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"We're Doing Aging Wrong." A conversation with author, Stephanie Erickson

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2020 11:59 am

"We're Doing Aging Wrong." A conversation with author, Stephanie Erickson

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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November 22, 2020 11:59 am

Stephanie Erickson ( MSW LCSW), draws on her 25+ year career to offer easy to understand guidance to millions of family caregivers of aging loved ones.   Her new book is: 


Building a team to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support as we age

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Christmas gift why not want chicken have a couple of chicken maybe it's not the get for your family but it is the perfect gift for poor family ninja chicken can break the cycle of poverty for poor family yes chicken chickens and provide nourishment for family and they can sell mosaics at the market for income when you donate a chicken or any other gospel for Asia one her percent of what you give goes to the field and get the ball went gospel fundraiser to support family and Jesus family this Christmas, give them six explanation see chickens and camping.

I chose all about strengthening those 65 million people here in the United States who are serving is caregiver whether security to global special-needs child trauma somebody who has had some form of alcoholism or addiction issues, mental illness, traumatic brain injury. Whatever the impairment, there's always a caregiver.

There's about 8 million of them in Canada is important for you to remember why we talk about candidate because of the author with me today to talk about her new book and her lengthy practice in working with families of dealing with all kinds of the first particular Alzheimer's is where she has lost special to you and but before I bring her on.

I always have to introduce himself made with play of the man who's got flowing mane that causes no pain. He is John Butler. The count of muddy disco John how you feeling oh I am just grand.

As always, how you find yourself you know I'm sitting on a rolling pin that Libby exploit its claim yeah have I have guidance. I truly I truly am sitting on a rolling pin because my physical therapist told me to do that after my knee surgery.

It got the muscles all were really pretty knotted up and she said looking to sit on a rolling pin when you're sitting because that's what hurts the most web city said that will help defuse a special song literally sitting on a rolling pin and well it is we do defer to experts when we have you know that it's just an odd sensation and I did by broadcast yesterday. Standing up, just as my legs are in severely fidgeting around. Don't take it personal but anyway you a very special guest today and she, her publicist reached out to me and they they wanted to talk about her new book coming out and she had me at social worker because I love social workers a love what they do.

I love your heart the passion and their skill set there in the trenches with people. She's bringing this lengthy career as a social work at a licensed clinical social workers well and her name is Stephanie Erickson in her new book is called plan for aging well she's in Qubec and she's from California but she seemed married into Qubec and now she's calling us from Montral and were glad to have her with this and the Steffi's welcome welcome to the show. Her well both law that's about all I know that my fridge is weak.

The status is pretty good and I can speak a few other things and I know how to say where's the bathroom in 27 languages. No, I got this new bookplate of rage will want to get that just a moment to listen about your practice about your background got you this and what brings you to this place today where you are going to talk about this.

How did you get into this in the first and only actually because I had wanted to be her highschooler and when I lived in University. I got a job at a group home foster kid account became very interested in their experience and why getting in the way of ending able to study and learn. Learning more about family dynamics and impoverished neighborhoods in all of the things that like these can't filing into the system and when I went off and got my Masters work for 20 years, no, I guess 17 years in California still quite a long time. There in like a different environment protection. I work as a therapist I worked with you highschooler's palliative care did not fit violent homeless shelter a lot of work and then you said that somebody and at the Montral and have been here for 15 years I've been focusing on individuals that have dementia and working like a person and their family. So the social worker component came first before the counselor part of yeah yeah I mean I get when I was doing my internship. Yeah, they were both social work-based. I guess what and then I was already light to be there but I wasn't really doing that in the beginning and then when I went off on my own. I have found California and I went counseling I had a bunch of different contracts with different nonprofit agencies only feeling out there now in certain locations and that's when I really started as a therapist but you know when your social worker even when you're therapist your approach. I think a different not the same traditional psychotherapy.

