Episode 47

August 25, 2023


#47 | Denise Helms and Paige Wolk | Combating Senior Isolation

Hosted by

Tony Siebers Bina Colman
#47 | Denise Helms and Paige Wolk | Combating Senior Isolation
Parent Projects - Aging In America
#47 | Denise Helms and Paige Wolk | Combating Senior Isolation

Aug 25 2023 | 00:51:54


Show Notes




Overture Home Care knows what it feels like to be worried about a loved one and to want your family to be safe and secure while giving them as much independence as possible. We are joined today by Denise Helms and Paige Wolk.


Denise Helms, RN, BSN, CDP, has over twenty five years of experience as a Registered Nurse. Mrs. Helms began caring for the elderly as a volunteer candy striper at a nursing home while still in middle school. When she reached high school, she became a nursing assistant and worked as such through college. The next logical step was to pursue a degree in nursing.


Paige Wolk, LBSW, CDP, has over twenty years of experience in the Senior Care Industry. She began her career as a Social Worker in a skilled nursing facility working with elderly, and found her passion. Mrs. Wolk has been active in the Social Work community, earning such distinctions as Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers and Social Worker of the Year by the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare, Texas Chapter.


Website: www.overturehomecare.com
Eldercare: www.eldercare.acl.gov


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00:00 – Intro

00:47 – Introduction to Denise & Paige

01:34 – Their Call to Action

05:04 – Isolation Research

07:55 – Statistics

10:18 – Ad

10:50 – First Signs of Isolation

15:50 – What Families Can Do

18:27 – Alternatives

24:15 – Things to Look For

30:24 – Purpose-Driven Mindset

35:42 – Technology

46:48 – Overture Home Care

50:40 – Outro



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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Every single person wakes up with a purpose. You don't wake up with absolutely nothing to do. And so helping your parents always still have a purpose, even though they may not be able to work any longer or drive any longer, let's give 'em something to do or help them uncover things that are beneficial for them to do. And one of those is, you know, the StoryWorth help leave your story for the other generations. So Speaker 2 00:00:28 As our parents grow older, it can be difficult to guide them through their golden years, while still respecting their autonomy and fitting it into our already complex lives. Welcome to the Parent Projects Podcast, where our guests share practical wisdom to tackle the issues that impact adult children of aging parents. I'm Tony Sievers. Thanks for joining us today. Speaker 3 00:00:52 Well, it's not just something for the Fort Worth market. This is something that go-to kids around the country see and, uh, their parents' experience. And we wanna jump into that. And today we've got Denise and Paige joining us, though out of the Fort Worth market, to talk to us a bit about combating senior isolation. Denise and Paige, thanks so much for joining us on the Parent Projects podcast today. Thank Speaker 4 00:01:14 You for having us. Thanks for having us. We're excited to be here. Speaker 3 00:01:17 Well, we are excited for you to help us sort out what the market is seeing in this, some exciting new ways that we can combat some of it as family members, but in, in general, help us move from maybe just a, a, a position of concern to a position of comfort when we're dealing with this. So thanks for sharing that expertise. I guess I might jump right in, uh, and try to figure out with, you know, from both you guys, what's, what, what, what sits behind that? What's the, what's the engine under the hood that drives you guys to serve this marketplace with your time, talents, and treasures? Speaker 4 00:01:56 <laugh>? Um, I'm a gerontological nurse and have worked my whole life with seniors and, um, own a home care. And actually I'm taking, taking care of my aging parent, my mother, who lives in a different state than I do. So I am, she, she, thankfully, is pretty independent and, um, stays pretty busy. But along this whole way, she's recently widowed. And so I've been, um, very involved in a long distance way. And so having to learn how to manage, um, a long distance support system, um, from my mother. Speaker 0 00:02:31 And I am a social worker by background, and I've always worked in with older adults. It was always my passion. That's what I went to school for, and have made a career out of helping, um, solve lots of issues within the, um, older adult world. Um, I'm currently in the sandwich generation where I still have kids at home, and I'm also helping to navigate my parents' aging and doctor's appointments and, um, failing health. And one of the things is, um, helping with their social isolation. So, Speaker 3 00:03:06 Yeah. And, and we, it's interesting because as we were talking before, we both shared similar diagnosis in our, in our own families and our own parent projects, or even similar locations. Uh, but, you know, uh, Denise, you were talking about in your parent project, you don't, you're not in the same state, uh, with, with where you're managing, where with the project that you're managing out of there. So that is, that's gotta be something of concern. Does, does that, um, when, when you go and you start looking at this in your assessment, is that from, is that generally from when you're making trips back and forth? Or do you have people that are kind of on the ground and friends or family or, or, or others that are, that can give you that insights? Speaker 4 00:03:45 You know, a little bit of all of that? It, it's, um, my time is a much more extended. I can't stop over for supper on a weekly basis. So when I go, I do do a more extended stay at make go and stay for a week and really get a sense of what's going on in my mom's world. Um, and then I have, I, she does have a great network of friends, so I'm able to reach out. Um, and we do talk several times a week on the phone where it didn't used to be that frequently, but we have more common, more regular communication by telephone. Speaker 3 00:04:17 Well, and those can, and some of those communities you see are, uh, it, it's a, it's a different lifestyle, uh, in their generation. It's neat to get to watch that sometimes. I think I, especially our, our families being in, uh, in Kansas markets, I just, I love that market just in general. <laugh>, it's a down home, very, very community oriented, uh, environments. And I've, I've always, um, every time that I'm back, I'm, I'm always appreciative to see how close neighbors are, how close the church communities can tend to be for people pushing back and forth. So