IN THIS EPISODE, KARAN FERRELL-RHODES INTERVIEWS JENNIFER AWINDA…
In this episode, we delve into a realm that often remains in the shadows but holds immense significance – senior care, dementia, and end-of-life dialogues. In a world where subjects such as aging, mortality, and assisted living seldom grace our daily discussions, my guest in this episode stands as an expert, ready to guide us through the intricacies of these essential but often neglected aspects of life. Her expertise is not just professional; it is personal.
Jennifer Awinda is a seasoned dementia practitioner and senior care consultant with nearly two decades of experience in the industry. As an author of the compelling book “Cold Hearts Warm Bodies: The Secrets Inside Assisted Living,” Jennifer has embarked on a mission to initiate the challenging conversations needed to propel senior care into the new millennium. Join us in the safe and open space she has cultivated, where we can collectively gain insights into the inevitable journey that awaits us and our loved ones. Throughout our conversation today, Jennifer enhances your understanding and encourages creating a community that welcomes these crucial discussions.
SDL Media Team
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WHAT TO LISTEN FOR:
- What distinguishes Alzheimer’s disease from general dementia?
- How are dementia, Alzheimer’s, and overall brain health interconnected?
- Where is the current state of senior care, and where is the industry heading in the future?
- What challenges and ethical concerns are prevalent in the senior care industry?
- How do dementia villages contribute to innovative approaches in senior care?
- What end-of-life options are available for individuals with dementia, and how does it impact their care?
- What role does a death doula play in end-of-life care?
- How can leadership with passion and purpose enhance the quality of dementia care?
“We need to give [caregivers] more options than jumping out of a window.”
[05:13] Jennifer’s Journey
[07:51] Spectrum from Alzheimer’s to Traumatic Brain Injury
[13:47] Transforming Senior Care: Exploring Dementia Villages and Redefining Industry Standards
[24:42] The Role of a Death Doula in Navigating Life’s Final Chapters
[28:41] Signature Segment: Jennifer’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: Journeying Through Transitions: A Glimpse into Timeless Doula Services
[34:19] Signature Segment: Jennifer’s Tactics of Choice: Leading with Courageous Agility
[36:28] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take
ABOUT JENNIFER AWINDA:
Jennifer Awinda is a versatile and compassionate individual with a wide-ranging skill set. An author of over 20 books for all ages, she’s also an illustrator, senior living executive, dementia practitioner, emergency medical technician, and end-of-life/death doula. As a public speaker, she engages audiences through podcasts, radio, and television while creating online video content.
Jennifer is the founder of Timeless Doula Services LLC. and is dedicated to serving others and addressing taboo topics. Her latest book, ‘Cold Hearts Warm Bodies – The Secrets Inside Assisted Living,’ is available on Amazon. Coming in Winter 2023, ‘Navigating Senior Care, Dementia And Dying’ promises to be a valuable tool for those navigating senior care in the United States.
In her two decades of experience, Jennifer has witnessed the stress of navigating senior care and end-of-life transitions. She aims to offer clarity, options, resources, expertise, and guidance, allowing dignity and legacies to flourish. Also, she contributes new literature through her work, drawing from knowledge and experiences gathered over time.
LINKS FOR JENNIFER:
PEOPLE AND RESOURCES MENTIONED:
Article: The Horror of Nursing Homes
National Inst. On Aging Website: The National Institute on Aging
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU:
This podcast episode is sponsored by Shockingly Different Leadership (SDL), the leader in on-demand People, Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness professional services that up-level leader capability and optimize workforces to do their best work.
SDL is the go-to firm companies trust when needing to:
- supplement their in-house HR teams with contract or interim HR experts
- implement leadership development programs that demonstrate an immediate ROI and impact on the business
Click the plus button on the tab to access the written transcript:
Episode 59 | Demystifying Dementia and Senior Care with Jennifer Awinda
Jennifer Awinda 00:00
There’s a lot of different things over 100 things that can cause dementia. Dementia is actually the umbrella term it is the symptoms of cognitive decline. So if someone says they have dementia, it means they have the symptoms of cognitive decline, but a number of things could have caused the dementia symptoms.
Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.
Karan Rhodes 01:01
Hey there superstars This is Karan and welcome to another episode designed to help you better lead at the top of your game. One of the toughest leadership roles you may ever be faced with during your lifetime involves leading the caregiving for an elderly loved one, I had to do so for my mother and then also for my grandmother when my mother was too ill to also care for her. And for time period, we had to place my grandmother in a nursing home, which was devastating in of itself. But we did ensure that a family member went by for long visits each day because we saw the horrors of the condition. Some patients were in whose families had abandoned them there. Now I’m not saying that all nursing homes and their staff are bad. We had my grandmother in one of the best ones you can find. But sometimes there are bad actors in nursing homes because bad behavior is compounded by the stress which comes in play when you’re dealing with deteriorating health and mental decline. So on today’s show, we have a thought leader who is shining a light on the conditions of underperforming nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Jennifer Awinda is a dementia practitioner, a death doula and an expert consultant on senior care. She has worked in the senior care industry for almost 20 years. And is author of the book, “Cold Hearts, Warm Bodies, the Secrets Inside Assisted Living.” She wrote the book to help initiate you know the really tough conversations around how to move senior care into the new millennium. So Jennifer is definitely leading into the top of her game in this niche topic, and she’s going to share tips on how to avoid the potential horrors of senior care for both your loved ones and for yourself, because if we’re all blessed, one day we will hopefully grow old ourselves. Now be sure to listen for just two minutes after the episode to listen to my closing segment called Karan’s take where I share a tip on how to use insights from today’s episode to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now enjoy the show. Hey there superstars This is Karan and welcome to another episode of the leader the top of your game podcast. I am so pleased to have on today’s show Jennifer Awinda Jennifer is a dementia practitioner death doula and expert consultant on senior care. And this is a topic that something that we all have to deal with, both with ourselves and our families. But usually it’s not a broad topic like for dinner and conversation. But Jennifer’s an expert, and it’s something that this is a space safe space for you to learn a little bit more, we’re so happy to have her. She’s worked in the senior care industry for almost 20 years and is the author of the fabulous book that you’re going to need to pick up called “Cold Hearts, Warm Bodies, the Secrets Inside Assisted Living.” which was written to initiate the heart conversation on how to move senior care into the new millennium. So welcome to our podcast. Jen,
Jennifer Awinda 04:13
Thank you so much for having me.
Karan Rhodes 04:15
Oh, we’re so pleased to have you. And this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. As I you know, I’ve had to deal with family members and sourcing and monitoring their senior care, but it’s just kind of part of the circle of life that we have to do. And I just, it’s personal to me because if you don’t stay on top of things and have a great deal of knowledge, your loved ones or yourself could end up suffering and that is something that kind of breaks my heart to be honest with you. So we’d love to learn more about your knowledge and you know, we’re eager to hear the tips that you’re going to provide us but before we dig into all that Add, I’d love the listeners to learn about you a little bit more on a personal level. So for as much as you feel comfortable, we’d love to hear a little bit about, you know where you were born, your educational background and maybe a few hobbies you have
Jennifer Awinda 05:13
Very cool. Well, yes. Thank you so much for having me on. I was actually born in St. Croix Virgin Islands, raised in Oakland, California. But the only reason why I was born in St. Croix is because my father worked for the water purification company out there. So I happen to come along. And yeah, so that’s why I was born in the Caribbean,
Karan Rhodes 05:36
Jennifer Awinda 05:37
But he actually originated from well, he was born on a plantation in bestiary, Louisiana, the Laura Plantation, it is now museum, but yeah, so my ancestors, my grandmother, grandfather, great grandkids all the way to 1816. Born Well hang on 1816. My fourth great grandfather was sold to that plantation. And actually, he was branded on both cheeks for running away all the time. And so, yeah, so there’s a pretty significant lineage and heritage coming through that plantation on my father’s side. So yeah, I was born of the Virgin Islands, but that’s only because my dad worked out there
Karan Rhodes 06:21
Jennifer Awinda 06:24
And then I got into senior care, because I had three out of four of my grandparents with different diseases that cause dementia. So my grandmother on my mom’s side had Alzheimer’s dementia. My grandfather on my mother’s side had Parkinson’s dementia. And then my grandmother on my dad’s side had vascular dementia. Then in March 2020, right when the pandemic was happening, my grandfather, who was born on that plantation, he passed away, but he was he had no dementia. He was clear as a bell to tell you what happened yesterday and back in World War Two. So yeah, I have a lot of heritage in this country and the United States. And it’s really cool to be here and to talk about dementia and educate others on the subject.
