Episode 31: The “Sandwich” Generation: Barbara Friesner

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Are you a member of the sandwich generation – squeezed between raising children and caregiving responsibilities for your parents, in-laws, or other aging loved ones?  Are you in a power struggle with your siblings? Are their often opposing objectives and/or philosophies of care for your senior parents creating conflict and bringing progress to a standstill? Are elder care issues such as driving, finances, maintaining their home, moving into an assisted living community or nursing home, Alzheimers or dementia, etc. costing you time, money, relationships, and peace of mind? Are you struggling to balance work and elder care and feeling you're losing control of both?  Listen to this interview with Barbara Friesner, of Agewiseliving.com  for the answers to these and other questions about caregiving.

BARBARA E. FRIESNER, author of The Ultimate Caregiver's Survival Guide, is an expert on issues affecting Seniors and their families.  Barbara has been featured on NY1 TV's "Focus on Seniors", "Coping With Caregiving" and on radio shows across the country.

In addition to her FREE monthly newsletter, Barbara is the Eldercare Expert and writes a monthly column for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.  In addition, Barbara has been quoted in newspapers and magazines throughout the US.

Transcript

[Music]

Peter Brill: Well, hello and welcome to “The Third Age” with the doctor and the man from Hollywood.  I am the doctor, Doctor Peter Brill. The man from Hollywood is David Debin

David Debin: [Singing] Da da da da da da da.

Peter Brill: On this show. We turn the myths of aging upside down. We sort out; the scientific and the trendy; the medical and the cultural; and we tell you everything you need to know about living in the third age. Remember, we guarantee if you listen to us you will never grow old.

David Debin: I am the man from Hollywood David Debin. [singing] Da da da da da da da. The third age usually starts somewhere around age 45 or 50. It is a time when you start to feel a strong desire for deeper meaning and fulfillment in your life. Your first age is childhood.  Your second age is building career and family. The third age is a major change or a transition to a whole new set of problems  and values, of opportunities, and gratifications.

So join us as fellow explorers in this journey to discover what brings passion, purpose, and joy into this uncharted time of life.

Peter Brill: You know David they are supposed to- when they say the man from Hollywood- they are supposed to…What is that called?

David Debin: There is a fanfare.

Peter Brill: Fanfare. And you got a gong.

David Debin: I know. I got a short musical cue intro today, a gong, not a fanfare.

Woman: Shall we do it again?

Peter Brill: Yes. Let’s do the man from Hollywood.

[Recording of fanfare]

David Debin: There we go.

Peter Brill: There we go. I feel so much better.

David Debin: Thank you Peter.

Peter Brill: All of our shows are important, but some are more important than others. We all have, will have, or have had age relatives who need help to function in life. The experience of being a caregiver for our relatives can be everything from frustrating to intimate. It can cause family battles and leave the caregivers exhausted and depleted.

Our show today will start with Barbara Friesner who is the author of “How to be Your Own Generational Couch” From her personal experience and talent she has put together an extraordinarily helpful book.

Then we will talk to Laurie Bussel a woman who is caring for her mother and starting a daughter’s group which has over 50 members. We will learn about Laurie’s experience and how the group helps.

It will be a very interesting and helpful show.

David Debin: You have been raving about the book that Barbara Friesner wrote. What is it that got you going?

Peter Brill: Well, she is interestingly enough an MBA and so what she has done is she took her grandmother and her mother and she was a caregiver for them and what she did was she organized her entire approach to it. All the way from, what were her goals or her priorities with the situation and then what are all the resources, just like you would organize a business. It is brilliant and very very well organized.

It is not easy for these people who are involved in long term care. You can be involved with caring for a dying person and it might be a month or two months or six months, but if you have a disabled person it could be years, five, ten years, or longer. You are sometimes living with them. They can be irritable and difficult to manage and struggles with autonomy. They won’t listen. They won’t take their medicines. They forget things. Then the siblings all get to fighting each other over who is doing more or less or who is getting what privilege. Then this is your parent. There are all the confusing feelings that you have about that. It is a very very difficult thing to manage.