I really have always look at the person in their environment. I've never really been about you only talking to a person about just their own internal experience because when we are in a community whether we want to be or not, were impacted by everybody around. I felt no matter what kind of work that down. It's always been my approach will have a brother who is a licensed social work, and I have great deal of respect for you and then my mother was in the social work that I've also got one closest longtime friends MSW master social work. I have I have a great deal of respect for the work that you do and so when you and I started talking about this was really quite moved by your background. All that you do. What prompted you to write this book and we can set that up. You started writing in 2013 and then raising family and kids and everything else got in the way that all said this thing came back with a sense of urgency in 2019 what happened and what prompted you to to to take on this particular book topic and everything else that you're doing something in your practice, what happened was just the ongoing frustration that will become a part independent like actually have some headspace to think about something other than just now feeding my kids taking into their activities.

American just doing my regular dated Jake job department was just I began to have some space in my brain and then just started feeling compelled back the direct work I was doing one-on-one with families.

Although it wonderful and I'm very satisfied with it and I don't helping people on a one-on-one basis for me. Just it wasn't enough because the system has. I said I go with the person in environment the system in which people are supported and cared for the medical and healthcare system is lacking in so many ways so I can only do so much with people one on one, because they were stuck with in this system that wasn't functioning line on talking about the US to actually just a Canadian-based bucket about North America and knows the no nationalities. There's no wall between caregiver person countries. You don't have to have a passport to go to gear give you good as the. It is no respecter of anybody, any nationality, any religion anything else were all in this is somewhat read the water over or be one so you are wise in your approach on this. Did you did you feel that there was in your practice with the people. Your treaty did you feel that you were it was it was almost an alien concept to create this understanding that there in this with the team approach through this with the group, but that that they're not just out there lone wolf was that something that that surprise a lot of people in your practice that to realize that what happened there, partly because caregivers tend to feel like they are in it alone and they feel like they should have all the answers.

There's a lot of shame and embarrassment. For whatever reason for people asking for help, we see that a lot in the area of addiction in the area of mental illness or when people are victims of domestic violence or not. Somehow the shame of it with struggling and so I think when I had my approach with people telling them they're not in alone and in fact there being neglected and families might assist in that surrounding them by everyone. Not getting on the same page communicating with one another proactively setting up caregiving plans that include everybody equally and I think it was really smart from the caregiver like finally someone gets it someone in hearing me and not only in understanding how we execute it and put into place. Yeah, I would concur that is a caregiver myself that there is a sense of embarrassment to ask for help because you feel like you should be able to do this since of embarrassment of your situation. This got so out of control and support. Been there, done of the crash test W caregivers could fail at it. I feel that it and and so what of the term for myself is to help speaking to them to give people hopefully a little bit more courage to raise that here to say hey look at helping and you started off with this book and you one of the things you say this book is hey work were doing aging wrong. Yeah well unpack that impact and by the way if we have to go to break will just come back just unpack the first line my buckler doing aging wrong and what I mean by that is why we have an insular approach to aging.

We look at aging in a negative context. There's a lot for ages and out there people don't see the value in an individual as they get older we shut people aside just when they need it the most. Have them go to a long-term care and I'm not against residence at all but the residence away their structure. People are kind of deserted once they're there and they don't allow for healing and coming to terms with our life and our expectations of life and what we've done wrong of what we've done right and helping on people process all of that was forgetting all of that work is focusing on. Here's an ailment. Here is an element but surgery. Let's take this medication and then were done there so much more to who we are as individuals. So my book really is about looking at a person heart, body, mind, soul, and and seeing all the different things that we need as a person. As we age and all of those areas and how can we create a team approach to make sure that all parts of the cared for will servicing the trend that if you reach a certain age, there seems to be a growing number of people. Seems like you're useful to society is over and reject the night it all for a productivity-based everything is about letting you produce see how much money do you have anything. Can you buy when you're in the work. How many clients did you see how many emails that you sent out you know how many we did have you built all productivity-based and social media is not helping because it's all about the outside appearance and what work is not even who we are as human beings were so much more readily really got away charge for nature as a human being at the community and people get older much in them that they could be offering us if we help to pull that out of them and they become more frail and vulnerable will it also brings brings it out of us to kill people often there's nothing like hearing for somebody with severe disabilities for couple decades to expose the gunk in your own soul and I live up to that myself personally but I also know that there is nothing like doing this to expose some wonderful things about you as a person and life in general. In the beauty of the joy in the opportunities we have to experience those things in ways we would necessarily do unless we slow down and moved at the speed of the slowest member of the unit that's often the elderly. In this case, and we we got this hurry up, hurry up, hurry up mentality in aging is going to dictate to us what ever what her children were born. People used to say, your children will train you on with the sleep but as we age were were going to train others on when to function as well because we move at the speed of our slowest member and and so this is been a is you if you jump into this thing. You you've approached a lot of different topics you were to go through those systematically, but I wanted to just give up, to set the table of why you got it this was going on in your approach I believe is the extremely important one that you're incorporating so much more than okay. Here's how you care.