I know for us in particular, when I look at social isolation, that's a, that, that's a lot of where we get our information from too or from those other friends. We Speaker 4 00:05:03 Going to church and visiting, going to breakfast with all your girlfriends. So just a lot of that. So, Speaker 3 00:05:09 Well, who sits, who sits on the, on the cutting edge of this? Or where is the, the research that's being done today about isolation? Where do we see that coming from? Speaker 0 00:05:19 You know, but you hit on Covid and after that it's coming from everywhere. Everyone saw the problem, we saw what we did wrong. Um, we, it's interesting because we are, um, with a home care company, our caregivers that we sent out into the homes were sometimes the only people they saw throughout Covid. It was their only form of communication. Um, out of town families, scared families, um, our caregivers were allowed to go in. They were considered a needed, you know, care partner. So, um, it's just, it's very interesting. The c d c, the, um, national Institute on Aging. I think that's where probably we go to the most for that information. Um, so that they're really considered the experts, the National Institute on Aging is. Speaker 3 00:06:07 Yeah. And, and what are you seeing come out of there? What are they now, now, I mean, this isn't just a c o thing, right? I mean, this was something that existed before, but it sounds like it's kinda, we put this microscope over the top, or at least it impacted such a younger, such a large amount of younger generation that everybody's like, oh yeah, this is a thing. This is, yeah, Speaker 4 00:06:26 We should pay attention to it. Speaker 3 00:06:27 Yeah. What, what are Speaker 4 00:06:29 It made us really, the information coming out really took, took a look at some of the statistical impacts on so many different areas. Like the, um, the increase in mortality, the, you know, they die, people die sooner if they're lonely. Um, a direct correlation to being socially isolated and an increase incidence of, um, dementia or Alzheimer's. 'cause you're not interacting with people. And then there's real connections to health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure. I mean, there's some studies that have shown that you're more likely to have some of those chronic health conditions if you are socially isolated. So we're seeing a lot of information come out about how serious it is. Yeah, I think we knew it, but it's getting defined now. Speaker 3 00:07:18 And Speaker 0 00:07:18 Some of it's, Speaker 3 00:07:20 Oh no, please go ahead. Speaker 0 00:07:21 Some of it's so natural with retiring, you have less people in your network. You know, you have friends die, you're getting older and, you know, you have less people in your network. So, um, figuring out how to plug people in, I think is really where most of the research is showing. Well, there's all these resources out here, now let's get that information to the children and to their parents. Speaker 3 00:07:45 Yeah. So in, in seeing isolation or problems of isolation, uh, I think what we'll probably in, in the next segment really jump deep into it, but when, uh, statistically as they're looking, how, how we see those high levels, about a third of us over the age of 45, we see that maybe half of those over 65 kind of coming in and coming outta the backside of covid. What are the real, what's the real implications here? What are, especially for our parents over the age of 65 into 75 and all of that, what do, do, do you guys know? What are the the key statistics there that we should be paying attention to? Speaker 4 00:08:24 Um, I would say over 7 million adults have depression as a result of that. So that's a significant thing that we need to be watching for. 'cause that affects so much like the eating habits and Yeah. Soap movement, all of that. Yeah. Um, and I would say the dementia correlation is probably the big one as well. Speaker 3 00:08:49 Yeah. You know, the, the other thing too, we think in covid, one thing that I started seeing in the way that, that things were being handled in general, is it, it looks like we've discovered that there's a, well, we, we kind of had a hint to it, but the brain and the heart have a big connection to each other and in a lot of ways. And, and we see, um, we see that, you know, the health of one does impact the other, and, and that they can come back and forth. That is, I, I gotta think isolation, uh, especially with depression, if that's what kicks off into it and those types of things, that's gotta be, that now makes a lot more sense in why you're seeing other health problems like physical ailments when you're not feeling well mentally or working that direction. Those are, um, that seems to make more sense to me today than it did well before Covid. So maybe that's a blessing of covid. I, I, or, or I've got experience. Speaker 4 00:09:41 Yeah. And I think it's really what we call bi-directional as it relates to health problems. Okay. You can have socialization issues and, and it leads to some of these health issues. Or you, in your normal aging process, have hearing loss, have problems with continence, have some functional limitations in the ability to walk around, and that's what leads to the social isolation. So it goes both ways when you're taking a look at a person, an aging person with, um, social isolation. Speaker 3 00:10:13 Uh, totally. Okay. So, uh, that I think is gonna be awesome to, to jump into. I'm gonna first take us out just for a quick break here into our, our first commercial break. When we jump back, that's exactly what we're gonna jump into, is seeing those signs of, of social isolation, what's it look like? How's it playing out? How do we recognize that? And what can we do about that? Not just knowing the right answers, but maybe even how to approach that with mom and dad. Stay tuned as we have Denise Helms and Paige Walker walking us through and, and better ways for combating Senior Isolation on the Parent Projects podcast. We'll be back right after this and welcome back, uh, here this week we are combating senior isolation. We have Denise Helms and Paige Walk and Walker, and we are trying to work our way through, um, you know, some of these, uh, identifying these guys. Speaker 3 00:11:06 Guys, welcome, welcome into the studio. This, there you're, um, we're, we wanna work on not just understanding that it's out there. I think we all get it, we see it, we've got some, maybe it's a curiosity as to whether or not this is something that's impacting one of our loved ones. Um, how do we, how do we recognize that we wanna move forward from that? What, what are the first signs that maybe we've got a loved one, uh, that is in May in a unhealthier situation? What are the types of things