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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caregiving for a loved one with dementia? Many caregivers navigate this journey alone for far too long, unaware of the immense relief that building a home care team can bring.

This episode features Mike George from Soaring Families, where the discussion revolves around designing a home care team for family caregivers of individuals living with dementia.

The focus is on relieving caregiver burden and ensuring endurance for the caregiving journey. Mike shares his personal experience as a family caregiver and emphasizes the importance of building a support team to share the load effectively.

We also talk about the challenges faced by family caregivers, particularly in starting the caregiving journey without a structured support system in place. Mike highlights the need for family caregivers to recognize the benefits of creating a care team early on to prevent burnout and stress.

The importance of setting up the right environment in the home for caregivers is also discussed, including establishing boundaries and privacy considerations.

Building Your Care Circle Early

The key to enduring the caregiving marathon is establishing your support network early. Waiting until you're at your wit's end to seek help often leads to burnout. By proactively designing a home care team, caregivers can share the load, ensuring they have the stamina for their caregiving journey.

The Magic of Shared Caregiving

Mike George shares his insights on the transformative power of shared caregiving. With 30 years of personal caregiving experience, Mike emphasizes the importance of a care circle or team in fostering a fulfilling life for both caregivers and their loved ones. This approach doesn't just distribute the workload—it also opens up opportunities for caregivers to thrive and enjoy life alongside their caregiving duties.

Customizing Your Care Team

Not all care teams look the same. Each family's needs are unique, demanding a personalized approach to assembling their circle of care. From deciding where you need the most help to gradually introducing new members to the team, it's about crafting a support system that aligns with your specific situation. This careful, step-by-step process ensures that caregivers can progressively build a robust network of support that grows with their needs.

Overcoming Trust Barriers

Trust is a cornerstone of effective caregiving relationships. Starting small and allowing time to build trust with new team members can make a significant difference. Through a combination of due diligence, clear communication of expectations, and a probationary period, caregivers can create a positive and secure environment that benefits everyone involved.

The Power of Email Coaching

Recognizing the busy lives of caregivers, Soaring Families offers email coaching as a flexible support option. This innovative approach allows caregivers to receive personalized advice and support at their own pace, breaking down the barriers to accessing the help they need.

A Call to Action for Caregivers

The message is clear: don't wait until you're overwhelmed to build your home care team. By starting early, focusing on trust, and customizing your approach, you can create a supportive circle that not only makes caregiving manageable but also enhances the quality of life for both you and your loved one. Reach out, explore your options, and take that first step towards a more supported caregiving journey today.

Soaring Families Website:

LinkedIn of Mike George:

See Also: How to Prevent the “Battle of the Bathing” in Dementia Caregiving

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How Designing Your Home Care Team Immediately Relieves Dementia Burden With Mike George


Designing Your Home Care Team

[0:01] Most caregivers, when they start any type of caregiving journey, wait too long to design a home care team, whether it be a family caregiver of a child who was born with challenges or if you're a family caregiver of a person living with dementia.
Our tendency is to wait way too long to put the support around us to actually allow us to do other tasks.
Today's guest is Mike George from Soaring Families, where we are going to unpack how you, as a family caregiver of a a person living with dementia can design your home care team to relieve your burden so that you have the endurance for your race.
So episode 102, how to design your home care team immediately and relieve caregiver burden.

[1:16] Have you recently found out someone you love has dementia, struggling to wrap your head around how to be a Christian caregiver, searching for answers by joining countless Facebook groups but find them toxic, learning how to cope with dementia feels difficult, but learning a Christian caregiving worldview can be easy.
Hey, brother and sister in Christ, I'm Lizette, occupational therapist, pastor's wife turned dementia coach, and a daughter of dementia.
In this podcast, you will learn the truth that the way to make dementia care easy is your faith.
Knowing that a loving God has decreed this hard providence in your life makes all the difference. Here you will gain skills.
You will be challenged by what God says in his word about caregiving, and you will learn exactly what dementia is and is not. Find clarity and certainty from God's Word so you have perseverance for this journey.
Use science-backed solutions and biblical principles to redeem your time.
Praying this blesses you as we dive into dementia from a Christian perspective.
Let's glorify God despite a dementia diagnosis.

