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April 24, 2023

A conversation with Star Bradbury: Helping Your Parent (Zetty) Age Successfully

A conversation with Star Bradbury: Helping Your Parent (Zetty) Age Successfully
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How many times have you wondered what to do next when your mom or dad is aging? How many headaches have you had trying to decide if their decline is normal or a problem? Of course, you make the doctor's appointment. But what questions do you ask? And how hard do you push your parent into modifying major components of his or her life?

Look no further, Star Bradbury has a guide for to YOU "successfully navigate your parents' senior years" (book title BTW). See what J did there. 

Star has real life experience on both sides on the fence as a family caregiver and a senior living community administrator. This conversation is gold -- pull out your ears -Every adult child needs to plug in and get ready to purchase a few copies because we all deserve to age successfully.

Join Alzheimer's favorite family caregiver for another journey of heavy reality sprinkled with love and laugher.

Catch J's signature SNUGGLE UP ending for provocative take aways.

Star's Book:

Aging Life Care Association:

"Alzheimer's is heavy but we ain't gotta be!"
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TEXT a purple heart "💜" to +1 404 737 1449 - to give J topic ideas, feedback, say hi!


INTRO - J Smiles:  0:01  
What do you do when your parent might need extra care? You're not sure if they need help at home, if they should go to a facility. And if they need a facility, what kind of facility? Who do you even ask? J smiles, we don't have your direct telephone number, the government doesn't have a one 800-hell, I am over here bout to pass out. What do I do with my daddy? Telephone number yet? Well, I tell you this. Today's guest is about to lay it all out for us. She even wrote a book. This thing is so juicy, it's so many tidbits on what in the world you can do. Where to start, where to finish, and all the bits and pieces in between. I'm telling you. Oh my God, I wish this had been out when I got started. Here we go!

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:14  
Parenting Up, Caregiving Adventures with comedian J Smiles is the intense journey of unexpectedly being fully responsible for the well being of my mama. For almost a decade, I've been chipping away at the unknown, advocating for her, and pushing Alzheimer's awareness on anyone and anything with a heartbeat. Spoiler Alert- I started comedy because this stuff is so heavy. Be ready for the jokes! Caregiver newbies, OGs, village members trying to just prop up a caregiver, you are in the right place. 

INTRO - Zetty:  1:46  
Hi, this is Zetty. I hope you enjoy my daughter's podcast. Is that okay?

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:57  
Today's episode -  A conversation with Star Bradbury - Helping your parents age successfully.

INTRO - J Smiles:  2:08  
Our global community is expanding. I want your feedback. Let's snuggle up. Send a Purple Heart, the little emoji, to plus 1-404-737-1449. Parenting Up family, we are in for such a special treat today. I have Star Bradbury with me. She's an author. And she's written a lot of stuff. You may already know about her on the internet. But today she's here to speak about her latest book, "Successfully navigating your parents senior years". Okay, we all know about that, right? That's what the Parenting Up community is all about. And the tag is 'critical information to maximize their independence and make sure they get the care they need.'

Star  3:12  
Ohhh, that is so challenging in today's world.

INTRO - J Smiles:  3:17  
Star, welcome to The Parenting Up community.

Star  3:21  
Thank you, I am really happy to be here. Thank you, it's a treat. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  3:26  
Yeah, we're happy to have you.

Star  3:28  
You know, inevitably some pretty hard topics come up in the field I'm in which is aging successfully. And it... in a way aging successfully also means that you're being willing to not be in denial about your future, as my sister said, other sister, said yesterday, "you mean my expiration date?" I said I'm gonna steal that, Andrea. Yes, your expiration date. And I was kind of joking that people sometimes behave as if you know, "if I if I die." What? Do you know something I don't know? "If I die?" But that's how people behave. You've... you've seen it. You've watched people like... their behavior indicates that it's a question mark, not a when. It's not funny but funny.

INTRO - J Smiles:  4:23  
It's going to happen if you were born. The only other thing you know is that you're also going to die.

Star  4:30  
I do have a quote that I I like to throw out there and that's: "Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied many."

INTRO - J Smiles:  4:46  
You have such a long and roll your sleeves up, up close and personal relationship with the senior community. As I learned from the information that we found regarding your journey online and through your book. You've lost four parents, and we'll get to that in a second. That already is not the most common story. Most of us don't have four parents. So that's something to dig into. And then, you've been not only a family caregiver, but a professional in senior living communities.

Star  5:36  
25 years.

INTRO - J Smiles:  5:38  
You really dig into the differences of senior communities.

Star  5:43  
Yeah, it's just so confusing to people. And, you know, as I say, in the book, J, you don't know what you don't know. And why would you? Why would you know it? Unless you're thrown into a situation where you're scrambling to figure out, "what? They're not going to discharge mom home? I thought she was going to go home. And now they're saying they can't send her home from the hospital, from the rehab facility. Well, now what?" And then you're trying to figure out, well, does she qualify for assisted living? What is that anyway? Yeah, I mean, it's just... it's just a nightmare for families. And that's why I wrote the book.

INTRO - J Smiles:  6:22  
I am so grateful that you wrote it as we started to unravel it amongst my team, we were like, "Oh my goodness, this is like an old school encyclopedia." What was it, Schoolhouse rocks? This is what the adverb is like, it felt like, oh okay, step one. A one really does come right before two. Star wrote this book---

Star  6:48  
I do call it a guide book. Oh my gosh.

INTRO - J Smiles:  6:51  
Be a part of the dummies for caregivers series, man. Okay, I don't think that it is a series and not.. this is not belittling in any way. That's a compliment.

Star  7:00  
No, thank you. I don't hear it like that.

INTRO - J Smiles:  7:10  
Parenting Up family, don't worry, we're...we started in the middle end. We're going to walk you through it and unpack it in a more logical order. But I, as a person who was thrown into it, my story, for anyone who is listening to this particular episode, and you may not have heard the first few episodes. I became a family caregiver overnight. I didn't have any time for my mom to decline, and stumble across resources or ideas of what might be necessary. So the fact that something like this is now available, I want to champion it and make sure that everybody is aware of what a phenomenal job you do breaking down everything into bite sized discrete pieces. So you decided to write the book. 

Star  8:12  
Thank you.

INTRO - J Smiles:  8:14  
What made you decide to do it now? And I'm asking that because you have over 25 years of digging in this stuff, of living it passionately as an advocate, as a professional. And then you were a family caregiver. Your Stepfather was your caree.

Star  8:38  
My beloved Stepfather, I got lucky. This man was a... we used to call him Saint Bill. And there was a reason. He was such a good, kind, loving man. He was married to my mom for 30 years, and came into our lives when we were in high school, young teenagers. And stayed in our lives all the years. And we we did not expect... and he cared for my mom, J, for years and years. And we thought that he would pass away first. But you know how that goes. You have these expectations. You think you have a plan and then that plan absolutely is not the plan that God had a different plan. My mom died first. And I asked Bill if you would consider moving up closer to me in Florida, we were six hours away so I wasn't close. And luckily, I feel like that was some grace. He said yes. Because I know you have people listening who are saying, "I've tried to do that, I can't move, you know, close to my parents. I've asked them to move closer to me and they're just... won't do it or they're resistant." But he did move. And so I... I was with him the last 6 years of his life as he started to decline and managed and helped to take care of him til the end. But gosh, we could talk about that a lot. But you know, yeah.

