The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Caring for Aging Parents: Practical Tools and Solutions with Shay Domangue

June 13, 2023 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 165
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Caring for Aging Parents: Practical Tools and Solutions with Shay Domangue
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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Are you juggling the challenges of caring for aging parents? Let us help you navigate this journey with valuable insights from Shay Domangue, an Internal Medicine Physician's Assistant and founder of the Elder Care Hub. As we explore streamlining medication lists, addressing caregiver burnout, and maximizing healthcare resources, you'll gain practical tools to better support both yourself and your elderly loved ones.

Managing medications is a critical aspect of caring for our aging parents, and Shay's expertise in this area sheds light on potential risks and solutions. We discuss the Beers List criteria, which highlights medications that pose high risks for the elderly, and the importance of maintaining a positive dialogue with physicians. Beyond medications, we also tackle the issue of caregiver burnout, exploring creative ways to alleviate stress, such as involving teenagers for small tasks or breaking the stigma of paying for caregiving services.

Shay's passion for elderly care is evident in her advice on preparing for a caregiver's medical appointment and her genuine drive to support the caregiver community. From organizing medication lists to utilizing available resources, we discuss practical strategies to ensure a more successful and stress-free caregiving experience. Don't miss this enlightening conversation with Shay Domangue, where we uncover the challenges and solutions for caring for aging parents.

You can find about more about Shay on Instagram at the.elder.care.hub or go to her website at theeldercarehub.com

Get my free resource:  17 SHIFTS TO TAKE CONTROL OF CAREGIVER STRESS that will take you to the best version of yourself.

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Cathy:

Welcome to the caregiver cup podcast. My friends, we are diving into a topic that we've never talked about before. On the Caregiver Cup Podcast, there is such a huge need for this out there, and guess what? I have the perfect guest that can break this all down for us. Today we have Shay Domangue although I've seen on her Instagram site she goes by PA Shay, which I absolutely love.

Cathy:

She's an internal medicine physician's assistant and founder of the Elder Care Hub. She's cared for thousands of patients and their families throughout her 13 year career. She consistently sees caregivers of aging parents that are stressed out, undervalued and at the brink of burnout. I know we can relate to that. She sees and acknowledges that the health care system is broke. It does not have the structure in place to guide us And the primary care physicians don't have time for us in their 15 minute appointment slot And there are not any experienced, medically trained resources to support those caring for aging parents. That threw me for a loop there And I really took a step back. And she wants to be part of the health care crisis solution, so she founded what's called the Elder Care Hub And I see, Shay, that you have something called the Shay Way. So, without further ado, I want to introduce you, Shay, and I want you to fill in all of the blanks that I truly missed in that short intro. So welcome.

Shay:

Hi, Cathy, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited and honored to be on your podcast. I've listened to it for quite a while and I love hearing about your husband and your mom and all the things. So thank you for having me.

Shay:

My name is Shay. Nice to meet all of you caregivers out there, and I am a PA, like Cathy said, and I created the Elder Care Hub to be part of the solution of a problem I was seeing.

Shay:

The fact is, I do primary care, so I do see patients still in the office and the 15 minute windows were just not working for me anymore. I found that I love talking to patients about their medication lists and the crisis that come up, and usually a lot of the times I was seeing the caregivers with the patients I was seeing, so I was also developing a relationship with them, and the fact is they would have really awesome questions for me and I just wasn't able to get to them or I'd be like come back in two weeks, come back in two weeks, send me a portal message, because the system is built in a way that doesn't have time for . So I basically put all of everything I know of 13 years of experience into an online course, if people want that, or into individual med reviews, just to give people the resources that they truly need and answer the questions that they always have.

Cathy:

It is such an interesting topic and I've been looking at your Instagram site as T ell me more about all of the services and topics, because I've seen everything from medications to the elderly parent doesn't have any energy, and you were talking about protein or sleep. What are some of the top five issues you address?

Shay:

So there, the primary issue that I see is medications, and we will get into that, i'm sure. But I love talking about medications and streamlining lists because a lot of times you get side effects from meds, as we all know. you're taking care of your mom, you're taking care of your sister. the doctor gives them a bladder pill and then they get a side effect and then they give them another pill to address that And it just drives me crazy where I find tooth comb through all of that.

