29. Concussion and Brain Injury Caregiving: Information for Survivors and Caregivers with Daniella Marchick

November 10, 2022
The TBI Therapist Podcast with Dr. Jen Blanchette and Daniella Marchick

For the next two weeks, I am focusing on caregiving. If you know someone who is a caregiver for someone with a concussion or brain injury, then this podcast is for you. Concussions and brain injuries can be difficult to deal with, both for the person who has them and their caregivers. In this video, we offer some tips on how to support the caregivers in your life.

Meet Daniella:
As a licensed therapist, she has spent my entire career focused on Care Partner’s and our Elders. It is one of the most challenging path’s for an individual, getting close to mortality and saying goodbye to loved ones. That being said, it is an opportunity for deep growth and our society does not give enough emphasis to this emotional journey. Plus, we have specific skills and knowledge that will allow each individual to support the caregivers in their lives. I work with Caregiver’s themselves individually, as a family, and through a group program. I also train fellow professionals who may not have this training as part of their education but it shows up in their client caseloads or in their employees. The number of people who will be Elders is growing and I want us to be as prepared to support those caring for them as possible. Caregiving impacts everyone – grandkids, adult children, spouses employees, and professionals. I bet you already have a caregiver in your life!

More From Daniella

More from Jen

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Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello Survivor. It’s so glad to be back with you again today. The, for the next couple of weeks, I’m gonna be taking a focus on caregiving. So if you’re a survivor, I still want you to hear these messages cuz you likely have somebody that’s supporting you in your life. But November is caregiving month, so I wanted to highlight a couple episodes on caregiving. So the guest I have today is really awesome. Daniela Maric is a board certified professional, professional counselor and caregiver consultant. She completed grad school while working at a geriatric activity day center. According to recent research, 17 to 35% of family caregivers rate their health between fair to poor. She also talked about on the podcast how caregiving impacted her when she cared for her grandmother who lived with Alzheimer’s for 15 years. She has a passion for supporting caregivers and it really comes through in our conversations.
Speaker 0 00:01:03 So when you listen to it, I think we were vibing off of just wanting to serve caregivers and for me, of course, TBI and concussion folks and how it’s critical in my opinion, that I look at the whole family system that’s supporting the injured person, you and also the caregiver, because you both need each other for healing. And so it’s a really rich conversation that we have. If you do happen to be a caregiver, Daniela talks about a group that she has coming out for other caregivers. So certainly check that out. It’ll be in the show notes, which are in your podcast player. You can also access that@tbitherapist.com. Speaking of resources, I, I think I’ve mentioned this on the podcast, but I’m now licensed to provide telehealth services in 34 states. So if you’re thinking you may want therapy yourself as a survivor, a concussion, or other brain injury survivor, I would love to support you in a counseling capacity.
Speaker 0 00:02:11 So reach out. And I’m hinting as well, I do have a group that’s coming in January and just let me tell you, I believe in the power of groups because I know one of the biggest problems that I face working with survivors is isolation, feeling alone that no one gets it. And while I feel like I have a, a deep understanding of the emotional components of brain injury and how alone it feels for my survivors, because I’ve sat with that pain, there is nothing more powerful than one survivors gather. And so I wanted to create a psychotherapy group where people could engage in therapy together, get support together. And I think you guys learned some of the greatest tips from each other. So I wanted to facilitate a healing space for concussion survivors. So that is coming out in January. The page for that, for booking a consult for the group will be up soon.
Speaker 0 00:03:10 So either one of those, you can still book a consult with me if you’re interested in any of that. So that’s at tbi therapist.com and you get right to me. So that call, you’re booking with me and we can talk about what your needs are as well. I don’t talk about this as often, but I might talk more about it, about, um, neuro coaching that I do for leaders and professionals. So if you’re a leader of professional and you want to maximize your brain functioning, I have also just tailored and customized coaching for you. So those are my offers I wanted to talk to you about. Let’s get right to the conversation. Hi everyone, welcome to the TBI Therapist podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Jen Chat, where we explore the heart of brain
Speaker 1 00:04:02 Injury.
