The Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease

Kameron Browning

This week, we talk with Kameron Browning who is a full-time caregiver for her dad, Jim, who lives with Alzheimer's disease.

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Podcast Transcript

Published:
January 5, 2023
Please note: This transcript was computer generated and might contain errors. 

Katie Wilkinson:  Cool. And Well then yeah. Maybe you can just start by telling us about about you and your caregiving journey so far and you know who you're caring for and and just sort of a pain to picture of Kameron? Yeah.

Kameron Browning:  Sure. Okay. Yeah, so my name is Kameron and I am 37 years old. I have four children. They am range from ages. 1 to 15. I am a single mom and I started caring full-time for my dad about six months ago, I have been his soul caregiver for Oh gosh, probably six years now but just recently turned into a full-time gig.

Kameron Browning:  And my dad is, my dad is the one I care for. His name is James, he goes by Jim and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and he also has suffered several TIAs which are mini strokes. And so he does have vascular, dementia also and he struggles with sundowners and aphasia. So sundowners really quickly. It's just added confusion at a certain time of the day and then The aphasia is basically just confused language not being able to find words using the wrong words for things. It's just it's all about the language.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. Wow. It sounds like I mean between four kids and your dad, you just have like a little bit on your plate. And you mentioned the recently,…

Kameron Browning:  yeah, just a little

Katie Wilkinson: he's moved in with you. And it's become, you know, full-time, but you were still as primary caregiver before that. You…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

How has living with your care recipient changed your relationship? 

Katie Wilkinson: I'm curious to know sort of what's the most challenging part. But also what you know what's changed since him moving in with you and…

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: how's that changed your role in your relationship?

Kameron Browning: and so before he moved in with me, six months ago, I was over there twice a day and it would range from, you know, two hours to sometimes, five to six hours just depending on

Kameron Browning:  What I needed to get done over there and physically for the house. And then, you know, if it was a shower day if, you know, depending on his level of confusion. So, navigating that with four kids and at that time, I was pregnant, so, I actually only had three kids and then, I was dealing with the pregnancy, but so that was interesting trying to navigate going back and forth, balance the kids and all of that. And, and then whenever he whenever he moved in with us and It in. I did not. I didn't. I I did not understand the Monstrosity of a job. 

00:05:00

Kameron Browning:  And life change that I was about to like take on. I mean, I thought I was prepared for it honestly, like, I mean, yeah, we decided to do it kind of like spur the moment because that's kind of like how Alzheimer's works and dimension in general, you just have to roll with the punches and so we were rolling with a big punch and we had to make a decision and it had to happen like that. And so, that's what we did and I was like, Yeah, I got this Yeah, yeah. Oh totally. Like, come on, come on, Dad. You're just So, and I was not as prepared as I would have liked to have been for sure.

Kameron Browning: The role reversal has been incredible. and, He I can honestly say that like when he moved in with me is really when like he stopped being my dad and more so like another child that I take care of.

Katie Wilkinson: Sure.

Kameron Browning: And I don't mean that in a disrespectful way whatsoever, but you know what I mean? And so, yeah, I added another kid to the bunch really. And so, um, that's that's been interesting. And also just kind of like morning and the relationship that I did, you know, once have with him has been,…

Katie Wilkinson: Sure.

Kameron Browning: you know, difficult as well.

Katie Wilkinson: Of course. Yeah, I mean that little reversal is confusing. It's confusing to start parenting your parent.

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah,…

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. and,

Kameron Browning: it's something else.

What would have better prepared you for caregiving? 

Katie Wilkinson: Is there something you would have? You said, you thought you were prepared and…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: you turns out you were not what if anything would have prepared you more for that experience?