Shay:

Another pillar I have is kind of caregiver burnout. My own spin on that is if I can support the aging person that you're caring for better, then that takes a little bit of the burnout away because you feel like, okay, i can breathe, like I'm not constantly putting out fires. And then I do like to at times highlight different areas that I see very commonly in practice every day sleep problems. The case of the dwindles is that Instagram really saw that. when your mom is just kind of dwindling away and you're not really sure what to do about it and how much protein is too much protein, i like to address all of that as kind of sprinkled in with the medicines, just because sometimes, talking about meds all day boars people and you need to mix it up a little bit.

Cathy:

Yeah, let's talk about it. I wrote down three or the four categories here, so let's talk about since the one that comes to my mind. the first is and I wish I would have grabbed it I probably have one in my mom's file And when my mom was living and my after my dad passed away, i started becoming more active with my mom and you probably see this all the time You go into the doctor's office and you fill out all the forms and then their medication list And for those of you who are on the just listening, the medication list is beyond a page.

Cathy:

It's like a CVS receipt, where it keeps going and going and then the nurse goes ahead and asks okay, are you on this and this and this and this? And I'm like I don't even know what these drugs are. At least that was my first initial thought when I was in the doctor's office, And then I had to start researching, and so let's talk about that, especially like a new caregiver that's now taking care of their parent or has to actively take care of their parent, right, and you see this list of 20, some or whatever. What do we do as caregivers? First of all, sure.

Shay:

So that was a problem that I wanted to solve, right, the first thing is having awareness about it. Someone who is this elderly 70 plus, 80 plus should not be on 15, 20, 25 medications. It, the awareness and knowing that there's a better way, is the first step, and so that is my mission is to get this out there, that this is an epidemic in the elderly population that no one cares about. We all just think it's normal to end up on 20 pills. It is not So. That was my first major thing, and I'm glad everyone is listening today. So you can just be aware and cognitive when you see a list of the, all of a sudden you're in charge and you're refilling and you're running to the pharmacy every five seconds. This shouldn't be happening.

Shay:

So when it's gotten away from us is that's when we have to take action, right? So increasing medications like this, like over 10, 15 meds, gives you high risks for problems and medical related problems happening to you falls, and falls happen because you're dizzy or because to interact and give you a side effect, or because they create urinary problems with all the dryness, and it gives you UTIs that keep coming and coming and coming, and then you end up in the hospital. So, utis, hospital stays, what if falls? do They cause brain bleeds, hip fractures, all the stuff that we see all the time in the hospital. And it's maddening when I can link it back to a med list. It just makes my blood boil because it's nothing like a heart failure exacerbation or pneumonia like a real issue that needs to be in the hospital, sure, but it's when people come into the hospital for things that are preventable in all medication related.

Cathy:

Yeah, so why is first of all I'm asking the question why is the list so long? Is it because they go to multiple doctors? Not necessarily.

Shay:

It's so long because people live longer and then meds get added and no one takes any away. That verbatim. I just had a conversation with a 78-year old man about this yesterday. He was my first patient of the day and he had all these complaints. Yet he's trying to train for this geriatric race and all this stuff. He's like I just feel so horrible and I'm like why you're in the so healthy, why are you on 24 minutes? He's like I had a heart attack and you know like meds just come on and I guess they just never took him away.

Shay:

Oh wow, yeah, and no one has taken the time because it takes time to really, with your eye, critically think about what each med does to the person.

Cathy:

Yeah, and I suppose you can't just pull one med, you can't just stop taking it because you're running out.

Shay:

Yeah, you have to do it under medical supervision. You know, yeah, right, and the physicians are like, look, i have 100 boxes to click in this visit. I don't have time to really deal with this. So unless they, care about it, they're just going to keep refilling because it's easier.

Cathy:

Yeah Well, and then I don't even know if it's something you do And then on top of it like my mom would then take over the counter or supplements on top of it, And then they don't, we don't say anything to the doctor And on top of it, yeah. Yeah, like iron, or yeah, they'll take, you know their laxative or or whatever, and then all of a sudden, i'm sure that puts a whole another.