Interview with Mike George

[2:40] Well, welcome back to today's episode of Dementia Caregiving for Families.
And today we are going to do an interview with a young man out of Canada that I met through LinkedIn.
His name is Mike George, and he is the owner and CEO or creator or brainchild or whatever of a company called Soaring Families, which is very much near and dear to my heart because because they serve the same population, but expanded as me in working with family caregivers.
So I work mostly with dementia family caregivers, but Mike and his company work with any family caregiver, and they have a little bit of a different way of working with people.
So I thought it would be a good idea to bring him on the program to tell us a little bit about soaring families, how they work with family caregivers in a different way than what I work with family caregivers.
And then we're going to talk about home care a little bit here today.
So Mike, welcome to the program.
Please tell people a little bit about yourself and kind of get us started in this wonderful conversation.
Sure. Thanks very much for that. It's great to be here. And I like that you characterize me as a young man. That's great.

[4:02] Well since since both of us work with 90 year olds i know that you're younger than that yeah okay fair enough so my uh i guess in my situation is really about having 30 years of lived experience as a family caregiver myself for both uh my son um and my dad and my my mother-in-law and my dad lived to the age of 100 and so it it kind of i guess caregiving whether no matter how I slice it and look at it, it's kind of been our life, my life, my wife and I, in one way, shape or form.
And I guess it started with my son who has complex care needs, and he requires 24-hour care.
And I guess I tell people that I wouldn't be here talking to him unless I had some team around us to support us and to support him.
And that's really the magic, I guess, or the or the secret sauce of how we as family caregivers can not only um you know have share the load and share the burden but also thrive and see and live you know a really enjoyable life and.

[5:15] So I guess we didn't always see it that way, of course, that, you know, as a new parent that you as you know, you want to do right by your child and you feel the obligation to have to do everything and to advocate for them.
But as things piled up in terms of medical needs and, you know, all the different issues and complications that go with with that, it became obvious whether we wanted to admit or not that we couldn't do everything on our own.
And it was something that became a real, I guess, a real dilemma for me is that I wanted to be involved.
I wanted to make sure that I had control over everything, which was kind of foolhardy because you can't do that.
And it took many years of battling with that to understand that I can actually create a better outcome if I'm not the only one involved.
And that to bring a team around us or a circle of care around us of those who have the same, I guess, vision of care as we would made all the difference in the world.
And that's kind of how Storing Families came into being, was we saw the successes and the benefits and really the fulfillments of caregiving by sharing the load.
And at Storing Families, that's what we show families how to do, is to build their team, build that team around them.

[6:40] So that not only does their family member get the care they deserve, they can have a life too.
And it can be, it takes away the obligation, the continuous obligation of being there 24-7 and having to think that you have to be their hands and feet all the time. Sure.
I love the description circle of care. That is something I use consistently when I talk to people about building a circle of care.

[7:10] And I love the analogy of a team too, because when you are playing team sports, even though I never played team sports all that well, there's a whole another story related to that.
But when you're on a team, everybody has a different role and everybody has a different function and everybody needs to work together to get to win the game.
So I really think that too many family caregivers.

[7:40] Continue to struggle and believe that they are the only one who can or should provide the care.
So I'm very excited that you guys have put together this for people to understand how to actually build an effective care circle around anybody that you're taking care of, whether that's somebody with dementia or whether that's, you know, somebody who, you know, just recently recently had a stroke, or whatever the case might be.
Now, in your journey related to being a family caregiver, you had a personal connection with dementia caregiving as well, correct?
Yes. And you put a care circle around the family that you were supporting?
Well, it was more of starting to get...

[8:37] I guess, the conversation going and understanding of where, I guess, starting with where you need the most help and sort of going down that path, seeing that the dynamics of the situation, kept changing, but still had that vision or the philosophy that at some point, you know, there is a, there is a, you know, a sort of a defined trajectory of how it goes.
And that at these points along the way, this is, you know, be aware of those.
And then understand that you're not on the hook yourself to do everything.
I am very excited to announce this next part of our journey together.
Once a month, on a Thursday evening, I'm going to do a segment called Ask the Dementia Coach, where you can actually come into a coaching session with me and other people if they register for the same.

[9:37] Music.