that we see happen? Speaker 0 00:11:37 So they, um, sleep a lot or have irregular sleep patterns decreasing, um, decrease in appetite or poor eating choices. Um, mood refusal to do things that used to make them happy. Um, those are really the key ones for older adults that we can recognize. I know, um, walking into older adults' houses to determine if they need caregivers. Um, people that used to keep their houses very clean or no longer put up. There may be some, you know, hoarding going on, no vacuuming, you know, things like that. Just the inability or the lack of desire to, to do the things that once made them happy or that they kept up with. Speaker 3 00:12:24 Well, that's interesting. So a lot of those things too are things that we talk with our audience about. Uh, they kind of correlate to those activities of daily living that we use to try to understand where mom and dad are at. So this sounds like maybe, maybe at a precursory level, it might not be a matter of of capability, but more so a matter of just willingness or emotional, just kind of if they're emotionally they're in the game. Is that, is that what you're mm-hmm. <affirmative>? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Speaker 0 00:12:53 I mean, you say it like it's, they're bathing, are they, no, no longer bathing daily like they used to. Are they in the same clothes multiple days in a row? Those just, you know, lack of interest, Speaker 3 00:13:04 Right, right. And making those changes. So, okay, so we've got that, that lack of interest in those. So if we start noticing that, um, as we're making an assessment of, of mom and dad's situation, a lot of us, as we come up on Thanksgiving now a couple months away, but that tends to be one big time when families, you know, gather and they go down and they, they spend that time to see a surrounding, uh, and they're, they notice, well, things don't quite look as kept or as put together as it was before. What are ways that we can discover if this is a matter of maybe capability or a willingness? Speaker 0 00:13:40 And I think just having those conversations with them, um, the calls for adding caregivers into homes at, at least at our agency, um, skyrocket after Thanksgiving and after Christmas, where they spend time with families, and families are like, oh my gosh, I just looked in their refrigerator and half the food is expired, or there's nothing in there. Or, you know, it's terribly messy, you know, things, um, just look for clues and, um, just be a detective when you're visiting, you'll, you'll be able to pick up, up on signs. Um, but that's a, that's a great point, is that around the holidays is really where, um, children are like, oh my goodness, I didn't know it was this bad. I didn't know dad was repeating the same story 10 times. You know? 'cause when you're on the phone with them, if you don't live, you know, close to them, you don't always pick up on those things as you do in person. Speaker 3 00:14:34 Yeah. Well, and, and even when there's a group of family. So I know one, one story that we were listening to, uh, with, with family recently was that there was about three or four families that were caregivers. And the first family, uh, would be, and they all kind of circulated throughout the week, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and sometimes throughout the same day, multiple family members would come in at different times. So, uh, it was, it was kind of a cute story. The first one starts where mom just wants to get out from that, and she's like, you know, it's about noon or so ice cream sounds good. And they're like, you know what? Ice cream does sound good. That would be fantastic. Let's go to ice cream. And so they take mom out and they went ahead and go out to ice cream, come back from ice cream. Speaker 3 00:15:14 Another family comes in just a couple of hours later to check on one of the other brothers <laugh>. And mom's like, you know, ice cream sounds good. And they're like, you know what? Ice cream sounds great. First of all, this woman's right after my heart. I gotta tell you because if I can pull this off, I'm gonna be pulling this off as many times as I can. And it took them a while, but they, they were finding that kind of, that repetitive nature of stuff. What, uh, yeah. When, when you're So, so even I think when a lot of hands are in the pot, right? Or, or multiple people are coming on, if, if mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if that coordination maybe isn't really clear from one family to the next, uh, it, it's difficult sometimes to see that too. What are, what are, um, what are things that you guys see in there that families can do as they start engaging, uh, or as they start seeing? So this, Speaker 0 00:16:04 So first there is a, um, a wonderful tool and it is, um, family caregiver communication. And it is putting one person in charge of the care, having one go-to person. And then, you know, that she had ice cream with four different family members. You know, just things like that where it's communicating, putting one person in charge, and not to tell the others what to do, but just to kind of get all the communication together and then have it in one place. Send out a weekly email. Some families have a weekly FaceTime call where they just go over everything and, um, not intruding on your parents, but what is, what is going on in their lives and what can we support them with? Speaker 3 00:16:47 Sure. What, from a, from a standpoint of having a conversation in isolation, what are things that that family member can be checking for or talked or looking for, uh, for those conversations? What are things we're looking for? Speaker 0 00:17:02 Do they get out of the house? Yeah. Okay. Do you leave the house? Speaker 4 00:17:05 Yeah. Driving ability is a big one and it's, and it may not even be ability, but comfort getting out of the, and navigating roads. And, you know, most, most seniors don't like to drive after it gets dark, so that limits some of their activities. But I always go for several drives with my mom, with her driving and just kind of making sure that she's still comfortable doing that and still able to get in and outta the car comfortably and is safe and all aspects of that. 