Shay:

It adds to the layers of it, and that's why I always, when I'm talking about polypharmacy, i specifically say polypharmacy, aka too many pills is over 10 medications, vitamins or supplements. If you have over 10, you need to start looking at it, so being aware.

Cathy:

So I think the biggest question then is so how do you approach this? First of all, you're aware of it and you understand the high risks and that sort of thing. So then, how do you approach that? when you see that poly, do you say polypharmacy, yeah, polypharmacy, too much drugs, more than 10 on that sheet. Or they bring out their big. My mom had a cute little canister that she had a little tray And eventually we put them in pill packs Yeah.

Shay:

You'll get it confused, yeah, or you'll end up with, like, different refills from different places and it's kind of a disaster. So if I was in a new caregivers position and I all of a sudden am taking this on And I heard this podcast, obviously I would look me up and figure out how to work with me just because I'm a pro at it and I will take that guesswork away But say you're just trying to kind of get started somehow.

Shay:

What you need to do is I use the Sheaway, it's my kind of you know, it's my name, so I put it into like an acronym. So sort out the medicines in a way that makes sense to you, into groupings. Okay, this I think is for blood pressure, these, i think are for cholesterol. Sort them out. Figure out the age in the Sheaways for honor, honor, your aging parents or your loved ones goals and wishes. So if you know that the person you care for is 90 and all they want to do is be happy and talk with their friends and they're not looking to you know, live a hundred more years. Do they really need all of these medicines? So you have to figure out is it worth the battle and dealing with this or not? So you need to talk with them to say, hey, i see you have all these meds. What are your intentions here? Do you want to treat all of these different things and take all these supplements? still, what are you thinking? and have a conversation with them.

Shay:

A is analyze the list, and that's what I teach people how to do is to how to make sense of what pills go where and which ones could go first or which ones are high risk. And a really great place to start with a high risk list of meds is called the Beers List criteria And it's available online and it is a list of meds for if you're over 65, download this and you can see which meds on there that your aging parent or your loved one is on and know that this is probably high risk and they probably shouldn't be on this. And that's a great place to start with the physician, because they can't really argue with a list that the pharmacy and the government backs and all the stuff that everyone agrees that these meds are high risk. So it's a great place to start.

Cathy:

How do you spell beers?

Shay:

Beer like you would drink a beer Oh yeah, really Okay Yeah. And it's basically all the ones that really dehydrate the body, make the kidneys work harder, that are very sensitive for the elderly population, and they or are sedative, like Xanaxes and pain pills and things like that, things that probably just won't work well with brain health in the elderly.

Shay:

That's a great place to start. Okay, so sort them out into groups to figure out what you're looking at. start with a Beers List and then figure out what your aging parent or loved one sort of wants to do, like if they feel the same way you do, and then you make the appointment.

Cathy:

Perfect. So if you make the appointment and you, how do you approach talking to the doctor? Yeah, obviously our elderly parents feel like the doctors are the they all do all person, without with no disrespect. But I think, as we are, our generations feel like they're. They're serving us, but, on the flip side, elderly parents sometimes feel like I can't question the doctor's decision.

Shay:

Right? Yes, and you have to go about it tactfully, right, because you have a relationship with the physician usually your PA or nurse practitioner, whomever and you don't want to ruffle their feathers or offend them or step on their toes. So I completely understand that. So the way I would go about it is this when you're calling for an appointment, the first tip I would have is ask for a 30 minute appointment. A lot of people don't know that they can do this.

Cathy:

I didn't even know there was a difference.

Shay:

Yeah, every appointment's 15 minutes. If it's a wellness appointment, sometimes they do 30 for those. Okay, but a little trick there I like to say is Hey, if you know that this is going to take a while and you've got questions and you're reviewing meds and this is a big issue ask for a 30 minute appointment And just tell the desk I have several things we need to discuss. Can you make me a double slot or add on an extra appointment time? And that usually covers it. So then the person will see that on their side the provider side and say, whoa, this is a longer appointment than normal. I guess we're going to be talking about things, but at least I have time. So you're setting yourself up for success by giving them extra time right. Then, when you go in, it's leading with kindness and positivity and curiosity and the tone of what you're saying versus whoa, whoa, whoa.