INTRO - J Smiles:  10:13  
Right. So were you working at a facility for senior care at that time?

Star  10:21  
Yes, I was working at Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, which is in Gainesville, Florida. It's a life care community, it's very, very well known still is, of course. He was living in an apartment near me only like half a mile away, which was great. And that worked for many years. And then as he needed more help, I hired a Home Companion. Because I was working full time to just help him with meals and to help him in the house and take him grocery shopping. Actually, I usually did that, but to doctor's appointments and things. And he was... he was fairly independent for a long time. But he started having psychotic episodes. And ended up... this is such a long story, but the short story is he ended up getting Baker Acted to the psych floor, in our major hospital. I was out of town and he his behavior was so bizarre, that he ended up in the psych floor. And that's where I found out that UTIs, urinary tract infections, can cause severe dementia, and psychosis in older people. And I have a whole section in the book about senior health conditions that everyone should know about that you would normally never even think about that. But that's how I learned about UTIs, and specially they're more prevalent in women, can cause psychosis. So I... at the point where he wasn't doing well at home, even with help. He moved into the facility into basically a memory care area. Because his dementia and confusion was increasing to the point where he needed that kind of care. And I would go and have lunch with him, because I worked there, and go and visit with him after work and make sure he was okay. And he stayed there until he passed away. You know, he wasn't it wasn't Alzheimer's, type of dementia. It was various confusion and psychosis that just got worse and worse and worse. You know, it was rough.

INTRO - J Smiles:  12:42  
Thank you for sharing that. Thank you very much for sharing that. One thing I took away from the book overall, that I want everyone in the Parenting Up community to get ready as we pull things apart. Star is masterful at my version of stay ready so you don't have to get ready. And you weave it through every portion of the book. You divide the book into four parts. And each part has a few chapters in it. I appreciate that too. Because potentially, you're a caregiver and there's a... you don't need the entire care journey. So you don't want to feel like, "oh god, I'm reading a novel. Do I have to read the Bible or the Torah just to get through this.  But you have it labeled, "Hey, now, are you trying to figure out if your parent needs help now?"

Star  13:50  
That is it. That's the message. That's why I moved that chapter into the very first section. Because I recognize that the people reading this book are going to be at various stages of that Parenting Up or caregiving trip. Of course, I am on my you know, my, my bandstand, my passion is just what you said, do not wait until you're in a crisis. It's not if your parents need help, it is when... it is when... Somewhere along... I mean, if we could check the box, J, that said, "yeah, I'm gonna die my sleep, and I'm going to be 100% mentally and I'm gonna be 100% physically and I'm just gonna lay down and, you know, not wake up. We would all do that. But you got to look at the statistics to know that that is just not we can't choose that and we don't get to choose it and that is not likely to happen. And so if that's true, which it is, then what can you do now to be prepared? How can you be prepared? And so that I wrote the book, like you said in four sections, and the whole beginning part is developing a plan. Because I knew that I could have readers that are Gen Xers with their parents in their late 60s or 70s. Looking at like, "gosh, what now?" I can see maybe a couple of little red flags? Or maybe they're in perfect health, it doesn't matter. What could I do now? But then you might be in your 70s and parents in their 90s. There's a lot of those out there. Do you know that's the fastest growing demographic? 90 to 100. That is the fastest growing demographic in the United States today.

INTRO - J Smiles:  15:40  
I did not know that, and I'm going to write a joke about it tomorrow. That's going to be a great bit, that's going to be a great bit.

Star  15:51  
You got to share that with me, that joke. 90 to 100. And a lot of people aren't planning to you know, especially the younger folks out there listening. They're... they're not thinking they're... in fact, I had a client last week who's 85 and whose health is... dealing with some serious health issues. And then she looked at me and she said, "I just didn't think I was gonna live this long." Well, surprise!

INTRO - J Smiles:  16:25  
You're in Florida. I'm from the South Eastern part of the United States as well. So you know, the phrase: Bless her heart.

Star  16:32  
Oh, yes, I do. Yeah, bless her heart.

INTRO - J Smiles:  16:35  
Many of us, we don't think about 20, 30, 40 years later. So it when you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s, you are planning that year, the next year, how are you going to pay your bills?

Star  16:51  
Right, right? 

INTRO - J Smiles:  16:51  
Take care of your children, take care of your medical needs, the heat, birthday parties.

Star  16:59  
Yeah, the immediacy of life, day to day.

INTRO - J Smiles:  17:03  
To me, it was such a championing part of your book. How you outlined two very specific principles that you wanted everyone to use almost like a lens like, to me, it felt like it was, "oh, this my left eye, principle one and my right is principle two and Star is encouraging me to then with every decision I make throughout the process."

Star  17:29  
Yes. Yes, I am so happy. I can't tell you how happy you just made me. Because yes, I wanted those principles to be adopted as a framework that will help you with any decision across the arc of your parent's lives as a sort of a guide and a bedrock foundation that you could go, "Oh, I got to think about this. Where are those principles that Star talked about?" How can they help me because I really believe that they can, and shouldn't want me to just jump right in there and say what these principles are? Okay, so principle.. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  18:16  

Star  18:15  
Number one is how is this: How can I maximize and prolong my parent's independence for the longest possible time. And principle number two: I call Just in time Senior Planning. Meaning that when you're looking ahead and trying to make the plan for your loved ones, look at a 3 to 5 year window and stay with that. Don't try to plan 10 years out. And so let's go back to how you apply principle number one, J, because it sounds so simple. And in some ways, a really good principle should be simple. It should be a principle that can apply to so many situations. So let's say you're applying principle number one, how can I maximize and prolong my parent's independence? Well, let's back up. Maybe you've got resistant parents. Parents, who... who no matter how you try to talk to them, or what you suggest, they're resistant, and they're not on the same page as you or they're being... they're just saying, "I'm just gonna stay in my home. I'm don't wanna move. I don't need help." That's the big one. "I'm fine, I'm fine. Don't need any help." And using... let's just start with this one principle. If you sat down with your mom or your dad or anybody that you're, let's face it, you could be caregiving role to someone that's not your parent, or not even a family member in today's world. You could find yourself being willing to take that on for somebody who love and care about. Or as someone told me, "I'm caring for my dad. I don't love him. He wasn't in my life at all. But I have a responsibility, I feel." So there's all kinds of caregivers out there. And I honor and recognize you no matter why you're taking care of somebody. I know I've said that a lot. But hang in there. Yeah.

Star  18:19  
Wow, that's major. That's made for someone to care for a parent that they do not love. 

Star  20:31  
Still taking that on? 

INTRO - J Smiles:  20:32  
Was not even present in their formative years. Yeah.

Star  20:39  
Yeah, well, well, let's say you're sitting down with someone and trying to have this conversation. I want you to start out by saying, "Mom, Dad, whoever. I, I just have a couple of questions for you." This is the soft beginning of the conversation. "Do you want to be as independent as possible? For as long as possible?" Now, what do you think the answer will be to that question? "Well, yes, I do. Of course I do." And you already know that. It's like an attorney, you ask a question, you already know the answer. But you're gonna be real soft, real gentle here. "You know, I understand why you would want to be independent, for as long as possible. And I want you to know, I'm committed to that. I am committed to helping you, it's in my best interest to. I want you to be as independent for as long as you can be as well. So I think we're on the same page here. I think we both want that. Is that... Is that right? Do I have that right?