Speaker 0 00:04:09 Hi Daniel, welcome to the TBI Therapist podcast. It’s so great to have you today.
Speaker 2 00:04:14 Thank you, Jen. I’m honored to be here. Looking forward to our conversation.
Speaker 0 00:04:19 Great. So I’m gonna kick it off to you. It’s a little bit different this week because we’re talking about caregiving and I’m gonna ask you the story of your caregiving journey.
Speaker 2 00:04:31 Thank you. Yes. I have been in and around working with caregivers for the past couple of decades. I really became interested in caregiving when I stepped into a secondary caregiving role for my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease for 15 years. I ended up living with her and my grandfather for a couple of years. During that time, it was still pretty early on, so I didn’t need to do a lot of hands on needs, but definitely watched how it impacted their relationship and also watched my mom and her siblings as they had to make some really major decisions about my grandmother. And so I was there luckily being able to support my mom as well. I decided to move to the northwest for Love and trees and got a job at it and assisted living where I was working on the development fundraising team, but was so interested in working with the individuals that I switched over to the activities team.
Speaker 2 00:05:34 And I was at the adult day program in which people, elders and many people who had different forms of dementia, uh, would come in for respite for four to six hours and we would do activities such as physical movement and singing. And um, I really loved working with them. But, and at one point I had a participant come in and she was really upset. She’s like, my daughter yelled at me and I don’t know why. And so her and I, um, stepped away. We did some deep breathing exercises, tried to calm down and with dementia often you wanna then distract. But she kept her turning to it all day. And she could not remember the content of why her daughter was mad at her, but she could remember that her, she could remember the emotion, the, the emotional impact of it. And so in that moment was a really big lesson for me of, oh, we really need to support the emotional health of our caregivers so that they can stay calm and they can really be the type of caregivers that they are trying to be because people do the caregiving role out of love, ideally, and sometimes dedication and no choice, but still really out of dedication.
Speaker 2 00:06:52 And so I have always been interested in becoming a therapist. And so I combined those two by going to grad school and got a certificate in gerontology and a master’s in counseling. And I have been working with elders and caregivers as a therapist ever since. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:07:14 Wow. That’s exciting to hear. Like your journey and and what that looked like. And it really does sound like, I love that you went to the northwest for for love and trees, by the way. I just, that’s, I feel like that’s a tagline,
Speaker 2 00:07:26 <laugh> and coffee. Yeah, you definitely be on a camper band. And
Speaker 0 00:07:33 I feel the same anyway for like the northeast living in Maine growing up in the DC Metro a little bit. So people, there’s people that listen to this podcasts that are not from the US so I always think about that. They’re like, What are they talking about? So it’s just different areas of the US that I’m talking about, but also this
Speaker 2 00:07:50 Very nature oriented, I believe, at least for me, I was drawn to be able to have access to nature.
Speaker 0 00:07:57 Mm. Yes. It’s very much a nature kind of haven here where I am so mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And just hearing the story of kind of caregiving, which I think is a labor of love certainly, but is inherently taxing and can be, can be difficult at the same time. So I’m wondering if you can speak a little bit to maybe some themes that you notice from caregivers and maybe what support they might need.
