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Caring for our Sick Parents: Episode 151

SICK PARENTSCaring for our Sick Parents

Many of us have aging parents who need constant care and attention. People who have to contribute to caregiving for their sick parents can have a challenging time managing their own personal life. Some even have to move from their homes and jobs to move in with their parents.

It's not unusual for someone to completely start over after their parents pass away and it may take many years to achieve stability in their own life once again. Our guest Ruth Ullmann shares a similar experience. She gave up her career in internal business consultation and devoted her time for elder care.

She can be called an elder care coach and helps people care for their aging parents while driving a successful business.

How it all began…

Ruth has been helping companies, groups and individuals write success stories for 20 years. She has been featured on Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC News, and was busy with her career. But a call from her sister changed everything — her mom was in the hospital and this was not the first time!

It was the fifth time in the year she had to come out of a meeting on a phone call which notified her that her mother had to be taken to the hospital. She realized that it was not working for her to be so far from her parents, so she decided to quit her job and move into a house closer to her parents.

She started consulting locally and things went fine for around 7 years. Then one day her mother had to be hospitalized again and gradually ended up in the ICU on a ventilator. Ruth found herself in a difficult situation as her mother was the primary caregiver for her dad who has also had health issues as well. He was diabetic, had dementia, and needed a wheelchair to move around.

Ruth's dad passed away 10 months later at a time when her own health was not in good condition. It took her over 5 years to get her health back on track and in this time her business was not doing well.

The time for realizations

The experience taught Ruth quite a few things and she realized that it was difficult for anyone to take care of their parents and handle business objectives at the same time.

She wished that she knew how to take care of her sick parents and work on her business at the same time. She wished she had conversations with her parents about what they wanted in the end.

Ruth also realized a few more things – primary caregivers are more likely to pass away earlier due to the stress of caregiving – almost with 44% mortality incidence rate. She realized that you should accompany your parents to the doctor so that you don't have to rely on second-hand information. You could know what is going on with your parents and help them relay their conditions and health status.

The realizations led her to change the nature of her business. She now started advising small businesses and entrepreneurs to meet business objectives while caring for aging parents. The business has two arms.

* help businesses stay in business while caring for aging parents

* helping families navigate elder care

She provides one-on-one consultation to entrepreneurs to become the leaders of their business. Much of it begins with automation and slowly working your way to transform into a CEO than become a day-to-day worker.

How Eldercare can help with our sick parents

Eldercare has many aspects which all of us are not aware of. We don't have a clear idea about how the industry works, the details about different services such as assisted living or rehabilitation centers and the legal, financial and medical aspects of healthcare services.

Ruth is the founder of Myeldercarejourney.com where she helps people on topics related to elder care and other services. She has an online course called Navigate Elder Care which gives you a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

For people who don't have time to spare, there are focus series on topics related to healthcare. You can also have your queries answered on the weekly QA session conducted by Ruth.

There’s Big Joy in Writing Memoirs: Episode140

Writing MemoirsWriting memoirs for loved ones: Expectations vs. Reality

Loved ones like our parents have a lot of stories to tell but don’t always get the opportunity to do so.

In this episode, Nicola Davidson tells us how to write autobiographies and memoirs for your loved one or for yourself.

Working as a journalist and editor for multiple newspapers in Australia and UK, Nicola has interviewed many people who had fascinating stories to tell.

But the format of the newspaper didn’t allow such elaborate memoirs. This gave the idea to Nicola about writing autobiographies for your loved ones and she came up with the website Forever Young Autobiographies.com. You can learn how to write a bio for yourself or a loved one’s memoir.

I feel that I should have written down the stories of my father before dementia and Parkinson’s made it impossible. You may also want to write down and pass on the stories of your loved ones before it is too late.

We don't need to be writers

Nicola tells us that we don’t need to be writers or someone famous to write down our memoirs. But we should come up with a “why”- the purpose of telling or writing your story. For many people, it can be an inter-family thing with parents passing down their stories to their children. Having a “why” gives you a head start and gives you the desire to write down your story.

You shouldn’t also worry about where to begin! Just get the energy going and start writing whatever you remember first. That way you can write down several memories or short stories and arrange them according to a timeline later.

Writing is a creative process and you shouldn’t let the inner critic prevent you from writing whatever you feel. The best thing to do is to leave your inner critic for the second draft, according to Nicola. You can write or type out everything you remember and go take a break. After some time, you can come back to it and scan it with a fresh mind and eyes. You will be amazed that you had done a great job and can edit or modify your writing.

Nicola also gives us helpful tips on writing memoirs for seniors.

You can help them write down their stories as Nicola is helping her 98-year-old grandmother to do so. Your loved ones can relate or speak out the stories and you can record the speech and transcribe it later.

Some people may find it difficult to remember their memories. Nicola advises us to start with long-term memories which are the richest. She also describes a few exercises to churn up all the memories- You can take a walk around the house and stumble on things which stir up some memories associated with them.

Others find it helpful to look through their photo albums or vinyl collection to get the memories going. You can even remember things from certain smells like food from childhood. Nicola suggests you write down everything- your childhood years, high school memories, marriage stories- anything and everything that can go towards making an interesting memoir.

Connect with Nicola:

BONUS! Click HERE to get Nicola's first few chapters of her book for FREE! Also includes a discount code if you buy the book.

An Expert Interview about Family Rejection: Episode 139

family rejectionDo You Struggle with Family Rejection?

Family rejection is a very common problem across the world. Many kids don’t talk to their parents and don’t even want to maintain any contact. Many of my listeners have the same problem and have estranged daughter or son living in other countries.

In this episode, our guest Tina Gilbertson provides helpful insights on how to deal with family rejection. She is a Colorado-based psychotherapist who helps repair estranged relationships between parents and their children. Gilbertson found the problem so common among her clients that she wrote three books and a ton of articles on the subject.

She will be giving out important tips on how to deal with family rejection and get talking with your estranged children.

Every relationship has a chance

Tina believes that every relationship has a potential to be repaired but for that, parents need to take both emotional and strategic steps.

The first thing to do is to understand that your children may not be hurting you or avoiding you intentionally – it is because they have been hurt by something and hurting you back in the process.

Develop compassion

You have to develop a sense of self-compassion along with compassion for your children. You have to accept your mistakes and understand the grievances of your kids.

Also, you may not always be at fault. Sometimes kids have a different experience because of their personality and perception without you having done anything wrong. Everybody has their temperament and you cannot do anything about it. Whatever be the case get over the parental shame and develop a mindset of compassion.

Only then you will be able to get to apologize to repair the relationship.

Give a good apology

An apology is a gift and best tool to mend broken relationships suggests Tina. She lists out several factors that make up a good apology and open the doors of communication.

To render a good and effective apology you must let all your guards down and become defenseless. Even if you are one percent defensive it will seep into your apology and make it ineffective.

Tina tells us three unique factors that make up a good apology

First, you need to be specific and say what you are sorry for; you should specifically speak out what you might have done wrong to hurt the person. If you are at fault, accept and clearly say you had done that.

The second factor is to understand and relay back why it was hurtful to the person. For example, you can say “I’m, sorry, you didn’t deserve that” or “I’m sorry that my tone was harsh,” instead of saying that you were just sorry!

The third factor is regret – you have to show that you are really sorry and regret the fact that your hurt them or did something wrong. You can add things like “if only I could take it back,” or “If I could change things..” to make your apology emotional and sincere.

A good apology will break the ice and can get your children talking to you.

Connect with Tina

Email: tina@tinagilbertson.com

Website: tinagilbertson.com

Books

Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children

Constructive Wallowing

The Good Breakup Guide