Love Conquers Alz

DEBBIE HOWARD - Author, Speaker, Founder of AMI & TheCaregivingJourney.com: The Current Caregiving Crisis

March 10, 2022 Debbie Howard, Susie Singer Carter and Don Priess Season 4 Episode 53
Love Conquers Alz
DEBBIE HOWARD - Author, Speaker, Founder of AMI & TheCaregivingJourney.com: The Current Caregiving Crisis
Show Notes Transcript

FACT: We are currently experiencing a global Caregiving Crisis.

I just experienced  the affects of this crisis and it is terrifying.
 
Here are some harrowing facts:

  • 53 MILLION PEOPLE ARE CAREGIVERS  
  • 75% OF THOSE WORK FULL TIME
  • 30% OF EVERY WORKFORCE IS CARING FOR OLDER LOVED ONES
  • $68 BILLION ANNUALLY IN CAREGIVER RELATED COSTS THAT AREN'T  CONSTRUCTIVE

Don and I  spoke with Debbie Howard, a former caregiver on a mission to change the way the world looks at caregiving so the impacts are not so devastating. Her work focuses on providing companies with support programs for working caregivers to mitigate the related risks of absentee-ism, employee turnover, and extra healthcare costs.

With the launch of  Aging Matters International and The Caregiving Journey in 2016, Debbie has brought her market research acumen to the world of caregiving. 

Her first book The Caregiving Journey: Information. Guidance. Inspiration supports individuals in going beyond logistics in managing their caregiving situations with ease and grace. 

Her second book The Caregiving Crisis: What It Costs Your Business and How to Fix It   (due out this spring 2022), helps companies with practical ways forward in terms of supporting their employee caregivers.

Debbie lived and worked in Japan for 30+ years; she founded Japan Market Resource Network (JMRN) in 1989, merged in 2012 to form CarterJMRN

Debbie translates consumer research into clear strategic direction for global clients across a wide range of categories (including Age-Tech). 

She served as President and Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) from 2004~2007, and as President Emeritus (2008~present) 

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ANNOUNCER:

Alzheimer's sucks. It's an equal opportunity disease that chips away at everything we hold dear. And to date, there's no cure. So until there is we continue to fight with the most powerful tool in our arsenal. Love. This is love conquers all a real and really positive podcast that takes a deep dive into everything. Alzheimer's, The Good, the Bad, and everything in between. And now, here are your hosts Susie Singer, Carter, and me, Don Priess.

Susie Singer Carter:

Hello, everybody. I'm Susie Singer Carter.

Don Priess:

And I'm Don Priess and this is Love Conquers Alz. Hello, Susan.

Susie Singer Carter:

Good morning, Donald. How are you?

Don Priess:

I'm swell. It's Saturday morning. It's beautiful. It's about 73 degrees out. My rams are in the Super Bowl. I'm going to golf tomorrow. What could be better?

Susie Singer Carter:

All sounds like heaven to me!

Don Priess:

it's heaven. As we know life is perfect, right?

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, like I just Yeah, good. Football and golf. What could be better?

Don Priess:

Your two favorites. What I meant to say is I'm going shopping tomorrow, and I'll be shopping all day.

Susie Singer Carter:

Now, okay.

Don Priess:

Better?

Susie Singer Carter:

Very happy. Yes. Much better. Where are we going?

Don Priess:

Oh, anywhere you want. How's that?

Susie Singer Carter:

See who needs marriage? I have a best friend. This is great.

Don Priess:

Exactly.

Susie Singer Carter:

Oh my God. My Siri just went on.

Don Priess:

What?

Susie Singer Carter:

Nobody. I hate my Siri. We don't talk Hold on.

Don Priess:

Wait, maybe she can be a guest..

Susie Singer Carter:

Who Siri? No, he is. Yeah, it's an English for Oh my god. I hate him. Don't say the word.

Don Priess:

I find it amusing.

Susie Singer Carter:

Okay, so just see, we were just talking about technology and how perfect it is.

Don Priess:

It is and it's not.

Susie Singer Carter:

Okay. See, that thing is talking to my ears to me right now.

Don Priess:

Wow. Wow. Yeah, this is awesome.Yeah, I wish we could hear it. So hopefully that's going off through the entire show. That would be amazing.

Susie Singer Carter:

Wouldn't it be fabulous? I get to turn that off. So what else is happening besides that anything exciting?

Don Priess:

Just, you know,

Susie Singer Carter:

Before we dive into caregiving, and yeah,

Don Priess:

I mean, not not much. I'm just, you know, working, trying to get through, you know, maybe this pandemic will end? I don't know, tomorrow? I doubt it. It's just, it's just an ongoing struggle and just try to remain positive. And, you know, that's all we can do. How about on your side?

Susie Singer Carter:

Well, on my side, I have a little bit of...it's been a it's been a weird time. My mother has been in the hospital for three weeks. And you know, it's, it's, it's completely up in the air what is going to happen. She, it really ties into today's conversation, based off of on our last episode, actually with with Rick Mountcastle, the Attorney General because we were talking about the, you know, the system, the systemic issues, the crisis of caregiving and the crisis in our country, and how we have such a lack of attention and focus on the infrastructure of growing older, as a society. And during the pandemic in particular, my mother has been in assisted living, obviously, she's towards the, you know, she's very progressed in her Alzheimer's, and yet living a very happy life in the stage that she's at. And we talked about the fact of how sad it is that even in the situation where my mom is in a very, one of the best rated homes Jewish home, across the country, like, you know, their their nurse to resident ratio is amazing. It's five to one, but with with the pandemic, it's really put pressure on them. And every other day, we were getting 15 people were staff had to go home 10 members staff had to go quarantine. And so you you wonder how are they taking care of the residents? Well, honestly, they're not. They can't. And my mother ended up in the hospital completely dehydrated. With 10% kidney function.

Don Priess:

Pneumonia.

Debbie Howard:

Pneumonia, went into pneumonia. Yeah. She had a enormous bedsore. And, you know, so she ended up being intubated for two and a half weeks. She just got it outearly in the week, and then now she's on a feeding tube. So you know, I'm not saying this to be depressing or, you know, trying to, I'm sharing this because it really plays into the topic that we're going to talk about with our guests today because Rick Mountcastle in our last episode, he talked, he predicted this, he laid it out exactly what happened to my mom. And he said, The sad part is, is that a resident sitting in their urine for six hours is is the norm. And that's not acceptable. It's just not acceptable. We have to do something about it. And even, you know, whether you're on Medicare or Medicaid, and you're you're paying out of your pocket, which we did for 15 years, you know, a lot of money, it's not acceptable, because we wouldn't do that to children, when they're growing up. We wouldn't do that with the, you know, the regulations for for childcare are stringent. So we need to, you know, do that. And that's why I'm excited about talking to our guests today. So, Don, why don't you introduce our guest?