Give it I don't like books like this. Here's how you caregiver, because I think everybody's caregiving to be unique to that person is.

But here's the concept here's the precept here's the big get the 30,000 foot view of philosophy that you know yeah here's the philosophy of the love that what you've done here and open this up to the top of this moment Qubec break open the cared about was Stephanie Erickson in Montral. She is called plan for aging wills building a team physical, emotional, and spirit as Kate and she's got more to do with this website is planned for aging will not go.

I will be like.

Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you. I'm Gracie Rosenberger in 1983 I experienced a horrific car accident, leading to 80 surgeries in both legs and became I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me. But over time the questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God and understanding along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish standing without more than a dozen years we been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people on a regular basis we purchase ship equipment and supplies and with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison. We also recycle parts from donated lambs. All of this is to point others to Christ. The source of my hope and strength, please visit standing to learn more and participate in lifting others that standing I'm Gracie. I am staining with hope. I got an object by the way.

She's a little more right above the way of running dialogue with everybody on Facebook that were streaming the sugars were trying at this level is what I try this for your help. My friend Hank says I'm over modulating a light know what that means flyswatter not modulate a change, please, you know, so I have over modulating of sitting on a rolling pin just deal with that yellow dog was Stephanie Erickson, literally sitting on a rolling bit of sitting on pins and Stephanie are just a social worker, licensed social worker.

She's got a new book plan for aging will building a team to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support as we age. All right, Stephanie talk about aging heart and soul.

Well, as I was saying earlier, we are more than just a body we are deep, complicated individuals like you were saying earlier caregiving can share life. You know our demons and also all of our strength in all of our love and joy that we have right brings out the worst in the best and that's who we are, what complicated people that have a lot of internal processes processes and spiritual needs that need to be attended to. As we age is where aging, we begin to reflect back on our life and think about all the accomplishments that we've done we think about our request we think about a record were trying to make sense of the world like your wife was saying.

And in that PC just had at the break.

You know what what what was term meaning in her life. Now after this accident blinded it happen and how could she make something good out of the spiritual process and we forget about treating and caring for people and that part of them as we age and so this chapter in my book clearly outlines the way in which work neglecting that piece of people and then get some simple and easy things that we can do to just make sure that we don't forget that part of a person beautifully said you said what you are writing this talk a lot authors who rinsed with and sometimes it's a cathartic experience for people who have been a caregiver for couple years.

We want to write a book about support your bringing 1/4 century of experience into this. This is not something that was a kind of a cathartic experience is for you to write this book. This was you taking a vast amount of knowledge is what I am going to steer people in the past.

