The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Making Caregiving More Manageable And Efficient With Rosa Everson

June 06, 2023 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 164
Making Caregiving More Manageable And Efficient With Rosa Everson
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Making Caregiving More Manageable And Efficient With Rosa Everson
Jun 06, 2023 Episode 164
Cathy VandenHeuvel

Send Cathy a text:)

Interviewing other caregivers are one of the best parts of being a podcaster.  But this episode is EVEN BETTER.  When you hear how a caregivers takes her skills and talents and uses them to her advantage in caregiving, you see the positive impacts to her advantage.   Rosa Everson is a caregiver, retired teacher, professional organizer and a declutter coach.  She shares her  incredible journey of becoming her mom's primary caregiver after her mom suffered a stroke. Rosa opens up about the challenges she encountered while dealing with facilities, paperwork, and legalities, and offers valuable insights on making caregiving more manageable and efficient.

You'll walk away from this episode with valuable tools and a renewed sense of purpose.

You can learn more about Rosa by going to her website at  https://www.ahome4everything.com/

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send Cathy a text:)

Interviewing other caregivers are one of the best parts of being a podcaster.  But this episode is EVEN BETTER.  When you hear how a caregivers takes her skills and talents and uses them to her advantage in caregiving, you see the positive impacts to her advantage.   Rosa Everson is a caregiver, retired teacher, professional organizer and a declutter coach.  She shares her  incredible journey of becoming her mom's primary caregiver after her mom suffered a stroke. Rosa opens up about the challenges she encountered while dealing with facilities, paperwork, and legalities, and offers valuable insights on making caregiving more manageable and efficient.

You'll walk away from this episode with valuable tools and a renewed sense of purpose.

You can learn more about Rosa by going to her website at  https://www.ahome4everything.com/

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

Cathy:

Well, hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of the Caregiver Cup Podcast. Today I have the pleasure of interviewingom r f Everson Arizona she's a caregiver with phenomenal organization skills and talent that I know you'll appreciate. She in this episode she shares many tips, insights and this tool that's really impressive that saves her time, stress and money when she takes her loved ones to appointments, and I just can't wait for you to hear it.

Cathy:

Rosa has worked through several huge obstacles at the start of her caregiving journey And the first part of the episode she's going to share her her story. Her mom had a stroke and remember she lives in Arizona and her mom lived in California. I'm so amazed at how she had to deal with the facilities that her mom was at in California And then she moved her mom back to her hometown in Arizona and moving her mom dealing with skilled nursing facilities, figuring out the legalities and the paperwork that on top of it. She did it with grace And I can't wait for you to hear her story. In addition to caregiving, she'll share her years of experience as an elementary school teacher. She's a wife and she's a fur baby, mom of eight fur babies, four dogs and four cats And in addition to that, she's a small business owner. She's a professional organizer and a declutter coach And what's really unique and why I've been asking her to be on my podcast episode is because she takes her professional organizing skills and declutter coaching and she takes those and puts those into our caregiving situation. And that's what I want you to hear today. I want you to just take tidbits and ideas and her skill sets and take some of that and use that to ease your stress and your overwhelm and make life easier for you. So, without further ado, i want to introduce you to Rosa Everson and the podcast interview today. Enjoy. Well, everyone, we are in for a treat today. We're in for a great treat. First of all, welcome to the caregiver cup podcast episode.

Cathy:

Today I have a guest interview. I get super excited when I have guest interviews who are active caregivers because I think there's something special about the things that we can learn, the tips that we can get and the insights we can get from other caregivers. Sure, we can get information from the medical industry and we can get information from everything else, but when we hear another caregiver, that's the gold that we can get. I met Rosa Everson, who we're going to hear from today. I met her through the caregiver cup circle, which is my online membership. I met her this year And there were some really, really tangible things that I took away from just having conversations with her and having Zoom coaching with her, and that is, rosa is really good at using her skill sets and her strengths in the caregiving environment, and it's going to be great.

Cathy:

Today I'm going to ask Rosa to share her caregiving history and how that came about, what she did before caregiving, and then I'm going to tap into all of those little things that she does, that she probably doesn't even think about, things that she does and how that really benefits her caregiving. Sure, rosa is going to share some of her challenges and struggles, but then, at the end, too, i want her to share that she does more than just caregiving. She's an entrepreneur. A lot of you listening do extra job responsibilities or work a nine to five job or run a business as well, and that's not always easy, but you figure it out, and I want Rosa to give some insights into that as well. So, without further ado, rosa, thank you for being a guest on the caregiver cup podcast. And let's just get to know you a little bit more.

Rosa E:

All right, great Thanks, kathy, for inviting me. I'm so happy to talk with you today. Yeah, my name is Rosa Eberson. I'm in, i'm just outside of Phoenix, arizona, and up until last year it was my husband and our eight pets no kids. So that's what happens with our kids. And then last year we added my mom into the household So she had a. She was living in California, so she was living out of state, and last year, last July, she had a stroke. Prior to that she was living by herself. My mom is one strong lady. She's had a lot of health issues, but she was living independently and, you know, taking care of things. But with the stroke, that changed things. So then I just stopped, dropped everything, like we do, and went to California, not knowing for how long. I packed for two days that ended up being two weeks, i didn't know what And then it just kind of grew from there. But we'll kind of add to that as we, as we talk.