Don Priess:

Well, our guest today is Debbie Howard. And Debbie is an author, speaker, and founder of Aging Matters International and the Caregivingjourney.com. She's a former caregiver on a mission to change the way we look at caregiving. So the impacts are not so devastating. She's authored two books,The Caregiving Journey; Information, Guidance, Inspiration, and her second book, The Caregiving Crisis, What it Costs, Your Business and How To Fix It. Debbie, obviously has a plethora of information in this important arena. And we can't wait to find out more. So let's not wait, let's say hello to Debbie Howard. Hello, Debbie.

Debbie Howard:

Hi, there, Don.

Susie Singer Carter:

Debbie!

Debbie Howard:

Nice to see you , Susie

Susie Singer Carter:

Hi Debbie.

Debbie Howard:

Nice to see you, Don.

Susie Singer Carter:

Ah, it's it's a pleasure to have you. I mean, you this this topic could not be any more, you know, potent for me right now and resonate so deeply, as I said in the introduction, because, you know, it does, this doesn't just affect me and I, I am an advocate for my mom, imagine that people that don't have advocates, right?

Debbie Howard:

Absolutely.

Susie Singer Carter:

And this is a tragedy.

Debbie Howard:

It is a tragedy. And I think what you're doing for your mom is amazing. And so many people don't have daughters or loved ones who can advocate for them. And it really is very, very important.

Susie Singer Carter:

It very much is but So before we dive into all the hard stuff, you know, and apologies up front for that for this beat in such a, an intense episode, but it's really unnecessary episode, we really need to talk about it. And it's in the forefront in my mind because of my mother. And, you know, it, it, it's really powerful to put a face to the problem. And I am right now the face to it. And it's been it is, this is probably the hardest time in my life, literally. And I've been through a lot of hard things. But when you're, especially during COVID, when you can't, you're not allowed to go into the hospitals and you really living in, in, you know, in hope at all times that that what you want to happen, it will actually happen. So this is why it's so important. So but first I just wanted to the audience to know like to know a little bit more about you and, and why you're such a lovely, brilliant human being and how, you know, I met you through our community and you were hosting a fantastic room on on Clubhouse, which is really a powerful room. And so tell us a little bit about how you got so passionate about caregiving and and, and the warrior that you are.

Debbie Howard:

Well thank you so much Susie, I really, I really love the landscape of caregiving and all the wonderful people I've met like yourselves, and it's just this whole new adventure for me. It's not that new, but I'll give you the little backstory now. My mother was diagnosed in 2007 with stage four lung cancer and I was working in Tokyo, Japan at the time running my market research consultancy, and I was the oldest of three daughters. So I was the only one with the wherewithal to actually go home and be her 24/7 caregiver in the end. We did okay for the first year with the chemo and everything and, you know, I, it's hard for me to say this, but the chemo part was easy. And we all know that is not an easy part of anything. But actually, it was easy compared to the last six months when she couldn't really take care of herself and she really it wasn't safe for her to be living alone. I am a marketing person, right. So, you know, I work in a fast paced ad agency type world and I didn't know anything about oxygen tanks or how to manage healthcare workers or really anything, anything not anything and and it was really hard. And I think aside from the medical things that are hard for caregivers like us because we Just don't come from that world. I think the emotional terrain is is extra difficult. And I was touched by the tools that I did not have in my tool bag. I thought, you know, I was pretty highly evolved. And I would, I would be able to be loving and caring, but you know, things happen when you're caregiving that are devastating to you. And I know I've seen in your film Susie, how devastating it's been for you. And and, you know, it's, it's a little different when somebody is in there. They're cognitively fine. It's, it's, I don't know, we don't want to be in the contest, first of all, you know, is what I always say, we don't want to compare caregiving experience,

Don Priess:

There's no contest.

Debbie Howard:

No they're all, they're all hard. But let's say they're all, like, I had a very forceful and opinionated mom as well. And she, like we were fighting from her deathbed, basically, you know, she was like, telling me how to do the laundry and stuff from her deathbed. And I'm standing in the laundry room, you know, you know, not wearing my beautiful Tokyo businesswoman high in garb, right, and, you know, the whole bit and wearing like, you know, tights and slippers, and, you know, looking pretty slumpy doing the laundry, the dishes and everything else, and I'm thinking, I'm thinking, Jesus, you know, I just, I just can't wait to go back to my own house and just do a load of laundry by myself with the way I want to. And I used to put extra soap in there. And, you know, I used to do like little little passive aggressive things, you know, because it's really hard. It's hard and you

Susie Singer Carter:

it is hard, and you get Sucker Punched every every five minutes, just when you think you you know what's gonna happen. And now that you get sacrificed, and you're like, wow, what happened? How did that happen? You're, where did that come from?

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, and you're constantly being right back into those childhood situations. And then you're trying to be an adult, and you're having to learn how to say no, as well, I think and draw your boundaries. I had an experience once with my mom, where we had help in the house that morning, and, and I hadn't been able to go out and take a walk. So you know, I wanted to take a couple of walks a week, it was really important to get out and see the trees and stretch my legs. And my mom said, I don't want you to go. And I had a fight with her. Right. And and the the health care professional even told me, You shouldn't talk to your mom that way. And I won't tell you what I said to her. Okay. Okay. But you know, I, I basically pulled her aside and I said, you haven't been around here for 55 years. You don't know what goes on here. So...

Don Priess:

Yeah, they don't know the dynamic.

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, right. Please don't say that to me ever again. Yeah. And

Susie Singer Carter:

oh, my God. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. Because I know I, we've all gotten to that point. I mean, there was a point where I literally was going to I, my mom is tiny, right? I was going to pick her up and put her in her room. I was I had to stop. I was like, I if you don't listen to me, I am picking you up and putting you on, like, what is this? Where is this coming from?

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, it's so funny. And you really have to dig deep to, to make it through in one piece. And so I was really touched by my experience and being a market researcher, and in a writer, business writer at the time. Now, I think I'm a little wider than that. But I just felt compelled to write about my experience, so that some other people who found themselves in this experience might be able to do it a little better. And, and be a little more prepared. And we were pretty prepared, you know, in my family, but and we had a lot of resources, I would say it was about as good as it gets. But it almost killed my sisters and I to three strapping 50 year old something girls, you know, switching off and anyway, we you know, the I just came out of that experience with a real desire to simply share my experience so that maybe a few other people could do it a little better. And then as I researched it, I saw how bad the problem was. I couldn't believe that. Like I had never even heard the word caregiver in 2007. Before I became one, and I and I really didn't know the word until after my mum passed away.