[9:50] Your own and may feel like you're at the end of your book.
And in order to help serve you better, I wanted to open up this opportunity once a month for you to register for a free Ask the Dementia Coach segment.
Like I said, it will be Thursday evenings, once a month, six o'clock Eastern time in the evening.
And the segment is called Ask the Dementia Coach.
So if you're interested in signing up for that, the link will be in the show notes below.
And I look forward to seeing you on one of these special sessions.

[10:36] So explain to people what an effective care circle looks like or an effective care team for a person?
What kind of things do we need to actually put in place if we're wanting to undergird somebody and support them at whatever level they are?
What are some of the components? What are some of the things that absolutely have to be there in order for it to be successful?
In other words, are all teams exactly the same? Are there different different people on, I'm not talking about specific humans, but different support services or teams, or are they all pretty much the same in their structure?
And then if you have those pillars, it makes it successful.

[11:25] Well, I think every situation is there are nuances to every family on acceptance of, you know, outside people, caregivers and whatever, as well as the level of support that that's needed.
And what we if you don't have anyone in your circle now if it's just you or you're you know or maybe just a few family members it's important to expand beyond that but you need to do that in a in a gradual you know there's a transition to getting to building that circle and especially for the person who's being cared for it's really all of all about relationships and i think that's the key to building an effective circle of care is understanding that aspect of it and that any relationship with between anybody takes time to do so you as the earlier you can introduce a new person or a new role the sooner you can do that the better you're going to be able to evolve that that into something that's bigger.
And so what we often suggest to families is understand, you know, where do you need the most help now?
And that could be, you know, simply transportation, or it could be something we get them to think about what would free up your time as a family caregiver the most right now.

[12:53] Think about from that aspect, or what would, you know, what do you.

[13:01] Dislike doing the most as an example and maybe that's where you start right um and but the key is to just pick one and try to get started on that and then it's an adjustment for your family member and for you as the family caregiver to bring that person in and to see how it's all going to work, um you know within the dynamics of of of the home environment and from there it becomes you know the The evolution of that doesn't look the same.
It depends on if needs change, if there's crises or emergencies that happen to happen, or there's something that happens to you as the family caregiver.
It's quite variable, but you all sort of start off in the same spot, maybe with a different level of support, but you start somewhere and then get to a point where it makes sense for you, it's affordable, And it's, you know, you're getting, it's all about focusing on the family, the family itself, and is it working for them?

[14:07] So what I hear you saying is we don't go from zero to 100.
We do like a very systematic, we fix one problem and then we add the next support.
And then as things progress, we add the next support, which is exactly up my alley because that's what I say to people too. too.
You know, a lot of family caregivers wait too long.
They wait until they're in the crisis before they start to put the support around them.
Yes, sometimes a crisis happens, right?

[14:42] Everything is fine. We don't need that level of support yet.
We anticipate we're going to need it in the future, but then a medical thing happens, a fall, a broken hip, whatever.
And then all of a sudden we're in crisis mode, but we're not necessarily talking about that.
We're talking about people who are kind of still moving along, but we are anticipating we need some additional support in the future.
So getting help in the house and getting the right support around the person earlier on is a much wiser way of being proactive related to caregiving as opposed to constantly reactive.
Now, I know that you had told me earlier a couple of things that you hear people say to you a lot in your journey is that I don't want to bring somebody into the house or I I don't want to bring a caregiver or a care partner or additional support around them because I'm not sure I can trust them.
Yes. Can you expand on that a little bit more?
What kind of barriers are there for people and how can we reframe it so that people can.

Overcoming Trust Barriers

[16:00] Understand that it is a needed thing and how do we get across over that barrier for people?
Sure. So, you know, the building trust with any relationship takes time, right?
And that kind of goes back to, well, let's start small.
But what we've learned and what we show families how to do is to start with, you know, the type of person you're looking for, right?
Right. So think about not just from a clinical point of view or they need to do these tasks.
Yeah. But how are they going to fit into my home or my parents' home?