Karan Rhodes 07:15
So lovely, so lovely. In such a rich history, you and your family have as well. Well, let’s kind of dig into it a bit. I’ve had two family members that were diagnosed with dementia and I have a ton of I’ll say, adopted aunties and grandmothers that have been, and godfathers that have been diagnosed as well. So I’m, you know, me personally, I’m semi familiar, but I know a lot of people aren’t. So let’s start talking about maybe the differences between Alzheimer’s and dementia. Are they in the same umbrella?
Jennifer Awinda 07:51
Alright, so yeah, actually, Alzheimer’s is just one of the many things that causes dementia. As you heard Parkinson’s disease can also cause dementia, vascular disease, that heart disease, you know, a massive stroke can cause dementia, Huntington disease, frontal temporal disease getting hit in the head with a baseball bat. There’s, you know, injury induced dementia. That’s what that would be traumatic brain injury, chemical alcohol abuse, a lot of those drugs, you know, that are out there can cause that chemically induced dementia. So there’s a lot of different things over 100 things that can cause dementia. Dementia is actually the umbrella term, it is the symptoms of cognitive decline. So if someone says they have dementia, it means they have the sub the symptoms of cognitive decline, but a number of things could have caused the dementia symptoms. So that’s basically the differences are
Karan Rhodes 08:51
Interesting., nteresting. And does it generally happen in older individuals, or could you be at any age? Well, I guess the injury induced dementia might be younger people as well.
Jennifer Awinda 09:04
It sure is. So we hear a lot about the CTE and the repeated concussions and you know, things like that. So anyone can be diagnosed with dementia, if they have those symptoms, it isn’t necessarily an old person’s thing. However, of course, the vast majority of people that are diagnosed usually are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and then they develop dementia or they’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after the dementia symptoms have already started. Those people tend to be older. We are seeing more young people with the frontal temporal dementia and the Lewy bodies even that type of dementia, people in their 60s with the frontal temporal, the FTD that one it’s people who are still raising children, so sometimes In their 40s and 50s. And there was a study of a family in South India Record somewhere, this is probably about two years ago that it really became, you know, bigger in the headlines that the whole family, you know, even the people in their 20s were, you know, predisposed, genetically disposed to this Alzheimer’s disease that, again, developing those dementia symptoms earlier in life. So, here in this country, we hear about old people dementia, but it isn’t necessarily just old people and these drugs on the street, that is a scary thing, when we see all that fit and all these cheap pills, and, you know, the meth and the heroin and all these things that are out there that I can tell you, I’ll have people come in to apply for jobs. And you know, there’s something missing, and these people are in their 30s 40s. And they’re suffering, as you can tell, this person probably used to be on drugs, sometimes you can tell with their teeth, or whatever, or just the way that they can’t have a, you know, their attention span or their ability to look in the eye and have conversation or whatever. There’s a lot of different weird scenarios with that. But I’ve had several people come in looking for caregiving jobs, that I could tell there was something slipping. There was some aspiring in their brain, and these people are in their 30s. But they potentially were on the street at some point or had some type of situation where they were dealing with, you know, drugs, and it twisted something in there. So I’m seeing a lot of different things happening out there. It’s, it’s scary. It’s definitely scary when you think about 30 year olds and 40 year olds, but I even have a son in law. He’s a football player. And he, his memory is so bad, the seizures, he has lots of seizures, and it’s affecting his hippocampus. And I can tell because the memory loss, you know, that short term memory loss, so he’s 31, right? And anytime you’re getting hit and your brain is getting rattled, there’s some issues no matter what age you are, yeah, I
Karan Rhodes 09:54
Jennifer Awinda 12:01
Yea, my son-in-law is also a receiver. Yeah.