Speaker 2 00:08:26 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. The one, thank you for asking that question. There are some very common things about caregivers. There is not enough time in the day to do all the tasks. And it is a lot to manage your loved ones, medical appointments, medications, other aspects of care, as well as your own life. And currently, um, in the United States with the A A R P statistics of in 2020, the people who are caring for someone over 50, there’s 54 million individuals and 61% of them are working at the same time. And so one thing that is very real is that there is just not enough time. And the desire to be caring for your loved one is not something you can check off the list. There’s, there’s always more one could do. We could be eating more, we could be doing more exercise both for ourselves and for the person we’re caring for. So with that comes for some people, if they don’t really sit and be with their own expectations and reality is a lot of guilt, The most common experience, um, outside of sadness and grief that I experience with caregivers is the sense of guilt. Am I doing it enough? Am I doing it right? I feel guilty leaving my loved one at home. Cuz they may not be able to participate in society in the same way they did before. They may have had a brain injury. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 0 00:10:05 Yeah. I just, as you’re talking, I’m, you know, part of me is just kind of re feeling that in a way, just through the lens of the felt sense that I feel when I sit with caregivers, uh, times when I’ve had them sit with me alone in the therapy room and just check in with them because they’re really struggling. You know, the focus is on for this audience, you know, the injured person, the person with the concussion or the tbi, not so much on the person that’s providing care to that person and that person deeply needs care and support. So I often in my therapy practice will see people together, either partners together or family members together. The caregiver comes in. And I find that really a nice process for them because they’re, they’re also, you know, absorbing some of those skills that we’re talking about for emotional regulation, for nervous system reset. Yes. Because they’re going through their own process and
Speaker 2 00:11:03 Absolutely.
Speaker 0 00:11:04 And they don’t stop to care for themselves a lot of times.
Speaker 2 00:11:08 Yeah, yeah. It’s such an adjustment. Right. What they thought their life was gonna be like, maybe it’s a partnership or a relationship with a parent, and all of a sudden, uh, traumatic brain injury occurs and they have to let go of what they expected life to be like and, and embrace the, the new, And it’s hard to accept that sometimes it’s hard to accept that my mom won’t beat the grandma that I wanted her to be to my kids, or that my partner and I won’t be able to travel in retirement like we had anticipated or dreamed about together. And so, sometimes, as you said, I’ve also sat down with families together, together and, and we’ve had to do some grief work around letting those expectations or those desires go and acknowledging together that this is hard on, on everyone and figuring out and of course have how to better communicate, um, amongst everyone’s needs and that both people’s needs are important and that if, if done thoughtfully and, and that everyone’s needs can also be met.
Speaker 0 00:12:26 Yes. Yes. And I, I like you just, I’m listening to that part about grief because I find that that’s so important to the work that I do with survivors. And also I’ve seen it with caregivers too. And when both people are trying to get their emotional needs met, sometimes those needs can be conflicting.
Speaker 2 00:12:47 Absolutely. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>
Speaker 0 00:12:49 And that negotiate
Speaker 2 00:12:50 And physical needs too as well, and mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Speaker 0 00:12:55 Yeah. So I, I think it’s hard, especially I would say in the initial phases of recovery or in the initial, I know you’ve worked with folks with dementia, so that probably looks different because sometimes with, with tbi there’s like an initial shock and like things are really intense for a while and then they tend to level off. And I don’t know if you notice a similar process with, you know, folks who are struggling with dementia.
Speaker 2 00:13:21 Yeah. Um, and it’s my understanding with, with brain injuries is that that first year is really tilling about how much recovery is available to, to the individual. And so that there is a lot of effort within that first six months of year to do as much rehab as as possible. But then there comes this time where we have to accept where the body has landed in some way mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and there is that similar initial shock that happens with caregivers and dementia though, since it’s a slower process. There is often times a caregiver will start doing small things for their loved one and not really notice that they’re doing more for their loved one or, or compensating for some of the changes. And then often something might happen, whether that’s a fall or their loved one gets lost or, um, they get sick and so they end up going to a medical appointment and they get this new information and, um, we call that a turning point where all of a sudden we’re thinking that we’re caregivers and then all of a sudden we’re becoming caregivers.