[16:41] And take some time to describe what that looks like.
And then that becomes sort of a baseline for as you interview people or meet people or somehow get, you know, people who might be interested in working with you or helping you, you can compare, you know, what their values are, how they present themselves with the type of person you want.
So it kind of starts there is to, you know, just because Sally's a registered nurse doesn't mean that Sally's going to fit into my home, right, for a whole bunch of different reasons.
So, if you kind of get alignment on that to begin with, then you can do the typical due diligence of, you know, where have they worked before, talk to people who, you know, who have been, who they've cared for, or, you know, who have managed their supervisory positions, that sort of thing.
Typical sort of job hiring things that you would do.
And if you get a good sense from that, then you're probably getting closer to someone who's you're going to be able to trust.
And if you, so let's say you have found someone, they seem great on paper and they have failed the right words and they seem like a, you know, an honest person and, you know, very.

[18:03] Then there is a bit of a leap to say, you know what, let's try this out and see if it's going to work.

[18:10] And what we show families is you always have what we would say kind of like a probationary period because you don't really know.
Right. You don't really know what kind of baggage people are bringing with them.
And as they're not going to tell you all the bad things, if there are any.
Me um and the way you can get through that is to have that sort of interim time a probationary period of let's work with it let's see if we're going to work dating kind of yeah but you but if you've started small if you haven't hired like a full-time person then that probationary period in the transition is a lot easier to wrap your head around and as you go through it and you know you the other part of it which we can talk maybe talk about later is to get the home environment set up so that it works well right you don't want them to come into a chaotic environment, and then things aren't then it's it's going to be difficult for you to assess are they are they going to be able to fit because your your house is in in turmoil so if you get if you assume you have that sort of figured out then you can over you know a period of time and, transitioning into that gradually you can see is this working are they catching on to to how we do things around here.
And that's kind of the other aspect is not everyone is.

[19:27] Um adaptable to home care if they've worked necessarily like maybe in a you know a long-term care facility or a hospital that's a very different setup and environment and culture than in your home right so bit by bit you can get to see the as things progress or not.

[19:46] And what you find like with anything the more you're with that person the more conversations you have you start to build that rapport and that trust level and then you know most times three months past you think wow this is working really well then you start to back away a little bit, and then you give them more autonomy let's say depending what the rule is and you see is that going to work and then if it does work then you do a little more and a little more so So trust isn't an overnight thing. It takes time to build.
But if you get it off, if you start from a good place, more often than not, things are going to work out really, really well for you.
So when a family is looking to hire or find care partners to come in and help, where do you suggest or recommend people even start to look?
Like, I get that question a lot. Like, I need a private duty or, you know, caregiver or whatever.

[20:51] Where do you typically find the best success in helping people decide where to even tip their toes into the water and say, oh, do I just, you know, start with people I know or do I go to a website?
Where do you guys typically recommend people start?
So there, I guess there's two places to start.
Obviously, if you, if you, if you have a person you trust that knows someone really well, then you're off to the races, right?
That doesn't happen very often, but certainly that's a really, you get a head start on that one. on.

[21:30] There are many, many home care agencies out there.
And what we they can do a lot of the recruitment and the searching for you.
And it takes a lot of that worry off your shoulders.
And that's a good place to start. And the way you do that is to really.

[21:51] You know develop again develop a relationship with the manager or whomever sort of overseeing who may be someone who's helping you to you know manage this stuff and tell them have a conversation with them on um you know here's what i expect here's the type of needs i have, and here's the type of person i'm looking for and kind of set the stage that way and then And see what they can come back with.
So it's not necessarily building with the caregiver who may or may not be coming in.
But it's about, you know, making sure that your needs, your expectations are set.
And some agencies will say, well, you know, will be welcome you with open arms.
And some people will say, that's not how we do things.
And what we gives you an answer where you're going.
Exactly. So that would be, you know, but you're sort of setting that up front.
And then you know, okay, well, that's fine. We'll just work with somebody else.
So they have, you know, a pool of people around there. And that's a good place to start, because they've done a lot of that legwork. work.
The other side, which is what we do more often than not, is you can hire privately.
You can post on job boards of, here's the type of person I want.

[23:11] And we show families, again, how to build this description of what they really want.
And that's kind of the first step is not just, I want a caregiver to work these shifts and here's the rate. Like, there's a lot more to it than that.