Karan Rhodes 12:01
Yea, I have two things. I’m very fearful of one to your point, I have a family member that’s in the NFL as well. And he’s a wide receiver. And we fear math for him is, you know, in his life, because that’s what they do they catch the ball and get hit like crazy, you know? It’s scary. We know, that’s the path that he has chosen. But that doesn’t allay our concerns as family members. And then the second thing that really resonated with me that you said is the opioid epidemic, and especially fentanyl. I was just telling my daughter the other day that fentanyl is, I don’t know, people really understand how that is devastating, you know, people and families that because it’s so addictive, and to your point, it adjusts things or, or tweaks emotions right in the head and behavior changes happen. And so we really, as a country, you’ve got to get our hands around the I know that people are trying it’s not that they’re not trying. But that really scares me because every time you you know, open up your little news reports on your phone, you see some new celebrity or someone has, you know, passed away because of fentanyl overdose. And that is so scary to me. But let’s move to talk about senior care because I know that we could talk about that all day.
Jennifer Awinda 13:26
I can talk about senior care all day too, so watch out now!
Karan Rhodes 13:34
So can you highlight a few of the things you talk about in your book as it relates to, you know, senior care where it is now and maybe where you would love to see the industry going in the future.
My book, “Cold Hearts, Warm Bodies, the Secrets Inside Assisted Living.” That particular book. It’s available on Amazon. I published it just a few months ago. And it really is my experience working in senior care and senior living and then also the experience in the stories of about a dozen industry partners who gave their stories to weave into the book. It it really is this is what it’s like to work in senior living and stories about you know, things that have happened the residents and what they deal with every single day what we deal with every single day. How, you know, a lot of these corporate offices, it’s big money, it’s big money, if you’re paying 7, 8, $10,000 a month for a little 300 square foot room, you know, for 24 hour care, you know, it’s a lot of money and there’s a lot of profit in it. And you know, when you’ve got 100 rooms at $7,000 a month, you know, if you’re at, you know 100% census that’s $700,000 every single month that that are generating an income and I’m just using an idea like a general dollar amount. This time 10 years ago, it was closer to four or $5,000 a month now Now, it’s right around that 6,7,8, up to $10,000 a month and another 10 years, I can’t even imagine it’s getting very expensive. So it talks about about how much it costs, what people are making, as an executive director, as a caregiver as a marketing director, things like that. Of course, the stories and the scenarios, things that happen in senior care, tell it’s all about sales, it has nothing to do with care, I’m sorry, is what it is. One, there’s not enough nurses out there that actually want to deal with this. It’s really, really stressful. And yes, nursing in general is a stressful job. Senior Living is non medical, or at least it’s supposed to be, but there’s this 50 Shades of Grey thing going on, because you’re not really sure can you do this candidate, I’m not really sure, right. And every state has different regulations. So this particular book talks about what it’s like working in there, that it’s all about sales, and has nothing to do with taking care of the residents. And I say that, because we’re burning through marketing directors, we’re burning through caregivers who are burnt out, because there’s not enough people to take care of the people. And even if you don’t have enough caregivers, even if you don’t have enough cooks, even if you don’t have enough staff, the number one goal is to increase the census and make sure you stay at 100%. No matter what that means you don’t have a nurse
Karan Rhodes 16:25
Is it to maximize the revenue?