You had a story didn’t you?

David Debin: Well, I know a case manager who is…I don’t know if that is called a case manager or...She takes over somebody’s care, and supplies the care givers, and also watches the estate and takes over the finances of that person.

Peter Brill: Oh wow!

David Debin: Yeah.

So she had a very old couple that she was responsible for and she got a call one day. They were so agitated that they were hitting each other with canes. These people were in their eighties hitting each other with there canes.

It is a whole thing. It is almost as if- when you hear these stories form people- that this has come as a surprise. That their has been no preparation whatsoever for the parents suddenly getting to that state where they need to be cared for. It is crazy.

I think this book is the kind of thing that people need to see in advance because I know so many people who have fallen into that hole of having to be a caregiver, having to deal with their siblings in terms of being a care giver and it just came on them suddenly. There was no preparation.

The parents don’t want to talk about it. The parents don’t want to know from it. The parents don’t want to think about it, but somebody has got to do it because eventually we’re all going to get to a point where we need some help.

Peter Brill: You know what is really interesting also is what we talk about, which is the difference between getting and giving help. As people get older they don’t mind giving help as much as they do needing someone to give to them. It is really interesting. In our groups what you find is everybody is willing to help somebody with their problems. Somebody comes in. They have a problem. Everybody has an opinion and everybody is willing to help, but most people have a lot of trouble putting out their issues and getting help from somebody else.

So the parents are in that role.

But then in addition you have the entire exhaustion problem of the caregivers. I mean, these people don’t take care of themselves, often. They don’t organize their lives well. The combination of that peruses this kind of phonetic exhausting life that can go on and on and on.

So it can be quite a thing.

David Debin: We had a guest on here who had a book that we talked about  “When is it time to ask for help?”. Why is it so difficult? When is it time and how do you do such a thing?

I think most parents don’t want to ask for help from their kids because they don’t want to burden their kids financially. But also, they have always been the authority and to cede authority to the kids is not that easy.

Peter Brill: I will cede it to my children, not a problem.

David Debin: Sure. Right. I can see that happening.

Peter Brill: You know what time it is?

David Debin: No. I don’t. What time is it?

Peter Brill: It is time for the news story.

[Gong sound]

David Debin: Well, we try to add a little touch here of humor. We have a couple of interesting things.

In New York a pastor who was reported missing from his home in western New York has been found. Isn’t that nice?

Peter Brill: That’s the story.

David Debin: Isn’t that a great story?

Peter Brill: Very very heart warming.

David Debin: It’s complete. It’s got closure. It’s got everything to it.

Peter Brill: It is like a hycue.

David Debin: Well, the rest of the story goes on. The FBI and the New York authorities had been searching for the pastor who disappeared Wednesday after telling his wife he was getting his computer fixed at Best Buy. A police officer patrolling the KC Lounge parking lot- which is a strip club in the Dayton suburb of Riverside- spotted out of state licenses on 46 year old pastor’s car. So he is parked in the lot of a strip club.

Peter Brill: Uh oh!

David Debin: Hello Elliot Spitzer.

The Detective said that the pastor was disoriented when confronted by police

Peter Brill: I bet ya.

David Debin: and said he felt emotionally guilty.

Peter Brill: Wow!

David Debin: Wow! Boy everybody is going to try…

Peter Brill: You know the only reason he was in a strip club is he was disoriented.

David Debin: That is it. He thought he was at Best Buy. He thought best buy meant something else. He said he was going to best buy. I guess he just got a little disoriented.

Then there is the case of a man who was arrested in Cincinnati on a charge of disorderly conduct. He was held on a million dollar bail for a 21 dollar felony 18 years ago.

Peter Brill: As it should be. What did he do? Why did he cause the million dollar bail?

David Debin: He made a deposit in a bank with a role of pennies with a dime in each end and tried to get it through that way.

