved in, and how his daughters help care for their grandma. He also talks about the work of Family Equality, a nonprofit that advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families.
Transcript for EP #108: Autism Dad Topher Wurts. One in 68 kids born in the US today is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. The vast majority of them are being raised by single moms, and boys make up roughly three-quarters of those diagnosed. Faced with these and other alarming statistics, Topher Wurts decided to use his background in tech media to develop Autism Village, a free mobile app designed to help families find autism-friendly places and services. The issue is personal for Topher: his son, Kirby, was diagnosed with autism at eighteen months old. Topher shares his family’s caregiving journey with Kirby, and tells us why celebrating each day is what his family is all about, and how his non-profit Autism Friendly is training businesses to better serve clients on the autism spectrum.
Transcript for EP #151: Wherever You Are. Cynthia Lim thought she had the perfect life: a loving husband who was also a successful lawyer, her own fulfilling career, two sons thriving in high school and a home in LA loaded with books, music and art. It all fell apart in June of 2003 when her husband, Perry, suffered a cardiac arrest and brain injury. In this moving, candid conversation Cynthia talks about reinvention and reimagining life with disability, the topic of her memoir, “Wherever You Are: A Memoir of Love, Marriage, and Brain Injury.”
Transcript of EP #182 - Cynthia Lim: Carving a New Path After Loss. LA resident Cynthia Lim, author of the book, "Wherever You Are: A Memoir of Love, Marriage and Brain Injury," returns to The Agewyz Podcast a year after our first interview to talk about how her life has changed since the death of her husband, Perry. Cynthia shares the gradual changes she’s made to her house and in her life, now realizing this is a point in her life where she has the freedom to actually do what she wants to do. Traveling on her own still comes with feelings of guilt, but she recently gained perspective talking with others at a recent conference of the Well Spouse Association, where she delivered a keynote speech.
Transcript for EP #184: Shaista Kazmi: Serving Elderly Ethnic Minorities. Michigan resident Shaista Kazmi has firsthand knowledge of the isolation and guilt felt by millions of family caregivers. But as a Pakistani Muslim, she's had the added challenge of finding culturally competent home health aides for her elderly family members. To help caregivers like her avoid the same fate, Shaista founded Detroit-based Apna Ghar, the first senior care agency in America dedicated to serving the needs of elderly ethnic minorities. With humor and compassion, Shaista shares the circumstances that led her to create Apna Ghar, and her first generation perspective on the dilemmas faced by her mostly Indian and Pakistani clients.
Transcript for EP #181: Elissa Altman on "Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing and Longing". What happens when a gay, middle-aged daughter who has never gotten along with her makeup-addicted, former television singer mother is suddenly thrust into the role of her caregiver? That's the subject of James Beard Award-winning food writer Elissa Altman's new book, "Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing and Longing." Jana talks with Elissa about how “Motherland” evolved and what it was like for the author to revisit her complex relationship with her mother, Rita, this time through the prism of hands-on care.
Transcript for EP #180: Millennial Caregiver Adrienne Glusman. Adrienne Glusman always knew she would have to care for her mother at some point. It just happened 30 years sooner than she expected. An only child of divorced parents, Adrienne was 29 years old and traveling the world in between waitressing gigs in New York City when her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Adrienne initially managed her mother's care from a distance, flying back and forth between New York and her mother's home in Tampa, Florida during emergencies. But as her mother's Parkinson's progressed, Adrienne became more anxious. She finally decided to leave New York and move back to Florida, to be a more hands-on caregiver. Adrienne shares how caregiving has impacted her life and her career, the grueling process of finding an assisted living facility for her mom and juggling visits to the facility with the demands of her work.
Transcript for EP #177: Janet Elsbach: Caring, Connecting & Building Community One Dish At A Time. Janet Elsbach was raised by people who did a lot of cooking, but she didn't go to professional cooking school. A home cook inspired by seasonal food, the cravings of those she loves to feed and the idea of bringing people together at the table, Janet knows from personal experience that in times of illness and sorrow there's nothing like the gift of food. Her new book, “Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting, and Building Community One Dish at a Time” includes personal stories from the front lines of care, cooking shortcuts for cooks short on time and tips for tweaking recipes to suit all kinds of dietary restrictions. Janet tells us how “Extra Helping” came about and how illnesses in her own family changed the way she receives the gift of food. What she hopes to offer, with “Extra Helping,” is not so much a group of recipes but the idea that no matter what, you can begin.
Transcript for EP #176: What Would the Patient Want? What happens when a family member or friend is incapacitated and they’re counting on you to make a healthcare decision for them? Do you take the doctor's advice for treatment? Or do you push back, knowing the patient would never want the treatment the doctor is suggesting? In high pressure situations like this, the wisdom of someone like Viki Kind is invaluable. Viki is what's known as a clinical bioethicist. She helps families make good medical decisions and she counsels healthcare professionals on how to do right by their patients. Viki gives examples of what went wrong in situations where the patient's wishes were not honored, and she offers practical advice for making decisions that are right for you. Viki Kind is a professional speaker, a hospice volunteer and author of the award-winning book, "The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can't."