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, I used to think it was caretaker.

Don Priess:

Caretaker. They used to say Caretaker. I thought it was a caretaker. Yeah, but I and I realized I was gonna get corrected all the time by the people say no, it's caregiver. And I realized, oh, you're right, it is that that makes more sense. I mean, I the same thing to me. I didn't know what it was right.

Debbie Howard:

Right. And then they call it they call it Carer in the UK and in the in Australia and New Zealand. And so there are some different terms. And actually, that's part of the problem is that even when I talk about it today, like a lot of people think I'm talking about professional caregivers, as opposed to family caregivers. So we've got a lot of confusion in the in the landscape and, and I think doing things like what we're doing helps clarify that confusion and, and get everybody straight on it. But I think another fear under neath for everyone is that you really, you really don't want to be one. Right? You don't know. I don't want to be one again. I can tell you that.

Susie Singer Carter:

No. No. No. No Leeza Gibbons says there's like you nobody grows up saying I want to be a caregiver when I grow when I'm a grown up. There's no caregiver Barbie.

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And so it's a really hard topic I've had, I've had my girlfriends when we're out at really nice dinners, you know, eating it great, you know, starred restaurants in Tokyo, and I'll be going on and on about my topic, because that's what I do. And and they'll go, Debbie, Debbie, please, please stop talking about it. I can't take anymore. And I, I just say to them, well, okay, fine, I won't do it tonight. But you, you need to look deep inside yourself and think about this, because this is going to happen to you. And even if it's common sand if you want to, it's okay. But you if you if you at least have some kind of emotional grasp that this is going to happen, then you might be able to take the next step and have those conversations with your family loved ones. And and and at least start talking about what's going to happen. And and those are really difficult discussions to get to get to get to happen.

Susie Singer Carter:

Were your friends that you had the dinner with, were they Americans or Asians? Or were they were they Japanese or I'm, I'm curious in terms of culture?

Debbie Howard:

Well, one of the great things about Tokyo is that you get to hang out with people from all over the world, because we all go there to, you know, seek fame and fortune or whatever you want to say. But I think that night, it would have been a Brit, a New Zealander. And a Japanese person and myself, the Soviet was pretty mixed. But they had, but none of them had been caregivers yet. And none of them had responsibilities yet their parents were they were a little younger than myself. So they were their parents were still in pretty good shape. Right? And they just were not willing to to go there. Yeah, because it's a very, it's a very difficult topic.

Susie Singer Carter:

Well it is, you know, really, it really triggers a lot of different, you know, undesirable, you know, thoughts about our own mortality, and people don't want to, you know, listen, it's not easy. It's not easy, and, but it's necessary. And I really think if the conversation started, like in schools, and you know, from the time where we are taught from little kids that that this is the cycle of life, and this is okay, then, you know, we would be better people for it.

Debbie Howard:

I love that idea, Susie. And I think one of the interesting things that I see, for example, the difference between Japan and the US is that in Japan, we have a far lower incidence of, of older people living in assisted living. So the cultural tradition in Asia would be to help your parents to age in the home, right. And in Japan, traditionally, the parents leave everything to the oldest son, and the oldest son and his family rebuild the original house, so that the older parents can live there as well. So you'll have like three generations living in one household. And we are actually turning back to that in this country, in part because of economics. But But of course, in Japan, it's a little bit less than 10% of households. It used to be much higher, like 20-30%, but now it's at about 10%. But what that does, that multi generational living is to expose the young kids, the grandkids, to the grandparents and on a daily basis so that they can see that yeah, there's some problems there. And maybe I can help and it becomes more normalized.

Don Priess:

Yeah. It doesn't mean that frightening justifies it, and it makes it normal. Absolutely. We saw that in-

Debbie Howard:

It's part of life.

Don Priess:

...like the some of the caregivers when my mom was at when she was much more, you know, she was she was walking and talking and she was much more less dependent. A lot of the caregivers would bring their children and their children and I mean like five year olds and six year olds and they were just... it was like a day at a you know, another day in life. They had no issue if if Jack was screaming over there, you know about something that you know, where's this where's Jack? I'll get it for you. Here it is you take it, you know? It's normal. Yeah, it's, it's like, you know, your best skiers are kids who started at three years old? And why is it they've been exposed to all the things that could happen to them, they have no fear, you know, our fears come from the unknown. And if you've lived in the unknown for 40, 50, 60 years, because you haven't had to deal with it, when it hits, it's, it's magnified. And so yeah,

Susie Singer Carter:

Oh my god! Yneah, my my son in law, he went first time when before they, my my daughter, and he were married, he came to visit my mom atassisted living. And he was approached by one of the residents and who was talking his ear off. And it was, you know, he was, he was in a, you know, a different state of mind, the resident was feeling a little lonely, and he was talking to my son in law, like, you know, "I'm really sad, I'm really lonely" and my son in law, not having any experience in this situation, excused himself and went outside and cried. Because it was so emotional for him. He couldn't, he didn't know how to compartmentalize what was happening. And he had no tools to deal with

Debbie Howard:

It's a really big shock.

Don Priess:

And then eventually, he, as he got used to it, he, you know, he was great with the pro rate with the residents. It's fantastic. But, you know, if, if that started at three years old, you know, and it became just part of our lives, you know, that would be so important.

Susie Singer Carter:

It would be fantastic. It would and it would make every aspect of life so much better. But, you know, what I'm, I'm excited to talk to you about is well, first of all, your your your book, which really touches, you know, caregiving crisis that it is it is the, the hot topic for me, and what, you know, what can we do? What, what are what, drop us some wisdom here? Drop us some wisdom, Debbie?

Debbie Howard:

Oh, well, you're you're you're very kind Susie. I mean, I think for me, what's what's really interesting about the caregiving crisis in our world, is that it didn't start with the pandemic. Now, we many of us know about it, because of the pandemic, thank goodness, it's one of the only good things about the pandemic. But it's been going on for 30 years or more. I can show you statistics and you know, we can put reports and things in the in the show notes, whatever you would like to do. But honestly, people at high level positions have been talking about this, since at least 1990. And, and I find that really sad and shocking in our world. And I think we all know that. Other things get in front of there's all kinds of issues out there, and other things jump to the head of the line. But caring for older adults has been pushed back to the back of the line for a long time. And I personally am pretty tired of it. I've been covering this and I say covering it, I do have a journalism degree. But I've been covering this landscape since 2007, or eight, let's say right in the thick of it, and seven and eight, and then trying to rebuild my life from 2009 to 2015. From the devastation that occurred, financially and everything else. Because of the caregiving.