Cathy:

Okay. Yeah So how old is your mom? She is 77. Yeah, I remember you with the circle membership, you sharing the fact that her California facility that she was in to go ahead and recover from her stroke was it good, Right? What did you experience?

Rosa E:

It was gosh, it was challenging. So she had her stroke and she was in the hospital for a couple nights And by the time I got to California she had already been discharged from the hospital into this skilled nursing facility to start rehab. So that's the. I met her when I got to California. That's worried, it was just not ideal And it was very hard to see because, you know, on top, she was there for the stroke but then you know she has other blood pressure and diabetic and there are other things going on.

Rosa E:

And I had been there probably two days And I tried to track down the nurse. You know, places aren't no places staffed as much as they want to be, so it was difficult to track somebody down. But I found somebody and asked her Hey, i'm concerned about my mom's blood sugar numbers, can you let me know what her recent one was? And she's like Okay, i'll get back to you, hang on. And then when they looked her up they're like Well, she's not. I just look at her chart and she doesn't. There's no notation that said that she's supposed to get her blood checked And all I can think of she's already been here two days And there's no.

Rosa E:

Maybe a little apprehensive. So one of the things that I'm I learned and keep learning is keep asking questions like assume nothing, like assume good intent, but still ask questions. So, and just seeing the challenges with staffing and other issues in the place where she was at, i just I told my husband because I kept calling him, and he's like, okay, well, again I had packed for two days. He's like, well, what are you having back? Like I have no idea Because honestly, i can't leave her here. So then that was a whole other bunch of concerns was how do I move her? She was out of state.

Cathy:

Yes.

Rosa E:

Yeah, i'm like, okay, it's out of state, it's a five mile drive in a car, obviously it's going to be longer and whatever transport she has. So I ended up finding a place. At the time that she was discharged. The only thing, the only special thing that she had was she still was on oxygen. So that was the consideration She had to be able to be on a stretcher And she had to be able to be hooked up to oxygen continuously. That was the only monitoring device at the time.

Rosa E:

So figuring out like, who does this? How does one get a family member out of state? So I was able to find somebody and get all that done, but then it was challenged with the logistics because we had to have certain signatures from the outgoing place. I obviously had to have a place that I was transporting her to, because she was going to go from skilled nursing facility to another skilled nursing facility. Thank goodness, for I don't even know everyone's official title, like senior care advisors. I don't know all these specialists that just advise people like me who have no clue And suddenly Thrust into this.

Cathy:

So I was asking.

Rosa E:

There were a couple of very key people who I just kept calling and texting and saying, okay, what facilities are available, Like here's where I live in Arizona, what places are close by that meet the needs of you know what the rehab that she needs at this point? So she gave me a few names and numbers and we called around and I learned that as a family member, you have a lot more, a lot more say, a lot more. You can do more than you thought. For example, like when it comes to finding the incoming place, the skilled nursing facility that she was going to be transported to, I tend to be like that little good girl, student and respect authority, which just means whatever answer you give me, I'll just say okay, and then I'll just take it and that's it.

Rosa E:

So I thought that the outgoing skilled nursing facility was the one that had to figure everything out. Okay, And then my advisor was like no, no, you can make phone calls, you can. You can call the other places in Arizona yourself. So even when the California place said, oh well, I'm transport, you know, I sent your mom's records to these three places to see if they had a bed, if they could accept her, whatever you can totally check up and verify, like call those Arizona places and say, Hey, did you receive this And which I did, And I'm like, okay, so that was one of the first times I realized, okay, I need to, Yeah, you were you learned, like the University of hard knocks of advocacy, right there, right, it was like hard knocks, being an advocate, being the voice, and I think that's probably one of the most shocking things for a lot of people that are going through that chaotic time and just learning to be the voice in of an advocate.

Rosa E:

Yes, So we've had. So then she was in California at that place for two weeks And then we got her transported. That was the scariest five hours, And then I had to wrap up everything for my mom. So she had been living by herself. So I would go gosh.

Rosa E:

I was at my mom in the facility And then the first couple nights I was in a hotel and the rest of the time I just stayed at her apartment and then was trying to pack up what I could And I was in a tiny car. So I'm like, okay, which items do I pack to take, which items do I just figure out what to do with, wrap up things with her rant and whatnot?

Cathy:

Wow, yeah, huge transition and being able to do that So fast forward, then is I know your mom now is living with you. When did that decision, when did you make that decision to move her in with you versus having her in a skilled nursing facility?

Rosa E:

Right. So she was in that skilled nursing facility here in Arizona. She was there probably two months, so then August and September. So she was released from there in September And then I thought, because again, your mom's your mom and you think she can do everything And she's like the little red hen, like I could do it myself. She is a tough lady.

Rosa E:

So in September she was not in that same place And I thought that I would need to find another place, another facility for her to go to, because in my head at that time she needs more care than what I can provide.