INTRO - J Smiles:  21:30  
I'm gonna tell you, Star, in my days, I am an attorney, and in my days practicing as a litigator, that is what you refer to as a leading question. And those are amazing, and those are tools, that in the Parenting Up community, I do my best to encourage to say, "Hey, don't push it on your LO, especially when they're in the early stages, if they just got diagnosed, or if they just have mild cognitive impairment, you don't want to take you don't want to rush in and take over.

Star  22:38  
You can't and that's cruel, and not, it's just not going to end up giving you the results you want, for either one of you. And so I think if you come in with that reassurance that I I understand you want to be independent. I'm all about that for you, too. Let's have a conversation when you're ready, about what that might look like, what... how can we both work together to help you maintain your independence? And then if it's the right time, right then or maybe it's a week later, or whatever, maybe it's a month later, as long as it's there's no safety issue here. Right? You know your loved ones gonna be okay, it's a little different when you think, "oh oh!" There's a big oh oh here. But let's say there isn't, then you might come back and you say, "you know, I was thinking, I wonder if having somebody come in two or three times a week, just to help out." Just to companion, a home companion, you know, just to help around the house. And that's a big help even if the person doesn't have dementia. That could make a difference to help them maintain their independence for as long as possible. If they had just a little help, whether it was housekeeping or cooking a few meals, or taking them on errands if you can't. Taking them shopping, if you can't. And so if the approach is we're both on the same page, we are both working towards maximizing your independence.

INTRO - J Smiles:  24:06  
Today's sponsor is J Smiles Comedy. Fresh curated content for corporations, clubs, or keynotes. Live and virtual performances. Jsmilescomedy.com.

Star  24:33  
But now I'm going to jump to like a really hard decision. Still using that principle, J. Let's say you have a parent whose dementia is... it's increasing. Now, you're getting worried about them staying in their home, or you've brought them to your home already. And now they're wandering at night. Nobody's getting any Sleep. And this plan isn't working. You maybe had that 3 to 5 year plan. Now this plan isn't working anymore. For whatever reason: exhaustion, it's hard on your marriage, your... your kids, because you gave them the kids room, they're doubling up. Now... now how do you apply this principle? Well, this is a this is tough. If you're saying to yourself, "how can I maximize my loved ones independence for the longest possible time? And the sidebar, keep my sanity? Right, keep my sanity." Now, maybe you're thinking, "could... should I? Or do I need to consider placing my loved one in a memory care unit? Into an assisted living?" And the hard part here is, if you are truly wanting to maximize your loved ones independence with dementia, then I am telling you having watched this for years and years, the time to make that decision is sooner not later, when they are able to adjust to a new environment, new friends, a new schedule, a new home. Because the longer you wait, the less likely they can adapt, and they will not maintain their independence for as long as they might if the move was sooner, not later. That's taking it to a whole other way of applying that principle in a tough situation. Yes. Does that make sense?

INTRO - J Smiles:  26:50  
Crystal clear. My grandmother would have said, "Waterford." She loved Waterford Crystal. 

Star  26:56  
Oh, I love that. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  26:58  
Yes. Your use of 'I want you to maintain maximum independence' is a game changer. That wording will set a tone and create an environment that is much more inviting to the notion that" hey, I am not trying to take something from you. I am trying, as your child, to give you what you want for as long as possible." And the word independence, I believe, is not actually utilized enough in the conversation between parents and adult, an adult son or daughter, when making these decisions. It's normally... something... the conversation goes a lot more around safety and money. "You're not safe. We're running out of money. And this is what it has to be." On one end, somebody is saying something. And they're fussing. So to us that is so powerful.

Star  28:17  
I totally agree with you. It isn't used enough. And I think if we like peel away what that word independence means, you might even have a conversation, J, with your loved one that went something like this. "Dad, what does staying independent really mean to you?" And then peel that away because the confusion comes when... and I think I'm using this this term correctly, when... when aging in place and independence gets enmeshed, conflated. Where people think 'I'm just going to stay in my home. And that means I am independent.' But in fact, J, it doesn't. Do you know how many people's homes I've been in when I ran in assisted living facility. And I saw people alone.

INTRO - J Smiles:  29:14  
There's tremendous. Almost dementia like brain fog on both ends. The family members who are attempting to provide the care as well as the senior person who is aging. Staying at home is the defining umbrella of independence and you're right, aging in place means something very different. You describe that so well throughout the book. And I must say, I love how you weave in your fictitious family The Spencers.

Star  29:54  
And I'm glad you could relate to them.

INTRO - J Smiles:  29:58  
Yes. Without giving away too much. Just think about it like this everyone. Star is so kind to those of us, especially who are either caregiver newbies, which is our term here for people who are less than a year in caregiving, or you OG, which is a term in hip hop culture, meaning you've been around forever. It comes from actually comes from street gangs, meaning your original gangster, you at the top of everything, and then the hip hop culture took it just to say, if you're the OG you, you're like the senior, you're the elder.

Star  30:37  
I'm in that elder group now. I just love that.

INTRO - J Smiles:  30:44  
Or if you're in a crisis. But to see how the Spencers may have taken this new information, after chapter three, or after chapter seven, what might the Spencer's have done? And we get to see how a real couple who's aging and they have children. Some are married, some are not married. They spread out all over the United States, new things happen? Health crisis, sometimes not. We got money involved, should we move, should we not move. But what is critical, again, is the stay ready so you ain't gotta get ready, which is very big in the comedy community. Because you're encouraging people so much about this plan. I'm gonna tell you. When I was reading, I was like, hell, everyone who's a caregiver needs, we need to do this for ourselves. Because if you are over, I'm gonna say 45. Or if you've hit 50, as a caregiver, truthfully, while I wish it wasn't the case, our life expectancy is a little shorter because if you're a family caregiver for a long period of time, that is a stress that not a lot of medical data has been put into it. But it's it's heavy, it's heavy, and it's a lot. Sometimes we die sooner, or we certainly get heart disease or diabetes or other ailments that require us to be on medication. Marriages end.

Star  32:23  
I've seen, I've seen it because, you know, being in the senior living industry for 25 years, and aside from all the mistakes I made, when I didn't know any better years ago with my own parents, and then with my 25 years in senior living, I probably sat down with 1000s of families. And I've really had the chance to watch what works, what doesn't work, and how and what steps could you take, like you said, I just love that, stay ready so you don't have to get ready. There's so much you can do ahead of the game. I mean, just on the most practical level, I have this long, long list in the book of medical documents that you should have way beyond what you would think, you know, way beyond just the living will and the healthcare surrogate, all the financial documents that that would be helpful to have ahead of time. And you know, like you said, you just never know when when the hammer is going to fall. When your mom or dad has a stroke or, or that little bit of confusion is now a diagnosis of dementia. And so getting some of this information ahead of the game puts you in a position to handle what life's gonna throw at you all those curveballs.

INTRO - J Smiles:  33:38  
I have a friend who got put in the most unique predicament. Her mom had double knee replacement simply because of arthritis. Correct? Elbow knee replacement simply because of arthritis. They both went wrong. She's now paralyzed.