Susie Singer Carter:

I'm with you. Yeah, they're right with you.

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, and when I came out of my caregiving situation with where my mom had just died, it was global financial meltdown, you'll remember that in 2008. It's when my mom passed away.

Susie Singer Carter:

I - it's when I was going through my divorce when my mom came, and this was the the start of my issues. Like my house turned upside down. Everything No, it was it was a it was a complete avalanche of of one bad thing after another. Yes, I'm with you.

Debbie Howard:

Yes, yep, yep. And then for for me, and I've rebuilt my business. And then in 2011, we had the earthquake in Japan. And it wasn't just an earthquake, it was, if you'll remember, it was an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown. Sorry, I digressed. But, you know, I, I, I saw how difficult the situation was for caregivers. And so while I was saving myself, and thinking about all that I had gone through and grieving for my mom, I had this, this idea in the back of my mind to to help caregivers, other people who would have to go through this situation. And so finally, my book came out in 2018. So you see, that's 10 years after my mom passed away. And I had, I tried to make it a few years before that, but I just couldn't push it over the line. And of course for her 10 year anniversary of her passing that was a really important benchmark for me. So I did get that out. And I was proud of that. But I think one of the things that, again, is so shocking to me, is this, this, this pretty, pretty much blatant lack of awareness about the problem and what we're going to do about it, it's always like, Oh, well, that's a family problem, they'll take care of that themselves, or that's a government problem they'll built, the government will take care of that, you know, it's, it's not happening, it's not happening, because the problem is so big. And it's got so many facets that nobody, no one body puts, puts their hands around it and fixes it, right?

Don Priess:

Which is so strange, because it's the only thing that affects everybody. It's the only cause that affects everybody, you know, and not to downplay any of the other causes that are that are, you know, cancer and Alzheimer's and all, you know, it's the only thing that affects all of humanity. And so for that, to be pushed aside, it's just, it's, it's an explore,

Susie Singer Carter:

Well, because we all we all age, right. And, and, and correct me if I'm wrong, but we are, you know, we have a lot of science now that extends our lives, right. So we are able to live a significantly longer, and then there's end which is, which is great, but then there's no, there's no emphasis on the quality of that extra time that we're buying, right. So so we have a lot of people that are living into their 90s. And even, you know, 100, and, and they, they are able to, to live, but they're not living.

Don Priess:

There's no means to take care of them.

Debbie Howard:

The means is, yeah, and what's happening is, and I think and you're going to be the expert on this, because I am just you know, I'm just a girl who I'm just a girl... who is trying to figure out how to work this this system, but it feelsI'm just a girl in the world,

Susie Singer Carter:

That's right. I just feel that, you know, we're we are going to be a bankrupting all of our, you know, our safety that we've set up like, like our Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, because how long can it last? If there's not, you know, we need to be we need to focus and really put some, some constructive, you know, re redefining of the system, you know, from from the - some infrastructure's what we need to support-

Debbie Howard:

Yes and yeah, I believe that so much Susie, and it's just not working, right. It hasn't been working for 30 something years, and the demands are really increasing now. Exactly. For for the reason you said, we're living longer. We're not necessarily living better, because we don't have a prevention minded society. And if we thought about preventing and being, like living that last 10 years, super healthy, you know, is different than just simply living those last 10 years, you know, that's --

Susie Singer Carter:

Right. Like, let's define living. Right?

Debbie Howard:

Yes, let's let's define living. And, and I think we are also seeing, for example, when you end up being a caregiver, and it's not all women, but it tends to, it skews towards the female side. But let's just take the classic situation where your 49 year old female, you basically have to use some of your money to help your parent or your loved one, you end up perhaps giving up your job to be a full time caregiver, you lose benefits from Social Security, and, of course, your salary that you're not getting any more. And you're going into your own savings. And this is all documented very, very, very well. And so what we end up with is many, many women at the oldest age old ages being pauperized because they they have used all their money and benefits and they don't have as much as they should have had, because they had to drop out to be caregivers. And we also have, of course, many, many single women who fall into this this bracket. But it's just a big problem. It's a big problem. That's future future minded.

Susie Singer Carter:

It's huge. It's huge. It's huge. And I know it's not a Listen, I am a I grew up in Los Angeles, I'm in the entertainment industry. There's nothing more you know, there couldn't be anything in the opposite direction than this conversation. You know, make believe. Lets you know everything is is surface surface surface. And you know, no, people in LA spend their life you know, trying to stay young and vital. And, you know, we can't do that only on the outside, we have to do it from the inside. And, you know, how many of our, you know, just even Valerie Harper from my movie, what a what a warrior she was and, and a role model for this. Such a role model, you know, and living her best life till the day she left this life, you know, as as best as she can. Right, Don?

Don Priess:

Absolutely. I mean, it's and then you look at the you know, these are people with means have a difficult difficult time with this. Most people don't. The vast majority of people unless you say this is not a just here in the United States, this is a global issue. And I would... you know, probably 90% of the people on this earth do not have the means to take care of somebody in their in their in their end years. It doesn't exist. So it's such a massive problem that we look at and go, "Well, it's so big, how could we possibly solve it"? How can we possibly solve it?

Susie Singer Carter:

Before you start, there was a... we have a guest that I met online, who is a professional caregiver in Sweden, and you know, this is a guy in his prime of his life, he has two daughters. He's such an amazing human being. But you know, in Sweden, everyone seems to be well taken care of. And and, you know, we sort of cringe at at any kind of,

Don Priess:

Well, but God forbid, you say anything that might sound like socialism, you know, yeah, God, we cannot have that.

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, you can't say that. You can't say that.

Susie Singer Carter:

I'm saying it!

Don Priess:

Don't say it!

Debbie Howard:

But But I, I'm so interested in this idea of global best practice sharing. So I'm glad you brought up Sweden because Sweden and Denmark, some of the Scandinavian countries have some fantastic programs. And it doesn't, you know, I know the the "S" word is not, you know, something we can say in America. But, you know, what we're doing doesn't work. So why wouldn't we look at this particular situation? And why would we have supports for care for children, for example, and not care for older adults?

Susie Singer Carter:

Exactly!