Jennifer Awinda 16:27
Yes, that’s the only source of revenue is the residents. That
Karan Rhodes 16:31
Well you know, with that kind of revenue, I was my ethics, I would think that you would want to remain fully staffed to reduce the risk of lawsuits when someone’s not cared for properly. But it doesn’t sound likt that’s today’s reality,
Jennifer Awinda 16:46
insurance for the lawsuits, I hate to say it that way, but one particular company that I have to give a deposition for regarding a lawsuit that is currently active, I have to give this deposition in September, because the caregivers were sleeping on the job and didn’t care, even though we train and we train and when in doubt, send them out. If someone falls, you don’t just put them back in bed, give them a pain pill you call 911. Or if they’re on hospice, you call hospice, when in doubt, send them out. I’ve been teaching that for years. But to get people who really don’t care, that are making $15 an hour, they don’t care. And they’ve got two and three jobs because they can’t even pay for their own rent, gas and childcare. They’re stressed out. And a lot of times they have two and three jobs, they’re working the night shift just because they think they could sleep on, you know, well being paid. So we’ve got a lot of different things happening and a lot of issues in senior care. And that’s why I wrote this book. And that’s why I call it, “Cold Hearts, Warm Bodies.” We’re literally hiring warm bodies just to be there. No matter how much training, it seems like we’re just beating our head against the wall because toes get it or they don’t want to or they’re too tired to get people falling asleep during trainings. And, you know, at $15 an hour, I’ve actually increased salaries to $20 an hour if you are a medication technician, but still $20 an hour
Karan Rhodes 18:17
You can’t live off of that.
Jennifer Awinda 18:19
Yea, it’s a lot out there’s a lot. So that’s what the book is about. And it’s just
Karan Rhodes 18:27
Is a book written to kind of open eyes around senior care,
Jennifer Awinda 18:30
to open eyes to say we basically need to figure this situation out for the future because now they’re talking about getting rid of Social Security and Medicare and, you know, everything is teetering on a balance and raise the debt ceiling and all this political stuff. You know, we’re not, we’re not doing right by our seniors by any means. And if you are on Medicaid, which is not Medicare, Medicare, that’s your health insurance, Medicaid, that’s your welfare. Okay? If you are on Medicaid, if if the government is subsidizing assisted living, for you to live in a facility that it’s likely a crappy facility that is getting reimbursed a very minimal bare amount of money just to take care of you. So it’s not they’re not investing in. They’re not. It’s bugs, thugs and drugs. Just gonna put it like that. That’s how most of those communities are bugs, thugs, drugs. I didn’t make that up. It was an administrator that made that up. And it just kind of circulated Oh, yeah, bugs, thugs, and drugs, but bugs everywhere, people slashing tires in the parking lot with their drama, and just, you know, families that are packing their loved one stuff before they even die trying to hurry up and get them and wanting them to hurry up and pass away because they got other things to do. You know, and just there’s some weird, weird dynamics around senior living in general. So that’s why I wrote the book to open people’s eyes and start this conversation about how How to move forward. Some of the things that I would like to see are going to be definitely not liked by people in this country, especially if you have any monetary gain involved in it. But those caregiver to staffing ratios in dementia care, you know, you can have one caregiver to 25 residents
Karan Rhodes 20:23
Jennifer Awinda 20:26
But they say, oh, it’s based on acuity and you might have some people who are high functioning and some people who are low functioning, so you can have a staffing ratio. And I’m like, it’s all about money. If we’re only going to pay the caregivers bare minimum, we can’t expect him to ever be it really care. And then if we’re going to say no, no staffing ratios, then those low paid workers are, who are already burning out are going to continue to flop over, the revolving door will not stop and the nurses don’t want to hang their licenses on the wall, because then they may be pulled into a lawsuit like I’m being pulled into a lawsuit. My license is on the wall when a resident was put back in bed instead of them calling 911. So the lawsuits, that’s a norm in this industry, it just is.
Karan Rhodes 21:19
So what are better alternatives. Are there any that exists?
Jennifer Awinda 21:23
Okay, I have heard a lot about the dementia villages that are in other countries. And I really want to see how those work because, well, one, that’s socialized medicine, okay? It’s not going to work in this country of capitalism. In this country, it’s a profit off of sick people. I don’t feel comfortable profiting off of sick people, right. So, of course, my ethics is going to say, this is not right, that we should have socialized medicine, at least. I mean, we’ve got fire departments socialized the, you know, police department schools and the mail, those things are socialized. But the medicine part that’s such big money, that it’s going to be the lobbyists that are shooting it down, he the corporations and these big big companies that are making their dollars, they’re not going to want certain things right. So I haven’t been to any of those dementia villages yet, I definitely need to pay some trips to see how they work out. I do like the smaller environments for dementia. But I also don’t like it when even though I manage a small dementia community, the residents still want to get out, I want to go home, I want to get out and they’re like banging on the doors and they want to get out I had one lady break through several screen doors windows trying to get out there they want to leave and the idea of having a place where they can leave a front door if they want. And they can wander and go to a cafe or to movie theater or whatever. And feel like they have some type of a freedom that I think is important for dementia. Because if you trapped me in my house, and all I have is a little patio outside to get some fresh air, it’s not going to be enough for me. And definitely in 20 3040 years if I am alive and and facing the possibility of senior care. If I had dementia, I would want to be able to get out and move around freely without app having to ask permission of someone to open the door for me.