[23:24] Beginning with the end in mind. Absolutely. What you want.
And many folks haven't taken the time to think through that because they're in crisis mode, right?
But if you don't take that time, you're not going to get, you're not going to have a good result most of the time, right? So figure that out.
So if you take that route, then, you know, there'll be a lot of people who will apply that aren't a good fit. You can tell right off the bat, right? Right.
But in that situation, you have a little more control over, you know, sorting through and determining, do I want to talk to this person or that person?
So those are kind of two places to start.
And there also are, you know, online, there are a number of different sites that offer people across the nation in different states and provinces and whatever.
It would take a little bit of legwork for you to figure out what's going to work in your depending on where you live.
Right but the the process is still the same it comes down to you know whether someone is coming from an agency or you've hired or you've met them you know through a job board or you've got through an online site it still becomes you interviewing them having a conversation are you are you going to fit in my home right so it in some ways it doesn't really matter where they came from, because you're you're going to go through that same process the same process yeah and all three.

[24:54] Channels work equally well i can tell you though that you know since covid i think it's starting to rebound a little bit uh but the reason a lot of people left the industry for obvious reasons right so the resource pool is a little thinner than it used to be um and there's not as many many people available there's not as many i won't say qualified people but people that you know can can handle complex situations than than there used to be uh but it it's still it doesn't mean you you know it's not a it's not something that should discourage you continuing to look sometimes it's just not the right time sometimes you know if you try three months later suddenly there's these people who now are looking or they've come back into the job market or whatever or the agency now Now, you know, put some sort of campaign to fire a bunch of people.
So it is it does change often.
So if you didn't have success today, you know, a week or two weeks or a month from now, you might.
Sure. So interestingly enough, over the past this past weekend, a woman that I worked with extensively throughout this process from, you know, managing the whole dementia caregiving side of it.
Her parents passed away earlier this year.

[26:14] About six months, maybe a little longer ago last year. And both of them, she was helping both of them.
And we had a long conversation about caregivers.
She had paid caregivers in the house and didn't go through as necessarily a screening process.
She didn't really have a process to hire people because she was constantly in that crisis mode.
And now as she's putting the pieces back together after both parents had passed away, she really has come to find that she hadn't hired the right people, but because of being in the midst of the crisis throughout.

[26:59] Didn't feel like she had other alternatives but to hire who she could find that would stay and would come.
And so, you know, I know that whole trust component can be a very, very big issue because she, you know, she's now dealing with theft.
You know, a lot of theft had occurred because she didn't have a process to follow.
Now, earlier on, you had mentioned about the environment, like bringing people into the environment, but the environment needs to be The right environment.
I take it you're speaking more than just like the physical environment, like clutter and things like that.
I mean, you're talking about something a little broader than that.
Can you explain that to me?
Sure. So, one of the unique, I guess, characteristics of home care is that your home becomes the caregiver's workplace.

[27:55] And it's not a friend coming to visit. It's not a family member, you know, coming to help out.
You need to see it as a workplace.
And so, what type of things would you put in place, you know, if you're going off to a workplace outside of the home?
You know what are some of the things you you've come to expect to come to know about what how those things are and why it's why some places are great to go to and some places are not so great and so that's what i mean by putting the right environment in so it's it's having that um you know the i guess it's kind of like a culture or a way of this is how we do things around here But it's a very supportive and a positive environment so that when that person's coming to help you, even though they're getting paid to do that, that they want to be there and that they can thrive in that environment.
And, you know, let's not forget that everybody has their own personal lives.
So when people show up every day, they may have just had an argument with their, you know, with one of their children and they're not in the best frame of mind, even though they're, you know, coming to do very, very important and serious work at your house.
You still, the more you can create that environment where it's organized.

[29:13] It's efficient, people know what to expect, you know, and you yourself are building that trust with them.
Them, in addition to you're trusting them and they're trusting you.

[29:25] That's the type of thing that we talk about in terms of setting up the right home environment and getting it working and some of it is you know starting right off the bat by setting expectations having an employment agreement with every person that walks through your door and it's here are the things that is important here's what we value here's what we expect you to do here's what we'll do for you and a big thing is around confidentiality so this is you know lay it out very very explicitly explicitly, these are the things that are going to happen and this is what we expect you to do.
So if you start off on the right foot again and understanding of here's how, here's what the expectations are, then that environment becomes, you know, one that you can, it becomes kind of predictable on how people will behave.
And if they don't, you know, if things go off the rails, then at least you've got some framework and structure about, you know, this is what we agree to and this is what we expect, you know.
But at the same time, you have to treat people well, too, right?
I mean, they have a tough job to do.