Debbie Howard:

I don't really I don't get why I don't get why it's okay. To let elders sit in urine for hours. As you said Susie, earlier, just really, is that okay? I don't think so. And I think if we are a society of human minded society, we must look at these different ways. And maybe we have a little bit of "s" in this area. Yeah, I don't I don't

Susie Singer Carter:

They have national hair health care. Right. And, and there's, and it's, you know, it really, it helps the society, okay. It does. It just does, I remember, from Britain, and he, I remember him, you know, saying countless times like, like, he, it's frightening when he used to come here when he wasn't a citizen, because if God forbid, he got in an accident or he got sick, he wouldn't be able to, to, you know, take care of what, like go into the hospital, because he didn't have health insurance, where you wouldn't have that fear in Britain. You know, you have national, the national health care service, and, and, and they take care of everybody. And that's part of society that that's as part of being civilized, is to take care of everybody. And we also, we also have an immense devaluation for the elderly as if they're worthless, because they're, they're growing. They're growing the opposite way. Children are

Don Priess:

Yea, they'll be gone soon anyway. So why bother? You know...

Debbie Howard:

Right, right.

Susie Singer Carter:

Exactly. But you don't know what, what kind of contribution that that person in their last 10 years might give? Because all of us are looking at our last 10 years? We don't know. Nobody knows when they're gonna pass. My father died in a plane crash...

Don Priess:

It could be our last 10 minutes. We don't know.

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, so he was 46 years old, and he packed in a really big life. So, you know, we don't know. And we don't know what someone at 95 might be inventing the next thing -- you don't know. I mean, I just read Mel Brooks his book, and he is at 95 that one of the most entertaining still the most entertaining, thoughtful, deep, you know, wise human beings. And I don't think I could, I would, I would venture to say more so than a lot of, you know, vital 30 year olds, so whatever,you know.

Don Priess:

Or just affecting their their five year old grandchild, great grandchild, you know? Yeah, that kind of type of contribution. It doesn't have to be societal. It can just be a personal.

Susie Singer Carter:

But that is societal. It's a ripple effect.

Don Priess:

Well, it does.

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, it is the ripple effect, whatever, whoever you touch becomes a ripple effect. So... Right?

Debbie Howard:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I was really Interested in what you said about Mel Brooks.

Susie Singer Carter:

Those-- that's gems, like, you're not going to get that from a 40 year old or a 30 year old. And, you know, I always say that, you know, as a writer in Hollywood, you know, we're always all everyone's so afraid of aging out because you can you're afraid to say if you're 40 or 50, because, you know, the executives, or the powers to be that that hold hold the power will say, you know, they're too old, we need younger and younger, well, I'm sorry, the more life you have, the more you have to contribute. And these are the gems that you get along the way. You can't... you're not born with those gems, you earn those gems.

Debbie Howard:

It's true. And I'm chuckling it your term aging out. I hadn't heard that before. And I, you know, I'm 68, right? And I really...

Susie Singer Carter:

You look damn good lady. This is a beautiful 68 year old. Right, Don?

Debbie Howard:

Well, you know?

Don Priess:

Absolutely.

Debbie Howard:

Well, I and there's nothing happening here Hollywoodish, right, as you can see. Anyway, I, you know, I think we do have a lot to offer as we age. Everyone has something to offer, as you say Susie and and and I think that different countries have things to offer in terms of looking at new ideas and ways of handling this this challenge in our society. Japan has a national healthcare system, as well. And they have services like once you qualify as a care receiver to meet those activities of daily living or not meet them, right, you can't dress yourself, you can't cook, then the National Healthcare System certifies you as being ready to enable to receive certain services. So you can get a bathing service to come into your house. They have a portable and foldable bathtub, they'll sit up right in your living room.

Susie Singer Carter:

Whoa.

Debbie Howard:

And the and there's one, like, small slight aide, and a big burly guy was burly as they come in Japan, and and they'll he'll set up the tub, and

Susie Singer Carter:

My mom would be all over that!

Debbie Howard:

into the bath. Yeah, yeah.

Susie Singer Carter:

"Hello!"

Don Priess:

"I need a bath."

Susie Singer Carter:

"I need a bath."

Debbie Howard:

Oh, that's so funny. And they have house cleaning services and cooking services and all kinds of things. And I'm not saying that any country is perfect in this. None of them are we all countries are having big challenges with this, because the demands are so great. But I think it would be I just would like to see our country look at the other countries and consider how we might be able to bring some of these things in, we actually have, we have some of these things available to us. But they're actually hard to find and get like there's something called the PACE program P.A.C.E. through Medicare and Medicaid that I literally just heard about in November. And I had not known about that. I -- It's different in every state. And this is one of the problems, right? Like you're a caregiver, you have to become a researcher practically to find these things and then fight with the bureaucracy to, to get them. So there are issues, it should be easier. I I have a big issue with us giving 800 numbers to caregivers. I'm like, come on, you know, give me a real person to talk to; give a beleaguered caregiver, a real human being to talk to you about their problems and questions. Don't make me call an 800 number.

Susie Singer Carter:

And also, I think you're right about the states being regulated. Like, so there's consistency, right? Because, you know, I had a real issue with with Elder Law, and I was trying to protect my mom's, you know, her estate. And every time I went into the courtroom, I had no standing even though I was her, her, you know, official conservator of person. But, I and so they and the judge kept saying, "Understood, but you do not have standing." What does that mean? I don't have standing and...

Debbie Howard:

Did you not? Wow.

Don Priess:

She wasn't Conservator of the estate, she was conservative of person. So she was supposed to make the decisions. But you couldn't control the money. It's It's insane.

Susie Singer Carter:

I needed to get an accounting and I couldn't get an accounting. And I was like, I just want to have you know, an outside professional fiduciary take over the estate so that it's everything is open to everybody. You know, I didn't want to take...

Debbie Howard:

That makes sense.

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, and but but you know, it was a fight and and I ended up having to just cut my losses and deal with, you know, with whatever I was given and just make the best of it, you know, but but that that's another issue because, you know, speaking to elder law experts, it is a problem because it's state to state different. So, so... why? Why is it? That stupid, you know?

Debbie Howard:

It is, it is. And I just wrote that I wrote that on my list, Susie, because I think, you know, standardizing some of the ways that these things are handled from state to state would be a big contribution, and having special circumstances for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, such as in your case, that's a real, that's a really important thing. That's a really important thing.

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, it brings up a lot of things like my mother's living trust was created while she had Alzheimer's from my sibling. Well, she didn't, she wasn't really aware of what was going on. She had, she had her own will, she didn't want to have a living trust. Right? So and I know that when she was lucid, because she would say, Where's my money? And I'd say, well, it's in a living. What? When did that happen? I said, when you signed that paper?

Debbie Howard:

No, it's very... these, these are really, really troubling situations. And I think it gets back to probably the most important thing that any of us can do is to have a plan. And it doesn't have to be, you know, your plan is going to change whatever plan you make didn't now it's going to change. But for example, in my mom's case, when she was 65, and I was 45. She forced my sisters and I to have the conversation with her about her will, who got what she had stickies on the bottom of all the furniture so that we all wouldn't fight.