Speaker 2 00:14:37 And then there’s this shock of, Oh my gosh, this is happening. A little bit of a level of, okay, now what? And then there’s this acceptance of the role of, and doing some deep diving and learning of what does this mean for me as an individual to become a caregiver? What does this mean for our family? Um, and then I actually, uh, have created an eight stage developmental stage model that I’m basically discussing right here around what is a traditional caregiver path in that way of that, that shock acceptance, living the role. And then often there’s another turning point in which, um, at least for the elders, and this may not be applicable for TPI folks because it’s not a progressive thing like it is for our, our aging can be, but for our aging loved ones mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, yeah. And those, and the caregiving journey as, as I said with my grandmother was 15 years. And so it’s really important to figure out what those nourishment activities are for the caregivers and so that they can continue to, to be in the role Yeah. In a way that they want to mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:16:01 Yeah. I think that, I like that you’re talking about, you know, you’re seeing different like patterns and stages for caregivers of things that typically happen. And I’m sure that those initial phases sound like congruent with what I hear for, you know, the absolutely caregivers of someone from with a tbi and every TBI is very different. So some people remain caregivers for a loved one, for indefinitely for that, that loved one and others. It does change and grow with, with gaining capacity of the injured person. And then that, that’s a different, I would say that’s a different turning point for the caregiver of relinquishing that caregiving role or toggling back on that caregiving role because, you know, it’s like I had to hold all these things together and now I have to figure out, okay, they’re, they’re starting to be able to go out on their own and they’re driving now or not driving. So it, then it becomes these murky waters, I think, for the caregiver to figure out Hmm. Like what, what’s my role now? And then that can be exactly a hard process for them to negotiate in a different role shift again.
Speaker 2 00:17:07 Yes. Exactly. And that is actually part of our model. And it, and I hadn’t thought about it this way, we, but we had talked about it more of, of when someone either moves into an assisted living or the A disease prog progresses so much that they end up going towards hospice, or that the, that the actual day to day task of caregiving sort of, um, is taken out of your hands in some way. Whether that’s because the individual with TBI is starting to be more independent again, or, or an individual’s moving into, uh, a community or headed to towards their death. But all of a sudden you’ve had your identity as, as a, as a caregiver for so long that a real part of the work that I like to do with caregivers is, who am I now? Because you’re not gonna go back to the person you wore six months, three years ago, 15 years ago before you were in this caregiver journey because it’s such a deeply impactful experience that you are changed person. And so how do we embrace those lessons, deepen our sense of compassion and recognize the choice we have in our identity as we turn back into community?
Speaker 0 00:18:23 Yeah. That’s really good. I’m just, I’m just soaking all that in right now. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:18:30 <affirmative>. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:18:31 Yeah. You know, I’m thinking for folks, you know, caregivers for those who with a tbi, you know what they might, you know, how they might see themselves or even find space for, for just them. Yeah. Cause that’s what I find that I’m trying to help them look at, Okay, where’s, even if it’s a small space, because I get, if the, if the needs of the caregiving are very intense, they’re not gonna feel like they can take that space,
Speaker 2 00:19:01 Right.
Speaker 0 00:19:03 Find space for themselves. So do you have any ways that you help facilitate people to find that?
Speaker 2 00:19:09 Yeah. Thank you for saying that. And you know, a lot of people don’t understand the caregiving experience until they brush up into it. Whether they’re caring for a loved one or they’re watching their best friend do it. But really just how time intensive it can be and where is that space if I need to be physically present near them, um, often. And so I really appreciate that because it’s so important for caregivers to find that space. So whether that is spending five extra minutes in the bathroom when you go to the bathroom and splashing some water on your face and really being in awareness around washing your hands, feeling the water, taking some breaths, looking in the mirror and saying, I’m proud of you. I know you’re trying your hardest right now. And really taking a moment to look at yourself and, and recognize, um, the hard work you’re doing.
Speaker 2 00:20:05 Um, and what I have found that a lot of resources out there that for caregivers is really, um, to share a lot of information about what their loved one is going through or what they may expect, um, the disease prognosis to look like. And that is so important because it shares a lot of the, the resources available. But what I haven’t seen a lot of is the support for the emotional experience that is caregiving, that is a fear of death. That comes with, with whether that’s a tbi, I could have lost my loved one or dealing with, uh, I’m not dealing with getting the opportunity to take care of an elderly parent who is, or heading towards their death. That it’s really emotional. You, you, you brush against this mortality. We talked about guilt, we talked about grief. There’s anger and resentment, there’s sadness, there’s a whole range, The whole range of human emotion.
