Joy in the Midst of It All (TM)

Angels Everywhere: Caring for Family Caregivers and Those They Care For

November 25, 2021 Aminah Amarachi Season 1 Episode 3
Joy in the Midst of It All (TM)
Angels Everywhere: Caring for Family Caregivers and Those They Care For
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, we give thanks for our family caregivers, and those angels that appeared out of nowhere, just in the nick of time, to support us, and our Dad, with navigating our caregiving journey, junctures, and joys.   Let’s take a stroll along solutions boulevard to learn how two great organizations came into our lives and stayed the course with us, the entire time.  Our family is most grateful for them, and our FRAMILY (my word for friends and family) who pitched in from 2009 through 2016.

Now, gon’ and get that second helping of Gratitude Day tater pie, a glass of lemonade, and settle in for another journey of finding  Joy in the Midst of It All.


Be blessed.  Not stressed.  Why?

Because yours and their lives depend on it.

Aminah - Your host

Statistics Links: All links are the reserved copyright of the agencies and organizations that offer this information for our consideration.  If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to them, or browse their website resource.

Department of Homeland Security

National Institute of Health 

U.S. Census 

Home Instead, Inc. 

Aijalon, Inc (retired)

Buy Me a Cup of Coffee (Tea) for a J.O.E. (Jolt of Encouragement and Support)

2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast  by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM)  – All Rights Reserved

Support the Show.

Intro Music: 

Promo: BuzzSprout Services 

Welcome back family to our Joy in the Midst of It All podcast show. I am your host - Aminah Amarachi.

This month is recognized as National Family Caregivers Month. So, before we begin the show, I would like to offer you a taste of the current family caregiving statistics.  If, after hearing these morsels of information, you would like to review them in more detail, the links will appear in the show notes, on our podcast website.

 Family caregivers begin their journey of caring for their loved ones for different reasons, during various seasons, ages, and stages of their and their loved one’s lives.  There are spouses taking care of spouses, parents taking care of children, children taking care of parents. There are grandparents taking care of grandchildren, grandchildren taking care of grandparents, siblings taking care of siblings, and cousins taking care of cousins. There are even neighbors taking care of neighbors, friends taking care of friends, peers/co-workers taking care of other peers/co-workers, and total strangers whose paths have crossed.

Statistically, the most recent findings show that...

 There are 65 million family members, in the US alone, who are taking care of an aging or uniquely abled (my word choice for disabled) loved one, for which 90% serve as unpaid family caregivers.

Many family caregivers provide upwards of 20+ hours of caregiving per week.

Though there are men who also serve, support and care for their loved ones, and we thank you and appreciate you, the majority of family caregivers are women, of which 3 million of them left the workforce due to the challenges of balancing work and family caregiving, and as such, ⅔ of those women experience the potentiality for poverty later in life due to the financial impact of having to leave the workforce to care for their loved ones.

 There are 1.3 million grandparents who are still working to support their grandchildren's basic needs, in a multi-generational household.

 More than 140,000 children lost their primary and/or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hmm

Let’s not sugar coat this journey, because navigating yours and your loved ones lives, and affairs, has its own unique set of pain points, pivots, junctures, and challenges, as well as joy. And, that is before you consider that many women family caregivers are sandwiched between caring for their parents while simultaneously caring for their own children, sometimes everyone living under the same roof.

So, please understand why this episode and this month has been set aside to honor our family caregivers and those who support them as they can support their loved ones, you know, those earthly angels.

Now, let’s continue our journey…

When life pivots, suddenly, we often find ourselves feeling caught off guard, overwhelmed and at a loss for how to upright ourselves in preparation for the shifts that are coming in waves.  This is what it felt like for me, after getting “THE CALL,'' deciding to move back home, and then waking up on the day I was to drive down back home in order to care for both our parents, ONLY to receive ANOTHER “CALL,” that our Mom had made her sudden and unexpected transition.  My word, “BLINDSIDED.” I’ve entitled that episode “Blindsided: There’s a Hitch in Your Giddy Up,” will be shared with you soon. My “SHIFT” in that moment was simultaneously becoming a grieving daughter having to plan our Mom’s homegoing and a full-time caregiver, for our Dad, instantly.

Today’s Episode:  “Angels Everywhere: Caring for Family Caregivers and Those

  They Care For”

The year: 2009  

The scene:  Having just laid our Mom to rest, & wondering what am

  I going to do next.

 As for the Angels that showed up to support us...well...after laying our Mom to rest, flying back to my second home, away from my childhood home, to pivot, i.e. grab a few things out of storage, reposition or remove things out of my car, that I had left when I suddenly had to fly home to lay our Mom to rest, so that our Dad would have a place to sit during the long 12 hours, with no co-pilot (because he was on the journey) ride back to my childhood home, there came a moment when I realized that though I had become and instant 24/7 caregiver, I still needed to work, to take care of my own affairs - both wrapping up the life I left and setting up for the journey I would take alongside out Dad.  That had been part of my original moving back plan.  Smirk...remember what happens when you show God your plans. would this work when we were clear that we couldn’t leave Dad alone, at the house. Now, that’s a whole nother story.