'cause if that changes, that's really makes a big impact on her social isolation. Speaker 3 00:17:38 That, that's a good point. Because generally that probably is going to change in almost all of our cases eventually. Um, yeah. But the pace at which, uh, that doesn't, I mean, that's been a part of parent projects for me across my life. Uh, and, and I have noticed that when, well, when even people start talking about, um, about not being able to drive when, when doctors start talking about it, or when other families starts talking about, well, maybe it's a time we don't do this anymore. It can be very easy to kind of throw the baby out with the bath water. Um, or it can be easy to o to miss as a family. All of those things that happen that are predicated on, on your loved one, being able to go, being able to drive, or being able to get out and do those types of things, types things, are they, um, what are some alternatives to that? Speaker 3 00:18:29 So, uh, if, if, if, um, you know, I, I think of things like bible study groups or reunion groups or moving back and forth, even just to, to going to the, the drug store or something like that. Often, uh, to be around those, those little things where things where families tend to, I think our parents, my parents tend to have communication with other people 'cause they're standing there waiting in line, sometimes a long line, especially to get pick up, to pick up medications. You talk to somebody, what, what are alternatives to that that we can give them, uh, or help set up for them as those go away? Speaker 0 00:19:04 So the transportation, it is a, it's a grieving process when an older adult has to admit or be told that the, it's no longer safe for them to drive. Um, and it's a, it's a, that's probably one of the most difficult things in aging, is not being able to be, um, independent and drive yourself. So there are a lot of transportation alternatives. Um, Uber has a Uber health where they will ability to have a wheelchair or a walker. Um, there's a, actually a great website and it's eldercare.acl.gov, and it's a government site. And you type in your zip code and it lists resources for a variety of things. But it lists transportation in your area. There's ride shares, there's people that volunteer specifically to pick up seniors and get them to bible study, like you said, or get them to the senior center. Um, so there's lots, there's some churches have buses, A lot of, um, senior communities. Speaker 0 00:20:04 If, if your parents happen to be living in, uh, independent living or assisted living, they'll have buses and they do a weekly target run or weekly Walmart run. So, um, Catholic Charities is another big transportation, um, helper in most communities. So just really, if the children can find out those resources and help them set that up and say, well, you're not gonna have to give up your weekly yoga. You still get to go. 'cause we're gonna make sure that you get there. Um, and it's hard, the, the children being having all of the burden. It shouldn't be like that. Let's spread the resources out because there's other options instead of just leaving it all to the children. Speaker 3 00:20:47 Yeah. And Speaker 4 00:20:48 Sometimes it's distance. So you, yeah. Well, the other thing is to help your parent be willing to ask for help. I think in human nature is such that we don't wanna ask for help, but if, like, if someone's going to a Bible study and now isn't going because they can't get out, or the roads are wet, being help your parent say, I'll call. How about I call Mary and see if she can come by and pick you up? And kind of letting the group know if your parent's not willing to admit or ask for help from others. 'cause there's a lot of people that most likely will be willing to help drive. Speaker 3 00:21:24 Yeah. And, and I think I, we've, we've come across that as well, but I, I think a lot of of organizations out there and experts in this field work hard, uh, to try to, those that are, especially talking to our parents, are trying to get them to understand that earlier and be proactive, uh, about how they're gonna get around and where they get around. So actually, I wanna pull off of that for a bit, because I thought that was, that was the, it was really insightful to pull out, oops. Not, not, not quite bringing you all the way out. Sorry. There you're <laugh>. Uh, the, um, the driving. So driving is a, seems to be a monstrous like risk factor of driving into social isolation, no pun intended, or moving into social isolation. Um, the ability of collecting the, of running errands, the autonomy. I think that that comes with that just in general, uh, groups that they might attend, things like that. Speaker 3 00:22:22 Uh, these should probably be something that we, as, as adult kids should think about as we get into those conversations. Maybe start, who that, that, uh, page you were talking about having, um, like a, yeah. One cam family caregiver that is, that is the team, the organizer, right? That project organizer. That organizer for the family. Uh, and that's what we refer to them as. They're, they just kind of have point to organize the stuff and the communication and where that's coming. Maybe starting to, to break down and think maybe one great conversation, everybody think about this. Where does mom drive? What are the top things mom mom drives to within maybe a month or a three month period to see if you can catch as much as possible? And what are alternatives for that in a way that mom can still feel she has autonomy in that, um, in a way that that works. I, I really like paying attention to that on driving. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, are there, uh, other than driving, or actually, did I get that? Did I, as I'm trying to take notes as we kind of go through this. Did I grab that note? Well, Speaker 4 00:23:27 Yes, I think you did. And then, and then it leads to a whole different layer. I mean, of, okay, so what if mom can't drive? That's a whole different level of socialization beyond the transportation, right? So it's about bringing socialization into the home more, and there's a whole different way of doing that. Speaker 3 00:23:51 So let's talk about that. Yeah, let's talk about that. Bringing socialization into the home once they're, once they're starting to move where I, I think we see that, um, my families, as they've gotten older, their, their circle kind of got smaller. It got tighter. The page is talking about, you know, they, people die, right? Their friends die. And so they don't have that reason to make that trip up to Longview or wherever else they were gonna go. Now they're trying to keep them, you know, the world just gets a little bit smaller. Okay. So once it comes down to where it's really within walking distance or around the home, what are things, what are things we can be looking for and, and what can we do here? Speaker 4 00:24:27 There, there's some really neat things. If, if, if they can get online and learn to navigate online, and then it's probably our generation that's gonna set it help have to help set up for, for the majority. There's some, there's some older adults that really have grasped onto technology and could do a lot of internet, you know, searches, Google searches, all that. But, um, really trying to help them get