Speaker 2 00:21:08 Well, trying to manage yours and someone else’s need. And so what I have found is that there’s not enough intentional space for the emotional wellbeing of caregivers taught by someone who really understands what that journey is. So, cuz I often get people who come into my practice who we, I was working with a therapist, but she had no idea what the caregiving experience was, was. So I ended up having to just tell her what I’m doing and why it’s impactful and that is yet another exhausting emotional labor. And so I have created a six week program called the Calm, Compassionate Connected Caregiver, in which, uh, in the six weeks we look at two different emotions and we learn about the physiology of them. We talk about how they show up in the caregiving experience with a group of others so that you feel that sense of community leaving with others who are also caregivers to support each other and walk away with some, some real actionable steps and items to what do I do when my anger comes up?
Speaker 2 00:22:16 How do I deal with it in the moment when I can’t deal with it in the moment cause I’m caring for my loved one and how do I deal with it in that quiet moment, uh, before bed so I can be with this emotion rather than, unfortunately what we see a lot of is if, if we aren’t with those big emotions and starting to understand ’em, people tend to turn to numbing mechanisms such as drinking or overeating or, uh, undereating over exercising alcohol, drugs. And so I really want to support these caregivers so they don’t feel like they need to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms as they navigate this challenge in life.
Speaker 0 00:23:04 Yeah. I think that that program sounds so needed and I don’t know really anything like it that’s out there <laugh> anywhere in the innerwebs or otherwise. So I think it’s really important or you know, I’ve seen very kind of focused in, you know, information, but not really a lot of community building or, you know, ways to kind of connect with other caregivers because I think a lot of people are just so isolated in their, their own spaces with their loved one that they don’t, they can’t even see to come out of that space that it’s okay because they’re the default, um, the default caregiver. So I have to, I just have to do these things, right.
Speaker 2 00:23:45 I have to be there mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if I’m not there, then who is? And I don’t want my loved one to be in danger. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. So this program, not only as it teaches you and takes away those tools, we also have a, um, an hour of just the sort of traditional support group, uh, processing so that people can talk about what they’re witnessing and what their loved one is, uh, what they need help with supporting their loved one. But the, the majority of the program is really for the, the therapist to have permission to focus on, on their wellbeing, which is hard to do cuz we, we care out of love.
Speaker 0 00:24:27 Yeah. So can you, can you talk a little bit, I don’t know if you, in your program, do you talk about compassion fatigue and how that kind of cost of caring comes up and what that looks like in, in regards to this?
Speaker 2 00:24:40 Right. Um, you know, in response to that, in the A A R P study, I love this study that they just came out. They do something every five years where they really do a deep dive into the impacts of, of caregiving. And the, the recent report says that 21% of care caregivers report a decrease in their health in this process. And so that’s significant. That’s one in five and, um, that’s too many <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, um, I’m sorry, I just lost what the question was that you
Speaker 0 00:25:16 Asked. Okay. Yeah, no. So talking about compassion fatigue and how that might show up for a caregiver.
Speaker 2 00:25:24 Yeah. Yeah. We talk, I i, I do talk a lot about that and I talk about what, what is happening when we’re feeling burnt out and what is happening when we’re feeling so exhausted and frustrated that we don’t want to do anything. And it’s because of this compassion fatigue that, that you start numbing out because it’s hard to be with the suffering for that long. And so there’s, um, some teaching about, about the self, about self-compassion and your, and creating your own wellbeing, your own physical bubble to be caring for yourself in that way and, and the importance of breaks and burnout. And cuz truthfully, the average person spends 22.3 hours caregiving a week. So no wonder you’re burnt out. Yeah. And, um, yeah, exactly. Um, and so we, and I, we find that’s part of the reason I’ve created this group program because if you get so isolated in your own experience, there becomes this non-reality that this is happening everywhere.
Speaker 2 00:26:35 And when you hear someone talk about how difficult their experience is, you a get yourself validated, but you have have compassion for them cuz you see their face, you see their story, somehow we can understand how it impacts others and not have that same reflection and kindness for ourselves. Um, so in the program we’ll talk about what are the warning signs in your body that you’re approaching compassion fatigue and how, another thing that is a big topic with, with caregivers, um, is wanting to ask for help. We wanna do it all ourselves because if I, if I really loved my person, then I should be able to do it all myself. Right. And that’s not realistic.