Karan Rhodes 23:29
So can they take care of themselves doing that, are you saying have a compound where they are these activities that they could do in a safe space.
Jennifer Awinda 23:39
The dementia villages that I’m learning about in other countries, it is a compound where they every employee in the theater or in the cafe or in the grocery store is actually a dementia trained employee to help those people. So it’s a dignity thing really is if you’ve been driving and runnin’ your own life for 60, 70, 80 years now to be trapped in a small building and not being able to get out. It’s distressing, right? And it’s very helpful for their quality of life. Bingo isn’t going to do it now. Okay. So they need more.
Karan Rhodes 24:18
So Jen, we’re gonna need you to go overseas it study the model and bring it back over here and find a way to implement those years.
Jennifer Awinda 24:30
Right here in Canada. That is another thing so I’m also a death doula and in Canada, they have medical aid and dying.
Karan Rhodes 24:38
So, first of all, can you explain to the audience what a death doula is?
Jennifer Awinda 24:42
Yes, so a death doula I sit with people as they are transitioning from life to death when they are actively dying. I help even before that part with their visual planning. With trying to make those decisions. Of course I help with the decisions through senior care and transitions. So I’m not just a death doula, but I, I help guide people on give them some more information and resources. So they can make better decisions. But that death doula piece that’s towards the end of life, you know, I write a lot of books and so if they want to publish their life story or their legacy, I can help them do that, you know, I do a lot of that so I can sit with them as they are actively transitioning the medical aid and dying that is, if you say you are diagnosed with a debilitating disease that’s going to cause dementia. And instead of going the Robin Williams way, the actor, comedian, Robin Williams, where he took his life and that way, you can do it with a bit more dignity, it’s on your own terms. Okay. Like it was with Robin Williams, he was on his own terms, right. But at least it can be a concoction and family there. Or however you would want it to be versus what happened yesterday, or was it this morning, when that 91 year old jumped out of the window?
Karan Rhodes 26:05
Jennifer Awinda 26:07
We aren’t giving enough options. And it’s better to give that option than have a splattered corpse of a 91 year old on the sidewalk. Yeah, it’s people are going to do what they’re gonna do. Okay, they’re gonna do what they’re going to do in a matter. I mean, you can think you have a one on one caregiver with them at all times to prevent them from committing suicide, after they’re diagnosed with whatever they’re diagnosed with. But the minute that caregiver walks out of the room, they could potentially do something, you know, they could commit suicide, right? And there’s a lot of suicide amongst older people. It’s really bad with the older Caucasian males. But we need to give more options than jumping out of a window. And what would you want for yourself, if you I encourage people to see what dementia really is like, go into a dementia care facility? Don’t just read it, actually experience it? Because do you want that for you? If you’re like hunched over, you know, drooling all over yourself staring into thin air, things going all around you. You don’t even know what’s going on around you. You’re just staring past everything and you’re drooling. Is that how you want your last two to five years of life? You know, we should be at least able to have that option to deal with that or something else. So anyways, medical aid, Death with Dignity. It’s legal in some states here in the United States. I am in Arizona, Arizona has a huge senior population. Huge there are more assisted livings then there are bars. And I mean, seriously. There are 400 Hospice companies in the Phoenix area alone
Karan Rhodes 27:53
Jennifer Awinda 27:54
Karan Rhodes 27:55
Jennifer Awinda 27:57
It’s big money. But we’re not giving enough options to seniors. And anyways, that’s what a death doula is. That’s what medical aid and dying is dignity. It’s only legal in a few states, but there are dementia villages in other countries where it seems that they have some dignity at the end of their life versus being trapped in a house and just drooling on themselves.