set up. And it may be, if they're using that, making sure their monitor is large enough that it's easy for them to view that their keyboard is easy for their hands to navigate. Um, a couple of examples of things you could set 'em up with though are there's websites where you could do virtual visits to museums or a virtual visit to the zoo. Or let's say they've always wanted to go to Rome and you can set up a virtual visit of a tour of the city of Rome, Italy, or, you know, those type of things. There's some really amazing things that, that were developed, and I think this happened with Covid, but that are still available for free. Um, that there's things like online exercise classes that are exercise classes for seniors that you do sitting in your chair in front of your big screen there and, you know, help mom get all set up with, okay, 10 o'clock on Tuesdays and Thursdays is this exercise. And, you know, maybe it takes a phone call reminder, but you get 'em on a routine of doing exercises online. Speaker 3 00:25:57 Yeah. Being Speaker 4 00:25:58 A, a group and socialization that way. Um, webcams FaceTime, we're, we're getting used to FaceTime. I know that my mom still hates that FaceTime thing, but, um, if you can get 'em used to seeing faces like this and, um, and communicating that does give a better sense of being in touch with the person you're talking to. So getting 'em set up with a camera on their computer. Um, Speaker 0 00:26:25 Yeah, there's, um, something my sister did recently for my parents is called StoryWorth. And once a week it sends, um, an email to them, you're familiar with it, and then at the end it creates a book and it's giving them they a purpose once a week. Denise and I do a lot of training on, um, dementia and caring for people with dementia. And we always say that every single person wakes up with a purpose. You don't wake up with absolutely nothing to do. And so helping your parents always still have a purpose, even though they may not be able to work any longer or drive any longer, let's give 'em something to do or help them uncover things that are beneficial for them to do. And one of those is, you know, the StoryWorth help leave your story for the other generations. So, Speaker 3 00:27:15 I I, oh no, go ahead. Speaker 0 00:27:18 No, I was just gonna say, it's, it was just such a, an emotional, and my dad actually read it out loud to all of us and he was laughing so hard 'cause he made up some stuff and he put in some silly stories about it. It's a, it's such a great tool. Speaker 3 00:27:32 Uh, yeah, there are, um, those are, I'm trying to think of, of, um, a legacy list. Matt, Matt, uh, Matt Paxton has a, uh, a show, uh, that he's gotten into. And then just kind of this methodology is when he was a guest, he was talking through how, uh, how you can give a family member maybe a, a mug or something that's, that sits out there and the importance of them being able to process this one thing and giving an outlet for them to have a conversation about that thing. And to tell the story behind that thing. Uh, particularly he uses it in senior move management as they're looking to get that, that movement forward. If they're kind of stuck and they can't, can't, can't downsize or can't work from something at all, they found, just being able to put together maybe five or so items that they select, spend the time to diligently work through them, collect a story against those things, and be able to communicate that, uh, to other people either at a, at a group, uh, you know, a church or at a group at a senior center or to family. Speaker 3 00:28:38 And be able to communicate what that thing was to them, what it meant to them, where it came through, allowed them then to, to keep moving through or to keep moving on. But I love your, I love your, your topic about purpose and that mindset, because I think it's easy to see some people get into a mindset where they're kind of waiting to die as things get taken away from them if, if they're not working through this or talking through that. I've seen many clients of mine in the past that just kind of got stuck there. They just, the, the, it's like the hitch just kept on coming and it's very easy to see life kind of pair down and pa down and pa down. And then they can get to this like, okay, well I'm just gonna wait to see what happens. And, and they get into that, that, uh, type of, of mindset. Speaker 3 00:29:26 But when you reassert, well, what's one, maybe just one thing that you would like to accomplish or could accomplish? It gives them something to rally their entire existence around. Maybe it's, you know, making they've, uh, I had a grandmother with multiple, we're talking like 50 plus bolts of fabric, very frustrated as she got so old. 'cause each bolt represented a project she really wanted to do mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And she realized she wasn't going to be able to do them all. We didn't have to do them all. Just needed to get her to focus on one that she wanted to do and then build a life, literally a downsize smaller footprint, made sure that we could accomplish that thing. Or I've heard families that their thing to accomplish was to host one more Christmas or big family Christmas. Right. To see what that looked like. And it's a, it's a lot. But because that became the focus off of that, they, they put all those things together. What are, um, what are other things when you're putting them in a purpose-driven mindset, what are other things that can help with that? Um, you know, when we recognize or in isolation, Speaker 0 00:30:33 So one of the things that a lot of, um, colleges have done is put in senior classes or classes for older adults and teaching them things like basic phone, iPhone. There's an iPhone class at the local community college here. And it's how, okay, now what do I do with this thing? You know? Um, so there's all kinds of, there's financial planning. Is it too late? You know, there's so many great classes out there. So anytime they have something to do, they know they need to show up to class, you know, um, whether it's online or we're getting them there, or helping facilitate the transportation. Um, so that's another great one. Yeah. There's also, um, um, virtual programming for pretty much any ailment that you can think of. So, um, there's, we participate in one that is dementia focused. There's also one for, um, stroke survivors. Speaker 0 00:31:33 Um, and it's really a, a community where you can come and they, um, the last time there was a virtual dementia program, they, they baked cookies together. They had to all prepare the ingredients, and then they baked cookies together and discussed it. And what smells does this remind you of from your childhood? Things like that. So there's a