Shay:

I'm just learning about this. And why are they on all these medicines? and how could you let this go on this long? Look at all this problem she had in this kind of in from all of these pills not the way to go about it. Kindness, you're educating.

Shay:

This is kind of a script. Hey, doc, i have been researching a lot about my mom's medications and health and I'm new to taking care of her And I've been learning a lot about side effects of medications and I've noticed that over the years the number of pills she's on keeps going up And I'm worried that she's gonna have a fall or have another kind of problem from all of these pills. Can we take a look at any of these meds and see if we can combine them or get rid of a couple and then maybe come back again in three months and see if we can kind of get rid of a couple more and go about this to get her off some of these? If they don't respond positively to kind considerate stating what you're worried about and a potential solution, then it's maybe time to get a new doctor.

Shay:

Okay, okay, Yep that's how I would approach it, good advice.

Cathy:

Yeah, i don't know if you've listened way back in one of my horror stories on the podcast when my mom couldn't remember she didn't have. She had the pill box but she couldn't remember if she and she didn't have them all in the pill box. She couldn't remember if she took her medication, right, and then she took it, but then she couldn't remember. So she took it again and then I came the following morning because she was calling me in the middle of the night and I made her take it again. Oh gosh, and we ended up in the ER and she was hallucinating. She was actually seeing butterflies and bumblebees in her house and she actually took the car out of her parking garage and took down a sign in the middle of the night And she called me and I didn't make sense of it until I came home. But medication is so important and knowing if they can take it.

Shay:

That is what they're taking. It gives me chills.

Cathy:

Oh my gosh, oh my God. That was immediately the time. then we went in a cester medication Right And we put it into. It wasn't pill packs, it looked like a oral contraceptive push out. Yeah, like a little popper thing Yeah. Yeah, pop book, and that's true, so yeah.

Shay:

There's a lot of different ways to handle it once you realize, like whoa we've had to intervene here And with the medications.

Shay:

One other tip I wanted to tell people is that at the pharmacy a lot of problems arise when it comes like there's a little disconnect there because a doctor will change the medicine and it changes on their list, but the pharmacy still has both on their file. What I would do is at least quarterly go into the pharmacy physically, because we all know nothing gets done over the phone, it just doesn't And say look, we just have updated our list. I want to completely delete anything off her profile that is not active. That way it doesn't get auto-filled And then she's ending up on two beta blockers or two cholesterol pills. Okay, because I've seen that so much, where someone moves and they have auto-fills over here but then they're locally filling something or mail ordering and they end up on like two or three of the same thing And it's all just pharmacy and doctor communication problems. But if you get it off of the list at the pharmacy, that clears that up.

Cathy:

Oh my gosh, that's such a good tip, yeah, a good tip for us personally as well as you, I know I mean all in all, i also saw something that you talked about genetic medications, and that's usually what the pharmacy will do is they'll go ahead and give you generic or they'll give you whatever's covered, if the insurance company will cover and it's the cheapest one, or whatever. What is your advice for us on knowing if your loved one can have the generic versus the good one?

Shay:

So in general I do love and support generic medications, the $4 list. They're more affordable, a lot of times they're in stock more and insurance loves it because it's cheaper. The one area where I really do not like generic is in the thyroid. The thyroid really does a lot with our bodies and especially as you get older your thyroid gets more sensitive. So if you are on thyroid replacement a lot of times the brand name does do better.

Shay:

If you're running into a problem where you want them to be on the brand name and then the doctor sends in the script and they're automatically given a leave of thyroxin, you have to kind of fight for it a little bit more. The doctor's gonna have to work a little bit harder and you're gonna have to plan ahead because when you're due for another refill like, say, you do in 90 day supply, you're gonna have to plan it out two or three weeks ahead to go to the physician to ask for that, because they need some leeway to do the paperwork to get it approved. But usually it's a couple of forms that they need to fill out and it's. Or you can bypass it and do like a different kind of mail order, but that's for another day, but usually if you plan ahead they'll have extra time to do the paperwork and then you're not behind on the refills For blood pressure.