Peter Brill: Well there you have it. That is worth a million dollars in bail.

David Debin: There you go. And the oil executives just get Scot Perishes. It is beautiful.

Peter Brill: I know.

One of our guests today- we are going to have two guests and I guess we are going to do them in a different order- is Laurie Brussel. Who resides with her husband in an active adult community in Arizona, where they moved six years ago with Laurie’s mom from Long Island New York.

Laurie is an artist, a teacher, maintaining agent, published in a publisher in New York. She is involved in other activities in her community. One of them is a daughter’s group, which she founded for women who are caregivers for their parent, in-law, or any elderly relative. Even though her mother Rose passed away two years ago, Laurie is still runs the group which has about 50 members.

Welcome to the show Laurie.

Laurie: Yes. Thank you.

Peter Brill: I think we also have our other guest Barbara Friesner. Barbara are you there?

Barbara Friesner: Yes I am. Hi.

Peter Brill: Hi. Let me introduce you.

Barbara is the author of a really wonderful book “ How to be Your Own Generational Coach, is the countries leading generational coach, and an expert on issues effecting the elderly and their families. For over 25 years Barbara has been the care manager first for her grandmother and now for her mother who has advanced dementia and learned first hand how emotional and overwhelming it can be to find the right answers and how frustrating it can be to get your aged loved ones to actually do what is in their best interest. She is an adjunct professor at Cornell and received her Masters degree in Business Administration from Boston University and is a national speaker.

So welcome Barabara.

Barbara Friesner: Thank you. It is great to be here.

Peter Brill: So we also have on the phone with you Laurie- is it Laurie Bussel?

Laurie Brussel: It is Brussel.

Peter Brill: I am sorry. Brussel.

Laurie Brussel: That is ok.

Peter Brill: So why don’t we start with you Barbara. What is a generational coach and why should you become one?

Barbara Friesner: Well, as a generational coach I work with adult baby boomer children who are overwhelmed with elder care issues or, preferably, who are looking at the future and are a little freaked out about what to do and how to do it. So I help them figure out what to do, but more importantly- I think anyway- I teach them how to communicate effectively with their aging loved one so their aging loved on will actually do what is in their best interest.

Because elder care issues can create issues between siblings I also help with sibling issues, so leder care issues don’t tear the family apart.

I became a generational coach seven years ago as a result- as you said- as a result of almost 25 years as a care manager. When I first started out I was just trying to figure out what the answers were. Believe it or not this was before the internet. It is hard to imagine now that their actually was a time before the internet. Even now with the internet there is just so much information out there it is hard for families to even know where to start.

So I became a generational coach because I want to help caregivers have an easier time than I had knowing what to do and how to do it. Also an easier time dealing with the responsibility so that they can focus the time they have on having a good relationship with their aging loved one.

Peter Brill: Can you give us  a story that would be typical of the kinds of problems, but more concretely, that people run into. Pick a case and show us what happens...

Barbara Friesner: Well…

Peter Brill: …when everything goes wrong.

Barbara Friesner: When everything goes wrong.

Peter Brill: Yeah.

Barbara Friesner: A lot of times family members call me because, for example, they may have a mother who it is really not safe for her to live alone any more because she just can’t take care of the house, she can’t take care of herself, any one of a number of things, and the family is very concerned. A lot of times they have tried to talk to their mother and they have done it in such a way that the mother just says, “I don’t want to talk about it and I am not going to talk about it.”  and that is that.

Then often times something worse happens. Either she has a fall or it just is getting that much worse. So they really know that they have to do something. So they call me.

So we look at what their options are. Many times they will call me and they will say, “My mother needs to move into a nursing home and we don’t know how to get her to do it.”

Peter Brill: I must know 25 people like that.

Barbara Friesner: Yeah. It is very common.