Rosa E:

Okay, because she was still getting, she was starting to get physical and occupational therapy to help her get out of bed and all that. So September, again I was looking, i was working with some different specialists and advisors, placement people to visit different local facilities And again, more things to learn, okay. So there are big facilities that have lots of services and are obviously bigger and can take more residents, and then, at least in Arizona, there are assisted living places that are run out of homes, that are like a residence, so they might take five to 10 people but it's out of a house. So I talked with my mom because, again, i'm trying to get her input and we visited one larger facility and one home and she got very intimidated by the larger facility And she's like no, i want to be in a home. Okay, so we looked in a home and we placed her in a place that only took five residents, okay, and I still, because it was so close to my house, i still visited every day.

Rosa E:

Because you get scared, yeah Yeah, and you want to see how things are going And it just wasn't. I didn't know what I expected, but what I? the services that I saw versus, compared to I guess what I thought I was expecting didn't match up. And at that point my mom was able to transfer. That was a big thing, right, she was no longer needed to be on oxygen, she was just taking her medication as normal, just pills. She was able to transfer in and out of bed. She was in wheelchairs but she was able to get up, not quite as much as she was able to prior stroke. She has weakness on her left side, but she can get up and about And the medical needs weren't as strong as they had been earlier.

Rosa E:

So, seeing what, how things were in the assisted living home, i now felt more comfortable to say you know what I think we can do, we can take care of you at home. And there were other issues too, because I know I'm guessing it's a liability for them. You know, obviously she's a fall risk. Yeah Right, weakness on one side, and although she was still getting outpatient, like they were going to her in the home to go continue occupational and physical therapy, she wasn't getting a whole lot of time to practice.

Cathy:

I suppose, yeah, cause they can't. They can't be one on one with her Right.

Rosa E:

They can't always be doing that And I thought, oh my gosh, i have seen already the amount of progress that she's made physically and the fact that I know I know I was reading like the first several months after a stroke are the you make the biggest gains And if she's not getting a whole lot of opportunity to move and to stand and to transfer, like, use it or lose it. I wanted her to practice, so I said, okay, we tried a month and let's be home. I have no idea what this is going to look like.

Cathy:

Good for you. Good for you Here we go.

Cathy:

I want to back up here and just ask you two questions for the listeners. How did you manage as a caregiver when your mom was at the nursing home or at the skilled nursing facility? What did you do as a caregiver? I know you said you visited every day, but are there any tips or advice that you have for a caregiver when they're, when they're not caregiving in their home, cause you're? we're going to get into that in just a second. Is there any suggestions or things? I know you had talked about making sure you knew had your point of contacts.

Rosa E:

Yes, let's see The. that's great. In that first facility. I had very basic tools, so it was literally a notebook and a pen And I was just making notes of like I would put the date and I would put things from. Some things were for myself, for example, those first few days, that first week that I saw.

Rosa E:

I was just seeing what I noticed from her Like a lot of notes were about her speech. That I mean obviously the physical, like I could see a lot of the physical issues. But in her speech, wow, there were so many differences. Like one day she could be very chatty and she spoke in complete sentences that made sense, and then the next day it was mostly short words and phrases and a combination of like it was physically difficult for her to speak sometimes And sometimes it was just, you know, she was searching for the word so hard.

Rosa E:

Like it was tiring for her because of some memory and then and all that.

Cathy:

So what I'm hearing is observe the patient right. Observe your loved one right.

Rosa E:

Yes, so observing her and keeping track of questions that I had written. So sometimes when I'm with her I would write down notes and I had like two column notes in my notebook So I would have on one side of the column it was my here's my question or here's what I want to know about, and then on the right I would leave space for my answer. When I finally got to talk to somebody, okay, okay, because I wanted to keep track of like is this the nurse that I'm talking to? Is this the therapist that I'm talking to? And then with the date on everything, like just at the top of the page, i just put the date And that way I could go back and see like, oh well, this person told me this, is that correct?

Rosa E:

Or sometimes, you know, you have different people, different times of the day, different shifts. They don't always have a chance to know what the other person has done or seen. And when she was in that first facility those first two weeks I was there at breakfast, i was there at lunch and I was there at dinner. Like I left in between, but I literally made three visits every day.

Cathy:

Those were vital days, though, yeah.

Rosa E:

Like making lots of notes.

Cathy:

Did you have a point of contact that you could call or talk to or access anything, or was it just pretty much you had to be there?

Rosa E:

I had it was. It had a point of contact. That was one of the issues that I had at that first facility was, if you called into the facility, whether you wanted to talk to them or whatever, it was one phone line literally. So there was one time where I wanted to speak I think it was in those first two days before I hadn't even driven there. So I wanted to talk to her in her room because I didn't know.

Rosa E:

Again, i didn't know what to picture. So in my head it's kind of like a hospital, like they might have a phone near their bed or something. So I asked to speak to them and it took a few calls and different people for me to contact to realize, oh well, this is a number for you to call. Okay Well, it's one phone line. And that one phone line was shared between the facts Sometimes it's a fax number and sometimes it's the number that you could call to get to a patient But then that it was, like you know, one cordless phone that among however many residents it was. So, needless to say, i never got through when I got to that line.

Cathy:

Wow, Wow, i was hitting my head going, oh my gosh. Yes, so I think those are just some good things, because I'm sure when then, when you looked at other facilities, you looked at communication as a big tool. And I'm just giving my Kathy opinion I think the skilled nursing facilities are broke in America. I just, i truly believe that there's probably some really great ones, but as a caregiver, it sounds like it could be even more work than if you had your mom at home in the later years or in the later recovery.