Don Priess:

That's usual , that's was really unusual because they don't want to talk about it.

Debbie Howard:

My mother...It's so true Don, and usually, no, we did not want to talk about it. Okay, like, but my mother had just seen her father die. Right, okay? And she was in the midst

Susie Singer Carter:

Oh, yeah! It could have! of caring for her own mom, who she had had to put in a home, because she had some dementia. And it was just a heartbreaking situation. And so my mom was driven by her own personal experience to get her affairs in order. And it was fantastic for her daughters. Because we all knew and we had talked about it 10 years before she actually got cancer. Yeah. And that was amazing. Now, there were there were just a few things that we didn't cover off when we were talking and planning and, and those are my I, I don't want to use the word regrets. But I will, you know, if I had to name a few things, you know, that I wish I had done differently. For example, one of them would have been to have that, take that discussion and go even further to what happens when you're bedridden. And I cannot handle all your needs, right? Because that happened to us. And, and we and we... My mom wanted to die at home. We were under strict orders that if she if she had a problem we were not to call 911. Now, and I'm going to tell you another funny story, because it is funny to me. And, and things. I think we all need to be gentle

Debbie Howard:

It's something they can easily come and just with ourselves and look, look for the good and the humor and situations as well. And we always did that in our family anyway. But my mother and I had a discussion and once someone is sick and knocking at death's door is not a good time to be having these conversations. Okay, that's why that's why I say just do it now. Even if it's hard, it's going to be hard. But do it now it's going to be harder later. So my mother, she would have coughing attacks because she had cancer, lung cancer. And I would say I said, "Mom, you know, this is scary, right? Like I What if you have a coughing attack, you fall on the floor? And I think you're gonna die. You don't want me to call 911 in that situation?" She goes, "No, absolutely not. Because then I'll get stuck in the hospital. And I don't want to die in the hospital." And I said, "But you know that if I have to do that, it's going to screw me up for the rest of my life. Right? You know that?" She goes, "Yes, I know that." And I just like, oh my god, you know, and I'm so thankful that it didn't happen. save and fix her up there and put it back into bed.

Susie Singer Carter:

Exactly.

Don Priess:

And you're like, "No, I'm gonna let you die here?"

Debbie Howard:

Well, they don't do that. They don't do that.

Susie Singer Carter:

It's crazy. Yeah.

Debbie Howard:

Legally, they have to take them to the hospital.

Susie Singer Carter:

My mother, we just had that conversation with another colleague of ours last night. I said, you know, because my, my mother being in the hospital now. And my mom used to say to me when we'd go to visit people, she goes, "Susie, uh uh, not me." You know, and so because, you know, she would didn't want to end up like that. And I said, I hear you Mom.

Debbie Howard:

No one does.

Susie Singer Carter:

But then you know, like, as she asked her, you know, Alzheimer's progressed, and I'd go to see her and I'd say, "Hi, Mom, how you doing?" And she go, "I'm great! I'm alive. And you realize that she's going. Life is good, right? So as you know, she no longer had that bravado of like, not me, you know. And so you know as much like you said, you make plans, but plans change. Right?

Debbie Howard:

They do they do. But in having a plan to begin with is gives you much better flexibility when you do have to change it. Yeah. So if there's any one thing I would want everyone on the planet to do, is have these conversations with your family. I reckon it's about 5% of our families on the planet, who have had these, like proper, heartfelt discussions, thinking through all the way to the end, because it's hard to talk about, and people don't want to talk about it, either the parents or the kids. So planning is the big, big, big banana, I think,

Susie Singer Carter:

Well, if I listen to everybody, I am the

Debbie Howard:

I know, I know, we could, one that hates talking about it. I hate it, like more than life itself, like my, my mom, and I would go, "lalalalalala" because we didn't want to hear about it. We were just like, you're not dying, and I'm not dying. That's it done. We just not gonna do it. We refuse. You know, and so this is my lot in life to

Susie Singer Carter:

...but I want to just get to your book embrace it. That's why I'm in this community. And I'm learning to be a big girl, and embrace it, and help others that are scaredy cats like me embrace it, because it's super important. And if you love someone, as much as I love my mom, you have to, you have to embrace it, and you have to embrace it with grace. Yes, you know, and humor, and laughter and if you'd like a little wine, have some wine, you know, you know, I like to get my dance on. That's my wine. But you know, alright, so before we could talk all day, honestly, I see this is this is this is... about Caregiving Crisis, because you're talking about a corporate situation, which I think is where we really need to make some substantial changes, corporate and state government and things like that, and which is why we're gonna, you know, create some kind of coalition so that we can make some some really big movements. But you talk about companies that that are... they're, they're losing billions of dollars annually. How? How does how did what, what is happening there?

Debbie Howard:

Well, there's a real slow leak of money from every company, because caregiving for older adults affects 30% of every company's workforce. And people don't know this, it was 20%, before the pandemic, but of course, now it's 30%. And again, I'm drawing the line between caring for older adults and, and let's say young kids at home, or even even, I'll include the sandwich givers in that statistic, okay, the statistics are a little muddy. But, but we know 30% of every workforce is caring for older loved ones. That's huge. It's huge. And you can imagine the impact when it comes to absenteeism, to productivity, with people having to go take care of things on an emergency basis, and also with future health care costs. So when you are a beleaguered caregiver, and you are physically challenged, and emotionally challenged, and even financially challenged, that affects you in the future, so the company's health care costs go up as well. So you're not only looking at the time when you're a caregiver, when productivity can be hampered. But also, you have about a third of all caregivers, literally leaving their jobs. So retention is is a problem or turnover, the cost of turnover. So it cost twice as much as someone's annual salary to replace them. So and you have the loss of institutional knowledge, and there, there are other intangibles. But there are actual costs related to caregiving that companies are spending to the tune of $68 billion a year right now. And that's going to more than double in the next 20 years. And again, these are slow leaks of money. They're not. They're not monitored very well. Companies don't have good benchmarks in it, because they're just sort of absorbing it. But what I'm advocating in my book is to get your head around what this is costing you, as a company, get your head around how this is impacting 30% of your workforce, which I think is significant. Yeah, and, and do something about it. And there are some really easy and low cost ways to fix this problem in a company. And I'm just going to mention, like one obvious one is like this, look at what you're offering all your other employees and see if you can't add a caregiver component to it. So you're offering stress management, let's say or financial planning. Add, add a component or to a modular to that addresses the needs of caregivers. So that's the first easy, cheap thing every company can do. And I don't see why anybody wouldn't do that right for 30% of their workforce. And by the way, this caregiver issue cuts across all ethnicities, it's it is a DEI issue as well. I'm saying that caregivers of older adults are a special segment of your workforce. Yeah. And Let's carve them out and address their needs, because they cut across the whole thing. We know.