The first thing I do is to say, “Well, tell me about what is going on with her.” and one of the things we often discover is she doesn’t have to go into a nursing home. There are lots of things she could probably do before. Ultimately, maybe, sometime in the future that is something that she needs. But often times people think that nursing homes, assisted living, or senior housing, or a retirement community, are all synonymous. You know you say to your mother you need to move into a nursing home. I would freak out if somebody did that to me.

Peter Brill: Do they still have nursing homes? They don’t even have nursing homes any more do they? They don’t call them nursing homes.

Barbara Friesner: Well, they still have nursing homes, but that is for people who have physical or mental issues where they have to have medical care. They have to have 24 hour care.

But many times just because you can’t take care of your home, that doesn’t mean you need to go to a nursing home. It may mean that you need someone to come in and help you cook and clean once a week or once a day or something like that.

So the first thing that we do is we look at what really needs to happen here. Then we take a look at how to communicate effectively so that they can calm their mother down and have her willingly discuss what needs to be done and then willingly accept what needs to be done, what is in her best interest.

David Debin: l: Let’s ask Laurie who is involved in actually care giving right now.

Hi Laurie. What was the circumstance leading up to you becoming a full time caregiver? Does it jibe with what you just heard from Barbara?

Laurie Brussel: Oh yes. I can relate to everything that you are saying. We even have agencies coming in that speak to our daughters about “What do we do?” “Where do we go from here with our moms?”

But some of the circumstances that led up to my becoming a caregiver was that we moved to Arizona six years ago from New York and in New York my mother had a companion. She lived about 25 minutes from us. But I still was there to take my mom to the doctor. I was there to take here to lunch.

But when we moved to Arizona we couldn’t find a full time caregiver and there was no question my mother was going to live with us. That was quite an experience for me because…

Peter Brill: What made it difficult?

Laurie Brussel: What made it difficult?

Peter Brill: Because usually when people say that was quite an experience they mean it is difficult.

Laurie Brussel: Ok. It was difficult and what made it difficult were the feelings, the feelings of anger I had towards my mother. You are not supposed to be angry at your mother. You are supposed to love your mother. But here there was so much pressure on me to take care of her, to be there for her. There was no one for here to talk to because there was no center that she could go to, in our community, for seniors- we call them.

David Debin: l: We have- can you hold on there?

Laurie Brussel: Sure.

David Debin: This is David Debin. We are going to have to take a break. You are listening to “The Third Age”.  We are talking to Barbara Friesner who is the author of “How to be Your Own Generational Coach” and Laurie Brussel who is a guide for daughters and a caregiver herself. It is “The Third Age”.

Hang on. We will be right back.

[Sponsor Break]

Peter Brill: Welcome back to “The Third Age”. I am here with my co-host, the man from Hollywood, David Debin.

No a…

David Debin: They only do it once.

Peter Brill: They only do it once.

David Debin: It would take forever.

Peter Brill: Oh. Ok. It would take forever.

We are here with Barbara Friesner who is the author of “How to be Your Own Generational Coach”, a fantastic book which I hop we get into a little bit of its structure and also another extraordinary woman who is an artist and who started  a group down in Arizona that has fifty members, people all taking care of relatives, her name is Laurie Brussel.

So Laurie I just want to continue for one or two more minutes, You were saying before the break that you were getting angry with your mother and so forth. What was she doing or what was causing the anger?

Laurie Brussel: You know that is what happens with caregivers because as much as you love the person that you love the person that you are caring for, to be honest, it is an intrusion in your life. Your life changes and, again, as much as you love them- and I keep saying that because as a caregiver you don’t want people to think that you don’t love the person that you are caring for.

Peter Brill: No. Everybody knows.

Laurie Brussel: You do.

Peter Brill: Yeah.

Peter Brill: Of course you do.

Laurie Brussel: But it is. I am a working artist. I have an agent and publisher in New York. So was constantly sending back paintings. My husband had just retired. My mom was living with us. My mom at that time had macular degeneration and she was blind in one eye. She had trouble walking. She was on oxygen and I was constantly changing her oxygen, constantly helping her, and even though we had a caregiver to come in to help her a few hours a day, if something happened during the night I was at her bedside immediately.  I was afraid to go out sometimes because I didn’t want to leave her alone. So your life completely changes from the life you knew.