Rosa E:

So yeah, and I do want to mention that one of the huge, one of the biggest helps at that time was one of my aunts, one of my mom's sisters, because they had had another sister several years ago who had been in the same kind of you know situation And my other aunt had been in charge of her care and she had done that long distance also. So she already had a lot of experience. Good And thank goodness, and she's also in California. So she drove down for a few days and God bless her. She printed half the internet for me and just gave me stacks of papers and said okay, well, if it comes to Medicare, here's some phone numbers and websites And if you have questions and if you know and she's the one who told me if you have any local issues, contact your area agency on aging. I had never obviously didn't know anything about that. I don't know what that means, but okay, here's the place, here's the phone number. She gave me the address already. Nice, i did end up talking to them because of issues that concerns that I had with that first facility. Okay, but it was nice to know that.

Rosa E:

Again, if you're dropped in this situation and you have no idea where to go. You don't even know what questions to ask. Here's a place where you can go. I grab every pamphlet. I'm just looking and collecting like hungry, hungry hippo, yeah, all the resources, just so I can flip through. You know, when you're waiting somewhere and I flip through and say, oh, you know, here's if you have legal concerns, if you have, if you need a ride somewhere, if you have like, here's all these resources and that's great. But they're not great if you don't know about them.

Cathy:

Right, right, wow. Now let's thank you for all of that, because that's really really good, insightful information, and I think that I feel grateful that I have never been in that situation before, but I empathize with people that do, and I shouldn't say I haven't. We had my husband's dad was there for a short period of time, but now let's fast forward. Mom's coming into your home. You made that decision to have mom in your home. What did that entail for you to prepare for that?

Rosa E:

Wow, you know that's a huge question for you, but Well, it was kind of nice to have had that month of observing her in that residential assisted living.

Rosa E:

Okay, because that helped me see a few things that they had in place that I would want to or need to copy. Very basic things like I need to get my mom in the house, i need a ramp, and I had looked on a. I had asked on a local Facebook group, like, okay, wanting to move my mom in, she's a wheelchair bound Like can someone tell me who's ever put in a ramp? How would this be done? Cause I'm thinking of something permanent, right, like some concrete slab or something. And someone mentioned there were some things that I could just order on Amazon that were, you know, not temporary, but you know it's not a, it's not a big deal like you're pouring a concrete slab And so I was able to order a couple of those and have those in time, because between the time when I decided, okay, we're going to move mom in, to the time we actually moved her in, i want to say it was less than two weeks.

Cathy:

Oh, my goodness Yeah.

Rosa E:

So there wasn't a lot of time. So I was looking at like what are the very, very basic things literally getting her in the door, okay, wheelchair ramps. At that assisted living home They also had a call button, okay. So our house is not huge but it's, you know, spread out enough. It's not two story, but it's spread out enough where I wanted her to be able to reach me if she needs help. So I another the Amazon, you know bought another call button system. So that worked out really nicely. We were fortunate in that our house already had a lot of the grab bars and such in the bathroom.

Cathy:

Nice.

Rosa E:

So that was already, you know, by the toilet and in the shower and by the shower. So that was already set up. That was nice And my mom already had a shower bench and some of those other items and a walker that I brought back from her California apartment. So I think, just from just her memory right now, those were the very basic pieces, Yeah basic things.

Cathy:

That's a lot to prepare for to bring her in. but okay, mom is in the house now And tell us how that initial weeks went. when mom came, what did you feel like as a caregiver, what did you know? what did you experience caring for her?

Rosa E:

Oh my goodness, I should have looked back at my journal before. Oh yeah, Adding journaling has been helpful though.

Cathy:

That's awesome.

Rosa E:

What happened? some of the first things, well gosh at that time. Okay, so one of the other things that was going on at that time was that my husband was out of the country for work for a few months, during a good chunk of this time, so when she was part of her skilled nursing facility, and that first month or so of her being here in our house he was not even in the country.

Cathy:

Talking about stress.

Rosa E:

Yeah, which was stressful And, at the same time, a little bit of stress. I don't want to say it made things easier, but it kind of did, in the sense that I didn't feel like I'm ignoring my husband because of all the stuff that's going on with my mom, because there was so much time and effort there. So it was nice that I had that ability to just focus on what she needs and get things together. Oh yeah, a bed. At one point we had to get a hospital bed, but that was another like how do you do that with insurance and getting a doctor and yeah, so that was a whole other issue. So we had, like a temporary. we have a very firm sectional couch that we were using as a bed because that helped her, like, be able to transfer, since it wasn't so squishy. That helped her get in and out.

Rosa E:

Gosh, what else was at the beginning? Just figuring out our rhythms together? I mean, we had gone from we. you know she lived at a state prior to her stroke. she was living by herself. So that was a big. that's something else that I have to and I continue to keep reminding myself like this is a big shift for her And for you, rosa, too, because you and her now are with each other 24-7.

Cathy:

You know, really, you are full-time caregiver for her.