[30:37] You can't be micromanaging everything all the time, right?
But what I really find valuable about what you have just said is that you, as the family caregiver who is bringing people in to help, you drive the train. You set the culture.
The people coming in are not your friends.
They are not there to, yes, they're there for companionship.
Yes, they're there to provide services to the person that you're helping, but there has to be certain boundaries set from the beginning for everybody to have a clear expectation of what a successful care partnership looks like for the particular person that you're helping.
And then I think I really love you framing it from the perspective of your home or the home that they're going into is their workplace.
And we have to understand that because, you know, if you're in a workplace, right?
Out in the community, you do not have as many opportunities or temptations sometimes to.

[31:59] Maybe, you know, take something home with you.
So you have to set up your home to be safe, related to valuables, if there truly are things that are valuable, whether it be emotionally or or, you know, financially valuable, you have to have the mindset of, yes, it's your home, but it's their job.
And we have to create success for everybody and not leave things that are easily tempting.
You know, like, I have a lot of jewelry, wouldn't be smart to leave my jewelry laying out, right?
And I have a lot of expensive jewelry, you know, and that stuff doesn't need to be anywhere where anybody can just have access to it or, you know, a weapon or whatever it might be.
So I really, I appreciate that because it is a mindset shift.

[32:59] You can't just bring people into the house and treat them like your friend and have an expectation that things are going to turn out well.

[33:10] Exactly. Yeah, you brought up a number of really good points. So the, you know, and that's something that we've mentioned to people that you know you can certainly be friendly with them but they can never be your friend as long as they're working for you right um that is a line you should never ever ever cross um and there are other boundaries and lines that you need to keep as professional as possible right and it's easy to to blur those lines and when that happens then then you've kind of lost that control and things can go south pretty quickly.
You mentioned that, you know, don't you have to change how you organize your home?
That could be a big deal for people, right?
I mean, it's my home. I should be able to, you know, keep things as clean or not clean as I want to because it's my home and, you know, leave things lying around.
But it is a bit of, it's not intrusive, but it's also a different way of how you conduct yourself right the other thing that you need to be privy to or i guess understand is that by having that person in your home even whether they've been there for a day or five years the there it is intrusive in your privacy see right because they hear and see everything that you do and so while it, you may have the tendency to talk about just whatever you've got to kind of keep a.

[34:39] I don't know, I guess, understand that boundary that, you know what, I won't talk about that with my wife right now.
I'll wait till later when that person's not here because they don't need to hear that.
And not that they do anything with it, but it is about privacy.
And that can be, you know, a little frustrating because, no, I want to talk about it now because it's my home, but you can't.
You have to kind of plan a little bit. So the spontaneity goes away a little bit. But on the other hand, you've got a great care for your family member.

[35:11] And, you know, in the end, that usually you can live with that little bit of frustration. You learn to adapt anyway.
Did you know that caring for a person with dementia doesn't have to be this hard?
If you are struggling and you would like to join our next free workshop, I invite you to walk away with science-backed dementia caregiving skills that many professionals don't even know after attending this free workshop.
If you'd like to register, message me the word workshop on Instagram or check out the link in the show notes below.
Well, and what I think people need to realize and or understand is that when you do need a care circle around you, the benefit of having that is that it will help decrease your stress.
It will help decrease your risk of burning out.
It will give you your time back or some of your time back.
All of those things are benefits. And yes, maybe a negative drawback or a con is that I cannot be quite as spontaneous or I shouldn't have some of these conversations.

[36:38] But when you look at the future, like when you're through your caregiving journey, if you burn yourself out, you're really no help to anybody in the future, much less yourself.
And, you know, I did an episode earlier a couple of weeks ago related to the death of family caregivers, specifically in people living with dementia is about 60 or 63 percent that they actually pass away before the person that they're providing care to and for.
So if you take those statistics, which come from the Alzheimer's Association, if you take that information, and it is vastly supported in the literature, and you consider that small price that you're paying for your spontaneity, I think it's well worth the investment of putting the right care circle around you so that you can actually do this for the long haul.
I mean, you mentioned yourself, you've been a family caregiver for 30 years, and you're going to be a family caregiver until you pass away by nature of support that you're providing to and for your son.
But one of the other things we talked about at the beginning is.