Kameron Browning:  Um, number one, like and this is something that I've heard from more people than I would like to admit over these past six months, especially since I've been starting to connect with more caregivers and They like, nobody tells you. what to Do, Nobody tells you how to handle situations, Nobody tells you that you should get plugged in and this this and this

Kameron Browning:  You have to figure this stuff out on your own. The right person has to come along and give you the resources or the right person. You know, you have to hear about it in the elevator, from a random stranger like the doctors don't guide you, maybe, if you have a good one, but I'll tell you that the general consensus is that they don't guide you. They give you a diagnosis, they'll set you up with a medical plan as far as like you know, your prescriptions and stuff. But No, after that it's like you're on your own.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, yeah. I mean that's wild and there's no no blueprint and I think you mentioned before we got on this in this conversation you've been doing this full time for, you know, six months. Now of course it's been longer than that but feeling like you don't have The guidance or what to do, where have you found?

Kameron Browning: Yeah. so,…

Katie Wilkinson: You…

Katie Wilkinson: valuable resources or people etc.

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: So thankfully I will say that I have background in dementia care so that has been a huge asset for me.

Katie Wilkinson:  Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: I am so grateful, so So, my I worked at it. I worked at a nursing home in an Alzheimer's unit. Before I had kids and I did that for a few years and so I did have experience. And then also, my, my dad's dad had Alzheimer's, and then my mom's mom had dementia. And so I've, I've been around it a lot and I have just picked it up. You know, that way. I'm like as far as how to care for them, how to speak with them,…

00:10:00

Katie Wilkinson: Sure.

Kameron Browning: how to treat them. Stuff like that. But only for the disease. 

Caregiving is just so much bigger than just like caring for the person. And I think that's what people don't really understand. Caregiving is like this all encompassing. You literally put your life on hold. It becomes a completely different life.

Kameron Browning: As far as like resources though. honestly other caregivers people…

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Kameron Browning: who have been there before me have been my absolute biggest godsend and lifesaver like um And I found most of them through Tiktok to be used with you.

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Um yeah like having a platform on there that came out of nowhere has been like a huge blessing and so I have found a lot of things through that and I think that's the reason I reached out to my local. Agency for Aging. And that is how he got hours at the Senior Day Center. So that I could get some respite,…

Katie Wilkinson: He?

Kameron Browning: um, that, you know. So everything is kind of stemmed from people that have gone before me and have, you know, and I kind of like, and trying to,

Kameron Browning: It's like there needs to be some cohesive like place like here are all of the steps. Yeah, yeah I mean that's so needed and…

Katie Wilkinson: Right. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: our generation is like there are more people with this disease right now. And it's just like booming.

Katie Wilkinson:  Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: It's it's kind of crazy and I have my own thoughts about Why? That is but that's neither here nor there.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I mean I think it's I think you're right. Like, it's so interesting, the amount of community that's on, you know, Instagram and Tiktok and people finding their people or people that have, you know, shared experiences there. And I also think I don't know if we can be encouraged by this that you know, caregiving and the care economy is like a hot topic in the news right now, and I do think there's hopefully movement towards policy change and…

Kameron Browning: You.

Katie Wilkinson: and greater resources and greater money going into these things. So that what you've just said, hopefully can exist, you…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: or we can move in that direction because You're right, you're just sort of like building the plane as you fly and flying by the severe pants. Try to figure out, you know, how to how to care for, in your instance, someone with Alzheimer's but there's no, so many other scenarios too, and You talked a little bit about your dad's, you know, medical team.

Katie Wilkinson:  Being useful for a medical plan, but obviously that's not comprehensive. And can you talk a little bit about like, Who else is part of the care team? Who else do you have support from like, just sort of, What does the whole Ecosystem of caring for your dad look like, yeah.

Kameron Browning:  Look like sure. And so, as far as his medical team like that side of it, he only sees and like a primary care physician. He does not see a neurologist anymore, he did at one point, but at this point in the disease, there's really no reason for it. And I mean if they're ever did come a reason, we would definitely go. But at this point, it's we know what to expect. So, um, so his primary care doctor and then he sees someone for to manage his medication because he is seen through the VA, we go to the VA, he's a veteran. And so he seen by like their behavioral health people for, you know, his medication to manage the sundowning and his mood and sleep, and stuff like that.