Susie Singer Carter:

They're just gonna say that, yeah, generationally

Debbie Howard:

now. Absolutely. Of the of the 53 million caregivers in America, a quarter of them are millennial aged. Yep. That's astounding, right? We never knew that before. And that happened before the pandemic, by the way. So it's even, it's even greater now. But we have more men, we have more male caregivers, more younger caregivers. And the reason is, because there's not enough people to help our aging population. So right, everyone is having to pitch in,

Don Priess:

Because our aging population is, is our aging population is as big as it's ever been. And it's only going to get bigger. So

Debbie Howard:

That's right.

Don Priess:

We are we are at, you know, we're we're heading into an area that this is going to get, you know, like you say down the line, this is going to just be exponentially more of a problem. unless we do something about it.

Susie Singer Carter:

Totally, I mean, it like this, it feels like the apocalypse, like if we don't take care of it now, like we'll have, we'll have older people on the streets living, you know, not know, it's gonna, it's really, it's a tragic thing to even think about. If you're talking about, I'm looking at your notes - $68 billion annually in caregiver related costs that aren't really constructive. They're, it's their reaction and not coming from a plan. So that these are just reactionary.

Debbie Howard:

They're just the bleed. Exactly. Yeah, they're just the bleed from the results.

Susie Singer Carter:

So why can't we take that $68 billion that's been bled out and use it as a prevention and a plan, you know, to, like you give, you know, there's there's, there's, there's maternal leaves, there's maternity leaves that people get paid for, why aren't we getting paid for caregiving leave? Why why not?

Debbie Howard:

Exactly, exactly. And that would be another example Susie of of easy to fix programs, easy to expand programs, you've already got it, just expand it expand the coverage. And that's fair, that would be fair, it wouldn't be fair to only help people with young kids.

Susie Singer Carter:

Exactly. Company. And also, what is that? It's what you're presenting, at least what you're presenting is that it's actually, you know, it's it's it's economically sound for the company, it makes sense in a business level for them to, to probably cut that loss, maybe even in half. I don't know, I'm not you know, I'm not an accountant, you know, but an economic at all, I don't know, economics, but I'm looking at it. And just on my intuition and looking at the number thinking, well, 34 million billion dollars, if they cut that in half. And you know, that what, where's that extra $34 billion going? So you know, we could be that that would go a very long way. That would go a very,

Debbie Howard:

it would it would and if you just think about retention alone. And and we know about the problem with turnover and retention because of the great resignation and everything. And if we can stop that first in a company that's going to help the company overall and one of the problems is companies aren't they don't they don't benchmark nobody's counting anything. So we don't know. We we know some things and and thanks, thank goodness to Harvard Business Review for putting out a report called The carrying company, where they did they did come up with a figure for this. So we we know certain things and we'll know more over the over the future. I get my clients to first of all, get some KPIs in place, key performance indicators, so they can start benchmarking what it is actually costing their company in terms of again, productivity, absenteeism, future healthcare cost, re turnover, and then we can look at that next year. Right, we can see if it's better, and then Susy, we can start to understand what that number means. So I think it's, it's, it's happening now, thank goodness, and we don't have to keep pushing at it.

Susie Singer Carter:

How do we How to company in that? What do you what do you recommend, like what do you think?

Debbie Howard:

Well? Well, I I think there are many people like us out there who are caregivers who are actually speaking up sharing our stories, talking about solutions. I think that's a given I think anything we can Do in the area of film, as you have done, and wider consumed entertainment, if you will, to show these these instances, for example of, of older people giving back until they die. And the good the good side, I wrote down where we were talking about, like the aging heroes type thing, you know, who who are, who are some examples of heroes as they age, you know, who can, who who show everyone else how this is true. And then companies, it's not just the money that they save, it's the goodwill that they create with their employees for doing the right thing, actually, and, and lots of companies are trying very hard now to do the right thing. And I just want to make sure that that, you know, older caregivers are in the queue for discussion. Right, right. I don't want that off the table. So I think we just keep talking, keep talking, talk as wide as we can talk to more than just the usual suspects, right, spread the message out as wide as possible. And, and, you know, be I hate to use this, but be the change, you know, be it just be it.

Don Priess:

I think when it comes to businesses and a few you know, I work for a small business where this may not so far, you know, in the time I've been here with this company has been a long time, this has not been an issue per se. But you can you know, just like you did with eventually having companies, you provide health care, because you know why it makes sense for the company to not only for the employee. And I think you have to show that even though this cost something in the long run, it makes sense for the company financially, in the long run, it's all about the bought the bond, it's about the dollar, in the long run, it's all about the dollar. And if you can get larger companies to maybe, you know, if you have something like Apple, or you know, some of the huge companies saying this is now a program we're doing. And we we find that even though it costs us in the long run, it saves us it's those types of companies to set the standard. And then everyone go oh, okay, that makes sense. But we're not it's not even a discussion right now, as far as you know. I mean, it's it's obviously in discussion, but not on a on a wide enough level. And I think that's what we need to do you need to show that, yes, it will cost you but it's but it's gonna save you in the long run.

Susie Singer Carter:

I mean, that I was just talking to a colleague who said there was a there's a bill that's been in Congress, you know, to to touch one or two of these, you know, issues that we're talking about. And it's and I, you know, I want to say 80% have have signed off on it. And it's been sitting there. Yeah, yeah, it's been sitting. I

Debbie Howard:

know, I know. I'm incensed about that, Susie. And not only that, but in that bill, the first draft of that bill, completely left out older adult care completely, it was all about helping carers of younger

Susie Singer Carter:

children, I didn't know that

Debbie Howard:

and not even just not even a disability. We challenged children, not even disabled. So just younger children, because that was a big thing in the early days of the pandemic, with the kids at home and everything. And absolutely, that was a big problem. No one will say it wasn't a problem. That was a problem slapping, but why? What?

Susie Singer Carter:

What a slap in the

Debbie Howard:

face? Yeah.

Don Priess:

But I know that I get it. I know that in like build back better than you know, Biden's program. Elder Care is part of that. It's not just

Debbie Howard:

it is but it's really small. Enough.

Don Priess:

I mean, it's a step. But it's not, you know, it's a solution.

Susie Singer Carter:

I've said this before, but you know, the healthy residents, the very healthy residents where my mom is at, during the pandemic, the one the people that became my friends that were in their 90s, and very vibrant people have passed away, because they were isolated. And there was no yes, we talked about. Yeah, and it's like, that's huge. It's huge. And the fact that you know, you just because you you know, you're now so you're isolating them so that they don't die from a disease. So they die from isolation.

