Island Treasures for Caregivers Podcast - Full Episodes

Welcome to the Island Treasures for Caregivers podcast page listing all the full episodes since the podcast originated in October 2020.  The topics vary, but all the podcasts relate to caregiving and provide encouragement, hope, information, resources and support for caregivers.  I have enjoyed getting to know each guest and wish to publicly thank them here for sharing their stories, wisdom and insights on the Island Treasures Podcast.  Thank you!


 

Building the Unbreakable Caregiver

Aired May 6, 2022 • 1:11:01 minutes

This “fabulous” interview with Loretta Veney builds on a caregiving relationship spanning 16 years. During those years my guest discovered a unique approach to enhance the relationship between herself and her mom who had dementia. LEGO had been a part of their lives before caregiving and turned out to be an effective and enjoyable communication tool through which Loretta continued to communicate with her mom. This interview was recorded on International Women’s Day – which turned out to be an appropriate day to learn about the significance of the day as it relates to “Wonder Woman”.

Loretta Woodward Veney is an inspirational speaker who has delivered more than 300 speeches and presentations on dementia and caregiving since 2014, offering a wealth of information, encouragement and humor to her audiences. Loretta is the author of Being My Mom’s Mom, Refreshment for the Caregiver’s Spirit, and Colors Flowing from My Mind. In 2006 after her beloved mother Doris was diagnosed with dementia, Loretta began learning everything she could about the disease becoming a fierce advocate for her Mom in the process. Loretta and her Mom have been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, The Washington Post, The NY Times, AARP Caregiver Stories, as well as a PBS special. In 2019, Loretta was selected as Trailblazer of the Year by Johns Hopkins Medicine. In November 2021 Loretta and her Mom were featured in Episode 6 of Season Four of Robin Roberts Thriver Thursdays series, which previewed on Good Morning America during National Caregivers Month. Loretta’s Wonder Woman Mom’s 16-year journey ended on January 31, 2022. 

Who Am I Hurting?

Aired April 1, 2022 • 23:39 minutes

From Chicken Soup for the Soul’s “Navigating Eldercare & Dementia: 101 Stories for Family Caregivers, compiled by Amy Newmark, copyright 2021 – today’s episode features the reading of “Who Am I Hurting?” by its author, Brenda Leppington. As her mother’s caregiver Brenda learned many lessons. She shares what brought more meaning into their visits. Simple things that we often take for granted.

Hearing the story read by Brenda gives the story an increased layer of richness as it not only provides important take-aways that can help present caregivers, but it also connects the listener to their loving relationship and what made it so.

Helping Families Soar

Aired March 4, 2022 • 43:20 minutes

Mike George is a speaker, author, and co-Founder of Soaring Families, an organization he and his wife created to help family caregivers navigate the complex world of care through the development of a reliable support network and a trusted team of competent people who share their vision of care.

 As a caregiver himself for nearly 3 decades, Mike intimately understands the burdens of supporting the primary care of a loved one. But he also knows the tremendous fulfillment it can bring. This lived experience was the inspiration behind the creation of The Soaring Families Way™, a proven model that guides families in creating the best home care experience, and generates positive change for everyone involved in the caregiving journey. 

Listen as Mike shares his inspirational 30 year journey as father and caregiver for Ben and be sure to check out the Soaring Families’ website at Soaring Families and you’ll find Ben’s story on the “About Us” page.

The Happiness Crusade

Aired February 4, 2022 • 49:22 minutes

Are you wishing you could travel, perhaps like you used to do before caregiving? Well, this episode will introduce you to the possibility of doing just that. Listen to Kathy Shoaf as she shares her own caregiving story and as a registered nurse (geriatric neurology specialist) how she found a way to help folks enjoy life and have happy times through her business Elite Cruises & Vacations Travel www.elitecruisesandvacationstravel.com 

Kathy and her company believe that travel is for everyone! Since 2005 they’ve been helping clients across the nation take their dream vacations to some of the most beautiful spots in the world; specializing in accessible travel and ensuring that every moment of their trips can be enjoyed without restrictions. Their custom cruises and travel events cater to those with diagnoses such as Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, Diabetes, etc., as well as their caregivers and family members. The link that follows takes you to a video, perhaps we could call it a teaser, that aired October 2021 in both audio and video form. https://youtu.be/MSV7-VJ1pGc 