Transcript for EP #175: Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke. Being able to speak and write were central to Debra Meyerson's career as a tenured professor at Stanford University, where her work revolved around diversity, gender, identity and organizational change. But when she suffered a severe stroke that nearly killed her, the career by which Debra defined herself was gone - cut short by her stroke. In this interview Debra and her son Danny Zuckerman, co-authors of the book, "Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke," talk about Debra's extraordinary efforts to recover and her journey to redefine herself after her traumatic event. "Identity Theft" also includes stories of fellow stroke survivors and highlights the emotional journey in recovery and what family members and partners go through. The authors share how their family's lives changed as a result of Debra's stroke and talk about the hard work needed to regain everyday capabilities.
Transcript for EP #173: Aisha Adkins on Millennial Caregiving. An only child and African American who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood near Seattle, Aisha Adkins was bullied in school and had forty operations as a child. But resentment is not in her wheel house. In 2017, she founded Our Turn2Care, a website that connects young adult caregivers with information, resources and each other. Aisha helped care for her dad when he had a stroke and she now cares for her mother who has Frontotemporal dementia, the most common form of dementia for people under the age of 60. Aisha talks about how her childhood prepared her for caring for her mom, getting her Master's degree piecemeal from Georgia State University and her advocacy work on behalf of her fellow Millennial caregivers. She also shares her learnings from caregiving thus far, and she tells us why she's perfectly happy spending a Saturday evening sitting on the sofa with her parents.
Transcript for EP #172: Photographer Robert Duron on "stages: 100 Over 100". LA photographer Robert Duron is in the midst of photographing 100 of the nation's centenarians for California-based health plan SCAN, which is celebrating America's 80,000 plus centenarians with a digital portrait series called, "stages: 100 over 100." Robert has photographed famous athletes and musicians, models and even Ron and Nancy Reagan for the LA Chamber of Commerce. But "stages: 100 over 100" is nothing like his commercial work. How is this project different? What has Robert learned from the centenarians? He shares all in this lively conversation.
Transcript for EP #170: Military Caregiver Jill Armijo. Jill Armijo’s husband, Joe, served in the Navy as a machinist and was deployed to a ship in the Persian Gulf just before Operation Desert Storm. A gentle, generous man, Joe returned from the Gulf War paranoid and with delusions of grandeur. For the past 20 years, his greatest battle has been schizophrenia. Although the medical community eventually recognized Joe’s condition as Gulf War Illness, Jill says the VA wasn’t much help when he came back from the Gulf and most doctors didn’t know what to do with him. Jill talks about the pressure of caring for Joe while holding down a job for her entire family, and how her sons saved the marriage and was patient with Joe while she often lost her cool. She provides vivid examples of Joe’s behavior, offers coping tools for other caregivers and tells us how she stopped trying to cure Joe and learned to love him just as he is.
Transcript of EP #168: Gayle Kirschenbaum on her film "Look At Us Now, Mother!" If you’re having a hard time caring for a family member or friend, chances are there are lingering wounds in the relationship. But choosing the path of forgiveness can heal even the most fractured bonds. Take it from filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum, whose emotional abuse as a child made her feel like she was born into the wrong family. Her relationship with her mother was especially harsh, but Gayle chose the path of forgiveness and chronicled her journey with her mother from enemies to friends in the film, "Look At Us Now, Mother!" Gayle shares the back story on her funny, short film "My Nose" and tells us how audience reaction to the film led her to make "Look At Us Now, Mother!" She also tells us how her 96-year-old mother is handling her fame from the movie in her Boca Raton, Florida community, and why her mother is still the life of the party.
Transcript of EP #165: Brian LeBlanc: Living Well With Alzheimer's. 58-year-old Brian LeBlanc is an international Alzheimer's advocate who speaks at conferences, workshops, symposiums, and even on dementia-friendly cruises. He's got a sense of humor that will knock you over. But don't call him an Alzheimer's patient. And don't call him an Alzheimer's sufferer. In this fascinating, frank interview Brian tells us how he's living well with Alzheimer's disease. He shares anecdotes of how he has responded to social stereotypes and provides a vivid description of how his mind changes when he has difficulties in everyday life.