Peter Brill: It sounds like having a kid.

David Debin: A baby, like having a baby.

Laurie Brussel: It is like having a child, a new baby.

Peter Brill: Yeah.

David Debin: Yeah.

Laurie Brussel: I have a new grandchild and I saw the dynamics in my son’s home and…

Peter Brill: So what can people do about this Barbara?

Laurie Brussel:  Well, I think that is why I started a group for women in my community who are in the same situation. I think it is so important to seek out people that are going through the same thing that you’re going through so you don’t think you’re a terrible person…

Peter Brill: Absolutely!

Laurie Brussel: …having these feelings that you are having.

Peter Brill: Laura let me just get Barbara’s take on this.

Laurie Brussel: Sure.

Peter Brill: So Barbara this is a very common problem right?

Barbara Friesner: Yes.

Peter Brill: You organize it in a certain way in your book, how to go about dealing with this.

Barbara Friesner: Yes. One of the things that I say is, Laurie, it is absolutely wonderful that she has established a group because one of the things as a caregiver you feel so alone and you spend so much time doing the care giving that there is just not enough hours in the day to have outside people. So your world gets narrower and narrower. So I think that is wonderful.

The anger, too. I think that Peter can relate to this too. The anger is so normal and so common. Then there is the guilt that comes with the anger and then the anger that comes with feeling guilty. I mean, look at all I am doing here and I am feeling so guitly about it.

Peter Brill: Guilty.

Laurie Brussel: Yeah.

Barbara Friesner: One of the things that I suggest to people is  just because you want to help your mother or father it doesn’t erase the relationship, the parent/child relationship. I know for myself there were times when it was like my parents house had a majic threshold. I was this wonderful person, this adult, on the outside who great in business and all the rest of it. I would cross this magic threshold and I would become a child again. Every button that my parents ever pushed just automatically switched back on again. So it is such a normal thing to have happen.

One of the things that I really encourage family members to do and that is to establish boundaries before there is a need for that boundary. For example, you are here because I want you to be here but there are certain boundaries that we need to establish. I need  to have time for myself or it is important for me to raise my own children and not for you to come in and start disciplining my children, whatever the issues are. But really to establish boundaries and to establish them before they are needed because if you do them after they are need then it ends up being correcting mom or dad for doing something that they really didn’t know not to do in the first place.

Peter Brill: Let me take you back to just a little broader view of this. In your book, which is a very very useful book…

Barbara Friesner: Thank you.

Peter Brill: …you start off by describing, you know; get very concrete about where you are now what your goals are, what your priorities are. You have a whole list of ways people can establish their priorities. ;and who is the person both in terms of their generational and emotional background; and then getting help from outside,  how to plan what kind of help you need and how to get it; and so forth.

Can you just take us through; how to involve the family; how to hold a family meeting; how to hold a caregiver meeting. Take us through a little of that, would you?

Barbara Friesner: Sure.

Having an actual caregiver meeting with your siblings and it sounds very official and it is intended to do that because a lot of times what happens is whenever there are two or more siblings there is always that sibling  relationship. One was the smart one and one was the flighty. Throughout your entire life no matter what you do that is always, “Well you know she is the flighty one.” So it is like, well wait a minute what happened to the smart one. Why is she getting a divorce too? Whatever.

So we go into elder care not only with all of our past history, but we also go into it with all of our parent/child relationships, again. The whole, mom loved Jim more than she loved me, kind of aspect of…

Peter Brill: That was true of you too?

Barbara Friesner: Oh yeah! But the good new is my mother really did love me. No. I am only kidding.

It makes it so difficult. What makes it even more difficult is often times you have the caregiver who is right there, who is doing all the work. Somebody like Laurie who has actually taken her into her home or they’re the ones driving twenty miles to take care of them. Then you have got the other sibling a hundred mile away or three thousand miles away who calls once a month and says, “No, Mom you don’t have to do that.” Then suddenly the one who is doing all the work is back at square one.