Rosa E:

So, yeah, and she's gotten more, she's getting more physically, you know, able to do stuff for herself, fortunately when fortunately, not fortunately with her stroke she actually had a fall and was on the floor for a few hours, like she used to get caregiver help in California, so she would have someone come most days of the week for a couple of hours a day.

Rosa E:

So the day that it happened she was unsteady, she had a fall, but she the caregiver, didn't come for a few hours. So when the caregiver came, she found her on the floor, realized what happens, said okay, let's get you to the ER, and her stroke actually happened while she was at the ER, which is, you know, of a worst case best scenario. Right, because she was already there so she could get help immediately. So she doesn't have, she wasn't paralyzed, she just has weakness and has to build up strength and all that. But that makes a big difference as far as caregiving duties, because there is still a lot that she can do for herself. Yeah, or I just kind of assist and I'm there close by, but you know she can do it, yeah so you both.

Cathy:

so you both had to figure out you know what were her needs. You had to rearrange your whole, you know your schedule around, mom, and so I want you to tell me, you can tell me, what is like a week in the life or a day in the life of Rosa and mom look like you know, from getting up in the morning to taking her to appointments, to mealtime. What is it? what does it look like for you? Well, all right, let's just jump in right into the juicy stuff.

Rosa E:

That is great And that has been a lot of a lot of the challenge, right, it's figuring out those rhythms, like you said. Figure out how do I give assistance but not do too much? Right, both from the aspect of like don't rob her of stuff she can still do. Right, and remember that you know you're a grown woman, you can do a lot of stuff and you have your own opinions and all that stuff Right. And one of the things that helps us a lot is we have a, we have this whiteboard in our living room that's like a you know days of the week, so there's a separate space for each day of the week And we put up our upcoming appointments up there, so stuff that affects both of us. So if it's and of course it's color coded, so if it's one color for her, if it's a therapy appointment or a doctor's appointment, something where we have to leave the house, so her appointments are up there. And then if there are times when I'm going to leave the house, then those are up there as well, so she's not caught unaware. That was, that was a. Probably our biggest bump so far is figuring out comfort level for her and for me to have her home by herself.

Rosa E:

Because at since, since last July like I said, july those initial two weeks in California I visited every single day, multiple times a day. And then when she was here, even when she was in the skilled nurse nursing facility here locally, you know, four miles from my house, i still visited every day, even though you know, obviously she had supervision and all that. But it was just it's my mom, i'm going to go. And when she went into that residential facility I visited every day. I think there were two days because I was getting training for work where I didn't visit. I haven't been with my mom since last July. Wow, that's a big deal. And so when we moved in, even more. So I'm like, okay, well, now I'm really supervising you, i'm not just visiting somebody else, supervising you, i'm it, yeah And gosh it was so hard, like I couldn't.

Rosa E:

I felt bad And again, my, when she first moved, in those first several weeks, my first month, my husband wasn't even here. So if I left the house she was alone And I didn't even want to go to the grocery store Cause I'm like what, if like that? Yeah, yeah, so that was hard.

Cathy:

So that was, you know, building up a tolerance personally.

Rosa E:

Where I felt comfortable, like, okay, i'm going to go to the grocery store, i can move you. You know she has her own cell phone So she can call me, you know, if something happens. We have since gotten one of those Like a not a life alert, but one of those type of things where she can Contact local emergency.

Cathy:

Sure, sure. I love the fact that you shared that the whiteboard with me when we were in the membership and that caregiver cup circle. And I love the fact because, even when I was taking care of my mom, she had her calendar on her bulletin board in her in her little dinette area And they look at that, they need that to see, and that's one of your skill sets, rosa, that you, i think, bring to the caregiving job that you're doing, and so I want to focus in on some more of the everyday things that you do, as well as some of those skill sets that you bring in. I'm going to bring up one. I'm going to ask if you still do this, because I remember you saying I'm going to look at her appointments and I don't want to be like frantically running every single day of the week. Did you work on that, did you?

Rosa E:

Oh, yes, So I, that's right, like so, looking at a whole week at a time. I try you know it doesn't always work, but I try to limit like Monday through Monday through Wednesday, thursday, if we have to like certain days of the week for doctors appointments, and as much as I can and I've been able to do it, i think is only having one a day, like I was trying to be so like look how much we can get done in a day, and I'm like, oh, we have a lab on this morning and a doctor's appointment this afternoon, and my mom's like No, i've been doing this for many years, don't do that, because you know something runs late and then things just it's just so tough?

Cathy:

Yeah, because in addition to you having to drive her there, you you'll have to transport her there, and it's exhausting, yeah, and I love that concept and I started using that in my caregiving world too is like they ask you when's the best time to have an appointment. You can go ahead and choose and try to control that, and I think that is so very important.

Rosa E:

You know, one of those like it's a little thing but it's a big thing Again. I like I said earlier about authority, and I would just like take whatever someone else gives me. And I know, even when I was, you know, years ago, making dental appointments for myself, silly things and they're like Oh, when do you want to come in? Well, i don't know, when do you have available? It's silly stuff And, like you said, you can make your as much as you can control your schedule and do it. So, yeah, i'm like, hey, you know, these days of the week, you know early afternoons because now that was another thing When she first, when she first move in.