The Story:

Well...when the time came for me to seek out a place for Dad to spend his day, initially, two days a week, so that I could work, I received a recommendation for a program that was housed in a local church.  I knew our Dad enough to know that had I told him where we were going, he would not have agreed, so I just made the appointment, called my aunt (his sister), and the three of us went by the church one morning.  Upon parking the car, I could see Dad’s antennae rising, as was my own.  You know how you just know even before you step inside the place.  Yet, I honored the appointment that I had set, and we entered the building.

Well that first whiff threw us for a loop, and registered for us that...Hmm...this may not be the place for our family...we were not interested in Dad being somewhere in which the space and the place was permeated with a fragrance of a medical nature.  Next, upon looking around the SINGLE room, which appeared as if it doubled for a multi-purpose room, our Dad stopped dead in his tracks.  I looked at my aunt, who looked at me, and then we both looked at Dad, who immediately asked, “Where are we and why are we here?”  After I explained it to him, he replied firmly and clearly, “NOPE!”  And, I clearly understood why. Our Dad was a chairman (the equivalent to a deacon) at his church, and he had spent many Sundays after church, growing up along with his Dad, uncles, and other family members, and as an adult visiting the sick and shut-in. This particular place felt a bit too shut in, and sickly.

It felt unlively. It felt as if the elders were just sitting around, not being active, waiting to die.  The men were on one side of the room, and the women on the other.  There was no activity going on at all, not even conversation.  I asked our Dad to at least let me meet with the person I had set the appointment with.  He looked at me, yet wouldn’t even sit down in the chair in front of the desk.  For me, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when the two people who were to have given us a tour, and I guess who were responsible for taking care of the folks there, appeared and began speaking to our 70+ year old Dad in toddler speak, as if he was a three year old. You know that high pitched kind of condescending tone that should not even be used with our children.  Yea...NOPE!..We’d had enough. I thanked them. I looked at Dad, and said, “We are leaving.”  I could see the relief on his face.

Well, back to the drawing board.  Low and behold, another angel appeared and recommended a program called Aijalon….Yes, like in the Bible.  It sounded interesting.  This time, I decided to go check the place out for myself, FIRST, then if it passed muster, I would see if Dad was interested in going for a tour.  That day when I drove up onto their yard, it was beautiful. I saw greenery, an accessible wheelchair ramp, heard the birds singing, and saw stained glass menagerie in the window. It felt at peace, and I already knew that this was going to be one of our family’s earth angels.

Upon entering the home that was built specifically for elders' journeying through Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and smelling the aromas of a clean space, and a homemade meal, for me, it was a done deal. However, I still had to run it by Dede.  So, I took him for a visit for their annual Veterans Day 2009.  They were honoring their Veteran participants with a party. 

When we drove up, Dad seemed at ease. Upon entering the lovely and lively home, we were greeted by the owners Mrs. Pamela and Mr. Richard Williams.  Folks were engaged.  They gave each veteran a flag.  Music was playing. Participants, staff, and family members were dancing. This was no, we're just gonna’ play bingo here.  The meal, homecooked of course, was great. After the program, as we were leaving, Mr. Richard asked Dede,”Will you come back to visit us, sometimes.”  Our Military Man gave him a resounding, “Oh yeah, oh yeah.”

Long story short, Dad went on to become part of the Aijalon family, and eventually began attending Aijalon five days a week.  This allowed me to be able to work, without worry, and gave us more great stories, about his day, with his Aijalon family, to reminisce about over dinner. A win-win all the way round.

Stay tuned for more right after our FIRST spotlight moment…

Spotlight Moment #1: Home Instead, Inc©

 Need someone to sit with your loved one, while you run errands, go to work, take a break from family caregiving? Well look no further than Home Instead, Inc.©  Home Instead blessed our family by providing in-home care for our Dad, which blessed him to be able to remain in his own home for as long as possible, before it became impossible. Some of the services these angels provided included transportation to the day program and doctors appointments, assistance with daily living skills, compassionate companionship, and light housekeeping. They supported our family for over three years.  And, ironically, many of the women who looked out for our Dad, had names of women in our family, including the very first one had the same name as our Mom, and another had the same name as his Mother-in-Love.  You can’t make this stuff up.  So, if you are looking for some angels, check to see if there is a Home Instead Inc.© in your area.  

Now, back to our show…

Welcome Back

 As you can see, when we least expected it, angels appeared out of nowhere.  I thought that after we visited the first place, our Dad would not be interested in checking out any more programs.  Do understand this, when one sense is challenged - hearing, vision, taste, smell, touch, or memory - God amplifies the others, which in our Dad’s case, it was his ability to quickly sense people and environments, and then with his “non poker face polite,” southern style, of course, made it clearly known that he was not getting a good vibe from the person or situation.  And, as a family caregiver, or a professional one, we must honor everything they share with us, both spoken and unspoken. Their dignity should never be disregarded, diminished or compromised just because they are navigating a health care journey.