Kameron Browning: and then as far as his personal care team, I'm obviously like the sole person, but,…

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Kameron Browning: my sister, I've got a couple of siblings. My sister does help when she can. And my mom is also an incredible help. She, I definitely would include her as a part of my dad's care. Team their divorced, but, and he doesn't recognize her as

Katie Wilkinson: Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: As his ex-wife. So it's not like awkward like you know, they had a good relationship anyways,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Who else is part of your dad’s care team?

Kameron Browning: when he did remember her and so she's just kind of jumped right in and and helps and then I have an aid that comes to the house for nine hours a week. Um she so she's here twice a week for four and a half hours. She's actually here right now. So that's the reason I'm able to have some quiet time and…

00:15:00

Katie Wilkinson: Nice.

Kameron Browning: that I'm awarded. He's awarded that through the VA and…

Katie Wilkinson:  Mmm.

Kameron Browning: so I think goodness don't have to pay for that. And that is the reason we only have nine hours a week is because it's free. He earned that first serving his country and like that's what we get and he can't afford any more. Um, that's yeah. And that's kind of Sad. That's kind of sad.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Really, if you think about it, he served our country for three years and He may have. You know, who knows why Alzheimer's is a thing and who knows really why? And it affects who it affects because there are so many factors but that could have been a big reason why he has Alzheimer's, I don't know. Um, You know, the war in general and he gets nine hours a week, I just think that there's something broken with our system. 

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. Yeah, I don't think I don't think you're wrong.

Kameron Browning:  What? Yeah.

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: And was they gonna ask and My brain just just lost that thank you for.

Kameron Browning:  I knew, yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: I was gonna say thank you for spending. I know, you know, you got these nine hours a week of where and…

Kameron Browning:  Oh yeah, definitely. Yes. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: thank you for spending, you know, one of them with us. Like this is so important to to share, but I also know how precious you're, you know, your time is, um, I do want to switch gears a little bit into talking about money,…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: which can be a bit taboo or,…

Kameron Browning:  Yes.

Katie Wilkinson: or just sort of the, the financial impact of caregiving. And, you…

Kameron Browning:  Get.

Katie Wilkinson: you mentioned, there's an aid that comes nine hours a week through the VA and maybe first, you can just talk a bit more about like how you discovered, you know, VA benefits here.

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: How you got connected with this particular program?

Katie Wilkinson: Just a bit more about that. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Yeah. For sure.

How did you find out about VA caregiving benefits?  

Kameron Browning: So my dad is a veteran and he but he always he always had private health care like he always just went to like and I don't know why that was I don't know.

Kameron Browning:  What made him do that go that route and I wasn't a part of that decision you know years and years ago before he was diagnosed but he had never even been like established at the VA and I was getting frustrated with the private doctor and and I was like, You know, we were gonna have to go to you know, hear there and everywhere. And at the VA it's like, all right there, you can just do everything right there and I'm like Okay. Also like he's earned this care that they can provide him and so like let's utilize it, you know. And at that point, I was a virgin in the VA world had no idea what to expect. But now that I'm there and like, we have been established, I would say that, like, it

Kameron Browning:  Has been less than stellar.

Kameron Browning:  There are like a million people that will tell you different things. We don't get the same answer from like anybody. We feel like a number there and not a patient. So, but that is how we were at just a, I had to seek it out the, the care. Um, the hours I requested for a social worker to meet with us during one of his appointments. And I was like, Listen, I need to know, because as someone who had gone, before me told me to ask, they were, like, you need to talk to a social worker. You need to ask these questions and so that's what I did. And at that point, she rated him and he was rated to get like nine hours. So they rate them like, you know, depending on their needs and abilities and then also how they're connected to the VA.

Kameron Browning: so if they are, you know, if their injury or illness is related to their Service. So that's,…

Katie Wilkinson: Right.

Kameron Browning: you know, kind of how they are rated. So how he was rated, he got nine hours a week.