Kathy Shoaf, RN BSN ATP, owner of Elite Cruises and Vacations, is uniquely qualified to understand travel challenges and develop effective solutions. She has 20+ years of clinical and management experience in Geriatric, Neurology, Rehabilitation, and Senior Housing as a registered nurse and adaptive technology professional. She is a Certified Dementia Educator, A Certified Accessible Travel Specialist, a Fellow at the American College of Healthcare, an Athena Nominated Senior Care Advocate, and an American Express Travel Agency Award Winner. She personally accompanies each and every cruise group and sometimes even brings her parents along!

The Brave Caregiver

Aired January 7, 2022 • 46:50 minutes

At the beginning of this episode Jennifer warns that her caregiving story is long! She has over 10 years of personal caregiving experience caring for her parents and grandfather. She has dealt with caregiving issues related to veterans, organ transplants, in-home caregiving, home modifications for aging in place, assisted living and hospice. Professionally, she is a certified life coach through The Life Coach School, as well as a Certified Caregiving Consultant, Educator and Support Group Facilitator through the Caregiving Years Training Academy. She launched her own business, Brave Caregiving, in 2019, where she helps caregivers who are struggling while taking care of their aging parents. In addition, she has over 4000 hours of coaching experience working for The Life Coach School as a contracted coach for their Self Coaching Scholars program. Prior to caregiving, Jennifer was a Director of a community-based behavior management service for adults with intellectual disabilities at the Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis (IABA). Her 20+ years at IABA gave her extensive knowledge of challenges facing families with children and adult children with disabilities, as well as how to navigate the state funding in California.

 Jennifer provides support to caregivers in a variety of ways through coaching, consulting, and training. Jennifer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Chapman University in Orange, CA and her Master’s in Organizational Management & Leadership from Ashford University. Jennifer and her wife became emergency placement foster parents for their newborn nephew in 2019 and finalized their adoption in October 2021. She has been an advocate for LGBTQIA+ issues in both her coaching and personal life. She enjoys traveling and most recently got married in Iceland in 2018 to her partner of 20 years. They currently reside in Orange County, California with their 3 year old son and 2 dogs.

Jennifer’s website: Becoming Brave.com

 

Preserving Memories

Aired December 3, 2021 • 49:41 minutes

A beautiful conversation with Beth Douglas about caregiving for her parents and what she is now doing to encourage folks to capture the stories of their loved ones.

Beth lost both of her parents to dementia-related illness and decided to use her skills to spread awareness and help caregivers as well. She is a writer and marketing communications professional with a passion for communications in the area of healthcare, senior care, and dementia education. She resides in FL and continues to be an advocate for quality care for the senior community.

Beth speaks about incorporating Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care in her own experiences of redirecting, using physical touch, eye contact and using a calm and reassuring tone of voice.

Beth is a contributing writer for the Aging Times Magazine and also facilitates Senior Circle Stories

No Time for Burnout!

Aired November 5, 2021 • 58:19 minutes

An episode filled with insights and resources. You’ll want to pay close attention if you are a caregiver for a veteran, or if you are a veteran yourself.

Zander Keig is an award-winning speaker, educator, author, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker with many distinguishing accolades including: 2020 NASW National Social Worker of the Year. Zander is a first-generation American of Mexican heritage (Latino), and a post-transition transsexual man. Zander is a Coast Guard Veteran and the primary caregiver of his elderly Veteran father who is diagnosed with Dementia. Zander fills this episode with his own experiences that offer take-aways for all of us. He is applying the teachings of the DAWN method from an earlier episode and seeing first-hand the positives this strengths-based approach provides.

As a retired social worker I was excited to ask Zander about being the 2020 NASW Social worker of the year – and as he shares his experiences and resources it was not surprising he received many nominations from his peers.

You can contact Zander through his website http://www.zanderkeig.net or through LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/zanderkeig

 

Skills Retained: Strengths-based Approach to Dementia Care

Aired October 1, 2021 • 56:20 minutes

In this episode you will hear about the strengths-based, person-centered approach to dementia care from my guest Judy Cornish.