Shay:

Usually blood pressure meds are all great generic. There's a couple of them that if you really need the brand name you can, but usually for blood pressure it's fine. Sometimes for cholesterol I prefer the brand name, but usually generics, just fine.

Cathy:

Does the doctor or the physician's assistant fill out if they can be generic or not, or does the pharmacist just automatically go with whatever's cheaper?

Shay:

So unless the physician or the PA or nurse practitioner writes on, clicks a special box and writes out also into the pharmacy notes do not substitute brand name medically necessary. They'll substitute everything to generic, unless if they specifically write it. So that's what you need to ask. If you know that you're aging low on this, better on, say, brand name Synthroid, you need to say don't forget to click that box.

Shay:

We need the brand name and say it several times because providers are so freaking busy, they see so many patients it's in one eye and out the other, Like by the time you walk out of there their brains onto the next, And so less. If you kind of hammer the point home, they're not gonna remember.

Cathy:

Wow.

Shay:

And don't pick up the medicine. Like if you go to the pharmacy and you check it, do not leave there because if it says the generic on there and you open the script and stuff they won't take it back. So you have to double check it at the pharmacy too.

Cathy:

Yeah, yeah, i know, yeah. So that's just. Those are some really, really good tips, and when we get to the end, i definitely want you to talk about your services as well. Sure, of course. Now you talked about let's talk about caregiver burnout, because that's one of the pieces I talk about all the time here on the podcast and recognizing when you are in burnout. I want you to tell us what you see and some of the ways that caregivers can reduce that, because we know that it's always going to happen, but if we can release the stress and we can go ahead and reduce it, things are much better.

Shay:

Right. So I personally my own scope of how I look at it from a provider point of view is what I noticed. The caregiver getting burnt out is when there's a lot happening that's out of their control medically, so they don't have a good pulse on. I listened to a bunch of your podcasts where you outlined your team. I listened that to the other day. It was like you build your healthcare team kind of thing right and you have, if you need someone to do the driving for this and the picking up of this, people that don't have their stuff in a line with who does what. That creates burnout because then you're spinning your wheels trying to do everything. So having the plan is always the best and using as many people paid or not as possible. I love it's summer. I love using teens.

Shay:

I think teenagers are the most underused people to help prevent burnout because they usually only have two hours of time anyway. So if you need them to sit with the place a couple of rounds of cards while you run to the store, a teenager's perfect for that. You're not asking them to do a whole bunch of stuff, but they need stuff to put on their resume. They need a little extra gas money. Teenagers are the most underused burnout prevention tool that I can find.

Shay:

And also, who doesn't love an elderly teen relationship? I think it's so cute when they really get along. But from a medical point of view, if The burnout comes from, the hospital stays over and over and over and over. You know you're sleeping in the hospital and getting up and then going to work Like that is exhausting. And so figuring out a way to combat the nights in a hospital with either paid caregiving service or something especially if your mom has dementia and is confused and goes off the rails and they're like someone needs to stay with her at night And paying the $20 an hour for that is sometimes worth it.

Shay:

The provider burnout that I see the or the the caregiver burnout that I also see also happens to do with the med refills and trying to make sense of it all, and if you have more control of that, then that alleviates the burnout in my opinion.

Cathy:

Okay, i think the the teenager thing idea is really neat. And now that we're, i mean in where I'm living, it is the last day of school And they need extra cash, or they could do your college, i mean, but under your grocery shopping.

Shay:

Yeah, exactly, they've got a car, they can run to the pharmacy, they can manage three things on the list at a grocery store And you know like, yeah, find a, find a local teen and give them some extra work. I think it's easier than mowing mums, in my opinion. I don't know why more teams don't pick it up as a side hustle.

Cathy:

Honestly, Really a great idea because anytime and that's something that I was, and I even did an email today about that to some of my caregivers In my first year and a half it was like I can do everything. I am wonder woman, i can do it.