Katie Wilkinson:  Is there potential for that to to change? Like do you meet regularly with you know, this person you're connected to

00:20:00

Kameron Browning:  I'm fighting for there to be. So we I met with a veteran. It's like a advocate basically and there at the VA. I met with them and was like, Listen, here's our situation. What can we do to get him more service connected? Is there anything that we can do and we did We did do like a hearing test because he does have connections with that with the service and he did. Ah, I think that there were waiting on the results for that. So we had to go, you know, to an audiologist and all that and, but as far as like, Getting more help. Like that is our only ticket unfortunately.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Is and so like he won't ever get, he won't ever get really like an exponentially like more help from the VA and…

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Kameron Browning: but you know they do provide like any prosthetics he would need and that and that does like include, You know, grab bars for the bathroom. It includes, you know, a walker and you know, stuff like that. The VA is really good and if you would need hearing aids and then they do like vision and stuff like that. So um, so they are pretty all encompassing and I got so off track there though. What did you? What was the original question?

Katie Wilkinson: No, that's great. It's just curious about a sort of how this evolves over time, you know, if more car comes with age or just what else is it included there?

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah. It's it's basically just like I mean no they won't I mean yeah you know I think that once I mean if they do they provide like if I were to want to put him in a home, they provide help. I'm looking at that as an option right now,…

Katie Wilkinson: Right.

Kameron Browning: so I haven't even like looked into the ins and outs of that. But yeah, the amount of help that you get is based on like your service connection. so,

Katie Wilkinson:  Mm-hmm. You mentioned that someone, you know, someone who would come before you had said, suggested talking to, you know, social worker at the VA and gave you sort of a list of questions to ask. Do you remember some of those initial questions that you asked to get this sort of care or conversation started?

Kameron Browning: and, It was basically like, I I explained my situation and said, Listen. Like I am the only one that's advocating for my dad. I like I need and the VA was good about they were like, Well, here's a list of like things that and so they did give me like I was just bit the social worker was like, my first like You know, person that I reached out to really and so it was just like help me advocate for my dad.

Katie Wilkinson: Hmm.

Kameron Browning: and, And so that's kind of like what that got the ball rolling there.

Kameron Browning: I'm trying to think. There's something else I wanted to say, I'm so sorry,…

Katie Wilkinson: Now, you're good.

Kameron Browning: my brain just like out.

Kameron Browning:  Huh, I totally lost it. I'm sorry. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: That's right. It'll come back or it won't. We'll see. I guess sort of like bigger bigger pictures obviously you guys have this, you know, Va benefit which could be more. But at least to something and…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: I guess bigger picture, you know, what are some of the ways that caregiving has impacted And like you had mentioned, caregiving is, you know all encompassing. It's not just you and your dad, if you have four kids you have you know life outside of this.

How has caregiving impacted your spending, saving, thoughts of the future? 

So in this season of caregiving, how is it impacted? You know, you're spending and saving and you know thoughts of the future.

Kameron Browning:  Yeah. So um oh,

Kameron Browning: And with with a father that, you know, was living paycheck to paycheck. Anyway, had no, you know, savings really to speak of and me being a single mom. It has really like opened my eyes more to like um just all the what ifs and…

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Kameron Browning: so. Um and there's there's a lot that's impacted in my life by caregiving that I was not, you know, planning for um you know lots of more trips in my car, you know, that's a big one.

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Kameron Browning: It's like, you know, it's just like everything. It's just everything we had to move to a bigger house so the bigger house means, you know more more money each month. It's just like, you know, and I didn't get, you know, I don't start making more money just because the need is there but we had to,…

00:25:00

Katie Wilkinson: Right.

Kameron Browning: you know, so And so anyway, and The.

Kameron Browning:  Oh, there's so many thoughts they're like running through my head and I'm trying to focus on just one. So um, hmm, I'm so sorry.

Katie Wilkinson:  No, don't apologize. It's a lot.

Kameron Browning:  and, It is a lot and

Kameron Browning: Oh, ask me just one question. Let's try, Let's try that. I'm sorry,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: I'm having a hard time like focusing right now. My head is everywhere.

Katie Wilkinson: Of course. Yeah, I mean, you mentioned, you know, the sort of specific but you mentioned like gas like taking more trips in the car and,…

Kameron Browning:  You.