Debbie Howard:

Yes, yeah. And that's the real problem.

Susie Singer Carter:

What is going on? Like how, who's not looking at that? That doesn't make any sense to me.

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, we just have and I think this is in fairness, this is it's it's like that, you know, how do you eat an elephant thing? You know, like, it's so big and it's so like, you can't even see the front of the elephant from the back. Right? You can't, you can't see the whole problem. So you can't... It's difficult to address and it's difficult for one agency to address. There's a lot of action going on, but I think we just I'm hoping here's my big hope My hope is that the pandemic has shown us the way forward in terms of looking at this problem in a little bit more holistic way. Because it, it has forced us to see it in new and different ways. So, you know, fingers crossed, fingers are crossed, you know, that all of this talking and work that we're doing, and you get a few examples, like, we just need a few big companies to stand up. And, and, and show yeah, this is what we're doing, because it's the right thing to do. And, and we need it. I want to see it as a metric on the best workplaces to work, for example.

Susie Singer Carter:

That's awesome.

Debbie Howard:

And we yeah, we know that millennials already are asking about that benefit, caregiving benefit now. So...

Susie Singer Carter:

I didn't know that that's surprising,because I was thinking that the millennials, you know, since it was so difficult to get them to vote, that they you know, that they have been theirs, I thought they were the silent generation in a way. So that's interesting to hear.

Debbie Howard:

Well, you know, I think what's interesting about them, and this is this is just a really a little bit of a sidebar, not much, but like I originally thought my target was people like me who were just about to be caregivers. But actually because, for example, there was a whole generation of women who had kids at a later age. Yeah, the millennials are now facing caregiving challenges. And what I find about the millennials is they're actually more open minded to have this conversation. Because they're more real. They think... the baby boomers are like, I'm not getting old. I'm not getting exactly they're more scared about like, we're, and I can say that because I am one but you know, I'm not getting old. That's not going to happen to me. But the millennials are more realistic. Somehow. They seem to be to me when I listened...

Susie Singer Carter:

They look at their parents and go, Oh, God.

Debbie Howard:

What, and there's been some fantastic work. There's been some really fantastic work. There was a PBS documentary called Fast Forward, that dressed up the millennial kids, they paired the kids and the parents, they dress the millennial kids in this aging suit that MIT has and it weights you down, and doesn't allow you to it emulates being Oh, wow. So they created empathy. And it was fantastic. And these are, these are wonderfu ways of learning.

Susie Singer Carter:

Oh, man, we should put that ways of learning that should be in every school, why it shouldn't every school, so we need to create empathy. Holy cow~,

Debbie Howard:

Yeah, yeah,

Susie Singer Carter:

That's crazy. I love that.

Debbie Howard:

And one daughter had, they had- she and her mom had the plan that the daughter was going to... the mom was going to live in a, like an RV on her property, as she aged. So they did an experiment where she actually came and lived there. And the mom couldn't even hardly move around the thing. And it proved to be impractical. The big idea and the plan was not working, right. And you can see them, you could see them learning this together. And you could see the compassion that they both gained for each other. And, and they, they were able to come up with another plan instead of that one, because that one wasn't going to work. But it was it was a really good documentary. You, you'll want to check that out. It's funny, it's called Fast Forward,

Susie Singer Carter:

We'll put it in the notes. So I have one last thing to say. So I just want to say this Mark Cuban, who's like who just did this whole generic drug? Company, and it's fantastic. And I think we need to get him on our side. Go Debbie, he's from Texas.

Debbie Howard:

Texas, okay. He owns the I'm on it. Let me see. You know,

Susie Singer Carter:

yeah, go Debbie, go get him get this all righ

Don Priess:

Yes. Hesaid he's made he doesn't make any more money. He just wants to make change. And that's yeah,

Susie Singer Carter:

that's what we so we got we got we got some chores for him.

Don Priess:

You know, I think that we should look at you know, at the at the positive hopefully there's a positive to it. At one time, companies did not offer health insurance companies did not offer maternity leave companies did not offer paternity leave. And it took time and it took effort. And it took effort by people from people like you, Debbie, and hopefully us to to make these changes and we can't expect them to happen overnight. But I know basically, all you have to do show people how does it benefit you? You know, and it's going to benefit everybody? So I think there is hope out there. But now's the time to make it happen.

Debbie Howard:

Absolutely. I couldn't couldn't have said it better. And I love what you said about there were days when we didn't have health insurance or maternity leave and maternity leave and and I am really really hopeful actually of of making this happen. And there are many, many people working on it again and if we all just keep you know keep pushing, you know, there's an army out there of us

Susie Singer Carter:

Yeah, it's cool to grow old. Cuz the alternative sucks. In fact,

Don Priess:

we could just these companies that have like child care where you can bring your kid and they have child would just make that for elderly too. We could just bring it Yeah. Bring your mom or your mom to work.

Debbie Howard:

Yep. Yep, absolutely, you can have elder care and they can really be hooked to the same because that would promote generational interaction for sure. It would be fantastic. You know, that could be an expansion of what they're already doing. I was gonna Yep. Yeah. Well, I'm all for these easy, cheap solutions, right? I don't think I think the problem is big, but the solutions are, you know, let's just get our hands dirty and get going. You know,

Susie Singer Carter:

I got it. We got to change the word old to something really cool and hip. Did you have anything else you wanted to say? Before we wrap up here today? No, I

Debbie Howard:

just I just really appreciate your time and and your invitation to be on your podcast. Thank you so much. And, you know, yeah, let's let's let's get out there and make some things happen. I know we can do it.

Susie Singer Carter:

Hell yeah. Heck yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much. And, you know, all this effort comes from it really does come from a good place. I know that everybody that I meet in this community is so heart centered. And honestly, like, I'm, I'm blown away by the, the compassion and the passion that comes from this community. It's really, it's really just fills you with so much hope, like you said, and, and it's very aspirational. For me, I'm a heart centered person myself. And so it's lovely to be around other people that are mushy, gushy like me. And but we still get shit done, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. That's what yeah, that's why we call this show what it is. And why do we always say, Don?

Don Priess:

Well, what we always say and it is so true, that is love is powerful. Love is contagious, and love conquers all. And we're so happy you joined us today, and we can't wait to see you next time. Thank you, Debbie. It was wonderful having you.

Susie Singer Carter:

Thank you, Debbie. Thank you everyone listening. Look at the show notes. In you know, write if you have questions and for her books, and also please subscribe and share to other people you think might benefit from the show. We love you and we'll see you next time.