[37:55] As we were getting ready to come on the program, and this is something I hear all the time, like every single family caregiver says this in some shape or another.
I don't have time to X, Y, Z. I don't have time to learn more about, I don't have time for dementia coaching.
I don't have time to find the right family caregivers.
I don't have time to add more to my plate. Right.
Talk to me a little bit about that, because I know that's something that you probably hear a lot as well.

[38:27] So I think it goes back a little bit to if you are thinking about bringing someone in, you know, where would they start and what would that be?
But, you know, what we hear and what you just said is that people seem to feel that they need to be on the hook for everything.
Right. And that's why they're overloaded. but the reality is they don't have to be on the hook for everything right and the i guess the question i ask families is okay if you know if if you assume for a second that you could offload something what would that something be and you know people will pause and they'll they don't say nothing they i've never heard the answer come back to i can't offload anything there is there There is something there that they start to, and maybe they've never thought about it before, but it's in that moment that they start to realize that, okay, maybe there is an option, no matter how unrealistic it might seem, and you get people starting that way.
Because if there's no room for anything else, then the next crisis that's happened is going to put you over the edge.
So you can kind of look at it very...

[39:41] You know um uh you know theoretically with people and kind of lay it out that way right and it is a feeling of that i'm trapped in this i've got nowhere to turn i can't do anything else and the reality is that it's not you know there's a lot going on but you're not necessarily trapped there is an opening there you just have to pause and think about what that would be and that starts the process then of okay well maybe i can you know if if i were able to do this we're able to offload this task or obligation you know what would that look like and it would free up two hours a day every day wouldn't you know and then they you start to then envision something bigger so it is a bit of a mindset um exercise for people to happen to go through and you know it's, it doesn't happen overnight.
It is, it's, you know, and you didn't get into that.
Typically, you didn't get into that overload situation overnight either.
So it's going to take some time to back away from that. But I guess the only thing that we try to help people see is that.

[40:56] There is an opening somewhere. Let's just start to work with that one. Start with one thing.
Just open the, just crack the door just a little bit.
Right. And then, you know, you'll see the light coming in, you know, as a imagery that way, right?
And then you can start to, oh, okay, well then it's not all doom and gloom like I thought.
Right. Yeah. So one of the things that I do in my group coaching program with the family caregivers I work with, which has truly been, it's a new thing I just recently added to the program, but has been very eye-opening and enlightening to me is I'm having my family.

[41:38] Caregivers do a stress assessment when they come into the program that's evidence-based.
So it's It's an evidence-based caregiver stress assessment.
There are multiple ones of them out there.
And it has a benchmark as to when a person is nearing and or at the point of needing either respite care or other additional services.
And since I'm a family caregiver myself, I'm doing the assessment.
And we're very much at the beginning stages of a caregiving journey related to how much support we're needing to provide. We don't provide 24-hour care.
We provide very much intermittent care once, twice, a couple times a week.
Like this particular week, my husband had to go to my mom and dad's house because a HVAC guy was coming to service their house.
And so we've spent a little bit more time.
But it's been extremely valuable to me to, as I'm looking at my family caregivers that I'm supporting is being able to recognize which ones now are at a, oh.

[42:51] The water is getting really hot and I'm getting close to a crisis phase because it's allowed me to actually really start to talk about you really need to put structures in place.
And now it's not just, oh, Lizette's intuition is saying you need help, but we have standardized tests and evidence-based practices that can truly help with that.
And part of the reason I brought that up is because, you know, there's two types of places people tend to get into caregiving.
One is the crisis, you know, either, you know, your son is born and you didn't know, or now you have the whole, you start that process off pretty much in a crisis mode. Right. Yeah.

[44:11] We don't want to wait for the crisis. We want to start doing this beforehand, you know, as soon as we get a diagnosis of dementia.
Or, you know, I'm going to throw other diagnoses under us.
If you have a family member who's living with congestive heart failure, you know, extended periods over time, they are going to need assistance.
If you have a family member who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and they're on oxygen, at some point or another, they're not going to be able to do things.
We need to put structure around people much sooner than what people are willing to accept.
Accept so mike tell people if they wanted to connect with you guys where they can find you what kind of things that you work with people on what that looks like and then we will add all of that information into the show notes as well but i just want people to hear kind of a little bit we're complementary to one another we're not in competition right mike um mike's uh, services are vastly different to mine, but extremely complimentary.
So go ahead and tell people what they need to know.
Sure. So our website is, as you might expect,
And what we.