Speaker 0 00:27:24 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:27:25 That’s realistic for two weeks, maybe <laugh>, but not for 5, 10, 15 years. And so I think part of the answer to compassion fatigue is really asking for help and, and doing that emotional process around it doesn’t mean that I’m a failure or a bad caregiver. It means that I am wanting to make sure that I am okay enough to be here for the long haul.
Speaker 0 00:27:54 Right. And I’m gonna add please, because I see this so much with, I, I think socially people think, well, the family should take care of them. We we should do this. And I think there’s a couple things at play. So I think the family doesn’t look like what it looked like 50 years ago. Correct. A hundred years ago where families stayed in the same, So you might have your extended family all in that same area, and so aunts would come over and sit with your loved one or your kids would feel like, that’s my role, Right. I sit with my, my grandparent or this loved one that’s hurt. So I think it’s also like noting our individualistic society here, at least in the US is not very conducive to the family being the sole caregiving provider providers slash providers because it’s, it’s just not the same. And also I think our systems, you know, set us up for a little bit for failure too. Like, there’s not great systems of care for caregiving that I’ve seen here in the us Maybe other countries are doing that a lot better where they’re, you know, having some services to provide care for loved ones that might have dementia in the home or in home care for folks after tbi, their initial recovery.
Speaker 2 00:29:15 Right. Right. There’s financial barriers to it. They’re including that, you know, 20, 30, 50 years ago, uh, one household income could sustain a family and that is really not the average case anymore. So, so we have to really negotiate what are the cultural expectations versus what is the reality. Yeah. What is my a and this is part of what I like to work with caregivers are, its like, what is my actual capacity physically, mentally, financially that is being realistic of where my life is? Am I also a parent at the same time? Am I a job? Am I taking care of my own mental health? So I I need five hours a week at least to do yoga or whatever else it may be. And, and how do we slow down enough to recognize what is the cultural expectation from the your family of origin? Your, your, um, either you’re religious or culture also has different impacts of it and what is, what is realistic for me?
Speaker 2 00:30:31 So really redefining what is a good caregiver for each individual instead of it being, coming from media is like, what does it mean for me to be a good caregiver? You know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if I’m consistently taking care of this loved one’s finances and checking in and hiring help, then yeah, that counts. That is a good caregiver because you’re not not doing anything, you’re taking care of, of the care. So it’s a lot to navigate and I couldn’t agree with you more. I think our systems are set up for us to fail, and with 54 million people, 40 of 40 million of them aren’t paid while they’re doing this caregiving. And so, and that is the invisible web that is maintaining our wellbeing. Definitely of our elders, definitely of our individuals with different disabilities and brain injuries. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,
Speaker 0 00:31:31 Uh, I mean, and so many, I’m just thinking of SY systems and things like that with, uh, just no folks here in my state who are in caregiving and staffing now. So there’s no, so there’s new layers I think that we’re bumping up against, but I think I say that not to like induce fear, but also just to normalize that this is a difficult process and that there are a number of things that make it difficult for an individual alone to be a primary caregiver for someone.
Speaker 2 00:32:02 Right. Yeah. It’s not meant to be done alone,
Speaker 0 00:32:05 Really. It’s not
Speaker 2 00:32:07 <laugh> Yeah. It’s not doable. And so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s why our voices are out here and just reminding people that you don’t have to do it alone. That there are other options. And as you said, unfortunately we are bumping up with some changes in the caregiving community because the silver tsunami is hitting, our boomers are getting to the age where they need more care. Covid also really changed the game for caregivers. Um, being able to have access to go visit a loved one in one of these residences changed with Covid. And so some people brought their loved ones home and now you’re seeing an increase of those folks going back in to these different living residences and, um, and the access to care. And unfortunately our care providers, our paid professional care providers are really not getting paid enough either.