lot out there now. Um, and again, we keep mentioning covid, even though none of us wanna talk about it anymore, but when it go comes to si social isolation, you're right. It is the one positive that came out is that we've recognized that it is a, it is a problem. And now what can we do to fix it? And there's so many tools that have helped. Speaker 3 00:32:10 Yeah. Those, I, you, you talk about how those, uh, senior service centers or, or community centers or things of that nature, these are things that people can find in most of their communities. Is that right? Speaker 0 00:32:22 Right. Correct. Yes. Yeah. It really, it, it kinda goes, yeah, senior centers and then volunteering. There's so many opportunities for senior volunteers in any communities, rural or metroplex. There's always opportunities for volunteering. So Speaker 4 00:32:39 If they're able, and even with volunteering, you're likely to get somebody to pick you up and take you there Yeah. With them. Um, and so that's things like, um, maybe at the local food bank or at your church, you know, those type of things. Um, theaters helping with tickets, helping, just kind of finding something that's in your passion. But, um, there are, there's, um, a service called americorp mm-hmm. <affirmative> Seniors. Yeah. Um, which is a government program. And it has several programs for senior volunteers, but one is called R SS V P programs, and they take an idea of what are your skills and what are your talents and what are your interests? And they, they connect you with volunteering opportunities in your zip code that might be available for you. So that you, again, the purpose driving, having a purpose, Speaker 3 00:33:32 I, I love that. Uh, and AmeriCorps is, yeah, great organization to work towards that. I know they work with young people as well. They, so they partner people off of that. I hadn't heard of the rsv, that would make a ton of sense that they would put that program together for everybody. Uh, just last week we were, um, well, you know, it was even a, a gentleman that my mom lives out in, um, or my, my mother-in-law lives out in Kansas, and we went to the dump. And the dump has a place open for the brush up there that's open for four hours on Saturdays. And it's a volunteer position. And somebody that's, that's, it's great. It, like, for the community, it, it makes sure that people aren't burning in their backyard starting a fire and burning a bunch of other things down. It gives my mom, uh, it gives her an awesome opportunity to just throws limbs throughout the week in the back of the truck, and then we make our way down there and we could pull 'em out the back into that area. Speaker 3 00:34:25 And, and he's working that area. And I just, it really struck me as, wow, man. I mean, this is something that's, seems like a chore off of that, but it is. It gave, it got them out, it got them talking from that. It gave them a purpose, um, when they were working. Yeah. You know, I, I watch, uh, my dad and, and he watches the show often. So if he is, I'm gonna admit to something, I'm insanely jealous of. My dad's yard insanely jealous. My dad gets that opportunity in retirement to kind of start out on Monday and then work his way around the yard and around the whole property by the time the week comes around. And it's immaculate and it is gorgeous. And I, I can't wait till I get that opportunity to be able to do that. But he's got, you can tell, he is just, it's something that drives him and where that is and how well that looks. Speaker 3 00:35:13 And it's, um, that's, it's a, i I love seeing that in him. I love seeing that in him. And on the other side, I can tell in a visit if the yard's struggling from that may, maybe something else is going on for him too. Right. Uh, and what, when things are at, and that's, uh, um, and even he's at a, at a, at a, at a younger, um, I always think he's probably at a younger age of that, but it's an important thing to be able to see those, those are those telltale markers. Um, you touched technology. Can we tech on, can we talk technology a little bit? Speaker 0 00:35:44 Yeah, sure. Speaker 3 00:35:45 Um, I, I love, I, I love that we see other technologies out there. The, um, you know, some technologies we've seen brought to us, actually one, one in particular, and I'll just bring it up, not necessarily to highlight them there, but, but l a q that did come to us. What I loved was how they came out to market to approach it, which was a group of m i t professors hearing that families, uh, that that older generations wouldn't use technology, and they wanted to challenge that and said, okay, well, what is it that they won't use it? Or is it that the technology's just not designed for them, so it's not something they're interested in using it? Right. I, I want a cell phone because I need this thing to handle a bunch of stuff as quickly as possible and succinctly in one place. Speaker 3 00:36:30 My dad doesn't need to get his email succinctly. He could care less about his email, which frustrates me, obviously sometimes when I'm trying to reach him <laugh>, but it's not his gig. But if you put a technology that helped him do his yard or, or work within the things that mattered for him, those are things he really liked. Uh, what are, you know, some of these technologies that, that we kind of see out there. Um, what I, I guess the other thing I'd say is protections. I get scared as heck when my parents are, when I look at it getting online, or my grandparents even, especially every connection to the internet today, or a connection to telephone seems to be a connection to fraud in some way, shape, or form. So finding safe ways for them to avoid that. What are things that we see out there that are healthy ways to keep them engaged with technology, uh, but without putting them at risk, how, how should we look at that as a family? Speaker 0 00:37:25 So, um, there's so many great ways. Um, first of all, we recommend every family have a ring doorbell or some sort of, I don't care what brand it is, something on the front door. So, you know, you can monitor some of that scam, see if it's somebody coming to their house. Um, uh, they target scams, target older adults. Um, I just recently did an assessment and the lady said, they called me, they knew my grandson's name. They said, he is in jail and needs you to bail him out, and you need to send this much money. And she told me exactly what she said to them and said, my grandson just left this house. I know he is not in jail in Pensacola, Florida, and you know, you're not fooling this old lady. So, um, I think making sure, and the son and the daughter got to watch all of that on ring, you know, and listen to that. Speaker 0 00:38:20 So it was very interesting. Um, and then some of the