Cathy:

And then, soon as that happens, you're actually in the point of no return And you have to figure out how to get back to that. And I think there's something magical about setting that expectation for your, your elderly parent or your elder friend to say I'm going to be here most of the time and we're also going to get visitors, such as so and so and so and so and so and so Exactly. Sometimes they're nicer to the health than they are to you.

Shay:

Oh yeah, I've seen that live in real time and that is true.

Cathy:

Oh my gosh. Okay, i want to dive into. I think I have that one, i think the other one's sweeping, sleeping, dwindled away. we can kind of avoid. I want to talk more about the. I want to just you and I have this really personal conversation about how do we break the stigma of caregiving and us as caregivers, not seeing value in help, not seeing value in taking on a service like you do or I do. I think there's a stigma where people think I can't ask for a caregiver consultant, i can't ask for caregiver coach, i can't pay for a program to teach me how to care give And that is so, so, so necessary and I feel like I beat my head against the wall all the time. And the clients I do have I am just like I praise them up so much because they finally pulled off, pulled away the curtain and saw that this is makes the world of a difference. How do we break that stigma? How do we open the floodgates to say there is help out there for you as a caregiver?

Cathy:

And it's okay to ask for help, and it's okay to pay for help too. Exactly Right, you have the finances, yeah.

Shay:

That's a thing. I also find that a lot as well, and the way that, frankly, it's generational, honestly, like people my age are in the millennials.

Shay:

We're getting older, right, my parents are 65-66, they're getting up there. I think people in their 30s and 40s are going to be the people that are really open to it, if you want me to be very honest, because we've already asked for help with our kids, because we're already working moms and we're already breaking generational cycles that way and we've already know that we can't do it all. So I'm already depending on five different people and had to slide into the daycare teachers DMs to ask for help. And I'm okay with asking for help. I think my generation is the first one to actually be okay with admitting that we cannot do it all and it's impossible. There's tick, tock and Instagram telling us it's okay that you need help. But in the generation above us, what is that? Gen X and boomers and stuff Yeah, the admitting that you need help is just that like hill that they're going to die on.

Cathy:

I know it, i know it And it's like you do you want to wear because I'm? I'm like the very youngest in the baby boomer age. I'm like I'm kind of crossed over to the other side as well. but it's like at first do I want to walk around with this cape on to say I'm wonder woman? I know like a pride, saying almost look like shit and just feel like I'm beat up all the time. I know I want to be able to say yeah, i dropped him off for my husband offer for chemotherapy. I know it's going to be four hours. He has a tax. they have my phone number. there are three people that are taking care of them. I'm going to go ahead and get my grocery shopping done and go take a nap.

Shay:

Yeah, oh, absolutely Like being smart and like smarter with your time also, i mean what. There is no point of you sitting there with him honestly like, but I think that it's it's part of the culture that they were raised in, of you know, being kind of a sacrificial lamb, like a martyr, if you will. That is a full cultural thing that needs to shift and break, and I think it is shifting, but it's going to take a lot longer for these people right now who are in it, and all only we can do is hopefully they see things like the Instagram rails and the TikTok videos. I've seen a lot of people on TikTok though the boomers and the Gen Xers and they're starting to get it, and a lot of people reach out to me on that. So that's awesome. I just keep spreading the message and I know you do too and that's all you can really do.

Cathy:

Yeah, and sharing examples.

Shay:

You know, this guy really didn't want my help, but look, he finally caved and look how much I helped it.

Cathy:

Yeah, yeah, And I think there's risks when you don't ask or pay for help. I mean, as a caregiver, you know the. I mean my health suffered so much, Yeah, so much. And I think, when you had said the risks of your elderly parent and the falls and the hospital stays and to take, I know I want you to talk about your new, your newest offering, And I think I said I think I saw less than $100. Yeah, you can go ahead and have somebody professionally look at your prescription and you don't have to spend hours and hours and hours on Google and trying to put the connections together. I mean, I would still look at the beers list and try to figure that out, But you can go ahead and take that little canister or that little tree of meds that your parent has and saying help me figure this out.