So it is really important to get away or to get above the emotion as much as possible. That is why I call it a  caregiver meeting, a care planning meeting, so that you really think in terms of; we are all here as adults, we are all here as equals, to look at and to take care of mom or dad and to do what is in their best interest.

Peter Brill: And you give a  structure in your book for that and you give a structure for meeting with the caregivers in general. It is very very helpful.

We are going to have to, I guess,

David Debin: Go on. We have one more minute.

Peter Brill: You have one minute to answer this complex problem.

Barbara Friesner: Ok.

Peter Brill: Thirty seconds, actually.

The thing I was impressed about with was how organized and how useful it is in terms of going through. Should people go through a very organized and thorough way of trying to sort this stuff out?

Barbara Friesner: I recommend that they do.

Peter Brill: Why?

Barbara Friesner: It is very important.

David Debin: Before we get into that. Hold on. We are trying our best.

Barbara Friesner: Ok.

Peter Brill: So the only answer here is yes.

Barbara Friesner: Hold that thought.

David Debin: Our problem is that we are fascinated by what you women are saying.

This is David Debin on “The Third Age”. I am here with Peter Brill. We are talking to Barbara Friesner author of “How to be Your Own Generational Coach” and Laurie Brussel who started her own daughter’s group of caregivers.

We will be right back.

[Sponsor Break]

David Debin: We are back with “The Third Age”. We are talking to Barbara Friesner the author of “How to be Your Own Generational Coach” and Laurie Brussel who is the founder of a daughter’s group who are women who are caregivers for a parent.

We want to get a couple of things. We want to find out a couple of things from each of you and our time is limited.

So let’s go first to Barbara and find out…Your book is a great organizational piece of work. It really gives people a step-by-step organized way of dealing with this problem. Can you give us a compact reason and version of how somebody has to organize them selves for this situation?

Barbara Friesner: Well it is thinking in terms of why be organized. Laurie mentioned earlier about it is like having a child. The difference between having a child and having an aging loved one is that the child after a few years, five years, they go to school, they get more independent. Where as, with the parent after five years they get more dependent. There are usually more issues that people have to deal with.

Unlike our parent who were taking care of their parents for three to five years. Our parents are living longer. So we now have fifteen or twenty years that we are now doing healthcare.

Peter Brill: So Barbara we buy the problem but we have like three minutes for you to tell us your structure. How do we go about it and why?

Barbara Friesner:  Ok. The structure is to be very organized as far as: knowing who the doctors are and marking all of them down; knowing what all of the medications are; communicating this with other caregivers; being organized with things such as instead of going to one doctor a day every day and having that take you away from work to structure it so that all your doctor’s appointments are on one day a month, so that you can take the time off from work with the least impact on work and take your loved one there and make sure that all the follow-up appointments are on one day a month and all the tests are on that same day; that kind of thing.

Peter Brill: You have a whole bunch of these and forms to help you record the information and organize it. Then you have a section on people taking care of themselves, figuring out what they want, what they want from themselves during this time. Right?

Barbara Friesner: Yes. Because I think it is unique to women more so. We are caregivers. We take care of the kids. We take care of the spouse. We take care of the parents, and the work and the boss and everybody else. The last person that we usually take care of is our self. The sad thing is that we are no good to anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves.

So really finding the thing that makes you feel the best, whether it is: for me it is running in central park every morning, just going out there and being by myself; or taking a hot; or whatever. It is so important to take care of the caregiver.

David Debin: A word to the wise out there. Take care of the caregiver. If you are the caregiver take care of yourself.

Laurie- for our listeners who are intrigued by your group- how do you start a group like this? How do you get the people together? What do you do?

Laurie Brussel: Well, it became very easy for me because there was a group already in my community of mothers and daughters going out to lunch. I actually formed a group from some of the daughters that were involved in that group. Plus we put articles in the community newspaper advertising the group and what we do. Friends told friends.