Katie Wilkinson: and managing, you know, just one expense like gas, you know. 

What tips or resources do you have for managing caregiving expenses? 

Have you found Like tips or tricks around managing that or resources?

Kameron Browning:  I'm honestly like it's just been so like A figure everything out as you go. And I feel like I have been like blessed. I think that honestly like

Kameron Browning: People have, like, come together to help and I, I don't know, like, that's the only way I've been able to like manage and juggle. All the plates is having a community. [END SHORT CLIP] And, you know, you asked earlier about like, the care team that was involved, like I couldn't do any of this without like my mom, my mom is a constant like, you know, the amount of and…

Katie Wilkinson: Mmm. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: how it affects her. You know, she's now spending more gas money because she's, you know, in the car, you know, helping me take my kids from places, you know, here and there, when I can't, because I don't have someone to sit with my dad and my dad being in the car, half of the day and irritates him, you know, it's not conducive to, you know, a good day for him. So, and anyway, it's just It tips and tricks um have less kids, I don't know. Definitely include that please. That's the best tip I have now. And

Kameron Browning: It's just an, I mean, I think it's just the economy too. It's just like, you know,…

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Kameron Browning: we can't really like their community resources. I would say, like Don't be too proud also to like reach out for the resources and the help. Like, that's what it's there for. I think there's a lot of pride when it comes to the older generation especially like, you know, coming out of those depression years and you know, stuff like that like they were, you know. So I think that there's there's a lot of pride issues and asking for help but the resources are there. The helps are there food banks are there. Um, I will be the first to admit that I have used. It's hard. I'm going for months to month when you, you know, you're paying. twice as much and you know, housing expenses, then you're used to and all of a sudden having to, you know, it's just

Kameron Browning:  There's just so many financial. And Art. And I will say that like I don't feel like I was ever prepared in high school even going back. To be financially responsible. I think that that's something that I have had to completely figure out on my own. And that's a whole other issue.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I was gonna ask and I think what you've just said is true for, you know, so many people we don't learn like we don't get taught in school like about our taxes or…

Kameron Browning: Yeah, right.

Katie Wilkinson: about how to like manage our finances.

Kameron Browning: I don't think Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: You know, like these are like life skills but and I recognize as I ask this question that you are not a finance expert, you're a caregiver for your dad and a parent, but I guess, you know, I'm curious to know a bit about in managing Money or financial assistance. 

What systems are working well for managing your money as a caregiver? 

Like what what systems are working well for you and which aren't and it doesn't have to be fancy. Just like…

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Well,…

Katie Wilkinson: how are you managing it?

Kameron Browning: I so be before my dad moved in with me, I was like assigned his fiduciary. So like I am response. I'm literally responsible for every part of him, it's kind of crazy and…

00:30:00

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: but the like automatic things. I am so thankful that he had like all the automatic payments set up. I…

Katie Wilkinson: Mmm.

Kameron Browning: I got and anything like, I mean I had a calendar. I you know, just it was a lot of like mentally taxing like making sure that you know, managing to, you know, households it's just

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: It's kind of crazy but thankfully like he lived in an apartment. He didn't have any debt so to speak. And he had paid off his car. He already had like all of his automatic things in place. So it was like me, just maintaining and so thankfully you know that wasn't too big of an issue. It's just like a lot of paperwork now that he's gotten to a certain age. It's like it's just the government once,…

Katie Wilkinson: If?

Kameron Browning: you know,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: it's so good paperwork and filing systems, you know, have to be in place and as I'm looking at my very unorganized filing cabinet over here.But yeah, I mean, automatic bill pay, you know, I'm so thankful for everything is just automatic and Because he gets paid, he gets paid the same time every month from, you…

Katie Wilkinson: Right.