Shay:

Right When it comes to something like medications. I just think that Caregivers, if they don't have a medical background, you're just a little outside of your comfort zone And not knowing what you're looking at or how to interpret it or what that's even for. It makes it very overwhelming. So they get paralyzed in fear. And when you're paralyzed in fear, you just keep doing the same thing And hopefully it gets better. But if you have, that's why I created this option that you're talking about. It's a med review with me And I basically I wanted to do online course and teach all these people how to do all this stuff, but no one has time to learn, wants to learn that much, all of this.

Shay:

So, my solution for that is I've had so many folks like DM me say hey, i just want you to take a look at this med list and let me know what I need to talk to the doctor about. And so I worked really hard to figure out a free HIPAA platform, you know, safe for personalized information. And that was very important to me that I wasn't just doing it on like an email, like I want people's information to be protected, right. So I figured out a way to get people to upload a med list into there And I can review it and, in my own time, send back like a 10 minute video with hey, when I'm looking at this, i see this, this and this.

Shay:

These three things are great talking points for the physician. This is how I would say it, and it gets them started. I think a lot of times people just need to get the ball rolling And then if they could get help with just one little area the medicines then maybe they realize whoa, okay, that was really helpful. Where else can I outsource and get more help? And then it just kind of goes from there and people will be more willing to take a risk on something that isn't covered by insurance or the traditional status quo, and look at problems a little bit differently and want to solve them a little bit differently.

Cathy:

Yeah, such a great tool, I think that is. where can they find that shape? And I'll put that in the notes too.

Shay:

Yeah, for sure. So if you go on yeah, if you go on either my Instagram, it'll be on there, or a Whole Care Network University. It is a university. It's not a university. It's the Whole Care Network And they have all online classes and courses and stuff. But I was able to make this MedReview on their platform. So if you go to Whole Care Network and to their online courses, you can find it there and it'll take you right to it.

Cathy:

Nice, nice, what a great resource, because I think there are so many tips and I think what you hit for me on the head was yeah, you have to look at everything that you do, everything that you manage as a caregiver, because you're just not a caregiver, i'm just a caregiver. No, you are a manager of your loved one's care and you manage the entire thing.

Shay:

Your chef and a pharmacist and a travel agent and all this stuff. It's crazy.

Cathy:

Yeah, and so if you can outsource some of those things and take some of the burden off of your plate, that's gonna help. And then when you're filling that medicine then and you're putting that medicine, it means something, right? I mean, i sat with my mom on Sunday afternoons. We had Sunday fun Yeah, your Sunday fun day, yeah, yeah. And one of the things I would do is I would sit her on the table while I was doing some of her book work and stuff. I would say now I want you to fill your prescription and put everything in your slots or whatever she had, so that at least I could see it.

Shay:

And now you have context to it, if you know a little bit more or have a little bit of guidance. Yeah, i agree, it's just taking one little thing off your plate. and if you can slowly but surely take one thing off your plate here and there, then the overwhelm becomes a little bit more manageable.

Cathy:

Yeah, okay, I thought of one more question.

Shay:

Yeah, yeah of course.

Cathy:

Okay, how can I prepare when I go in for that 15 minute appointment to be to get the best bang for my buck with less than going in with my dad or my mom and we're going in for an appointment. There's nothing worse. that makes me cringe is when I hear other caregivers saying, yeah, we're going in for their routine followup. I'm like On what?

Shay:

What is your agenda?

Cathy:

Yeah, So what advice would you have? The ideal maybe it's the ideal patient or the ideal caregiver.

Shay:

Oh, i love my ideal caregivers. Okay, these folks make sure that they have the routine labs done the week before they'll call and set up their routine labs for the week before. That way The results are there and the physician can discuss them at the time of the appointment. These people have the notebook, or however you work best if it's like on your phone or whatever of all the medicines and any refills that they need that they know are coming up And you can ask for the provider to do it. Right then They also make sure anything the last, maybe months longer than that, won't really apply.

Shay:

Any new changes? have it listed out? Have you noticed she's more fatigued? Have you noticed that she's nodding off at the 10 pm news and you wanna talk about it? Anything that you wanna talk about? I wouldn't do more than three things, but have it outlined on that list. Any new med changes from other physicians? have that information ready so that they could update the charts ahead of time. And if she's had any of the mammograms, bone densities, any kind of CAT scan from another doctor, have all the copies of that with you to present to them. They will love you for that Cause. That way they don't have to go request the medical records, blah, blah blah. So if you get anything done, get the result, have it in your little file, so then it can all go in the primary.