Speaker 0 00:33:06 No, they’re not. It makes it,
Speaker 2 00:33:08 It makes it unsustainable for them. For these people who are really doing some really important hard work. It’s hard if they need to have two or three jobs, then like of course they’re coming exhausted. And so
Speaker 2 00:33:23 I I I’m not sure what to say <laugh> about, about that, but that is why I would, The other part of me, you and I shared a little bit about how we have a lot of of interest, you know, um, you do you lead some exercise classes Yes. And other things. And, um, the other part of me is, is really wanting to educate the other professionals who interface with caregivers about the caregiving journey so that they have a deeper understanding of what is happening and so that we really can create a cultural shift so that when you go and tell your boss that I’m caring for someone with a tbi, they have a slight understanding of, of that demands that that might be 22 hours a week of care. And that of course you’re gonna check your phone more often at work than you would because you are communicating with professional caregivers or waiting for a phone call from a doctor, et cetera. And so how do we educate the general public more about this process so that caregivers can be supported in all different ways in different corners? So I have created a professional competency in elder caregiving, and that is a course to be training to people more about that stage model and their own biases. And
Speaker 0 00:34:49 So that’s for, that’s for professionals.
Speaker 2 00:34:52 That is professionals. Yeah. So
Speaker 0 00:34:55 Interesting. Yeah. So, well I’m sure you’ll give me all those links that we can link up all that stuff. So that’s a great resource. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Speaker 2 00:35:01 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:35:02 Any other tips that you would give to a caregiver right now that on the top of your head, but if you had some
Speaker 2 00:35:09 That’s great. Yeah. Um, I, I, we talked a little bit about this, but I think, um, we don’t slow down enough to really talk about what the expectations are, both with the person who is receiving care and together as a, as a family. Um, and really bringing that instead of assuming this is what the loved one expects of me, or this is what I’m supposed to do because the family believes that. It’s like, let’s sit down and create a plan together. Let’s, let’s sit down and assess these needs and really be honest about the emotional piece as well, that we’re all grieving. I, I wish that every family meeting you would stop and before you got into sort of the day to day task, who’s doing what is like, let’s just stop and recognize how hard this is for every one of us and look at each other and say, we’re trying to figure this out together. Like, how, let’s work together as a team and really honor that and then jump into the logistics
Speaker 0 00:36:16 Piece. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:36:18 <affirmative>, that’s
Speaker 0 00:36:19 Great. Yeah, that’s great. So slowing down, kind of connecting together, like, uh, sharing, sharing those difficulties, those hardships, acknowledging Yeah. Like the hard spots mm-hmm. <affirmative> in the day.
Speaker 2 00:36:32 And you had talked a bit about the nervous system re uh, regulation and, um, I think that’s really important. Learning what it is for each one of us is different. Learning what it is for each one of us, that when I’m starting to feel my system rise, or whether that’s anger or fear, sadness, what can I do to slow down to take some deep breaths to remember that it’s right here. The other piece of advice is like, I want more people to be talking about death than who really are. It’s a very taboo in our culture and it’s, it’s going to happen. So making some plans around it and allowing it to be part of the conversation so it doesn’t feel like it’s a shock or that we didn’t know it was gonna happen like this mm-hmm.
Speaker 0 00:37:23 <affirmative>. And that the pre grieving can be very helpful, I think, to the family and to the individual too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> of allowing for there to be just this, like sometimes in my sessions with c b survivors, you know, I, I talk about a grief corner or, and I do grief work in our sessions we’ll have, like, do we need to, like, where’s the grief corner? Where do we need to kind of explore there? So that could be like a whole new podcast on grief, which we can come back and, and talk about that too.
Speaker 2 00:37:50 I would love to do that. And talk about anticipatory loss.
Speaker 0 00:37:54 Oh yeah.
Speaker 2 00:37:55 Loss.
Speaker 0 00:37:55 I love it. Which is
Speaker 2 00:37:57 <laugh>.