My Reflections:

 Navigating moving back into my childhood home, and navigating the spiritual, emotional, social, mental, physical and fiscal well being of both myself and our Dad, was definitely one I grew from.

 I also realized that regardless of any “health condition or diagnosis”, the one you love and care for is still a valuable spiritual being, walking a human journey, deserving of reverence, honor, dignity and respect, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.  Their boots are not on your and your loved one’s ground.

My Insight:  “Allow God’s Earthly Angels to Bless You.”

Now, it’s time for our next Spotlight moment…

Spotlight Moment #2: Aijalon, Inc. Adult Day Health©

 Aijalon, Inc. Adult Day Health©  Founders: Pamela and Richard Williams.  A place of dignity for those journeying through Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  A place for care and connection.  A place of reverence, honor, and respect for our elders no matter their journey or circumstance. A place of support for family caregivers. They served our family, and many other families for many wonderful years, yet now Aijalon has been retired and they are enjoying the blessings of their next journey.  Thanks, again,  Mrs. Pamela, Mr. Richard and your entire team for the love, support, wisdom, education, honor, and dignity you infused into ours and our Dad’s lives. 

Now, back to our show…

Here are my take-away, tip, tool, and toss.

Take-a-Way:  As long as there are angels walking the earth, sent by God, family caregivers and those they love and care for, will always be met in the right and perfect time, with exactly what they both need, even if those angels are not a part of your immediate or extended family.

Tip:   Just because a family caregiver doesn’t directly tell you that they need support, if you see something that needs doing, ask them if you can support them with that need, then just do it.

Tool: A day of play.  Take a day off to just play. Do not clean or organize the home.  Just go play. Do it for your own good.

Toss:  “Become an Earth Angel for a Family Caregiver.”

In honor of National Family Caregiving Month, I have decided to flip-the-script and offer a community toss for you to marinate on. You get to choose whether you prefer to chew, brew, stew, or spew on it., or become an earth angel, and then look back in your own later years and realize that choosing to become an earth angel, for a family caregiver, actually GREW you.

Now, ask yourself, have you checked in with your own family caregivers, today? You know, the ones you shy away from.  The ones you tell that you don’t want to see the loved one down that way, yet haven’t considered that the caregiver might be feeling mighty low.  The ones who you ascribed a superhuman “S” on their chest, rather than call, talk to, or offer them a break, or some support. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially, they need it, even if they don’t ask.  And, if they don’t want it, they will let you know. The ones who may not have been able to get out today, to attend the family Thanksgiving gathering, family reunion, in the last 5 to 10 years, or even just go and pamper themselves.  Have you considered preparing two extra to go plates, aluminum foilizing them, for them and the loved one they care for, and dropping them off this evening?  You know, the ones who you don’t even acknowledge at the loved one’s homegoing service, which was the first time in years that you even made the effort to be in either of their presence. Our Dad, and his Mom, had a saying, “Give me my flowers while I’m living.”  And, I added, “Don’t be tryin to climb into the casket once I’m gone.”

 Regardless of the family dynamics, or dysfunction (work on healing that), if parents can raise, to the best of their know how, 6, 7, 8, 12, or 20 children, then there may be no excuse for their children not getting their acts together to take care of an elder parent, or two. This includes supporting the primary boots on the ground family caregiver.  You know, the family caregiver was probably delegated by virtue of no one else raising their hands or being willing, or based on the assumption that because that person was divorced, single, without children, or make the most money in the family, or because you don’t value their career, thus, you believe they won’t lose anything by letting go of their job.  Not cool.  It’s a family affair, so act accordingly.

 Stop with the excuses and check on them, today. They really would appreciate you making the time for them.


 I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both seasoned followers and new, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey. This is the month of National Family Caregivers. My mama taught me to always keep my thinking cap on, learn something new each day and share with others what I’ve learned, so that we may all have an opportunity to get better. And, I add, live a much more easy, effortless, and grace filled life.

 So, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in and follow the show.  We release an episode every second and fourth Thursday of the month. OK. Also, go ahead and tag a family caregiver and tell them one thing you learned today that will support you, and maybe them, in moving through the caregiving journey with more ease. Then blaze a trail on over to my podcast website, for the show notes, transcript, and links, and if your heart so leads you tip me what I like to call a “Cup of J.O.E. (A jolt of encouragement and support),” over at Buy Me a Cup of Coffee, even though I prefer a cup of tea.  You can see the link in the show notes.

I'm your host, AMINAH. And, I want you to remember to...

    Be Blessed, And Less Stressed...Why?

        Because both yours and their lives depend on it.  Have a great day.

Outro Music:

Buy Me a Cup of Coffee (Tea) for a J.O.E. (Jolt of Encouragement and Support)

2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast  by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM)  – All Rights Reserved