Rosa E:

Apparently I like to make notes. I made a lot of notes like I would have a great. I had it all seven days and then I had like half hour increments on the time, nerd, schedule nerd. So I would have things on there, but it wasn't like I had an idea of a schedule that I wanted, like I made the schedule and let's enact it. It was more of a here's a blank time sheet What's happening in our day. I was just recording things as it happened, like Okay, well, what time does she usually wake up? Okay, today she woke up at six and this day she woke up at 630, and it was just recording what I noticed. Yeah, because I didn't know how to set up a schedule for her. So I kind of wanted to see, like, what are the natural rhythms of you know?

Cathy:

I think that's a good point, rosa, too. especially when you're a new caregiver, and no matter if you're caregiving for somebody in your home or you're caregiving for, you know, somebody outside of your home, you have to go ahead and jump into that new normal and saying, okay, i got to take a couple of weeks and just kind of for a lack of a term you see how my hand raises when you hold up on zoom But you it. you have to go ahead and observe and find the schedule and find the rhythms and being able to work through those. What did you discover after you did that?

Rosa E:

Now, after having a few months of that, we have our. Our mornings are pretty. There are certain things that happen. They might not always happen at the same time, like let go of time. It's not necessarily a schedule, it's more of like a rhythm. I love that rhythm.

Rosa E:

Yeah, And we've got now that my husband's back and he has another job, so I have like I pick up with husband, make him copy, get him off, and then once after he leaves for work, then mom time starts. So that we've got you know, shower, breakfast, whatever happens in the morning, we've got our little activities that happen in the morning And then we can have that And the morning's pretty well set. So morning is like mom time, meal time. We make a plan for now. We want half for lunch, kind of thinking, laundry, kind of house thing. So morning is house Make sense. Anything that happens in the usually, anything that happens in the afternoon is going to be, if we are going to go out, whether it's me going out running errands or if I'm working, or if she has a doctor's appointment in the afternoons. So otherwise sometimes she'll take a nap in the afternoon.

Cathy:

But yeah. So where does Rosa get time for herself in a day? If you had to think about a day, where are those pockets of time for Rosa? Is there, and is there any? What have you learned? There are I learned that it's important to have them.

Rosa E:

And that's what everybody said as soon as I talked about my mom's situation and people would say make sure you take care of yourself. And I'm like okay, I don't know what that means exactly, but everybody's saying it like really, make sure you take care of yourself. And then I was learning, because it was a big shift. Like before my mom came and moved in with us, it was just my husband and me, Like we had no kids, it was just a pet. So I didn't realize how much autonomy I had over my schedule until I didn't have it exactly. I bet yeah. So that was a big. And I'm sure when people have kids you realize, oh, your time is not always your own. So that was one. So just that. Like oh, I have to factor in my mom, Like I can't skip a meal, Like my mom needs a breakfast and a lunch and a dinner, or sometimes I might skip a meal, but I can't because I have to make sure that those certain pockets of the day are in place. So things that I find for myself.

Rosa E:

I have learned that I need some kind of movements in the morning, So that really helps put me in a happy headspace. Nothing fancy, it could be an exercise video. Some days it's just walking the dogs, But if I can get some movement and if I can get some movement and it's outdoors, double bonus. That's super helpful to me. I like bird watching, I like birding. So if I can get out and hear the birds doing their thing in the morning while I'm walking the dogs, I'm like, okay, I can do this, I can handle today. That makes me happy. And I'm learning that you have to get good about using pockets of time, Cause things that that's how your time happens. It's not always on schedule, It's like when it presents itself and you need to be ready to enjoy it. So I need to have a book handy on deck, or I like to draw or play with my watercolors. So like, how do?

Cathy:

you I forgot that you love to draw. that's right, that's right.

Rosa E:

I haven't been as good. I've just got out my watercolor pencils the other day and I'm like, oh, i forgot how fun this is. Like you don't have to. You know, you try to be productive and it's like you know what. I don't have to be productive right now, i'm just playing. I can just let's find it.

Cathy:

Yeah, it's funny because I've been learning a lot lately about change and I'm going to be doing a podcast episode on it soon.

Cathy:

But that first phase of change is just survival and self-preservation And that's what's probably for you moving your mom and going through all of the first parts that we had talked about And then you get into this new normal and then you have to adapt and cope and figure it out And you don't really get into phase three and moving into phase three until you start taking some action And only about only 15% of caregivers go into phase three and start making some improvements to their caregiving experience.

Cathy:

Like you're walking try to walk a little bit in the morning and finding pockets of things. I also want you to tell me about your binders, because that's a huge win for you knowing your skill sets And we're going to talk about your business in just a second here because you are a professional organizer And so that was one of your skill sets that you brought, and I was so envious of you when you shared this with the circle and me and through our coaching and stuff, of how organized you were with the information and keeping your mom's records in place. Can you give us just a little short summary of what you do for that piece.

Rosa E:

Oh sure, absolutely. And yeah, prior to having the home organizing business, i was a teacher elementary teacher for 24 years, and so with teaching comes a lot of record keeping. So that's a lot of that. You know, you collect data, you observe the students, so there was a lot of that that came into play too. But when? so, with my mom, things that I have in place now, just before my mom came to move in with me, we rolled back a little bit.