Karan Rhodes 28:21
So, just a little bit more about your practice. Do you provide consulting? Do you have a limited number of clients that you help service them or their families? Or is it just in your location? Or do you do help virtually tell me more about your business models?
Jennifer Awinda 28:42
So I created Timeless Doula Services, because so many people have so many questions, and just don’t understand their options, and need a death doula or need an advisor who can help them through the transitions. My primary is I manage a dementia care facility that is my 40 hour (well, 60 sometimes), anyways, that’s my real job. I work for two private owners who are registered nurses, and I work for them because they actually care. They’re not trying to become millionaires on you know, debilitated seniors. So, I managed to dementia care community. I also have my business on the side and it’s very, very much on the side right now because it’s all about my residence. But you know, somebody will call me they’ll find me on my website, you know, they’ll contact me through my website or whatever. And you know, from there, I can help them as a consultant, I can, you know, get them to the resources they need. I can even you know, if it’s my day off, I can sit with their loved one as they are passing away. Then Then of course, I volunteer for a hospice company out here because, you know, on my days off, if I’m not writing, then I am you know, volunteering or doing something that fills my cup, paying it forward, because every one of us has an accident or an illness away. And it might be selfish, that I’m paying it forward with that in mind. But guess what? All people at some point in our lives, we aren’t needed someone when we were babies. And guess what, when we are old, it’s once a man twice child. So I write about it. And I, you know, to help people through the transitions,
Karan Rhodes 30:30
Well, you’re doing fantastic work. And I can just, you just exude, the care and the sensitivity and the sensitivity to want people to really keep their dignity, through this time in their lives, I wish we could clone you, and that you’re very busy with managing. But if there are any one that’s out there, that you know, would love to get some at least some info or direction from you, we want to make sure they have ways to contact us. So we’ll have all your information in our show notes at the end. But they definitely need to go out and pick up your book because I understand you have a lot of tips and resources and things in there. That’s correct.
Jennifer Awinda 31:12
Yeah. And I have a lot of books I do. I’m actually republishing “Once a Man, Twice a Child; Dementia Education for Teens.” Because that, you know, I, we have a lot of the high school students that come in to volunteer. And I try to always have intergenerational programs in the community, because it’s so important for those kids to be there. Especially since 100 years ago, there were like multiple generations in one home. But now we are removed from death, we are removed from our seniors, they’re in a home when everyone else is moving away, or whatever. And we visit on Mother’s Day around Christmas. And it’s not like it used to be. So the children, they really need to see what aging is not just read about it or hear about it or see it on a TV show. You know, that ain’t right
Karan Rhodes 32:03
Nope. So you can better understand, right? So we pull
in the kid, I’ve written “The ABC: Alzheimer’s Book for Children,” that when it’s for the little ones, five to 10 years old, gives different activity ideas to do with someone who has dementia. And then of course, “Once a Man, Twice a Child” That one’s for the teenagers, and that doesn’t just give activity ideas, but it talks about the different parts of the brain that are failing, so you can understand what is happening, you know, when a certain weird thing happens, you know, oh, that’s this part of the brain, oh, God, it she doesn’t recognize me, that’s that part of the brain. And you know, the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, and just the ins and outs of understanding some of the hallucinations and the delusions and the warning, and I don’t want to take a bath and I want to go home, I want to go home and you know, things like that. So the teenagers can have an interest not just when they’re with their own grandparents or great grandparents, but because they’re gonna be the scientists, they’re gonna be the neurologists after we got interested in this topic, because that’s gonna give it increased by 200% in the next 20 years. So if dementia is going to increase by that much, the teenagers now will be in their 30s When that is our, you know, a reality. So, yeah, I do a lot of books.