Judy Cornish is an author, founder of the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network (DAWN®), creator of the DAWN Method® of dementia care, and a retired elder law attorney. Her two books (The Dementia Handbook and Dementia With Dignity) take person-centered dementia care from theory to practice by identifying the skills not lost to dementia. Through DAWN, Judy Cornish provides online training programs for families and professional caregivers, as well as certification courses for agencies and facilities. Her goal is to see dignified dementia care and aging in place become available for all.

This strengths-based approach offers the listener the opportunity to choose to look at dementia from a functional and experiential perspective instead of focusing on what the person with dementia can no longer do because of the skills they have lost. Judy offers meanings and suggestions to help us understand how to lessen our guilt, stress, conflict, pain and exhaustion as caregivers by recognizing the skills that are still present in our loved ones or care recipients who have dementia.

For more information on the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN) and the DAWN Method® contact judy@thedawnmethod.com

www.thedawnmethod.com

And her social media links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/judycornish/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/theDAWNmethod

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theDAWNmethod

A Parting Gift

Aired September 3, 2021 • 43:27 minutes

From a caregiving perspective, Arlene Jacobs talks about the benefits of pre-planning final arrangements and how to broach those difficult topics. Arlene was a full-time caregiver for her son who passed away at 18 months of age. She was then the caregiver for her mom and talks about her mom’s situation and how she was able to prepare for her passing; and now Arlene continues to be the primary caregiver for her father who is 103 years of age. Arlene shares what she learned when she went to pay for her son’s funeral with the intention to use his life insurance. This podcast contains considerations regarding how beneficial it is to keep the lines of communication open with your family and why it makes sense to give “A Parting Gift” for your family.  You can reach Arlene at Arlene.Jacobs@DignityMemorial.com

Through the Lens of a Long-haul Caregiver

Aired August 6, 2021 • 50:54 minutes

Meet Chandra White-Cummings, a self-described long-haul caregiver with vast experiences from her own caregiving journey of 33 years and counting. Chandra delves deeply into lessons about the ethos of care emphasizing how important it is to care for others. She couples her experiences as a long-haul caregiver caring for her chronically ill son, caregiving coach for a second son; and caregiving partner with her mother; with her certification from the Trauma Healing Institute to facilitate trauma healing groups. If you have experienced trauma especially in caregiving, this episode is for you as you will hear how Chandra helps folks mine through the layers of pain caused by trauma, including catastrophic and repeated trauma, with the goal of healing. 

Chandra is a professional writer and editor and 2020 Caring Across Generations Care Fellow. She exemplifies her belief in the importance of caring for others by sharing her wisdom and insights on Island Treasures through many nuggets -including how important it is for folks to retain their own identity and not lose themselves completely in their caregiving role and responsibilities. 

You can connect with Chandra by email at Caring4ourfamilies@yahoo.com.  

Start Strong as a Caregiver

Aired July 2, 2021 • 50:36 minutes

Erin Galyean, author of “Badass Advocate: Becoming the Champion Your Seriously Ill Loved One Deserves” shares her insights from lessons learned as her sister and dad’s patient advocate. Erin’s experiences and professional skills equipped her to create strategies to help other patient advocates and caregivers build on the foundation she has laid so they can start strong in their caregiving journeys. Caregiving is hard and Erin’s passion is to reduce the stress for others by sharing what she has learned. She invites the listeners to cherry-pick from her strategies to tailor their approach to individual caregiving situations. This episode will help prepare the listener, whether a patient advocate, a caregiver, or future patient advocate or caregiver to start strong when the time comes.

The Caregiving Cape

Aired June 4, 2021 • 51:03 minutes

Chris Maclellan, founder of the Whole Care Network shares his story about his heartfelt caregiving experiences for his partner, Richard, through to the next chapter of his caregiving journey where he is now advocating for all caregivers.

As a family caregiver advocate, Chris reminds caregivers that we know our loved ones best – we are their Chief Everything Officer (CEO). He also reminds family caregivers that caregiving is all emotional and when we focus intensely on our care partner/loved one we often neglect ourselves. Being a CEO or wearing a Caregiving Cape does not mean we can do it all ourselves; and what better place to obtain supports and resources than through reliable and credible information from other caregivers and their stories. 