Cathy:

It's funny you say that because when, at the time of this recording, Rosa is going to be on the podcast one week before and she's a caregiver And she's in an organizing business and she has this little file folder that she has And I was looking at her going, I thought I was a good caregiver advocate.

Shay:

And when I saw what Rosa does.

Cathy:

Yeah, she goes ahead and gets everything because she understands that that stuff may not get transferred or that may take time to get transferred, and she has all of that ready. Now, this is a little detail. But my other ask is do you bring that to the nurse that's taking the statistics, or whatever they call it, ahead of time, or do you just save it for when the doctor comes in?

Shay:

So if the usually the MA or whomever is doing the vitals and stuff, they'll ask if there's been any changes to meds. And that's what you say Actually. Yeah, we just saw the cardiologist. So if you want to take a peek at the new list and make sure it matches, that'd be great. And oh, by the way, they said that they're not going to refill this. So can you make sure we get a 90 day script of this and they kind of drag it over in the chart and then ask for it back and then make sure the doctor double checks, because I've seen so many times I'll go in and like, oh, i already handed it to the MA, but it got put in wrong or this or that you know, and so I have to correct it. But make sure that both eyes are on it, because that's better.

Cathy:

Perfect, perfect. Oh my gosh, these are such good tips, yes, such good tips. Happy to help Before we close today. What else did? is there anything else? that's maybe something that we should know, that you want to share, or have we covered everything that we've needed to cover?

Shay:

My I. We've covered everything, but I just want to shout from the rooftops that more pills equals more problems. So if you're having struggles with that, i'm your girl. Oh, and that's my name, my Facebook group. If you really just want to figure out a little bit more, have a community of people that are learning about medicines. That's my little group in there, so that's the name of it. There's more pills equals more problems, and we covered so much today. But this is exactly what I'm most passionate about, what I love talking about. I could talk about it for 100 years.

Cathy:

Yeah, and for everybody that's listening, i'm going to put the my website site because I'm going to put like a high level overview in the podcast notes. But if you go out, i'll go ahead and list some of this high level steps that, shay, that you gave, so then they can kind of see that and all of the details to follow. So I think what's really nice feeling is that and it's part of what we do You are not alone, right, you are not alone. There are so many resources for caregivers out there and being able to go ahead and saying, now I found a resource for the medical part, is it just going to be a piece for the Caregiver Cup Community to see?

Shay:

Yes.

Cathy:

When I look at that medicine list, when I go ahead and need advice on how to go into the doctor with my elderly parent, that's where they can find it, so I'm so glad. How long have you been doing the? what is it called the elderly care hub? How long have you been?

Shay:

doing this, so I built it all last summer and finally launched in September of 22. So about six months.

Cathy:

Nice job, yeah, nice job And you all when we first started. This lady is a physician's assistant, She's two children, She's doing her own business and you're making a huge impact in the caregiver space. I can't think of it.

Shay:

I just got chills thinking about it. I mean, it is my passion and I just love the elderly people. I just love them so much And I just want them to be taken care of so well And I just love the caregiver community. Everybody's been so welcoming on Instagram and everything, and I thank you so much for reaching out to me and being nice to me. Because you start a new business, you hope that you're well received.

Cathy:

I really appreciate it And you do it with heart, because you're thinking of the elderly care And you're thinking of those parents out there And the general population is living longer and longer And, whether we need to say it or not, we're going to be caregivers, maybe not just once, maybe not just twice. I'm caregiver three times and I'm sure I'm going to probably find somebody else someday as well. So well, thank you very much, Shay, you're welcome.

Shay:

Thank you so much for having me.

Cathy:

Yes, well, and you take care, and we will talk to you soon

Elder Care Hub
Managing Medications for Aging Loved Ones
Caregiver Burnout Prevention and Stigma Breaking
Preparing for a Caregiver's Medical Appointment
Passionate Elderly Care Business Launch