Rosa E:

Okay, i had been doing home organizing, So that was spaces, you know, closets and pantries and that kind of stuff. And then, right when I was moving my mom in, i had already scheduled and had this on my calendar to get trained to do paper organizing. Not as fun, not as sexy, right, so incredibly helpful, like your file cabinet is where papers go to just never see the light of day again And when you actually need to put your hands on something it's hard to find. So I went to this training and, oh my gosh, it was amazing. It's through hope I can I don't know if I can mention that, but it's through this company, organize 365, and I became certified And so part of their two different programs within that, one of them is the binder, so it's organizing things related to your house, to your finances, to medical issues.

Rosa E:

And then the other piece is called the Sunday basket and that's more your current actionable things appointments, bills, your own personal plans. You know how do you not just keep your house running, but how do you make sure that you schedule things for yourself and your house and your family. Oh my gosh, that has been amazing. All these things that just came into my life seemed to just prepare me for what was coming up. So that medical binder it is set up. So it's not just the binder, but it's the like everything else, it's how you use it, so it's keeping track of, especially in my mom's case, because she had been in charge of managing all of her stuff prior to the stroke.

Rosa E:

Thankfully, my mom is, i think, where I get my enjoyment of all things organizing, because she kept her stuff very organized So I could just bring her file boxes from California and find the discs with her old MRIs and whatnot. Nice, so good. I inherited good stuff from her. I know not every caregiver gets to walk into that situation. Sometimes it's just a massive like I don't even know where to look, but that was really helpful, so I was able to go through and see what kind of things she already had. What kind of specialists did she see in California? Because, moving her, i need to set her up for a new doctor.

Cathy:

Beneficial, yeah, so beneficial.

Rosa E:

Yeah, so that medical binder. What is nice is that it's already set up. There's like pre-printed forms, but there's a combination of the stuff. There's the you know the papers, the labs, the discs, whatever. But there's also the other things, like the notes that I've made about my mom, like things I observe. There are things that you know about your family member because you see them and you know them. It's not on a paper anywhere, but it's helpful to record that information because those are things that you can share with the.

Rosa E:

You know different doctors that you see. And then, obviously, because all of these doctors you know, you see all these different specialists and they're not on the same portal and the same systems. And even when and I'm finding more and more, even when there are digital records and documents that are available to them, those don't always get sent in a timely manner. It's a little bit more challenging sometimes for the doctor. It takes time for them to bring it up. So if you can walk into an appointment with these things already printed, how much more powerful is that You have a different section for every every time we add a new doctor? I'm like here's a new divider. Okay, here's the contact information for that one. Here's the summary notes, the labs recorded and all this stuff. And it has been so helpful because every time you go and see a new doctor you've got all that paperwork to fill out And it's you know. Sometimes it give you a line this big What medications are they on?

Cathy:

Really she's like oh different things.

Rosa E:

So now I just have you know things printed out and I make multiple copies and keep it in a sheet protector And I just say here you go.

Cathy:

Here's your copy.

Rosa E:

Oh my gosh nice, nice.

Cathy:

Is this something you do for your business? Is that something you do to help other caregivers for your business?

Rosa E:

Yes, that is definitely it. So we have. I offer workshops. So I do in person and I also do virtual. So if you're not local to Arizona, that's okay.

Rosa E:

We can work online, yeah, but we go through and so the in that case, there are different things that we can do depending on what the needs are. If it's a caregiver who needs help specifically with that medical binder, then we can work together building that and talk about how it would best work for that person. And just like any system, like it comes from that company that I got trained from And they can order that piece or not. You know you can build it, but the important thing I'm learning is to tailor it to you. So even though, like I bought it and I was trained and I see the way that it was broken down, you know everybody tweaks it a little bit differently to make it work for your situation. Yeah, so we can work on building a medical binder. Or if there's just if you're taking over your loved one's house, or even if it's, you know you're not caregiving and you're just in your own home trying to care of your own paperwork.

Rosa E:

We can take this mountain of paperwork and decide okay, let's see what do you really need And I guide people into. Let's talk about all this potential paper you might see in your house and let's decide before we start looking in boxes or in filing cabinets. Let's make some rules now. What do you need to keep? A lot of us keep things because it might be important or it's printed on a paper, so it feels official.

Cathy:

Yeah, even with caregiving and all of the information you get. I just think about something as simple as my husband, dennis, just went for his like three month check from every three months he goes for a stem cell transplant And how many explanation of benefits you get from the insurance company in the mail, how many bills you get from either their electronic or their online. You know the paperwork that you get when you leave the doctor's office to the digital. You know all of that And for me it's like, yeah, it's all beneficial, but where do you put it all? I'll be honest with you, i am so bad. There's a Dennis file and I just throw it all in the Dennis file, but then, when it's time to get to the doctor's appointment, i'm like a student cramming for the exam versus being able to have it all. And then what do I keep? What do I not keep? How do I be more effective? Because I know when you go to that doctor's they have 10, 15 minutes with you and then they're on their way. They're in such a hurry.

Rosa E:

So Right, which is another reason why having that paper is ready to flip, flip, flip. Here we go, let's look at it. It's so helpful. I do want to give you props for having that Dennis file, because you've done that first step, which is just gathering it together in the same place.