The importance of conversations and relationships are both topics we discuss in this episode. Listen to Chris speak about a unique caregiving approach he implemented and how this approach provided an opportunity for difficult conversations to take place during the vulnerable yet trusting “poop-a-rama” conversations.

Growth in Caregiving: Healing through Trauma

Aired May 7, 2021 • 45:19 minutes

Lisa Kendall, the caregiver to caregivers and social worker specializing in gerontology, brings a wealth of knowledge as she speaks about challenges during caregiving.  Not every caregiver’s relationship with their care recipient is idyllic.  There may be painful family functioning in your past and adverse childhood experiences that impact the adult child when called upon to provide care. If this is the case, how can you cope with caregiving when there is pain in your past?  Lisa explains how to promote healing and growth, reminding us that growth comes in many forms, such as gaining the ability to set boundaries or being assertive when expectations are made.  There is hope after trauma and you will hear how it is possible to grow and heal through trauma informed approaches that can help you not only survive but thrive after trauma.  Relationships are key for support, especially for caregivers, and care partnerships are a great example of caregiving relationships where everyone in that relationship has the opportunity to give and to grow.  If there’s pain in your past and you’re called upon to be a caregiver for someone who caused that pain, this is the podcast for you.  If you need more information from Lisa, her website is www.LisaKendallConsulting.com

The Dementia Puzzle

Aired March 31, 2021 • 47:03 minutes

The Dementia Puzzle is an idea that originates in this episode as a way to understand what is going on as you travel through caregiving for your loved one with dementia.  This episode highlights the bond of a mother and daughter relationship, and speaks to the reality of the changes and losses caused by the slide of dementia.  You will meet Sue Johnston as she recounts her experiences through the stages of caregiving and as she offers suggestions for the listener to consider for your caregiving journey.

And Then I Danced

• 57:03 minutes

For Toni Gitles her 14-year long experience as her mother’s caregiver provided opportunities to learn how to become a powerful advocate and how to apply her skills to make it the best journey possible.  She did this while intentionally creating moments both Toni and her Mom would treasure. Toni learned the importance of many things such as listening to her intuition and being honest about her feelings.  Toni provides helpful ideas for any caregiver to adopt and I suggest taking notes from this podcast to help in your own caregiving journeys. Toni’s website is Heart Light Enterprises.

"Doesn't Know Me"

Aired Feb 19th, 2021 • 41:07 minutes

This episode came about because of the original song “Doesn’t Know Me”, by Pat Thibodeau.  Pat is a singer/songwriter and a friend of mine and I had reached out to ask her to write a jingle for the podcast.  What she wrote surpassed my expectations with the creation of “Doesn’t Know Me” – a song about the losses of Alzheimer’s disease.  Pat’s father had Alzheimer’s and the family of 10 siblings rallied around him and their mother following his diagnosis. I invite you to hear Pat’s account of the family’s journey together with her original song.  If you’d like to listen to more of Pat Thibodeau’s music, check out her YouTube channel by searching her name.

The Musician's Daughter

• 46:33 minutes

Today’s podcast introduces you to an adult-child caregiver, Betsy Haddad. Betsy’s father, Edward, has been diagnosed with middle stage Alzheimer’s. Betsy describes her caregiving role as being supportive in nature, as her mom is Edward’s primary caregiver. Edward is a gifted musician, and you will hear him playing in the background of the introduction.  We hear of Betsy’s doting love for her father, and the quality times they spend together, including when he plays the piano, and she sings. At the end of the podcast Betsy sings “Life is a Cabaret” chosen as a tribute to Edward’s philosophy on life, so make sure you listen to the very end of “The Musician’s Daughter”.