Kameron Browning: it's like everything is just there's no like surprises and as far as that is concerned now you know,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Kameron Browning: things come up and it's like, Oh well, where's the extra for that? So, you know, you know the I'm thankful that nothing huge has come up so far, but, um, Yeah, it's

Kameron Browning: It's a lot. It's, I will say that like, I have probably paid my personal bills late more in the past, six months than I ever have in my entire life. Just because the mental, the, the mental, like it's, I don't have my bills on auto pay because I'm like, a nervous, wreck my finances ebb and flow more than my dad too. 

Katie Wilkinson: Sure right.

Kameron Browning: So, um, so I like because of the, the mental load and of just having an extra person in the house and all of, you know, having to worry about, you know, his doctor's appointments, his blood sugar, his blood pressure, um, is he, you know, going to the bathroom in the right spot and I was today, shower day, does he need his medication? If there's just so much that I have let so much fall on, you know, on my On my part. And I need, I need someone to take care of me.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Like, I need. I need live in help for myself. I'll take care of my dad who takes care of me. So,

Katie Wilkinson: I mean, it's wild. You mentioned, thank you for sharing all that.

Kameron Browning:  Yeah. Yeah, yes.

Katie Wilkinson: Like it's, you know, it's so many moving pieces and

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, it sounds like a lot and I know I know…

Kameron Browning:  It is.

>> Katie Wilkinson: how how much it is you know and 

What is it like to become someone’s fiduciary as a caregiver?

You mentioned becoming his seduce theory before before he moved in. Can you tell? Tell us a little bit. Just about that process and and you…

Kameron Browning: Here. Yeah. Yeah, and…

Katie Wilkinson: if you would do anything differently

Kameron Browning: I I knew all along that it was gonna be me. That cared for him in the end of his life and my siblings and I had this conversation years ago right after he was diagnosed and and so knowing that I was going to be caring for him full-time. I would have fought for someone else to be his fiduciary probably um, I will say now, like, It is nice that I have control over everything because I can see all of the, the moving pieces,…

Katie Wilkinson: Sure. Yep.

Kameron Browning: you know. And so it's kind of like in a way, it's more stressful but in like I kind of like to have that control too so um but yeah I would have asked for more assistance like Way long ago like you know, let's delegate. I should have, I should have delegated better. Um, It. But it.

Kameron Browning:  I think I felt like this like huge responsibility come over me and I was really nervous because it was like, Oh government, you know, I have to like be um, you know, I'm now answering to this person who, you know, they're gonna hold me accountable for all this and blah blah. Yes they do. Hold you accountable, a hundred percent they do and they make sure that you're doing the right thing with your loved ones, money, however, it's not as scary.

00:35:00

Kameron Browning: As yes it's a responsibility but it's not as scary as I thought it would be and it's just like something you have to learn. It's and I think that's with everything. It's like it is scary until you jump the hurdle and then you figure out how to do it.

Katie Wilkinson: Mm. -Hmm.

Kameron Browning: Better each time and it just gets less scary and less scary. And I mean I was talking to a friend this morning who is a caregiver for his mom and you know, he was like, I'm just waiting like how long is it gonna take until I have a mental breakdown and my response to him was like Oh like you haven't had a Done yet. I've had 10 like and…

Katie Wilkinson: Right.

Kameron Browning: each one you get over better, like, and…

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Kameron Browning: and I think that's with everything in life like, you know, and so yeah, we're just learning as we go, we're just jumping over hurdles and figuring out how to do it better each time.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah I think it can be hard to like you just mentioned you know, if you could go back you might delegate more. But I think it's also like as you're learning you're learning all of these bits as you go.

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: And then it seems like harder somehow to like share that because you're like I just have all this information and it feels like some some sense of control.

Kameron Browning: Right. Yes.

Katie Wilkinson: So I'm just gonna hold on to all of it before I divvy it up among siblings or…

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah, right. And it's a huge. It's a huge task to explain when I mean and…

Katie Wilkinson: whomever. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: to teach someone when you it's like Yeah it is.

Katie Wilkinson: It's just easier for me to do it. Yeah. Yeah. If?

Kameron Browning: It is honestly. Yeah for sure. And I hate that I have that mentality. Like I really don't like it. I think it's a very toxic mentality to have And especially being a caregiver, like I have told so many people do not be shy about asking for help, but I am the most shy about asking for help with so much easier said than done.