Star  34:09  
Never do two at the same time people listening.

INTRO - J Smiles:  34:17  
Never heard of anything like it? I've never heard of paralyzed. I had... I had heard that potentially the surgery didn't go well. And you did not walk any better? But the pain was still there. But not wheelchair bound. I've never heard of that. So well. Well then that so now they are scrambling. So what do you do? Do you remodel the bathroom? The... all the hallways? The.. what do you do? What do you do? So you have... and I know anyone listening may think that... I'm not getting paid for this. I want to let me say that right now. It may sound like I'm sweetening the pot on Star's book. It's just really freaking good. I'm not getting anything, I'm not getting any extra for the number of books that are sold. But here at the Parenting Up family, you all know how we do it. J smiles, y'all know, I tell my truth. And I tell the transparency of what I feel. And if I don't like something, I tell that. And when I do like it, I go too far. That's my personality. 

Star  35:26  
I'm grateful, thank you.

INTRO - J Smiles:  35:28  
At the end of each learning that Star gives, you have a summary of bullets, and it's nice and shaded. Critical questions that one could ask of an expert, whether that's a physician or a lawyer, or a facility. 

Star  35:46  
Or hiring home care, home health care. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  35:48  
Correct. I don't want to give away so many of the nuggets that people feel like, oh, I don't have to buy the book, they just told us on the podcast. No, it is so much in here, we could never take care of it all. But you do such a wonderful job, I was like, "oh my god, this is a book where you don't even have to take a ton of notes, you can just read it, really absorb and devour it." And then at the end of the chapter, look, there's already a summary. And it's shaded in a different font and a nice deep gray to remind you, here are the bullets. And here is the summary.

Star  36:25  
I know that if you are grabbing this book because you really needed it, it was crisis time. I wrote it so that you could open it up and go, "I'm past the developing a plan. Now I'm right here in this crisis. Oh good. Here's a chapter on what is assisted living. Is my mom or dad even going to qualify?" There are so many weird rules about who a facility can take. There's so much confusion, or, "Gosh, I'm shopping for skilled nursing. I don't even know where to begin." Here's, here's what you need to know, here's what the questions you need to ask, you know, or the last chapter is a prepared exit plan. Like maybe your mom or dad just got a terminal illness, God forbid, but we know that it happens. Well, this whole chapter is how are you going to get prepared for that? How can you really be a help to a parent who's just been told that they should have this surgery and you're thinking what? My mom's 89? They want to do massive exploratory surgery? Is that Is that a good idea? Well, maybe not. Maybe, maybe not? 

INTRO - J Smiles:  37:30  
Maybe not. 

Star  37:31  
You know. So there's a whole section about a prepared exit plan and how you can be there for your parents. And what kind of questions can you ask the doctor when your... when your parents are faced with these kind of decisions?

INTRO - J Smiles:  37:45  
Yes, that's titled, "Good Death".

Star  37:48  
Right? What is it Good Death? I believe you can, you can try. You can aim for that.

INTRO - J Smiles:  37:53  
I have a good chuckle on that. On that entire section. Actually, I wanted to read it first, and I thought, "No, J Smiles, just start." Know, sometimes you want to eat dessert first. Actually was so intrigued by the boldness of a chapter called Good Death. I was like, "Huh, let me read this."

Star  38:20  
I'd like to change the way people think about dying. I really, I really would. And I have there... there are authors before me, Dr. Samuel Harrington wrote a wonderful book. In fact, I reached out to him after I read his book. And he wrote an endorsement. And he talks and he's a retired physician that worked in a hospital emergency room and in hospice for years. And he wrote a book called, "At peace: Choosing A Good Death After A Long Life." So this is a concept that I've been thinking about for many, many years. And I believe that so many people want to die at home, with their family and loved ones around them in a peaceful environment. But a huge percentage of people die in the hospital. One more treatment. And I know that there, it's unavoidable. J, I know that sometimes you've got to go to the hospital and you don't always have control. But I really believe that just the way we plan for retirement, we plan for, you know, all the fun things. Well, why can't we think about death as our friend that we're going to have to embrace at some point? No matter what. Why can't we think about, "Well, gosh, how would I like to die? I'm gonna have a big celebration, invite all my friends and say goodbye." 

INTRO - J Smiles:  39:55  

Star  39:56  
If you knew.

INTRO - J Smiles:  39:56  
Yes. Well, how about we booking it appropriately because we certainly plan for birth. We make a big deal about birth. Announcements, the presents, the gifts, the parties, and it continues with a lot of fanfare, at least through the first year, in most cultures, at least to the first year. The baby's talking, oh he just walked.

Star  40:27  
Taking the first steps. I watched the grandchild... little video of a grandchild yesterday, starting to walk. Was very exciting.

INTRO - J Smiles:  40:33  
Yeah. And if it's on social media, strangers, the video will go viral over a baby swallowing. But then when a senior is doing it in reverse...

Star  40:48  
It's frightening to people.

INTRO - J Smiles:  40:50  
I appreciate that you are tackling it to say, "Hey, let's, as we say here at the Parenting Up family, Snuggle up to it. That is a part of a segment and our exit.

Star  41:04  
I liked that. Snuggle up to it. Because you know what, you you might very well as a caregiver, be in a position if you're the health care surrogate to help that person crossover? And you... do you want to be guessing? Do you want to know I wish I'd had that conversation. I you know, with your loved one, could even be your spouse. I've definitely seen issues between couples where one won't even talk about it. But with your parents, you know, you've got to start those conversations early, early early, so that you have a relationship close enough with your parents that, that you can say, I don't want to be guessing. Let's plan let's talk about what a good death might mean to you. It's making me think about my own own too. Can always include yourself. And I say at the end of the book, the epilogue, if you've learned everything that this book taught you, and helps you as a guide. Now you get to apply it to yourself. You'll be way ahead of the game.

INTRO - J Smiles:  42:16  
Correct. Correct. Or you even give us a multitude of options on how to avoid family conflict. As we tackle each milestone along this journey. Those things are major.

Star  42:38  
It's always been so sad, J, when I see parents, not parents, but families divided. Sisters not talking to sisters or brothers or somebody gets their nose out of joint. And you know the... the key, you said the key conversations, including everybody, not excluding people if at all possible. And with Zoom, there's no excuse for excluding anybody. Everybody can be on a zoom call and have a conversation. But I do talk about if you already know it's going to be really dicey. Really, really difficult. Then bring a mediator, a professional mediator in. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  43:21  

Star  43:22  
That changes the dynamic. People behave a little better when there's a professional in the room. That's... that's going to be helping to manage.

INTRO - J Smiles:  43:29  
Yes. And giving your parent the option from the very beginning. If you don't want to share your passwords, the will, the legal documents, you don't have to give it to me.

Star  43:35  
You don't have to.

INTRO - J Smiles:  43:43  
Give it to a lawyer. But pretend... but give me the lawyer's name. Put it in a P.O box. Not a P.O box, J Smiles, what are you talking about. It's time for me to go get the mail. I guess that's the universe telling me go get the mail. Maybe a big check. Oprah, are you... Oprah, are you trying to call me about something? But, um, a safe deposit box.