Four Hugs A Day

Aired Jan 15, 2021 • 58:11 minutes

Today Anne Sands takes us along on an emotional roller coaster. Her husband Stu has been diagnosed with dementia. Throughout her caregiving journey Anne has learned a lot and wants to help others by advocating that they get their loved one into the medical system as soon as possible so they are eligible for supports, respite and day programs, and placement in residential care. Stu was on the list for placement and when one of their two selected places had a bed available, she made the difficult decision to accept it. Her preference is to have Stu transferred closer to where she lives when a room comes available. When Stu first went into care, during the pandemic of Covid-19, he had to be isolated for the first 2 weeks. Since that time, Anne hasn’t been able to see his room; and visits are limited to once a week for 45 minutes. Communication with the care home’s  psychiatrist has been very informative, validating and reassuring. The time that she can now spend with her husband is drastically reduced compared to the time they spent together as husband and wife prior to Stu’s placement. This has not been the only change, and Anne talks candidly about a new reality that has developed in their relationship. Her approach to the shocking news she received from the residential care home is positive, exhibiting loving care and concern for her husband’s needs and well-being. For herself, the days are long and she is looking forward to golfing season. She has many supports, yet she experiences significant deficits, stressing that caregiving is draining, aging, exhausting and emotional as can be. To top it all off, she feels hug deprived. She introduces the refreshing song and concept of “Four Hugs a Day”, by Charlotte Diamond.  Anne ponders, what’s next for her and shares her caregiver tips whilst reminding all of us not to lose sight of our own lives.

Four Hugs a Day by Charlotte Diamond and Earl Robinson Copyright: Charlotte Diamond Music 1985 SOCAN As recorded on “10 Carrot Diamond” www.charlottediamond.com

Empowered By Positivity

Aired Dec 22, 2020 • 47:20 minutes

Meet Brenda Blais Nesbitt. She has been the caregiver of her daughter, Nikki, for over 27 years. Nikki is medically fragile with her severe disability, and Brenda is her voice and loving caregiver. Through her caregiving journey, Brenda has learned how to advocate effectively when the odds sometimes are stacked against them. She understands the stresses involved in navigating the healthcare system for a child with severe disability and offers information on how to prepare for the child transitioning to the adult world of healthcare.

Brenda recognizes how important it is to look after yourself and to set boundaries especially with supports coming into your home. Brenda is a Certified Caregiver Consultant, a Board Certified Patient Advocate; and has her own company Coaching for Caregivers Canada where she is a coach for others who may be facing a similar journey. Listen in to hear how Brenda imparts her experiences and shares her wisdom.

The Caregiving Coin

Aired Dec 8, 2020 • 43:56 minutes

The caregiving coin has two sides: one side represents sacrifice and the other – payoffs, gifts and benefits. Ten years ago Alice and Cori asked Alice’s father Doug if he’d like them to be his Long-Term Care Plan. He said yes and for the first five years lived with them during the winter months while maintaining his residence in Calgary the rest of the year. As his health needs increased, Alice and Cori took on caregiving full-time, with Doug relocating to the Island. Doug turned 102 this summer. This caregiving story is one of mutual respect and highlights what it takes to make such a heartwarming arrangement for caregiving and how it works for all the parties involved.

When Winning is Losing and Losing is Winning!

Aired Nov 25, 2020 • 42:09 minutes

Sustainable Caregiving CEO Theresa Wilbanks shares strategies she has identified through her caregiving journey for her  father who is now 99 years old. Her insights include the importance of self-care, mindfulness and setting boundaries. When she faces a new caregiving challenge, she explains how she is driven to find a solution often through trial, error and tears; and from the solution come the strategies that she willingly shares with other caregivers. Theresa talks about “when winning is losing” and “when losing is winning” and provides the word picture of taking off the battle armor. She reminds us of the importance to keep the overall objective of caregiving in mind and to view each obstacle as an opportunity.  Caregiving is hard, but she has information to help navigate the journey. Listen in to hear the fresh perspectives that Theresa shares… and learn about the “Jenga Tower”!

Life does not end with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's

Aired Nov 7, 2020 • 51:21 minutes

Dennis Dulniak joins me to talk about his experiences as a caregiver of his wife of 47 years, Nancy.  He shares how full and rich their life was together before the diagnosis, and how they adapted to make it as full and rich as possible after the diagnosis.   Dennis speaks candidly about the need for supports as a caregiver and the value of taking care of yourself in order to be an effective caregiver. Dennis provides a wealth of resources and information that he has pulled together during his journey.

A love story

Aired Oct 23, 2020 • 41:28 minutes

Listen to Roy’s journey.  A journey of love and commitment that continued through health issues for his wife that changed their circumstances but not their love and committed relationship to one another.  Roy shares his experiences through the trying times of Covid-19 as a caregiver. 

 

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