Karan Rhodes 33:29
Well, knowledge is power. And I love that you have books that are focused on the different generations. So we’ll definitely make sure we highlight it. But before we let you go, as you know, we love to ask our guests, which of the leadership tactics that I wrote in my book really resonated with them. And so I’ll share with the audience that you share that you love, leading with courageous agility. And it makes so much sense now that we’ve heard a bit of your story and your passion and what you’re doing. But for the new listeners out there, remember that leading with courageous agility is all about having the courage and the fortitude to stand up for what you believe in and do what’s right. Even if you’re unsure about the feature. And the work that you do. Jen, definitely fits with that. But tell us in your words, why leading with courageous agility is set out for you.
Jennifer Awinda 34:19
I tell it like it is. I’m not a salesperson. I would want someone to be a straight shooter with me. Even when I published that book called Hearts one bodies, that one yeah, I know it has touched a nerve with some people. It could potentially make people not like me, because I am laying it out on the table. This is what it’s like, no matter what the consequences are for me. It needs it needs. The conversation needs to be had we need to move senior care into the next paradigm. What is happening now is a travesty. And we can’t just keep status quo when it can’t keep up The status quo. So no matter what the outcome, I’m telling it like it is.
Karan Rhodes 35:04
Well, I for one, appreciate your candor and appreciate your work. And I hope that you continue to do what you do and educating supporting others, and hopefully expanding a bit more in the future to your wreath. So thank you so much. And thank you so much for having the courage to also be on the podcast and have this discussion, because it touches a lot of people’s lives. So thank you for the gift of your time.
Jennifer Awinda 35:32
Thank you so much for having me on the show. I look forward to the future interviews
Karan Rhodes 35:36
Oh, sounds great. And listeners that definitely make sure you go pick up on Jen’s book and make me get an extra copy as well to share with a family member friend, because this these are topics that not a lot of people talk about with the candor that Jen does. But as she said, it’s something that touches all of our lives, and she is definitely a leader in this industry. So have a great rest of your day. Thanks for listening and see you next week. Take care. Well, I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Jennifer Awinda, the author of the book “Cold Hearts, Warm Bodies, the Secrets Inside Assisted Living.” Links to her bio, her entry into our leadership playbook, and additional resources can be found in the show notes both on your favorite podcast platform of choice, and on the web at Laker game podcast.com. And now for Karan’s take on today’s topic of elder caregiving. Now obviously, I’m not an elder care specialist, but I was able to curate some great resources for those of you currently live in in this chapter of life. The National Institute on Aging has an incredible website of information and resources. But what really popped out for me was how hard it is for caregivers to ask for help from others. I know I was very guilty of this, I just suffered in silence. I didn’t want to bother anybody. But accepting help from others isn’t always easy. And you may worry about being a burden. Or you just may feel uncomfortable with admitting that you can’t do it all by yourself. But many caregivers share that they did too much on their own, and they wish they had asked for more support from family and friends. So understanding that many people want Hill it’s great to allow them to contribute. And so how can you ask others for help without feeling achy might be your internal question that you’re asking yourself? Well, here are some tips that may help one ask for small things at first, if that makes it easier for you because many large jobs can be broken down into simpler tasks that people are willing to take on too. If you aren’t comfortable with asking face to face, send them a text or email with your request. Three, consider a person’s skills and interests when thinking about how they can help. If you know somebody loves to cook, maybe they can bring you a plate for the family while you care for your elderly loved one. Work. Be prepared with a list of things that need to be done and let the other person choose what they like to do. When they feel that they have a little control in the process. They’re a lot more happy doing it by if someone offers to help practice saying, thanks so much for asking, you know, here’s what you can do. Six Be honest about what you need and what you don’t need. Not every offer is going to be perfect or helpful for you. And then lastly, prepare for some people to say no, and don’t take it personally. You know how hard caregiving is everyone has things going on their lives that they may not be sharing with others. And it honestly might not be the right time for them to help. Now remember the next time that somebody does say, hey there, do you need any help? No more saying, Thanks. I’m fine. I’m doing okay all by myself, because we both know that probably isn’t true. Hope this info today helped you jumpstart your thinking. We have a ton of more resources in the show notes. So definitely check those out. And as always, thanks again for joining this episode. And please remember to subscribe and share the podcast with just one friend. Thanks so much for listening. See you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, and bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at leadyourgamepodcast.com. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K a r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand, project, or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.
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