Star  44:12  
Yes, make sure your, your names on that. Otherwise, if it was just in your mom or dad's name, the safe deposit box, you ain't getting it. Unless you're... I mean, that's complicated in itself unless, unless you're the personal representative. They both passed away, forget dementia, they have passed away and you are the personal representative, then you might be able to access that safety deposit box. But you've put it in the cloud. You know, you can have a protected password and put all of your passwords there. But you don't need to... you just need to know where the will is. I shared my story in my book with my, my beloved stepfather. I said I didn't want to be pushy, right. So I just said, "My mom died and, of course there was a will..." It all went to Bill, my stepdad, which was absolutely where it should. And then I said, "Well, Bill, I just want to know where your Will is. "Oh, same attorney, he's got the will." I said, "Okay." And I had his name and Bill dies. And I called the attorney up and I said, "You know, Bill passed away." And, and he said, "I don't have his will." I said, "What? You don't... you don't have his will? Bill told me you had his will." He said, "No, no, I had your mom's will. He already had a will... he told me already had a will. I never did your stepfather's will." What? It would have been a disaster except I was, remember he already had dementia, I was taking care of everything. So I was already on his bank account paying all of his bills. I'd already... we'd sold his little condo to help pay for his care. You know, so there wasn't a big estate. It wasn't complicated. I was on any all of his accounts. But if that were true, J, I would have been up the creek, it would have been a mess.

INTRO - J Smiles:  45:58  
I had a... an unfortunately, a very similar experience. My father was one of the nation's most well known lawyers at the time of his death. 

Star  46:13  

INTRO - J Smiles:  46:13  
Couldn't find his will. I still have not found his way?

Star  46:16  
No way!

INTRO - J Smiles:  46:17  
I saw it two times in my life when I was a little girl, like middle school, and then when I went off for my undergraduate degree. He said, you know, my parents said, "Here it is." My dad dies, but my mom is starting to show signs of what I now know was the onset, early onset of Alzheimer's. At the time, I thought she was a distraught widow. So I'm just moving along. 

Star  46:44  

INTRO - J Smiles:  46:44  
But when the estate attorney said, "Well, J, if we can't find the will, you got to produce it. And if you don't, the clock is ticking on when we'll be able to utilize all of the benefits of the tax exemptions." But like you, well, slightly different, my parents always kept me involved with their business dealings. They wanted me...

Star  47:19  
 That's a blessing and very rare. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  47:22  
They told me it was rare. But I'm an only child. And my parents were both self made. And they... and they were entrepreneurs. And they said, "We need you. While you don't work..." I had not. I ended up working with my father in law, but I had not been a part of either, like, let's say, of the family businesses from scratch. I went off and did my own thing in corporate America, but they always wanted me to be aware of the general processes of which they were operating anything.

Star  47:56  
Thank goodness.

INTRO - J Smiles:  47:57  
These are the banks that we deal with, the institutions. This is the main man or woman who has our accounts, and your name is on everything somewhere. 

Star  48:07  
Wow, so rare.

INTRO - J Smiles:  48:09  
And we have wills that say, daddy get it or mama get it, and after that is you. And so, when I went to call everybody, they knew who I was. I wasn't the...

Star  48:24  
And I talk about that in the book. Make sure you meet these people. Absolutely. You just did it already.

INTRO - J Smiles:  48:31  
There's no reason for you not to just introduce yourselves to your parent's doctors, lawyers, the pastor.

Star  48:42  
Financial advisors, accountants.

INTRO - J Smiles:  48:43  
Everybody just say, "Hi, I'm so and so. I know my mom or dad, they're handling everything right now. But I'm next up should..." 

Star  48:54  
"Introduce myself."

INTRO - J Smiles:  48:55  
That's correct.

INTRO - J Smiles:  49:01  
You also mentioned how in addition to making sure you have your parents resources, but give them your name and email? 

Star  49:12  

INTRO - J Smiles:  49:14  
They notice something around, about your parent, they could reach out to you. They can reach out to you.

Star  49:20  
And say, you know, "J, I'm a little worried your mom. She  came in the other day and she just didn't seem like herself. She's always impeccable. And somethings... somethings not right? Or she came..." Worse...

INTRO - J Smiles:  49:30  

Star  49:31  
"She came in with somebody that seemed a little shady. And they were, you know, something... who is this person? I've never met them before and they're hanging out with them." I mean, I could have had a chapter in there about fraud and seniors and I mentioned it, but yeah, there's there's there's a lot to think about.

INTRO - J Smiles:  50:00  
Facilities. And just a little bit of information to help people understand how different they really are when you say life care versus assisted living versus skill care. And then there's memory care. And while they at times can be mushed together, that's inappropriate. And life care seems to be the way to go if you can. I mean, if you can, and if you have age, and because that's the one, where it's more like going from 1st to 12th grade. You can come in when you're young and healthy. I mean, young, meaning you're a young senior. You're vibrant, you're pretty much kind of on your own. I mean, you can, you can take care of yourself well enough. But you may as you graduate, and evolve as you graduate to out of independence becoming dependent, you can just go from one side of campus to the other. Like you moving from dormitories or moving from the first floor to the second floor.

INTRO - J Smiles:  51:19  
That is that is so well put, J. I like to say I'm not an expert in a lot of things, but I am an expert when it comes to life care communities, because I worked in one for 18 years. And a lot of my consulting business...

INTRO - J Smiles:  51:18  
Hey, hold please.

Star  51:35  

INTRO - J Smiles:  51:46  
Thank you for serving our community.

Star  51:49  
Thank you. And I have to say that I think I said that the longest chapter in the entire book is the chapter on what is a life care community? And are they worth the high cost? The answer, in my humble opinion is yes, they are, if it's affordable. Now I'm the first one to say, most life care communities are... have an entry fee. It's not a real estate transaction for the majority of them. And you pay an entry fee and you move into independent living, J. But just as you said, if your needs change over time, and you need assisted, or memory care, or skilled, a true life care community, also known as a continuing care retirement community, CCRC or LCC, Life Care Community, you can transition to these other levels of care, guaranteed access over your lifetime. And so you can go in and out of that care.

INTRO - J Smiles:  52:56  
It's a really big deal. My mother's father, we got into that pinch, our backs were up against the wall. We weren't aware, at that time, this was... my mom was very healthy at the time. We did not know that there was that expiration period around the assessment.

Star  53:18  
And I say procrastination can ruin that plan if a couple doesn't understand that they... if they like this whole concept of moving into a resort style living, maintenance free, all kinds of fabulous activities that most of these life care communities, especially if they're a UBRC, University Based Retirement Community, like where I worked, that has all kinds of lifelong learning and intellectually stimulating. If that's the environment you like. There's all kinds of bells and whistles at a life care community. But when you need more care, you can transition to these higher levels of care. But guess what, in order to start out in independent living, you have to actually be able to live in independent living. Meaning you got to do a health assessment. They're going to determine whether you've procrastinated so long that you actually need assisted living now, they're not gonna let you through the front door. You might be able to do a direct admission through assisted or skilled. But you're not going to get that fabulous contract that.. that your entry fee is buying you. People say, "Entry fee? I don't even own my house or my apartment. Didn't you say the entry fee was..." I'm just gonna throw out some figures here. "300,000, 400,000, 500,000?"

