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Aug. 3, 2020

Caregivers Need Parental Controls Too!

Caregivers Need Parental Controls Too!

J Smiles moves swiftly to shed light on a normalized bias in the United States that really irks her. The legal marginalization of the elderly. She gives examples of how lawmakers and policy pushers have not included Alzheimer's sufferers in their protective based legislations. She parallels television parental controls for minors and seeks the same progressive choices for caregivers. 

Ever the storyteller, and always with levity, J Smiles paints a picture of the immediate harm currently experienced by Zetty and offers real options for solution. 

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J Smiles:

It was a glorious sunny day that Zetty and I went for a walk. Now for us at this stage a walk pretty much means we're going to the mailbox, the equivalent of five yards. We get to the mailbox, we meander, we turn around. We point out a few petunias. We point at a few trees, wave at neighbor, look at a car, point at the sky, walk back to the house. Yay, we got exercise filled our lungs with air. Get back in the house, get mom settled on the couch in her room. Go in the kitchen, I'm making us a midday snack it's looking good, which is something like, like uh some chicken salad, some grapes, something like that. I'm heading back upstairs and I hear my mom say "oh no, oh no, oh no, no, no." And it gets louder and louder and louder- "JG JG oh no, oh no." Now I don't hear a fall but she's getting louder and louder and then I hear "oh no (slapping sound) oh no." So I am bumbling, stumbling upstairs with the tray in my hand trying not to drop the food, but running as fast as I can I get in. She's watching a commercial of the lady with the I'm falling and I can't get up. My mama is shocked and concerned by the lady with the I'm fallen and I can't get up, seriously. Now what am I supposed to do? My mom is distraught over this television commercial. Parenting Up caregiving adventures with comedian J Smiles is the intense journey of unexpectedly being fully responsible for the well being of my mom. 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.


Hi, this is Zetty. I hope you enjoy my daughter's podcast. Is that okay?

J Smiles:

Today's episode- caregivers need parental controls too. Being a caregiver is tough. We know that. Knowing that your ello has Alzheimer's, any form of dementia is tough going. In my case is that he has Alzheimer's, there's no cure. The majority of people in society don't understand the disease. They don't know how to interact with her. She's already marginalized. So in order to protect her, I really have to keep her in a bubble. It's very difficult to have my mom out in public. I've learned the hard way over the years that oftentimes the safest thing to do is to have her in very private settings around a limited number of people. Psychologists, doctors, the clergy told me have her in safe environments, keep her protected. Well, what's more protected than home? OMG Oh, my goodness, I didn't know that I had to protect her from television. Seriously, I mean, I knew I needed to be careful if we walkin the mall because people going to be running through the mall trying to get to the store before they close. I know I have to be careful driving because people are driving fast, they're honking the horn. Like who's going to come up with the little sign that says, hey dementia patient on board or ALZ adult on board? Like you know how they have that little thing that says baby on board and a lot of people actually do drive a little more carefully around the car that says baby on board or driving students. They don't honk as loudly around you or swerve in front of you as aggressively and flick you off. Can we get some of those kind of bumper stickers? But anyway I'm kind of prepared for that. I gotta let y'all know. I wasn't prepared for stuff like my mom being shocked out of her wits with the I've fallen and can't get up lady on the commercial. My mama didn't know that that lady is an actor playing a role. She thinks that lady is really hurt. She startled not to mention these infomercials. I don't know if you've seen it recently, but there is a very disturbing heart wrenching infomercial around donations for Jews that are in eastern Russia. Now here comes the hard part that might sound funny, but I'm not trying to be funny. A lot of them look like my family members on my mama's mama side, they look very Creole for anybody who's not from the United States. Creole in the United States, they are the people down there in Louisiana that are a mixture of Italians and French and enslaved Africans. They look just like all my great great grandmama and them. So my mom is looking at me and she's like JG we have to help them and I'm like uhh, but I can't change the channel because that's the Game Show Network. That is the safest network by in large of what we can watch. I certainly can't put the news on because everything there is shocking politics and murder. Why? Why are those the only options my mama doesn't need to know who was killed today? She does not know any of those people and to be quite honest, if she knew them she wouldn't remember. Badump bump. Okay, that might have been tasteless, but that was a taste mouse joke. an animal lover, we're allergic, right,. We've never owned an animal. Neither one of us separate or together. But she's like "JG Oh, my goodness where is that? Who is that? Who did that?" She does have a heart and now she's anxious and she's stressed at the certain periods of time at the 6pm at the 10pm, feel like it happens right after dinner and these things are on a loop. Where they are just trying to pull at the heart really what I think is of seniors of the old people who else is watching Game Show Network in the United States. It's the old people, they know that they're trying to get these people with the senior citizen checks, that's what I think. But what I do know is it affects my mother in a way that is, in my opinion, unfair and unreasonable. And I don't have any control over it and I don't like it. I'm paying for this TV, this TV ain't free. Okay, this cable ain't free. And again, I want to make sure that I'm saying these causes are worthy. The Jews that are struggling in eastern Russia, dog that are dying, and these very sick the little kids, the Shriners Hospital, St. Jude hospital, my goodness, absolutely 19 cents a day. According to the commercials for 19 cents a day we can eradicate everything that ever happened to any kid that's sick. However, when those commercials come in loop every 30 minutes, my mama cannot finish her meal because she won't continue chewing. She stops and stares she stymied she can't articulate what she's feeling. But my mother's always had a big heart, she has always cared for a person who struggling, for a person characterized as the least of these. She's always had a soft spot for children, for the elderly, for those who have medical needs, and somewhere in there, even with the Alzheimer's, that thing gets touched, and she can't articulate it but she's disturbed. And I can't just change the channel, change the channel to what a news station, reality TV, then people are cursing, grabbing their crotch, a music video, that doesn't work. Or if it's a television program that actually is a series she can't follow that because it's too much of a plot and then that sends it into a do loop because she's actually trying to follow the commentary, which creates a ton of confusion. That's not worth it. So then I just kind of turn the volume down. I try to grab a magazine, throw that in her face. Okay, not really throw in a face but toss it gently. Try to get her to read some fast and we're kind of stuck now with just the Oprah Magazine. We used to be able to read a lot of magazines but magazines now you can't trust them either. They have so many ads in these magazines and the ads are all over the place for erectile dysfunction and my mother is reading and she's like "JG for penile replacement surgery call, JG, Do you know what that is?" And sometimes guys, listen, I don't know if she's following it or not. But I don't want to say that word back to my mama, she's still my mama know what I'm saying, and sometimes it's just what I can't take. So pretty much the magazine is Oprah Magazine and the television station is the Game Show Network because at least the show that comes on is going to be a game show. The game shows are not connected. I'm already confined to one stupid channel and now within that channel I'm having to mute between commercials, this is ridiculous. Okay, totally ridiculous. Let's not even get into the pharmaceutical commercials Zetty does not understand. My mother does not ascertain. I love saying that word because that's a word she still uses, Zetty uses ascertain and immensely a ton still to this day. My mom does not ascertain that these people are actors, all she knows is that there's this person who looks kind and healthy and sweet, who all of a sudden is just walking down the street happy. And then 30 seconds later, they're sad and crying and in the hospital, and then somebody is holding their hand and they like they're on their last leg. And then you're hearing loss of breath, diarrhea, possible death, and she looks at me and she's like death. And I'm like, Whoa, that's a side effect that she's like side effect. And I don't know if the word death or side effect are registering with her or not. But she's looking at me and repeating the words with a level of negative energy that gives me enough pause to be disgusted with the pharmaceutical industry for putting that commercial on the Game Show Network. And then of course, every few months, every 18 months, something like that. It's time for us to vote, then there are tons of political ads. At a minimum, it doesn't even matter with my mother is Republican or Democrat. Obviously, she can't be voting for both tickets, correct. The fact that she's homebound,I mean there's certain parts of certain elections she's not voting for at all. But yet and still she's having to hear all of this caustic, negative mudslinging, and the number of times God does she looks at me and she's like "JG Is that true? Did she say that? Did he do that?" And she doesn't know the players but she does understand the tone the facial expression of the people talking and the words they're using. She can understand the tone she understands happy she understands angry, you know, I mean, she ain't crazy she just has Alzheimer's. Commercials about upcoming television shows and commercials about commercials that's telling us about the commercials that going to tell us about the TV show that's coming later, about reality shows that talk about murder and crime so basically fake murder. She