This will help them. What surprised you about this. Through this process, or just did anything surprise you with yeah I was constantly surprised no cathartic in the same oil that caregivers write their story and it was different was it was clinical. It's not the textbook that you would find on a social class, yet it's not a textbook. No, no, not at all, and in fact, now that you're talking to me. You can probably hear my voice when you're reading it sounds like were sitting and having coffee or drink a glass of wine and having a discussion and I wanted to come across are some tips and things like that in there, but it's not a how-to book, Peter is more of a philosophy which is what I think John was aware that he said earlier, the thing that I think I learned the most about myself. How insecure really, still am, because once I was done. It felt so good writing. It then once I was done and how to start sharing it first with an editor and proofreader then send it out to what you called beta readers which know five people who give me a really really intense feedback people that I trust in the field or friends. And then I send it out to more people to endorse the book and it was like sitting on not willing pin but and he told waiting, waiting for people feedback and scared to death that it wouldn't be well with Steve, and I still have under be very honored to be paid on stuff every time I open my email like I got gently thinking about how horrible the book is I'm I'm really quite insecure about it and I saw well I yeah I did I did because I like you had like 40 others upgrade self consistent feedback. You have to consider that I always worked really hard internally to grow and evolve as a person in my emotional development and I thought I would start further along myself and it turns out I'm not clear as to the public. Yeah yeah this thing that you made that was that you poured everything into this is not really, the subject show or whatever but it's it's very interesting to me whenever we do this just as as a creative person or as an academic or as an artist or whatever when you really just really try at something you're putting your hundred percent effort into this and then you gotta let other people see that's just terrifying. Sometimes it's just the worst little jerk by the experience.

You know that when people receive it well when you get that sort of feedback that says oh yes now next time I can be even better at this.

Will your quarter century of experience through this is not like something you decided hey this will be great. You know you your drawing on a lot of hard working as a listen. You talk about things that you are involved in is a noticeably social worker.

Social workers I would not want to see a lot of social because of the things that they have with this and see in the times you have to drive home clinching your steering wheel little extra hard with hot tears in your eyes because of things that you could see taking that you punch through this and you've given a plan for folks when the reader finishes this book. What is the goal that you have what what what what what you feel you reasonably expect the readers know when they finish your book. Well, what I hope and what I hope what what I think. Don't know what I hope are two different things.

But I think they'll know that they need to plan now they need to have conversations now with their family about what their hopes are their dreams, their fears, their expectation about aging and putting that plan in place and communicating it. That's what II think they'll know and they'll know that they need to include a lot of people in that plan. They can't just write it down on a legal document. I could tuck it under the door. I took it in majority now that's what I think now now like concretely what I hope them to be honest I hope that there inspired to do something bigger, so to talk to other people about the way in which were approaching aging as a society, the way that weekly cost off older adults as if they don't have any more value that we see them as disposable and that because this is how we approach aging. All of the priorities in our society.

Don't go to older adults to go to other things can tell when that's not a priority for funding go there and lacking in all of our biggest fears about aging country inspired and was going on but I think this is accomplished. If you have done will and you certainly inspired us today and appreciate your insights, but you're always welcome on the show you have a patient and you just really were wonderful people to go out your website. Plan for aging plan for aging mother, the book is that all souls up now. Right on or you you hope your your help somebody walk for the first time I've had the privilege many times through our organization. Standing with when my wife Gracie gave up both of her legs follow this horrible Rick that she had as a teenager and she tried to save them for years and if it just wouldn't work out. And finally she relinquished up and thought well this is that I'm now heavy legs anymore. What can God do with that and then she had this vision for using prosthetic limbs as a means of sharing the gospel to put legs on her fellow amputees and that's what we been doing now since 2005 was standing with work in the West African country of Ghana and you can be a part of that through supplies through supporting team members through supporting the work that were doing over there.

You could designate a limb. There's all kinds of ways that you could be a part of giving the gift that keeps on walking and standing would you take a moment ago understanding and see how you can give they go walking and leaping and praising God. You could be a part of that it standing as a caregiver.

Think about all the legal documents you need power of attorney will, living wills and so many more then about such things as disputes about medical bills. What if instead of showing out hefty fees for a few days of legal help paid a monthly membership and got a law firm for life. Well, we're taking legal representation and making some revisions in the form of accessible, affordable, full-service coverage. Finally, you can live life know you have a lawyer in your back pocket who at the same time is empty. It's called legal shield and its practical, affordable and a must for the family caregiver visit caregiver that's caregiver

Isn't it about time someone started advocating for you on independent associate

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