INTRO - J Smiles:  54:36  

Star  54:38  
Yeah. That's what I'm... we're talking about entry fees, and let's just say in that neighborhood. But it's like, you know what, I tell people the simplest explanation. It's like buying a lump sum Long Term Care Insurance Plan in one amount instead of spreading it out over 20 years. You're saying, "Okay, I'm gonna give you this chunk of change. And you're gonna guarantee me access to assisted, skilled and memory care for as long as I might need it, whether it's a year or 10 years or more, for a discounted rate." And that is the short version. Maybe 50% off what you might normally pay.

INTRO - J Smiles:  55:19  
It's very short, very short, Parenting Up family. It is much more to it. I just, yes, it's complicated. Well, it's even more complicated, I'm sure. But you can also hire Star because she's a consultant. So you are now...

Star  55:36  
Oh, um, I'm an aging Life Care Specialist. I'm a member of ALKA, the Aging Life Care Association. And as an aging Life Care Specialist, my niche within this organization is helping people to make a plan to age successfully. And part of that is helping them evaluate senior living communities. It may be a full service retirement community, might be assisted living, it could be skilled, it could be a life care community, which is my my specialty so to speak. But I do want to say something about ALKA, the Aging Life Care Association, J, because you might have people all over the United States and they can go to the ALKA website, put in the zip code and find somebody based on their zip code in their area that can help them. And that's important because it really makes a difference to find, in some situations, for someone to know the local resources, the local facilities, the reputations of the home care, home health care, and finding someone locally to help you. And many of the ALKA professionals are Geriatric Care Manager, certified Geriatric Care Managers. I am not. A certified Geriatric Care Manager is going to do more crisis management care, medical care management, help assess the person if they're, especially if they're in a crisis, and plan for their care, their best care. So it's a wonderful organization. I'm proud to be a member of it. And I'm glad you mentioned that. Thank you.

INTRO - J Smiles:  57:12  
Yes, of course, it sounds so much better than Geriatric Old People Nurse Manager.

Star  57:28  
That's why they changed their name a few years ago, because it's, it's a much truer statement to say that they're, they're specialists in aging well. They're trying to help people age, age well. And I always say they're the daughter, or you know, or the advocate, or the son that you wish you had. But it may be you don't, right. If there's solo agers out there, someone saying, "But I don't have anybody, or my kids live in another country, or they're too far away to help me.", and you need somebody to be your advocate. It's so important. I really feel like for people to age successfully, they gotta have somebody, J.

INTRO - J Smiles:  58:07  
Yeah, well, I'm happy. There gonna be quite a few of us. My main passion and mission is to support caregivers. I believe that the whole funnel goes through caregivers, because in the world of dementia, those suffering cannot advocate for themselves. They can't push Congress, they can't push the pharma companies, they can't push the facilities. It is their caregivers who have to ring the alarm. So I'm standing on my soapbox saying, "Hey, we have to keep the caregivers informed, healthy." 

Star  58:54  

INTRO - J Smiles:  58:56  
 So that not only can they advocate for their LO's, but they can make the community at large worldwide aware of these diseases that are really eradicating people much earlier than they need to be. The financial burden that's occurring globally.

Star  59:20  
Something's got to change. Something's got to change.

INTRO - J Smiles:  59:24  
You talk about the crisis that we're in it is because of caregiving... the money that is poured into caregiving, not just the facilities, but just the umbrella of caregiving and what that costs. I like to add the loss of equitable, productive adult lives to becoming caregivers. Not only are you not being paid but you are also being underpaid, and or under employed. Because as you become a family caregiver, a portion of your mind or heart or soul is... they're not available to be a part of the workplace to start something or invent something or produce something, therefore, the world is losing output.

Star  1:00:25  
But no, I am right there with you. And that's one of the reasons why that I say in my book is listen, if you can't, if you don't take care of yourself, because usually, there's so much focus put on the person that you're caring for, that they take the focus off themselves. And I saw that up close and personal with too many people. And then the caregiver ends up in the hospital. And what I want to say is, alt the caregivers listening, remember, you've got to take care of yourself. Because if you're not there what's going to happen to your LO? You need to really remember that it's okay. Not only is it okay, you just have to make it a priority to take care of yourself mentally and physically, so that you can be around to even make a difference in your LO's life. And some people forget that because it gets so wrapped up in the caregiving role.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:01:23  
Thank you for that. That's what made me make a life... a lifestyle change. I was... my physician told me I was on the verge of having a stroke and caring for my mom. "Okay, J smiles, so you want to die before your mama?" I was like, "Well, that's stupid. That's real stupid." She said, "Well, this is where you headed, lady." And I was like, "Ah, you could have said it softer." But so the last part of the topic that I want to really bring up because originally, my first professional work was in engineering and product design. And so you, you talk some about Age tech, about apps, and robots. And while I'm not going to list any specifics, because yawl go buy the book, and then you can get into all of that. But just share a bit about your beliefs on how a caregiver could utilize technology to help their parent, their LO, remain independent, for as long as possible.

Star  1:02:43  
I think that is a burgeoning growing field. And there's a lot of companies out there looking at the numbers of the baby boomers, you know, you've heard that statistic 10,000 people a day, a day, are turning 65. And it's been doing that now for a while. So the baby boomer population: A, still has money, most of them and, B, a lot of them 90 something percent want to stay age in place. And so how can they meet that need using technology and so it's a huge field. And I would say to caregivers, there's a lot of things. Number one, if aging in place, and I want to just say, Look, you can age in place successfully, as long as you have two things, a really solid plan, let's say three things. You've modified your home, right, and you have a strong support system. And that third one is the most important, J, if you do not have a strong support system, that's more than one person now. Okay, you can't just depend on one person, but you have a strong support system, then you can age in place. But back to the tech, you could, if it were me, I'd be looking at some basic things like just a really good security system with cameras. I'd be looking at a system, especially there's any kind of remote cognitive impairment or even just forgetfulness when it comes to medications. There's really advanced systems now that can help you manage with an app and reminders, medication reminders that tell you: Mom has taken her three o'clock med. And it can it... they're, they're more than just little, you know, pill dispensing machine. Some of them are smart machines that work with an app as well. I will be looking at, there's even little robots that let's say your mom or dad have mobility issues and they're using a cane. Well, that means they can't carry their laundry and walk safely. So there's little robots now that you can program to... they can come into the wash room and you can fold your clothes and put it on there and then program it to follow you or go to the bedroom and then you can take your clothes off the little robot and put your clothes away. Or dishes, dishes off the table. So it's pretty amazing. So let's say you have a loved one who has pretty severe cognitive impairment, they might want one of these smart pets, you can get a pet that you can snuggle, and hold, and you can talk to, and it's going to talk back to you and keep you company, and maybe play your favorite music and your songs. And you know, that's a lot easier than taking a dog for a walk, you know, or messing with a cat litter, you know, and they still have the comfort of a snuggly warm thing they can love on and it's going to love back. You know, who cares if it isn't real, it makes them happy. So there's all kinds of technology from robots to pets to pill dispensing to security. And let's not forget that the smartwatch is going to call 911 if you've fallen and you're not responding, you know. So there's all kinds of systems that are safety nets now that... that I would encourage people to definitely look into. But as I say, don't get something so complicated that your 89 year old mom can't use and isn't going to use. Don't get technology for yourself. You're looking for technology they will adopt. Now remember, they might be resistant until you go back to, "But, mom, I know this is going to help you stay independent longer in the house." 