doesn't understand that that's fake murder. So again, JG (gasp) when did that happen? Maybe it's something about the pope getting killed, well listen we're Catholic it ain't funny about the pope getting killed not to my mama not never. You don't know what commercials coming up. There's no trailer preview of the commercial coming up. There's no rating guide for commercials to tell you what's coming up is a PG is a PF is an FTQO357 is this dementia friendly? It's nothing like that, so then I'm just left picking up lunch off the floor because the I've fallen and I can't get up lady has startled my mom. The same way parents can control the television that their kids watch. I as a caregiver should be able to control the commercials that come on for my mother. Until we have a cure for Alzheimer's, let's make sure that the environment that Alzheimer's/dementia sufferers live in is more comfortable, more loving, more sensitive. This podcast is all about Alzheimer's awareness, finding a cure, raising funds, making life better for those suffering with the disease and supporting caregivers. And on that note, I got a little bit of how we can make this better right now by pushing our lawmakers. In the United States we have the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. Basically it decides what can be said on television that does not have anything to do with commercials but this is the television shows. According to fcc.gov the federal law lets parents filter the content control the time, pause t e internet, block websites, con rol user ratings PG, triple x ,and specific shows. Fcc.gov g es on to say obscene things are never allowed, ha that's ques ionable, but indecent and profa e speech can be broadcast on TV nd radio between 10pm and 6am be ause it is presumed that ids are asleep. Well, I'ma ell you right now, that stateme t alone lets me know that no dvocate for Alzheimer's or deme tia was involved with th policy discussion because 10p to 6am is prime time for my mama and tons of Alzheime 's/dementia patients indecent a d profane speech is not good f r them either. You might be sayi g J Smiles but what abo t commercials because that's wh t you keep fussing about righ ? That is governed by the FTC, t e Federal Trade Commissio , because typically commercia s somebody is selling somethi g they trying to get some mon y from you. I love this quote by a former United States Supre e Court Justice Wendell Holmes, s it relates to scientist , activists and lobbyists, who a e often the ones quoted to suppo t the validity of whatever thi product and service that s supposed to make our liv s better and why we should buy i . Former justice Holmes sa d prophecy based upon imperfe t knowledge is the best we can s y in commercials because nobod can ever be certain that any o these claims are correct. Al you're trying to do is predic the future, but predicting t e future is a very, very cost y exercise. These prescripti n drugs, these requests or donations, these infomerci ls that are heart wrenching and re dramatic are triggers that we should avoid for people w th Alzheimer's and dement a. According to Alzheimers.org, anxiety and agitation is very real for those suffering with Alzheimer's. According to AHCANCAL.org, which is a long name for the assisted living national organization, there are close to 29,000 assisted living facilities with over 1 million licensed beds in the United States alone. According to care.com, we got about 16,000 nursing homes with about 1.7 million beds. If we look at those numbers we're talking about close to 3 million people in facilities, fragile people in facilities that has nothing to do with VA care people who are in long term rehabilitation centers, but may go home at some point or people like my mother who are at home or with a loved one if nothing else, there is a financial win here. Maybe we set up something called like the silver care commercials or caregiving commercial content if parents can have a federal law that allows them the right to control what their kids can see how come I can't have the right to control the content of the commercials that are available to my mom. I'm not saying that we get zero commercials but hell I'm paying for the television that comes into my house, let me choose. If I can get select the size paper towels, why can't I get select a psychic? I only want commercials that are happy, upbeat, and have babies laughing. Hey, give me all the Huggies, Pampers, and baby food commercials that you can stand. Don't give me nothing sad about nobody dying, no dying dogs. I don't need nobody in war and nobody's famine. I'm sorry not at this house that needs to be somebody else's cross the bear. When my mama was healthy, she gave thousands to the St. Jude hospital, why you bsing, I cut big old checks to them and to the Catholic Church and a whole lot of other philanthropists. We don't need that commercial coming across these airwaves no more, it ain't nothing personal against the kids. But all I'm saying is like (laughing) why we going to protect these kids more than we are protecting elderly, vulnerable people, real talk. We don't even know these kids like that. Yo, all right, these kids are two years old, three years old, seven years old, we don't know if they're gonna grow up to be total a-holes (laughing) and selfish little nitwits, right. My mama has been good to me. She has been fantastic and loving to me my entire life. She'd been good to everybody she's come in contact with and all I'm trying to do is not let her have a meltdown over the lady who fairly can't get up, that's it, that's not too much to ask. All these kids are gonna grow up and cuss and have sex anyway. If we can protect them this hard and have this many controls at the disposal of their parents, I believe It is fair and just and reasonable for me and any other caregiver who wants it to have said controls over the commercials and any other disturbing media that could inadvertently pop up on a channel that you're watching on television in your home. I mean, I know I don't have kids, but pound for pound, and adult who's lived, we already know what they stand for. Pound for pound, we don't really even know these kids. These kids, they 1,2,3,4,5 maybe they 11,12 years old, they don't have a track record yet. But our loved ones that have lost cognitive control that we're just trying to give a soft, easy passage way these last few moments on Earth, we know who they are, who they were, and standing up for them deserves. In my opinion, at least the same amount of energy and protection as a kid who we're not even sure what kind of life they're about to live, AH, that's what I'm saying. Caregivers, we need parental controls too. The snuggle up number one, what environmental changes are in your control right now that can reduce the anxiety that your ello faces? Is it music, lighting, commercials, radio, maybe it's certain visitors, maybe it's a certain caregiver that you've hired, maybe if the church that you go to pay attention to when your ello gets agitated, don't ignore it don't play it off as they're being dramatic or overreacting. Yes, they are super sensitive. They have a neurological degenerative disease. Number two elected political officials work for you your tax dollars pay their bills, call them, write them, send them an email, they are all on Twitter, all on social media. Let them know, lobbyists get paid to listen to your preferences. We are also a large body of voters just because we're constituents representing a vulnerable class of adults doesn't give us less passion and power. Let's let them know that we want our loved ones protected from these jarring television commercials that are upsetting, let's do it. Number three, our Parenting Up community is expanding family on Monday evenings at 9pm Eastern Standard Time in the USA. I get to have a live video interactive conversation with you on getvokal.com, g groovy e elephant t Tom v victory o Oscar k kite l love.com, getvokal.com. Just go on the homepage, you'll see the Parenting Up logo,it's a free subscription. You come on, I get to see you, you get to see me. We get to chat it up, talk about anything caregiving. I'm excited about the partnership and it's a really cool way to expand and continue this conversation all around the world. Every new concept discussed in this episode will be in the show notes, look for the link as well there will be a link for our email list. That way you can keep up with everything Parenting Up and Jsmiles, 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.