other things like keeping them safe. There's remote patient monitoring is a huge, um, upcoming thing, and that is basically keeping older adults. So 85% of older adults hold want to stay at home. They wanna live at home, they wanna age in place they want, that's where they wanna stay. Um, and so all these companies are coming out with how to do that safely. Um, it's a double-edged sword because sometimes you're isolated in your own home, and we can use technology to keep you there longer and, and more safely. But sometimes it's appropriate to move into an independent living or an assisted living facility where you're going to get the crews like socialization and have, um, you know, have people around you all the time that you can talk to and combat a lot of the things that we're talking about. Speaker 0 00:39:15 So, um, some of the virtual technology things that we've talked about, the, um, the online exercise classes and all of that, the major, or have, you know, graduating from college or getting an associate's degree with just a couple of classes. Um, those are, those are really the things that socially can help them. Um, and technology wise, I've seen, um, the cat that hers and moves when it's petted and, you know, some of those things in the house, much like your L E Q, but non robotic, more like a, um, an animal. They have dog version and a cat version, and they're, um, comfort pets, you know, um, trying to have something else to take care of. Again, back to the purpose. Um, also with a volunteering, if you feel like you're helping someone out, out, you know, there's always, like we taught our children, there's always somebody that needs more help than you. There's always somebody that has it worse off than you. And so getting them into volunteering and participating in other things besides just talking about their own health and age sometimes is the best medicine. Speaker 3 00:40:29 Uh, that is a phenomenal group of, uh, of great activities. I think of, I've seen the robot robotic animals. I had, I had a grandmother who had a little cat, one of those robotic cats, uh, and two, and even as we struggled through dementia, uh, and through the, through her lifetime, just her cat, which she named Tony, but happened to just always kind of be there. <laugh> happened to be there as well. And was, um, that's a really, really, um, you could see the comfort that having that other thing there would, would do. Um, that it is that, that's amazing. That's really, really cool. Technology stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, okay. Well, those are, man, I've got, uh, age, age appropriate ergonomics around computers. Uh, great. I, I'm, see if I kind of catch that from that technology standpoint. So screens big enough things that would, that would in incentivize them to use and not be too difficult to use. Speaker 3 00:41:27 Uh, so something designed well around them, those virtuals. The, um, I love you. Uh, you talked about the kind of the, we call over the top television solutions, but like YouTube exercise classes or other forms of things that they could kind of get in on, uh, the FaceTime and family meetings, extending family meetings or maybe bringing a family meeting back, uh, to, to something like that back into the fold, uh, might make more sense as you start withdrawing from other things. Like, um, well maybe, um, like, uh, driving, driving steps back. Maybe we introduce a family meeting, love that, love the ring doorbell and the use of those technologies, uh, in order to help protect them, see who's in and around that area. It is outside the home, so it's something that's like not intrusive to them and their privacy at that side. But I think we also see there's some technologies out there that can, in a real safe way, um, be able to detect or level, set baseline what movements should be happening, or give you an indication if movement's not happening in particular areas without compromising their, you know, their privacy. Um, right. And in other ways, those are awesome technologies coming out. Uh, remote patient monitoring. I think that's, uh, obviously a lot of rush of technology and money, uh, I think that we see in the marketplace to try to help do that, to keep people in their home longer, to age in place a lot longer. Um, which is, which is great ways to go that's, Speaker 5 00:43:05 Sorry about that Speaker 3 00:43:09 And that, um, yeah. Any, anything else on that I missed? Speaker 0 00:43:14 So I just wanted to bring up one more extremely important thing that is growing and it's intergenerational programs and it's utilizing children and elderly people, so having them volunteer in the schools. Um, some communities are setting up as intergenerational, where they're building schools right next to the, um, independent living facility or the assisted living community, so that, um, you know, there's a lot of interaction. There's a mentor, um, through the medical center here in Fort Worth. They do a great, it's called Sage Seniors assisting in geriatric education. So all doctors, nurses, social workers, they spend time with, um, a retired physician or retired professor or just, um, you know, any type of professionals actually. And then they mentor them through, and this is what's going on with me and this is what I would recommend. Um, there's so much value in our older adults that I don't think, um, younger people, unless they're put in the situation where they're, you know, family members, but I don't think a lot of 'em realize how much value and expertise an older adult has. They've lived 75 years, 85 years, and they, we could learn so much from them. So purposefully putting those programs together, I know a lot of churches do that too, where they have, um, an older adult, you know, help young teens. So, um, I just didn't wanna Speaker 4 00:44:43 Looking for that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 3 00:44:44 Yeah. And, and those are great things to know because as we've seen that as technology has, just as there's been a huge run to increase technology, it kind of left seniors behind. I mean, there's a, there's a lot. I, I don't think I've ever, my, you know, my, my kids, uh, I haven't seen any of them ever discredit or or not think that their grandparents had a lot to offer. It's just, it seems like grandparents kind of got left out of that technology push and where all of them ended up moving. There wasn't, there wasn't that place, uh, for grandma and grandpa to be a part of, uh, of the community so much. So, um, maybe thinking in, in our family planning, being deliberate about how we include, uh, mom and dad in, um, in, in these types of things, getting them out to to, to games or keeping them a part of that socialization, uh, and keeping that connection. Speaker 3 