Looking backward, what would you do differently in your caregiving journey?  

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah, and I guess, I mean, looking back then if you know if if the advice or the the wisdom that you might impart, other caregivers is like, you know, don't be afraid to ask for help. You know, if you turn that around on yourself and you just mentioned, if you could go back, you might delegate differently between, you know, siblings or people that are sort of in your space and supporting, you know what, what might that have looked like, Looking backwards.

Kameron Browning: Um, I mean, yeah, I think I would have I

Kameron Browning:  I, I probably would have You know.

Kameron Browning: I take such pride in what I'm doing right now and not in a boastful way in a he's my dad and he deserves the very best kind of way and so honestly this is gonna be so contradictory. But um, I mean yeah it would have it would have been nice to have less of a load but I don't know if I would have done anything differently. because also,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: like, and I'm gonna get a little teary-eyed like I,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Yeah, all of the times that I had to go to my dad's five million times a day because he couldn't figure out the remote. It was so taxing and…

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: it was really annoying. But like, I am so grateful for the time that that allotted me with him and the relationship that it's grown from that. And even though he doesn't know who I am most days, he loves me. I know that. And I feel that and like he knows that I'm his person and that wouldn't have come any other way. and except for how it happened and so like, um, I think that. I think that, um, You have to just like feel it in your gut that you are meant to be a caregiver and like embrace it. I would and I think that that would be like, my biggest advice for people is like, if you're going to be a caregiver, you have to like

Kameron Browning: Kind of succumb to the idea that it's all encompassing. It's and you have to just embrace it because I fought it for a little bit. I was like, Oh my gosh I'm not gonna have a life. This is gonna suck every bit, you know. Yeah my life is so different now but it's still a very full life and I it's different. It looks very different than it did six months ago a year ago but you know it's it's a good different. It's like it's full and…

00:40:00

Katie Wilkinson: Hmm. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: my dad just told me yesterday he feels at home here, he loves it here like he Yeah,…

Katie Wilkinson:  I did, I say I saw your tiktok that was very special. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: I did. Oh my gosh, I was like trying to hold back and I wish I would have recorded sooner because he, like, said something super sweet right before that. And I'm…

Katie Wilkinson: Mmm. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: dang it. Okay, what was that again?

Katie Wilkinson: And yeah, I mean that's so special, you've just shared like, you know, we've just talked about all the all the challenges of caregiving and And for so many people it's you know, rewarding in the way that you just said and what a special relationship you have with your dad now that you know, has only come…

Kameron Browning: Right. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: because of the choices you've made whether you knew you were making them or not, you know? And

Kameron Browning: Yeah. And I hate the disease. But yeah. Like I honestly like it wasn't for the disease. I don't know that my dad and I would be as close as we are right now because I was a busy person. This is really forced me to slow down and really take in like all of life because I mean Yeah we I can say strongly that we would not have the relationship that we do now. I we wouldn't I just know. So yeah it's it's a blessing and a curse for sure.

Katie Wilkinson:  sure.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah, we like to ask everyone and you just shared a little bit, you know, what's your number one tip for caregivers financial or otherwise? But I would like to ask possibly instead, you know, you just mentioned You feel really called to be caring for your dad. And, you know, this is rewarding for you and you've, you know, sort of Accepted that. This is this is how life is now I guess. And maybe this is hard to speak to because this is not your case but for people that maybe don't have the background that you do or or don't feel that same calling, you know, but end up in a caregiving position. Do you have any like, thoughts or wisdom that you can share?

Kameron Browning: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of people ask me that they're like you know They comment on my patients with my dad and like the tenderness that I show towards him and a lot of people do ask me like How do you do that or like say that they admire it and…

Katie Wilkinson: Hmm?

Kameron Browning: I'm humbled by that because I feel like, you know, I don't I'm like, I don't know. I'm not I see all of the moments, so I will say that like first of all give yourself grace. Because we all share like our, what is it? The highlight reel of our life, right? And even though I do try to be as real as possible, there are moments that I'm not gonna share on social media like,…

Katie Wilkinson: For sure.