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:06:30  
Yes, that's, that's the key word I learned one thing. I'm in year 11 of being my mom's full time caregiver, when, in the first few years, what was super clear was, I could not use the word help. If I said, "Mom, let me help you. Or I'm helping with this..." That woman, she wouldn't do it. I could use any other... I don't know what that word triggered. And it took me, I probably was a spoon in the knife drawer. But it took me a minute to unravel, like what is happening that's putting her into a spin. But that's what I realized is the word. So I know that word independence. I am going to... we're going to utilize that a lot here on the parenting podcast. Well, my last question to you is, what did you do whenever you've had a client tell you, "I tried all your tactics to the best of my ability. Mom, dad, you know, my LO, they are non compliant. And I'm pulling my hair out."

Star  1:07:49  
I had someone asked me that last week, a client asked me that last week, same thing, like they're just not listening. They're just digging their heels in. And here's what I say. That is when you turn it over to a higher power. And you say your prayers, that the event that changes their mind is an event that they can recover from. Because remember what I said, it's not if it's when. And if you've tried everything, the gentle approach, there's a few chapters in my book about okay, this is when you pull out the big guns and that didn't work. But okay, let's try everything. And if they're still non compliant, then at some point, you have to give them permission to fail. They're grownups. This is now... it's a different slightly different story. There's a dementia, they're not... no longer able to make decisions in their best interest in their safety. Let's say that's not the issue, the dementia issue. So that's one thing I would say. Sometimes you have to let people fail. Love on them anyway. Don't hold that up, as I told you, so please don't do that. And then be ready to come in and say, "Well, mom, would you consider moving now? Would you consider getting a little assistance? Not help, assistance in the house now. I know you want to be safe. I don't want to be worried, put it on you. I'm going to be worrying in the middle of the night, if you're okay. Can we put this monitor here? This camera here." And you hope that whatever, whatever changed their mind is something they can recover from.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:09:51  
That's a big deal to give it to a higher power.

Star  1:09:54  
You just got to because and then for... don't, don't beat up on yourself. Don't blame in yourself. You're not...none of us are in control 24/7. And I tell people no matter what you do, that doesn't mean that you won't have to live through a big crisis, a big failure.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:10:17  
The majority of our community has some portion of dementia in their LO's journey. It may be Parkinson, may be Alzheimer's.

Star  1:10:34  
Right. Yeah, my dad had Parkinson's and he had dementia at the end. Yeah.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:10:39  
Yes. It may be Lewy body, may be the vascular dementia. But...

Star  1:10:44  
That was my mom. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:10:45  
Wow, you really have checked all the boxes of boxes around the caregiver corner.

Star  1:10:51  
I'm telling you, J. I have a lot of boxes. My mom had vascular dementia. Yep. And my dad had pretty advanced dementia with the Parkinson's at the end. He was in TV, was the director and he was he was still on the set boys directing everybody what they should be saying and doing. "Stand over there by light." Okay, dad. Oh, I'm sorry. I interrupted you. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:10:52  
No, no, that's uh, that was a good reason to interrupt. Any words of advice for someone or a caregiver, when they're about to pull their hair out, a family caregiver about to pull their hair out and the... the LO with dementia is really pushing back pretty hard on what the caregiver believes is a critical decision or inflection point. Whether it is you're not taking a unnecessary life medicine or it's time to move or modify the house in some way.

Star  1:12:00  
Yes. I think what you're talking about is probably the toughest place to be. Because my advice is that if they're real safety, like when I say safety, I mean, they're leaving things on the stove. And... and my mother almost burned an entire apartment complex down.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:12:28  

Star  1:12:29  
Smoking in bed and dementia and set her bed on fire. She, she was okay. But I mean, the whole apartment was destroyed. I mean, I, if I told you all my stories, you would say you're kidding me, right? Oh, my God. So but the situation that you're talking about is... that's the, that's when you are really parenting up. That is when you're saying, my mom may not be happy with me, but I cannot leave her in her apartment to set the whole place on fire. My dad may be angry at me for the rest of his life, but I cannot leave them at home when he's leaving at 2am and the police are calling me because he's down to Publix to get a beer and it's closed. And, you know, I mean, I've either been there or heard this. And that's when the really tough decision is you make a decision they are not going to like and you do it anyway. Unless you can live with yourself if they never come back from their wandering. I mean, if you can live with yourself that the end event that might occur is the end of your mom or dad's life. I don't think too many people can do that. I couldn't. So then you say, "You're not gonna like this decision, but I'm making a decision that I'm moving you to." Now, there's things in between. I might say to someone, if you are working and you don't want to place your mom or dad in facility, I have a whole chapter on daycare programs. Most daycare programs are completely financially reasonable. Some are subsidized, J. And some allow you to go with your loved one for a while to get them adjusted and more able to change, change their environment because you're there with them to begin with. Maybe it's two days a week, maybe it's four mornings a week or something. So I would say if you're at your wit's end, and you don't call a daycare, you say, "There's this great program and they have activities and lunch and it's a senior center. Let's go and try it." I learned you don't have to be brutally honest with someone who has dementia because God gives you permission to sell little white lies sometimes in those situations. And you know, you might try daycare, that's been a godsend to number of clients. Until that doesn't work. Remember that adjusting time, Senior Planning, you've got this three to five year plan. And it's... but you're continually improving it and you're saying okay, this is working, this is working, not working. Got to change direction here. Got to pull more family members in to help. But I will say I talk about legally, if you think there's any dementia in your loved ones future, talk to an attorney about pre need guardianship. There's a whole chapter on do you really want to do guardianship? Most attorneys will tell you, no. It is a... it is a difficult path. It's an expensive path. It's a... it's a least option that you want to do, guardianship. But you can avoid that if, if before the need, you've appointed either someone who is just in case I might ever need guardianship, this is who I'm appointing to be my guardian. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:12:51  
That's right. 

Star  1:12:56  
Long before the fact. That's what you said, stay ready. When you want to be ready, you could you... could say I'm already choosing, Mom, Dad, you want to be independent? How about choosing a premium guardianship just in case? I'm just saying, just in case? How about that? I appointed like a, a panel for me. I said, Look, if these four people agree that I should not be making decisions, that's okay with me. And I actually appointed like this, um, can't remember what I called it but Competency Panel. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:16:42  
I'm going to get one of those.

Star  1:16:45  
Which is a little like the pre need guardianship, but competency panel. If these four people agree that I should not be making decisions, then take them away from me.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:16:55  
I'm writing that down. I'm going to have one. Going to have one before this years out. I'm having a competency panel. Thank you.

Star  1:17:02  
I chose my husband, if he's still with us, God willing, my attorney who I've known for years, and she knows me, my best friend and she was my healthcare surrogate. She's my backup healthcare surrogate. And my financial advisor who has known me for 25 years. They all have to agree. Competency panel.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:17:32  
Okay. Yeah, I like that. 

Star  1:17:36  
Yeah, I think it's a good idea.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:17:38  
That is, the competency panel, that they have the power of sorts, they're also like your, your mental health board of trustees. 