It was really surprising to see how many women in our community were caregivers. How they had parents or in-laws- or an aunt or an uncle that they were care giving for and they really needed help.

Peter Brill: So do all fifty of you talk at one time.

David Debin:Whose house do you meet at?

Peter Brill: Yeah. Right.

Laurie Brussel: What we do is we get together one evening a month when we have a guest speaker such as Barbara, a psychiatrist, and elder care lawyer,  or  we even have often times just a beauty expert for ourselves…

David Debin: Fantastic!

Laurie Brussel: …just to take care of ourselves a little bit.

David Debin: Fantastic!

Laurie Brussel: I contracted Bell’s Palsy from my mother and I really didn’t want that to other women where they just got so sick. I had to make a decision and that is how I formed the group. I had to take care of myself. I can’t stress that enough for care givers.

David Debin: Thank you. Thank you very much both of you for that really sage advice.

I want to ask Barbara, your book “How to be Your Own Generational Coach, how do your listeners get a copy of that.

Barbara Friesner: Well, they can get it through my website, which is www.agewiseliving.com.

David Debin: Agewiseliving.com that should be easy.

Barbara Friesner: Yes. And while they are there they can also sign up for my free monthly newsletter.

David Debin: Oh that is right. By the way, and your monthly newsletter and your- what do you call them- web seminars?

Barbara Friesner: The teleseminars.

David Debin: The teleseminars. Those are fantastic.  I was listening to a few of them.

Barbara Friesner: Oh good!

David Debin: They’re fantastic!  Really! I love the way you do them. They are so easy. By the way some of our listeners are intimidated by computers and this is very easy to deal with. You just make a click here and a click there and you are right in it.

Barbara Friesner: And all you have to do is call a telephone number. So they can get the information on my website, but then when the time comes they just dial the number, put up their feet, and listen in.

David Debin: Tell us a sample. What was your last teleseminar about?

Barbara Friesner: The last one…I am trying to think what the last one…

David Debin: Well, anyone that you can call to mind.

Barbara Friesner: There was one on how to deal with sibling issues.

David Debin: And do you have people call in.

Barbara Friesner: I have people call in and then we do for about forty five minutes is the actual information on the topic then people can call in.  Well people are already on the line. So then I open it up for questions and they ask questions about what we just talked about, but also about any other issues that they have.

David Debin: And are you getting participants from all over.

Barbara Friesner: All over the world. Yes.

David Debin: Really?

Barbara Friesner: Yes. Because all the work I do is by phone, so I get calls from…There is a woman from Korea who loves me.

Peter Brill: So you speak Korean, huh?

Barbara Friesner: Well, she is an American who has been assigned there and her mother lives in Philadelphia and she is really struggling with this. So it’s been great for her.

David Debin: How do out listeners get involved in your teleseminar?

Barbara Friesner: They are the second Wednesday of every month. So the next one is next Wednesday, a week from this Wednesday, and it is from 7 to 8 o’clock eastern time. The topic on this one is “Understanding Medicaid Funded  Housing” and all they have to do is go on  to my website agewiseliving.com and on the seminars page there is the call-in information. It is all right there.

Peter Brill: Well Barbara or Laurie you have each about thirty seconds for any last thoughts. Laurie?

Laurie Brussel: Yes. I just think it is very important for caregivers to talk about what is happening in their lives.

Peter Brill: Absolutely!

Laurie Brussel: Seek others that are in the same situation as you and just talk about it.

Peter Brill: It is amazing how helpful it is to know your not alone, you are not unique, and that these feeling that you are struggling with and the difficulties don’t mean you are a bad person…

Laurie Brussel: Absolutely!

Peter Brill: …that everybody had them.

Barbara any last thoughts? Thirty seconds.

Barbara Friesner: Well I would say that the most important thing when you are dealing with your aging loved one is to start early. Start talking with them early so that you can have some conversations without consequences. It is easier to talk about their health while they are still healthy.