Transcript for EP #164: Kalisha Bonds: African Americans and Dementia. Much of the research on dementia in the United States has overlooked African Americans, but the prevalence of dementia in this population is more widespread than you might think. Kalisha Bonds did a deep dive into the subject as a PhD candidate at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU). Her research focused on decision-making and the use of formal medical care by African Americans with dementia and their care partners. In this interview Kalisha tells us how being raised by her grandmother inspired her career path and what she’s uncovered in her research. She tells us how she found research participants in the Portland area, and how the culture compares with the rural Tennessee town where she was raised. She also defines a word you’ll find hard to forget: dyad. Kalisha Bonds, MSN, PMHN-BC, was a PhD candidate in the School of Nursing at OHSU when this interview took place; she has since defended her dissertation and is now a PhD.
Transcript for EP #163: When Caregiving is Rejected: A Mother and Her Son's MS. Wanting to care for your child is a basic instinct for most mothers. All the more so when that child has a chronic condition, like the son of this podcast guest—a Wisconsin mother who asked that we not use her last name. Carol’s adult son has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but he refuses to let Carol care for him. Their relationship wasn’t always strained. On the show, Carol reflects on how she and her son arrived at their impasse and she tells us how she navigates her relationship with her son now. She shares her concerns for her son’s future, and tells us why she still fundraises for MS. This is a must-read for anyone with family members or friends who refuse much-needed help.
Transcript for EP #162: Kristi Horner: Supporting Mental Health Caregivers. In the U.S., as many as 8.4 million people act as caregivers to adults with emotional or mental health conditions. Mental health caregivers often have a heavier burden of care and higher stress levels than a typical family caregiver. One such caregiver who faced a heavy burden—and ultimately, heartbreak—is Kristi Horner, whose brother suffered from mental illness and took his own life. Kristi is the founder of Courage to Caregivers, a Northeast Ohio non-profit focused exclusively on helping caregivers for a loved one with mental illness. Jana talks with Kristi about her journey with her brother through mental illness, and about how Kristi’s organization is helping caregivers get past the stigma of mental illness by providing them with education, support and empowerment.
Transcript for EP #161: Katherine Summers: From the Heart. Florida native Katherine Summers stumbled into her career as a paid caregiver. She had some time on her hands, and friends from her childhood began asking if she could check in on their aging parents. Katherine found she liked being around the elders, and caring for them came naturally to her. For the past six years she’s cared exclusively for two people who live together: a cancer patient and his mother who has dementia. Katherine tells us how she acts as a buffer between her two fragile clients and what she’s learned from over a decade of caring for other peoples’ family members. She provides tips for finding reliable in-home care, she talks about coming to terms with clients who die and tells us how she counsels family members who are confused about what’s going on with their elderly loved ones. Whether you’re thinking about hiring a home health aide or are just curious to know how a high-quality caregiver manages her job, this interview with a seasoned pro is for you.
Transcript for EP #160: Alzheimer's Advocate Lori La Bey. Alzheimer’s Speaks founder Lori La Bey is driven to help people with dementia and their care partners live positive and purpose-filled lives. The work of her Minnesota-based advocacy group has been recognized by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz and Sharecare and Alzheimer’s advocate Maria Shriver, who named Lori an “Architect of Change for Humanity.” For Lori, it’s all about shifting from crisis to comfort and choosing to consciously care in every moment we’re given. Lori talks about how her work evolved and why she created multiple platforms for people to access dementia care educational tools. This transcript is loaded with links to resources!
Transcript for EP #143: Jay Perry: Journeying Through Cancer. Canadian photographer Jay Perry was thirty-one years old when his father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Jay’s business was just taking off, with a portfolio that included artists Snoop Dogg, Usher and Gwen Stefani, but he decided to stop working and move in with his parents to help care for and spend time with his dad. In this interview he talks about the experience, chronicled in his book, “My Dad Got Sick: Love and Insights From a Caregiver’s Unexpected Journey Through Cancer.” From why it was all worth it to his anxiety about being in debt and why he made himself vulnerable by sharing his cancer journey with his dad on social media, Jay's lessons are invaluable.
Transcript for EP #139: Sky Dylan-Robbins on Millennials Stepping Up. In the next thirty years the population of Americans over age 65 will double. It's a pivotal moment in society, and perfect moment for visual journalist Sky Dylan-Robbins to explore the topics raised in her documentary short film for NBC Left Field, “Millennials Stepping Up: How Will We Take Care of Our Parents?” It’s a topic that feels close to home for 29-year-old Sky. Besides being intimidated by the prospect of preparing for her own aging, Sky wants make sure her mother is well cared for as she ages. Sky Dylan-Robbins is the founder of The Video Consortium. In In 2018, she was chosen as one of Forbes Magazine's “30 Under 30” in Media.