[45:37] The services that we provide, there's a couple of them. One is we've developed a training program called the Caregiver Support Formula.
And we've summarized it into finding the right caregiver, and that's the right caregiver formula.
So it's the process that we follow, the process that we've shown hundreds of families to follow to do exactly what we've talked about earlier, right?
To understand where you need the most help.
How do I find the right person? And then how do I make sure that they are the right person so I can trust them to bring them in?

Caregiver Support Formula

[46:11] And that's something you can do on your own. And it's also something that, you know, in certain situations, we provide group coaching.
If we have enough people who, you know, that's one of the things, too, is that people don't have enough time and trying to get people together to go through, you know, a coordinated schedule doesn't always work.
So that's why we offer it as sort of a self-paced do it on your own.
But I know that not everybody is, you know, you don't always get through it all because there's something else that, you know, takes your time.

[46:40] So the other aspect is we started offering email coaching.
So people who are very busy or they're not sure how their day is going to go, we can get into a one-on-one coaching collaboration through email of all things.
And it's a way for families to reach us directly.
It's something that we, you know, we're admitted to and dedicated to.
And it's a good way to sometimes start off in trying to assess where can I get started.
And then from there, we can, you know, certainly help them with the other pieces of the formula around getting your home organized.
And the other thing we didn't really talk about, which is kind of the, I guess, our unique offering is around the relationship management.
I think I mentioned earlier that the relationship is important.
So that's the other aspect of the home care and the caregiver support formula is you want to make sure that the person you hire that comes into your home or your parents' home brings their best every day. And how do they do that?
How do you ensure or how do you help for them, support them to do that?

[47:48] And there's a number of different practices around, you know, sort of people leadership, if I can call it that. Sure.
Well, I mean, in essence, the person, when you're bringing people in, you're their employer.
And as an employer, part of your mandate is leadership and development of people.
It is, yeah. And that scares some families. think, I don't know how to do that.
I don't have time for that. But that's what you're there for.
But that's, we can give you, you know what, we can give you the support and the tools to do that. So it becomes easy, right?
You don't have to figure this out on your own. We've done the heavy lifting and we've taken all our experience in our work lives of team leadership and team management and laid that onto how does it work in a home environment, which is what we practice every day.
So that's the other aspect that is really keeps things going. It makes it really good.

[48:43] But before you get to that, you've got to find the right person and you have to come to terms yourself that, yes, I need the help.
And here's how I need. So where do I get started? And that's that's that's the first place we can start to help families.

[48:57] That is wonderful. Mike, thank you so much for sharing your vision and your platform with people.

Connecting with Support Services

[49:03] I think that I really want people to check it out.
I'm not the guru on how to hire a paid caregiver or a caregiver for a family member, but I know one thing for sure.
If I need to hire somebody for my mom and dad, I'm definitely going to be reaching out.
We're thankfully a little bit bit of ways from there right now.
However, you know, that can change on a dime.
And thank you everybody for listening to today's program.
We will put Mike's information in the show notes and do reach out and connect with him.
And if you're not ready for my group coaching program, if you feel like you're needing more of a control and writing is more your style, then reach out to Mike.
Let them help you. We really are here to try to connect people with the right help for them.
If I don't resonate with you and Mike does, that's the reason I'm bringing people like Mike onto the program because we complement one another.
I cannot serve everybody. Mike cannot serve everybody.
We are here to help support you as family caregivers.
So go ahead and reach out to either Mike or myself and let us know what you need. And thank you for listening to today's program.

[50:24] Thanks for joining me today, Success Seeker. I pour my heart and soul into this program to serve you.
You can serve me by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts and join our free Facebook group, Dementia Caregiving for Families.
It's a positive and proactive space to navigate dementia caregiving together.
Get practical tools and find support, but without the verbal vomit.
Be a part of our community where we seek to find peace of mind and ease, despite the dementia diagnosis.
So join today and see you next time as our flight takes off.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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