David Debin: I don’t think you were on at the beginning, but we were talking about how this problem seems to come up out of nowhere to people. They get so…I mean, all of a sudden they are dealing with something that they are not prepared for. Right?

Barbara Friesner: Yes. Or they know it might come because all their friends are talking about it, but they are hoping that their life is going to be different. Maybe it will, but it never hurts to start taking about family history and about what was it like when you were taking care of grandma, the kinds of things that they can  bond over and so that then when they start having to talk about more difficult things they have that. They have established that relationship.

David Debin: We would like to thank you both for being with us, Barbara Friesner and Laurie Brussel. Thank you for your time and your information. We really appreciate it.

“The Third Age” will be right back. Don’t go away.

[Sponsor Break]

Peter Brill: Welcome back to “The Third Age”. I am one of your co-hosts, Doctor Peter Brill. I am here with the man from Hollywood, David Debin.

We had quite a show didn’t we.

David Debin: It was very interesting and we had two people who have been doing what they have been doing for quite awhile now, taking care of their older parents and their experience certainly shows. There is no way that you can get into this without being prepared.

Peter Brill: Absolutely! And I rarely get this crazy about a book but this book is so worth while “How to be Your Own Generational Coach”, which has every form and every list that you could possibly ever need.

David Debin: So you can get this a www.agewiseliving.com , which is Barbara Friesner’s website. If peter tells you that this is going to be something helpful to you you better believe it because he reads everything that comes down the pipe.

Peter Brill: Talk about websites…

David Debin: We have one.

Peter Brill: We have one.

David Debin: We have a website.

Peter Brill: Which we were going to talk about in every segment.

David Debin: We have always had one.

Peter Brill: It’s www.thirdagefoundation.com  w thirdagefoundation.com.

We also need your help keeping this show on the air and keeping our activities going. So we could certainly use help with donations for our work. Visit out website and make donation. It takes you right in. With your credit card you can help us keep alive the effort to spread helpful ways of dealing with this period of life. David and I don’t take a penny from the foundation, so this is all money that is directed towards helping people.

David Debin: I think it is a non-profit, one would say. I can certainly prove that by my bank account.

Peter Brill: Yeah. We are, not for profit, but not for loss, as we used to say.

David Debin: But we had a fabulous workshop by the way on last Saturday- or two Saturdays ago. Yeah. -We had a fabulous workshop were a lot of people showed up and we have had a lot of people from the workshop who wanted to join one of our third age groups, which is terrific because we just spoke to somebody who is running a group, the group for daughters who are people who are giving care to their mothers.

Both women that we interviewed just now said that it is so  important to communicate with others who are in the same situation. I think that is what the best part of our group is, that you get to talk to people who are experiencing  what we say in out introduction, you know, as you begin to age there is major changes, transitions to other problems, values, opportunities, satisfactions, everything is changing and you need to have someone to talk about it with.

Peter Brill:  And you need a place for spiritual awakening to a place where you can find that passion in your life where you can find meaning, where life can be exciting. People just believe that they ought to know how to do stuff that they ought to know how to be married. Well how many people do that right? Well I don’t know what the number is but it certainly can’t be more than half because half of them get divorced.

And raising children, learning how to raise children, they just had you this baby and you walk home with it and you are scared to death. Nobody tells you how to raise a child you just think; I will try to do it the same or different than my parents.

The same thing with aging, people are not taught how to age well and these groups really bring about the collective wisdom of how to approach this stage of life to get the most out of it. Look you only live one time that we are absolutely certain of, so why not.

David Debin: Some people are certain of others.

Peter Brill: 969-9794 or www.thirdagefoundation.com

David Debin: We would like to thank Les Carroll, Lisa Headlee, Marissa Sgobasso, and all the people here who help us put our show on. This is David Debin, the man from Hollywood, with Peter Brill saying thank you for being with us and come back soon.

[End of Recording]