Ep 044: In our show, we've covered many topics but we've not had the conversation about Caregiving. According to the National Alliance of Caregiving (NAC) and AARP, 53 million, or 21% of Americans are providing unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs. 24% of caregivers are caring for more than one person. 26% of Americans are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Lastly, 26% of family caregivers report THEIR own health as fair to poor! So what do we need to know about caregiving BEFORE we get into the role? How do we balance our own mental, physical, and emotional health and the person we're taking care of? Where do I go if I need help and have questions? How do I make sure I'm ok AFTER the adult I'm caring for is gone? That's the premise of today's show!
Enter an expert who has been a well-known patient advocate and licensed clinical social worker for the last 35 years. She began her career working with geriatric patients who experienced catastrophic illnesses and counseled them and their families about adapting to these medical problems. She helped them understand their medical condition and counseled them about how to cope with the disease and its impact on their lives. She continued to work on a rehabilitation unit in a large Chicago teaching hospital with patients who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, strokes, cancer, amputations, burns, and neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. She also covered the emergency room for 13 years seeing patients of all ages with a variety of medical problems.
In writing her new book, "Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents," our guest has come full circle. Her experience in caring for her beloved father, who died at age 97, triggered her passion in reaching out to others who suddenly find themselves in a caregiver role and are uncertain about what to do or where to go for help. In this book, she shares her father’s inspiring story and her personal and professional experience in assuming the challenges that come with being a caregiver for an aging loved one.
Today's guest has been doing freelance writing for the last 20 years. The focus of her work has been on health-related topics and assisting her readers gain knowledge that helps them feel less alone and empowers them in significant new ways. Please welcome Iris Waichler to the Retirement Success in Maine Podcast!
Welcome, Iris Waichler! [2:29]
An introduction to caregiving. What is it? How does caregiving change as the person receiving the care ages? [12:46]
How can caregivers avoid burnout? How do caregivers cope as their loved one(s) decline? [21:30]
What advice does Iris have for someone who doesn’t have that immediate family member to step in as their caregiver? [35:48]
What is the “caregiver conversation” and when is the best time to step in? [38:44]
What is Iris’s personal definition of Retirement Success? [53:03]
Ben, Abby, and Curtis wrap up the conversation. [55:08]