Kameron Browning: you know, there's that but, um, I would like to say that like most of our moments are pretty true to what our life looks like, most of the time. And I would say my biggest tip, if I could just like,

Kameron Browning: Give an all-encompassing is. You have to be able to give grace and receive grace and and it's hard. When the person that you're caring for has a neurological disorder and they literally are losing brain cells and neuropath like neuropathways are dying.

Katie Wilkinson: Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: Brain cells are dying. So, you're not always going to receive grace from that person. So you have to give yourself the grace,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Kameron Browning: but you have to give the grace to them, too. And realize that I, I honestly, I had to just, like, more in my dad. I had to really like,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah.

Kameron Browning: put myself, he's not my dad anymore. I don't go to him for advice. I don't go to him for comfort. He's my patient like and I don't want that to to sound cold like he's still my dad. I'm the biggest Daddy's girl there is but um I have really switched to the role. I have really accepted him as the one I'm responsible for. I think that I think that just knowing that you are responsible for that person is like a huge weight and…

Katie Wilkinson: Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: if if truly like you can't And feel that then there is no shame in asking someone else to do it. Not everybody is. Meant to be a caregiver and I understand that some people are thrown into it and, you know,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Sure.

Kameron Browning: you're like, this is the last place I want to be. And but yeah, I would just say lots of lots of lots of grace and forgiveness and we're all human and Gosh. Yeah. Lots of grace.

00:45:00

Katie Wilkinson:  Yeah, yeah, yes, I think that's very important and

Kameron Browning:  Simple. But it's just, like, we're all human. We have to just no one's perfect. Nobody's perfect. We're not gonna do it right. The first time, we're gonna do it right. As we learn, we're gonna know better, and we're gonna do better. That's just it. That's right. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: yep, we're all doing the best of what we got and I mean think like, Thank you for, you know, the content you're putting out and sharing your story because I think that helps other people see, you know? Yes, you get confidence about how patient you are and the tenderness you show and gentleness you show towards your dad, but like you said, you know you're sharing. as much as this healthy for you, the all of it, the the whole story and…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: I think that's really helpful for people to see that like It's hard and it's rewarding. Yeah.

Kameron Browning: Yeah, I want it. I want people to see all of it because I wasn't prepared for it and if I can help someone else. I mean, so many people are, like, I've seen the signs and my dad, thank you for showing me what my future could possibly look like. Like, it helps me prepare. So if I had someone coming before me, if I had someone doing this,…

Katie Wilkinson:  Mm-hmm.

Kameron Browning: what I'm doing? for me, maybe I wouldn't, maybe I would have a better handle on some things, maybe I would have, you know, Maybe things would look a little different. I don't know.

Katie Wilkinson: Sure, learning curve might be faster or…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah. Right.

Katie Wilkinson: at least you feel, you know, seen and supported by other people that are experiencing the same thing. And, you know, people want to find, you know, continue to fall along. You're in your family's,…

Kameron Browning: Yeah. And so yeah we're on tiktok.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, story. Where can they find you online?

Kameron Browning: And my handle is at Kameron, Sarah Kameron, SAR a H and then I'm on Instagram it's not quite as big but it is. Jim Camfam at Gym Cam Pham and so yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's awesome. We'll make sure to include that in, you know, the links and…

Kameron Browning:  Austin. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: bios and wherever they end up on the screen. But you know, thank you so much for taking time to to share like really openly about,…

Kameron Browning:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, what's been hard and in general but also financially and In caregiving because it's like you said all encompassing so we you…

Kameron Browning:  Yes. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: really appreciate it and like you're doing on your channels. We're hoping to do the same on. Ours is good people. Just more tools and resources to

Kameron Browning: Thank you. So yeah, I think that's gonna be such a good thing.

Katie Wilkinson:  Care.

Kameron Browning: Oh my gosh. It's gonna be such a blessing. I love it. Thank you so much for having me Katie.

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