Speaker 0 00:37:58 Yes. I talk often about ambiguous loss. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> telling bosses work Yeah. Regarding that. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’d be great. But I am mindful of our time, unfortunately, we have to start wrapping up. But I
Speaker 2 00:38:10 Will, And I just say one more thing cuz I wanna leave on somewhat of a positive note.
Speaker 0 00:38:15 I, I have space for that. I will have space for that. But I have a fun question before that.
Speaker 2 00:38:20 Okay. Okay, great.
Speaker 0 00:38:21 What is your favorite holiday and why? And who does it remind you of?
Speaker 2 00:38:27 Oh. Oh, great question. So
Speaker 0 00:38:30 Could be a food too. I ask, I ask holiday slash food, but I’m sensitive to some people can’t taste with the a tbi so <laugh> kinda switch, switched it up a little bit.
Speaker 2 00:38:39 Yeah. So I grew up in a very liberal Jewish faith and in the beginning of spring there’s a holiday called TBA and it’s the tree’s birthday. So you’re go supposed to go plant a tree and you’re supposed to eat things that grow on trees. And so I love it <laugh>, because that’s a,
Speaker 0 00:39:04 I love that holiday.
Speaker 2 00:39:07 Exactly. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Wonderful question. Thank you for asking. What’s yours?
Speaker 0 00:39:14 Um, my favorite holiday probably has to be, I don’t know. I, I do love Christmas. Um, yeah, I think I’m gonna go with Christmas for sure. Yeah. Cause it’s just, it’s very slow and mm-hmm. <affirmative> quiet typically after like all the craziness of presents mm-hmm. Hmm. <affirmative>. And right now my kids are so happy. I think they’re, they’re just like to see a child have joy, like that Christmas mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I celebrate. Interestingly, I celebrated kind of different holidays growing up. I celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas. So we were, uh, we celebrated both holidays for a while. Busy,
Speaker 2 00:39:51 Busy month. <laugh>.
Speaker 0 00:39:53 I know. I loved, I loved actually having Hanukkah and Christmas mm-hmm. <affirmative>, both of them. Yeah. I was like present every day and I get present
Speaker 2 00:40:01 <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:40:03 As a child. As a child.
Speaker 2 00:40:05 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:40:06 Okay. So what’s, what’s one thing you’d like to leave with our listeners as we, and, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Speaker 2 00:40:14 Yeah, thank you. Um, I, I wanted to just say that 50, according to this study, that 51% of caregivers report having more meaning in their life by stepping into this role. And so I truly believe that being a caregiver is a place for personal growth. If you decide to be supported in it, you decide to really allow yourself to explore the impact it’s having on you and growing into a more calm, compassionate, connected individual, then it can be a really meaningful experience. And so I wanna invite our listeners, both those who have TBI to invite their caregivers into that. And also, um, any caregivers out there listening as well.
Speaker 0 00:41:07 Exciting, exciting. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So is there any place where people can reach out to you?
Speaker 2 00:41:12 Yes. So I have two websites. The first one is called supportive caregivers.com, and that’s where you learn about my consulting and the group program and the, and then another one called Professional Competency in Elder Caregiving. And that’s the teaching for professionals out there. I am starting to grow my Instagram on, it’s at supportive caregivers. Um, and that’s also on Facebook as well. But primarily Instagram is where where I hang out.
Speaker 0 00:41:48 Awesome. Well, I will include that, all of that in the show notes so people can reach out to you there.
Speaker 2 00:41:54 Thank you. I
Speaker 0 00:41:55 Appreciate, Thank you so much, Danielle.
Speaker 2 00:41:56 It was so wonderful.
Speaker 0 00:41:58 I know we’ll connect. I’m not worried about that. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:42:00 <laugh> looking forward to it.
Speaker 0 00:42:03 Awesome.
Speaker 2 00:42:05 Okay.
Speaker 3 00:42:09 Thank you for joining us today on the TBI Therapist podcast. Please visit tbi therapist.com for more information on brain injury, concussion and mental health. The information shared on today’s podcast is intended to provide information, awareness, and discussion on the topic. It is not clinical or medical advice. If you need mental health or medical advice, please seek a professional.


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