Star  1:17:51  
Yeah, I like that. I like that. And I mean, of course, I have a durable power of attorney, somebody appointed. And, you know, I think that person, well, that person is also in that competency panel, but they might need some support, or there may be a situation where there it needs to be discussed, and everyone agrees that way, you don't have one person.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:18:17  
Yet, that's a lot of pressure to or a person who knows you well, loves you, and has a lot of integrity, which is what you would choose. No one really wants... I know, a few people have tried to give me that honor, is their perception. And I'm thinking that's a lot of pressure. Like, is there anyone else?

Star  1:18:41  
Do you want to do it? Yeah, I agree. Yes. And I've heard other people say that, you know, I just need somebody to sort of hold my hand and talk these decisions through. And that's especially true with healthcare surrogate relationships, durable power of attorney, competency. But, but if you had something as simple as that, you could avoid the whole issue of guardianship J, which nobody wants to try to go down that road. It's complicated, and it's, you know, all the legal ramifications of being granted guardianship, boy the court is all over that. And they should be.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:18:41  
It's awful. It should be awful. It's costly. And it's very frustrating.

Star  1:19:24  

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:19:24  
Very frustrating. I like to just put the, put the stamp on it, stay ready so you ain't gotta get ready, to the extent that you can plan even if your LO was just diagnosed, they're still so much you can plan.

Star  1:19:51  
Oh, absolutely. 

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:19:52  
I want to continually drive home the point for anyone in the Parenting Up community, dementia is a marathon from the moment of diagnosis, unless your parents, you live the way and you really haven't seen him in a while, from the moment of diagnosis, you have years. 

Star  1:20:14  

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:20:15  
And just because they have mild cognitive impairment, J, it doesn't mean that they couldn't go to the attorney with you. And, and set up something like this.

Star  1:20:24  

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:20:24  
Mild Cognitive Impairment is not full blown Alzheimer's or dementia. They're still... they're just having some memory cognitive issues. And it's been diagnosed as that. That's a long, long way from not being able to think on their own.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:20:33  
That's right. And so there's time to jump on it. I think so.

Star  1:20:45  
I call it pleasantly confused. Bless their heart.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:20:50  
Pleasantly confused. Bless their heart. I think there's so many times there's a fear that hearing the word dementia or Alzheimer's is like being put in front of the firing squad and in some immediate death sentence, not true. But there is time, take a deep breath, gather yourself, it's crushing. Hell, no one wants to hear it. But with a book like this, and some calm walks or meditation or tea, or whatever it is, you'd like to drink, within reason, not too much. You can create a plan that will allow your LO to maximize their independence, and leave this earth as much as possible on their own terms. And that's what I get from you, from your book, and from my community. We're in this because we are wanting to love on our LO and have their wishes play out. 

Star  1:22:04  
Thank you, J, it has been such a joy. I tell you being on your podcast and in your little bright shining light that that I see and that I feel from you, truly a joy. I wrote the book to help people make educated informed decisions. And that was my goal, and boy, you just summed it up. Thank you. Thank you.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:22:27  
Well, you nailed it. You nailed it.

Star  1:22:33  
Well spread the word, everybody. And one last thing, if you buy this book for your kids, if anybody out there is listening, and they're buying it for their kids, my... my request, my humble request is that you read it first. And you can, it's coming out an audible April 11. So you can either, if your, if your loved ones consume their books through audible listening, or they want the actual, you know, book, here it is. Everybody read it, and then start the conversation, just like you said, start the conversation. Everybody read the book, and then have a zoom conversation about making a plan together as a family developing a plan. And believe me, it's easier when they're younger. Your parents are younger.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:23:23  
Yes, yes, it also gives you more time...

Star  1:23:28  
Plenty of time.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:23:29  
To get back into the driveway. Okay, back up, get back into the driveway. It gives you time to determine a new strategy of how to have the conversation with your parents. Tell us what's next for you. And where we can get the book.

Star  1:23:50  
Well, you can get the book on any major book site, if you just put in, "Successfully Navigating Your Parent's Senior Years". And star Bradbury is going to come up. Whether it's Indie Books, or Barnes and Noble, or Books a Million, or Amazon. You can also go to my website, which is just www.starbradbury.com. And there's a book link at the top on the menu, you can click on that. And it'll give you all the links just take you to whichever book site is your preference. Plus, it has a link if you're buying multiple books, if for somebody out there that's buying more than five books, they can buy the book at a discount, if they're buying it to give to family members or to use as an educational tool. So plus, I do have to say that I have a Resources tab, J, on my website, and it has lots of free resources that you can use, some that go beyond the book in terms of helping people find information.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:24:54  
Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, I enjoyed this. I love to say Alzheimer's is heavy, but we ain't got to be. That's the way I end of every podcast. Trying to say, you know, as a family caregiver, we have to keep it light. They may keep it heavy in the world, in the halls of the research facilities, and hospitals all around the world. But we are with our LO's, or our LO's are in our hearts every moment of every day, they are not members, they are not files. They are not somewhere in the cloud. They are in our hearts, whether they live with us or not. And all of that. My grandfather, my mom's father also had Alzheimer's. And that was my first, that was my initiation, I guess with the disease. I was a caregiver with him, but with him, I was, you know, my mom and her siblings were the first line of defense. And then I came in, I think I had like a, as I recall, back then I had a shift maybe every other week, I had a night shift with him. So I I saw enough. And I was involved, but I wasn't a decision maker.

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:26:33  
I was told what to do. Now it is all on me. When I don't do it, it won't get done. So there's a very big difference. But anyway, I want to say thank you so very much on behalf of everybody here at the Parenting Up family. We wish you the best with this book and whatever you... wherever it is that you go to communicate this passion around aging successfully. Who doesn't want to do that? My grandfather, my mom's dad used to say all the time, "Nobody wants to get old, but the other option is to die young. Who want to do that?"

INTRO - J Smiles:  1:27:22  
The Snuggle Up, number one, no matter what stage your LO is in. No matter if your parent has not even been diagnosed with any form of dementia. No matter if your LO already is your angel. There is someone in your life who can benefit from Star's book. From the information you've heard in this episode. You can pour into a living person, a senior. It will help you heal, it will help you grow. Number two, caregivers, you plan to age successfully for your damn self. Do not let whatever you have experienced as a caregiver, whatever you are learning as a part of the Parenting Up community, slipped through your fingers. This journey is not happening to you., it's happening for you. Let's learn how to live better and die well. Let's have a good death. Hell yeah. If anybody on this planet deserves to die well, it's caregivers. Number three, did you drink half of your body weight in ounces today? Go ahead. Count it up. Think about it. Breakfast, lunch. Refrigerator. Yeah. Okay, gym. All right. Okay, J, what do you even need. If you weigh 140 pounds, half of your body weight in ounces is 70 ounces of water. Not liquid, water. And he really want to get sweet with it. Not sweet like sugar, meaning like Gucci, golden, spicy, hot Make it  Good. Win an extra metal, get a gold star, put a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt. And if you didn't, tomorrow is a new day, okay? You religious, tomorrow's a new day, Amen? Let's get it that's it for now. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe for continuous caregiving Tips, Tricks, trends, and truth. Pretty, pretty please with sugar on top share and review it too. I'm a comedian Alzheimer's is heavy, but we ain't got to be.