Cathy:

Yeah.

Rosa E:

That is the first piece, because a lot of us have it here, there and everywhere and it might be a stack here and especially, you know you're busy getting your love went in and out of the house. Something might land on the kitchen counter and this is over here because you had a time to work on it at the laptop but you didn't get to finish Right Together. But thinking about how you know you're only going to keep the paper that you're going to use later, that you're going to reference, and so it's to figuring out, not just like in the moment I was handed a paper, but thinking about, okay, would I need to see this paper again? How is it going to get used? Because some things like those explanation of benefits, okay, those are kind of they're not going to get filed away, never to look at again. If you're going to keep it, you're keeping it because you want to. You know, check and make sure all the billing is correct.

Cathy:

Yeah, How much do I owe? That's all I look at is like what is the patient responsibility And the rest of it? I worked at an insurance company So I knew you know what goes to the deductible, what goes here, what goes there. But yeah, you don't really. I mean, sometimes it's like, oh my God, this added paper or the privacy information that they send you. 10 and one month, right, yeah, god, that's really good, really good.

Rosa E:

That's part of what I do in my business is helping people figure out. Okay, what do you need to keep? Let's make some decisions. When do you need this? Yeah, and then figure out what system, what holder for this paper is going to work. Do you need to see this frequently? Are these bills? Is that something you need to like actionable? Your bills, your schedule, yeah, Something ongoing, something that's just a reference, like you might need to keep this but you don't really need to have it handy. Or like that medical binder like this is the nitty gritty, like it's in a binder because it's portable, and it's portable because you need to be able to take it with you to the doctor's office. So what are those things that are going to be helpful to you when you go visit?

Cathy:

every month. Well, let's talk about where can. If somebody's interested in learning more about this, or they're interested in talking to you more about it, where can they go? Rosa?

Rosa E:

Oh, absolutely Thanks. Yes, my business is called a home for everything with the number four, so my website is a home for everythingcom, again using the number four, and I'm also on Instagram at a home for everything LLC.

Cathy:

Okay, good, good, and I'll put that in the show notes because I think that's an important piece. Well, it has been a complete pleasure. I have just two quick questions for you to kind of close up today, and I'm going to start out with what is one thing that you're working on right now as a caregiver, because it's a constant learning process. I mean, i am still working on things as a caregiver, but it's just amazing what we learn, and in your current state today, your mom's doing a little bit better. You're running your business. What are you still learning?

Rosa E:

I am learning to continually follow up with doctors That has come up a few times in the last few months where, again, assume good intent but also check up and follow up When we get referred from one doctor to another and records should be sent. That doesn't happen every time. Yeah, oh, again, staffing people are busy, things just happen. But we've had a couple of appointments where we show up in person to the appointment and the questions are asking And then we realize, oh, you're suggesting that this certain test be done, but it's already been done. That was the last doctor, that's why we're here. But they never received it, so it was essentially a wasted doctor's visit. Now I'm learning to give a couple of days, call both offices hey, did you send this? Hey, did you receive this? To make sure that those things happen, to make the most out of those visits Wow.

Cathy:

Well, this might be what you're proud of, but my last question and I want you to brag about yourself, because I think it's important for us, as caregivers, to be proud of ourselves, for what we're doing and the gift that we're providing to our loved one, and what is one thing you're most proud of, now that you have that caregiver hat on? OK, this sounds silly. No, it's not going to be silly, because I think it's important to talk about even simple and realistic things.

Rosa E:

One of those binders. They're the binders that I got trained on, and then there are other ones that I've started to make, some other ones like I still have because it's worked out so well. I have just a three-ring notebook with paper that I just keep taking my notes, like that's my one ongoing. Whoever I talk to about my mom, that's where the notes go.

Cathy:

Yeah, you should be proud of the fact that you're taking those skill sets and those strengths that you have in your business And now you're adapting them to everyday caregivers like us and getting us to think smarter and more efficiency, because I would imagine that binder something as simple as a binder saves you oodles and oodles of time and oodles and oodles of money. I mean, that thing's probably worth a million dollars to you. Oh, absolutely.

Rosa E:

Oh my God, Yeah, every time there's a new doctor and again you're filling out all that paperwork. And there are certain pieces when they ask for health history and I have a certain thing where I'm just like C attached, nice, and I have medications list C attached, anything I can have to cut down, ah nice, yes.

Cathy:

Well, it has been a complete pleasure, and I know I'm like I could go on forever. We've already gone an hour, So we have to stop, but I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did, rosa. It has just been so informational. Even with me being a caregiver for six and a half years now, i've learned so much already. I mean, i've learned enough from you and every caregiver that I interview. So it's just been a complete pleasure And I hope you all, listening to this, take advantage, at least follow Rosa, at least go out to her website and look at it, because I think there's some things that you can really learn as a caregiver and dig deeper into being more efficient.

Caregiving and Organizing Tips From Rosa
Assisted Living Considerations and Caregiving Tips
Observing and Documenting Patient Care
Caring for Wheelchair-Bound Parent
Finding Time for Self-Care
Caregiving and Organizing With Binders
Learning and Pride in Caregiving