Transcript of EP #137: Dear Max: Maxine Borowsky Junge. Octogenerian Dr. Maxine Borowsky Junge explores the themes of her book, “Dear Myra, Dear Max: A Conversation on Aging” which she co-authored with her friend and colleague Dr. Myra Levick. At the time of this interview Myra was living in an independent living community in South Florida and Max was living alone on Whidbey Island, in Washington state. Born and raised in Los Angeles during the Hollywood Blacklist period, Max had moved to Whidbey after retiring from Loyola Marymount University, where she was a faculty member and Chair of the Marital and Family Therapy/Clinical Art Therapy Department. Max is also an accomplished artist and she's written several books, mostly about art therapy and creativity. A compelling interview with a funny and fierce woman who is contemplating the next phase of her aging journey.
Transcript for EP #131: Ronni Bennett: Time Goes By. Not one of us knows what it's like to be old until we get there. So says 76-year-old Ronni Bennett, a former radio producer who also spent over 25 years as a writer and producer in network television in New York and was managing editor of the first CBS news website. These days Ronni is busy with her acclaimed blog "Time Goes By," where she explores aging with humor, compassion and uncommon candor. Ronni talks about the evolution of her blog and she tells us what's good about getting older. She weighs in on an eTrade Super Bowl ad featuring older adults and how media fuels America's rampant ageism, she tells us why she decided to write about her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and why she was hit hard by the recent Op-Ed piece, "Am I Going Blind?" by New York Times writer Frank Bruni. Real talk on aging from a straight shooter who lives with uncertainty, with grace and humor.
Transcript for EP #127: The Caregiver Project. Theater artist, writer and educator Nell Bang-Jensen believes that instead of staging big shows on a main stage, theater producers might better serve their communities by finding out what people in the community are interested in and engaging them in the artistic process. That's the idea behind a new work in development at the Pig Iron Theater Company, where Nell is the Associate Artistic Director. Nell talks about "The Caregiver Project," a performance piece being shaped by caregivers in the Philadelphia area who are collaborating with Pig Iron, sharing their experiences with care and helping to create a show that opens in June. Nell also talks about her first real exposure to end-of-life issues through the hospice journeys of her Danish grandparents, what she hopes the audience will take away from "The Caregiver Project" and how creating the work has challenged her to represent caregiving in an accurate way while also devising a compelling artistic piece.
Transcript for EP #123: Beyond Driving With Dignity. Former Ohio state trooper Matt Gurwell spent years delivering bad news to family members about accidents involving older drivers. So when he retired as a trooper, he decided to launch the organization Keeping Us Safe as a proactive measure. The organization's Beyond Driving With Dignity self-assessment program empowers older adults in the decision-making process about when it's time to stop driving. Matt tells us how sibling relationships are torn apart over a parent’s driving in later years, why some older drivers are better than others and why having the older driver make the decision about when to give up the car keys is a big part of how his team convinces the driver to do so. He also talks about the connection between exercise and safe driving, he explains how handicap parking spots actually increase accidents and he offers tips on how to evaluate and implement a program to keep your family safe. This interview is especially useful for adult children concerned about the safety of their parents driving in later years.
Transcript for EP #118: CareGiving.com Founder Denise Brown. Google, Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia didn’t even exist when Chicago native Denise M. Brown started exploring the idea of launching a website for caregivers the early 1990s. Everyone told her she was wasting her time: people don’t go online for the kind of information Denise wanted to offer. She launched CareGiving.com anyway, and today the website is a go-to destination for millions of family caregivers desperate for practical advice and encouragement. Denise talks about the origins of CareGiving.com, how the landscape of care has changed since she began working in the field 27 years ago and why family caregiver stress is an epidemic. She shares some lessons from caring for her own parents and explains why it’s important to document your caregiving experience in some way.
Transcript for EP #61: Caregiver Valerie Bourdain: Fighting For Life. In a span of five years Nebraska native Valerie Bourdain lost her daughter to adrenal cancer, her mother to lung cancer and her father to leukemia. Her husband left the marriage midway through their daughter’s cancer journey. Valerie forged ahead as the sole caregiver for all three family members, but her weight and blood pressure soared to dangerously high levels. Motivated to get healthy so her grown son wouldn’t have to care for her, she slowly rebuilt her life—and her body, with the help of a fitness and nutrition coach. Since this episode aired Valerie has also published a memoir. An incredible story of resilience and reinvention, and lessons learned along the way, this interview will leave you awed and inspired. Bonus: this PDF is loaded with useful links!
Transcript for EP #38: The Dutiful Daughter. Author and artist Judith Henry was living in Los Angeles when she noticed a pattern emerging in her weekly phone calls with her parents who lived in Florida. Her mother’s voice was getting weaker, while her father’s was getting louder. Judith shares her story of returning to Florida for the last years of her parents’ lives and tells us how her “caregiver-in-training” childhood prepared her for those years. She also talks about her moving and funny memoir, "The Dutiful Daughter's Guide to Caregiving," which mixes anecdotes from her childhood with practical caregiving advice. This lively conversation features an astrologer’s prediction, a time-out for dad during Chanukah dinner and the tale of a mother who planned her own funeral.