00:45:36 We might have to go a little more out of our way than we did before. Life really went online and a lot came online. That's, uh, uh, that's a great thing to think about. There are many, I've had, uh, quite a number of guests that have come on, particularly from other cultures, and they've talked about how, um, it was, they had that, uh, that were grandparents took care of grandkids when they were younger while mom and dad were the wage earner. And then as they got older, mom and dad were still the wage earner and the grandkids helped take care of their grandparents. And that actually built this like byproduct of, of trust between the parents and their own children because they watch their own children work with, with grandparents mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so they're like, oh yeah, they get it. They've seen empathy and action. Speaker 3 00:46:22 They've seen, you know, how they would handle those situations, which made it, uh, it seems to be making it easier for them as they get older to see why their kids are doing what they're doing. That might be a great byproduct too, of making sure that you're, that our younger kids and generation, like creating those opportunities for them to connect with their grandparents. That's, um, I think we take it for granted sometimes from how we experienced it. Yeah. Um, so, you know, and w with, um, you guys obviously talk about this a lot and you work about this a lot, Denise Page. Where, where can people find more information about you guys about your practice and what you guys do, uh, for combating senior isolation and, and even helping seniors in their homes to stay there longer, obviously kind of be in that tip of the spear during Covid and you guys being there to help them, uh, sometimes inside the home and working in home care. Where do people learn more about you guys in Overture? Speaker 4 00:47:14 Well, overture in specific. Um, we've got our [email protected]. You can contact us. There's some great articles there. There's some, we have some blogs going so you can find some education there. Um, and we are specifically in Dallas and Fort Worth. Okay. Here. Um, but if you are in need or considering taking a look at Home Care in general, you can usually go to your, the website and just put in home care. It's different than Home Health, but home care, and those are private caregivers that that's what they do. They come in and do anything from companionship to maybe driving to, you know, running errands with them. I mean, they can do any of those type of things. Um, so that is what home care is, and that's nationwide. Speaker 3 00:48:05 That's great. And does that home care, how, what's that interaction look like with the adult children? The go-to kids that, uh, that sit out there? Do they often interact with, with those home care providers? Speaker 0 00:48:16 Oh, yeah. It's typically them that reach out to us first. The, it's usually the daughter, the adult daughter or one of them that call us first, um, and figure out, um, we do an assessment and then decide, okay, what's gonna work for you? What's gonna work for us? What type of personality works for you? And then we go in anywhere from four hours at a time to 24 hours at a time. Um, and we just basically, uh, the majority of the reason why people cannot stay home alone, um, unless they have like this big family support system is medication reminders, um, and fall prevention. And so meal preparation as well, you know, making sure they eat, um, healthy meals and if they're no longer driving, then shopping for them or helping with a delivery. Um, so then we communicate with the family either online, we have a virtual family room where they ask questions, we give answers. Um, but we have, we have a lot of communication with family. I mean, that's how, that's how we're successful is making sure that the whole family's involved in, in the care. Speaker 3 00:49:27 I, I, I love that. And if you're looking from another market out there again, that, that home care is, uh, is, you could pretty much put that to your browser. You can visit parent projects.com, you can see, uh, verified groups that, that we have worked with and we, we have found so far across the country, and that continues to grow as we find more that are out there committed to being age friendly. We'll continue to add out there, uh, just to throw a plug into that direction, guys. It is, uh, ladies, it has really been a pleasure to have that opportunity to sit and start working through some of that you gave us from technology, how to think about driving at that front end of things, that purpose-driven mindset, uh, and starting to augment that as we see losses of autonomy start to creep in from stuff. Speaker 3 00:50:08 Love a lot of the, the, the, just those nuggets of stuff from the AmeriCorps services, the R S V P programs, uh, so the government websites that you've given us. All of that, by the way, we'll put down below in the show notes. So if you're, you're looking for that or you didn't catch that, or you couldn't pause that or find where that is, take a look down below in those show notes so that you can get a click down to that. And obviously we'll link back into you guys at Overture and appreciate you guys down in that Dallas Fort Worth. I look forward to catching up with you guys next time I'm down in that market. Thanks so much for joining us, and thanks very much for sharing your time, talents, and treasuries with us. Speaker 1 00:50:40 Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 2 00:50:46 Well, that's it for this team this week, and thanks for joining us. If you've enjoyed the content, remember to subscribe and to share this episode on the app that you're using right now. Your reviews and your comments, they really help us expand our reach as well as our perspective. So if you have time, also drop us a note. Let us know how we're doing for tips and tools to clarify your parent project, simplify communication with your stakeholders, and verify the professionals that you choose. You can find us on YouTube, follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks again for trusting us. Until our next episode, behold and be held. Speaker 6 00:51:19 Thank you for listening to this Parent Project's podcast production. To access our show notes, resources, or forums, join us on your favorite social media platform or go to parent projects.com. This show is for informational and educational purposes only. Before making any decisions, consult a professional credential in your local area. This show is copyrighted by Family Media and Technology Group, incorporated and parent projects l l c. Written permissions must be granted before syndication or rebroadcast.

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