Deepening Connection & Building Community

Beverly Klau
Beverly Klau

Beverly Klau of Verbina App on building community during caregiving.

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Podcast Transcript

March 23, 2023
Note: This transcript was computer generated and might contain errors.

Beverly Klau:  Yeah, first of all, thanks Katie for having me. So I'm Bev Klau and I'm an educator by trade. And I am also a community builder and now and entrepreneur. So, I spend over a decade in classrooms, in elementary school classrooms as a teacher. And then, as my kids became the age, the students for whom I was teaching, I I wanted to be in a different place, so I became more active as really on the grassroots level in our town as a community, builder, working in a way to welcome immigrants into our school system and working in partnership with an anti-racism group in our town, as well as with our local library to create in person ways to connect with neighbor. So we created this program called Peace Meal. So to get people together and break bread and really meet each other. And what I, I was at a crossroads I think,

Beverly Klau:  So many other people who are in this sandwich generation or midlife where I was like all right I I no longer want to be teaching in the classroom. I'm looking for the next thing that I want to do. I really was tried different things.

Beverly Klau:  And and then I wanted to really focus on what I love doing the most, which is holding space and bringing people together so that they can connect on a deeper level. And so, I wanted to bring that facilitation that I love to do on a larger scale. So that's really where verbena comes from. Is this desire to create space for people to connect or build community. And while I was building the app, my daughter got sick. So I was in process of creating this platform and then had to take a complete break and become a full-time caregiver. While my daughter was diagnosed with this rare health, condition was with her really full-time for about four or five months or so. And then On reflecting on the experience of how isolating and lonely. It is to be on a health journey. Both as a patient and in my case, as a caregiver,

Beverly Klau:  I wanted to. See about bringing verbena to focus on people on health journeys. So that's really where verbena comes from.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much for sharing it, obviously you. You know, have a heart for building communities and growing connections with people. And do you know where that came from? Like has this always been a passion of yours or did it grow out of somewhere?

Where did your love of community building come from?

Beverly Klau:  You know what? I always wanted to be when I was younger. I always wanted to be a teacher and so, like, I was that person who set up my bedroom with my stuffed animals on the floor, like, in a circle. And I wanted to, you know, what I love most about teaching both when I was, you know, pretending to be a teacher and when I became a teacher was always like that, circle time, like bringing people together. I think it's a very Natural desire to to connect and that was always been my. My passion is really just connecting with people so, you know, and you can do that one on one and in a group setting. So that's where it comes from. I I think I think it's a Nate

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, no, I love that. Can you tell us a little bit about the app itself? Like, What what does it do? What's the goal? How do people use it?

About the Verbina App

Beverly Klau: Absolutely. So really are the mission is to build resilience by connecting to the collective power of your own community. So what we're trying to do is have people feel better by connecting with each other and the way that it works is, it's all video based. And you have one person who's the host, they create an invitation and invite people into a specific conversation and after they create this video invitation. And we always say, like, the more intention you put behind this invitation, the better results or the better conversation, you'll have. So then this private conversation then is the host rather invites people into this private conversation and then people join and contribute their own video messages. And so, what I like to imagine is almost like a large dining room table, which is where some of the best conversations at least in our family happen. And so, you can imagine that like

Beverly Klau:  What happens in a verbena video collection, is This conversation is happening asynchronously you know, across time and space. But really what what makes verbena unique from some of these other video collecting platforms is that we're not creating a product this is not a video montage, those are awesome but this is different, this is a conversation. So people are responding to what's been said before. So that's and you can benefit by when you're contributing. Not only are you responding to that invitation video that the host has put out there but also by the other contributions that others have shared and then all of these videos are then sent to a recipient and then the recipient has an opportunity if they want to respond. But it's there's no expectation that the recipient needs to respond.


Katie Wilkinson: And can people in the app, respond? There's a host that puts out, you know, a prompt or question or talking point people respond to that can people then respond to those responses.

Beverly Klau: Sure. I mean, you know, the way that it's set up, like, if you, if I was the host and I invited a whole bunch of people in and Katie, you responded to the general invitation and someone else could refer to, what you said. You could say, you know, I'm gonna agree with Katie like that, summer that we had on the beach was transformational in in who I became as an adult. You know, so people could refer to other things.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. What a beautiful way to like replicate or yeah, replicate that, you know, a dining table experience or circle time. Like you said, and can you talk,…

Beverly Klau:  Exactly.

Research indicates that social connections lead to more positive health outcomes

Katie Wilkinson: you know, obviously you've done your research and building the app and as an educator, can you talk a little bit about the research behind you know, that shows that social connections lead to improved health outcomes, sort of, as we talk about, you know, the caregiving community and and what it's like to exist Here sort of in health land.

Beverly Klau:  Absolutely, you know, it's some of this. Like I just instinctively thought like, Oh yeah, social connections are important. Like they make us feel good. We all know this inherently but then when I started to do some research and dig around, there's actually a large growing body of research. So you know, academic institutions have been doing this for a long time, as well as there's a foundation for social connection which is in DC. I get their weekly emails. So there's a whole bunch of people really studying this in a rigorous way and that we now know that social connection is vital to physical emotional, and mental health. And we've learned that a lack of social connection is actually a greater detriment to health than obesity smoking and high blood pressure, which is amazing. You know, you think about. There's so much education about, you know, all of those health areas but then you know what's, this is now a new thing that I think post covid

Social connection is vital to physical, emotional, and mental health. And we've learned that a lack of social connection is actually a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. So social connection, it's not just nice, it's actually necessary. 

Beverly Klau:  People are talking about but some of the other things I can share with you that the risk of death among men and women with the fewest social ties is more than twice as high as the risk for adults with the most social ties. So social connection, it's not just nice, it's actually necessary and our current surgeon, General Vivek Murphy, he has written a whole book. It's called together the healing power of social connection in a sometimes. Lonely world all about this and It's a Wonderful book. He was the Surgeon General under Obama Trump and now Biden. So he's like his main emphasis is on the loneliness epidemic. So this is this is really an important topic at our present moment. And if you think about all of this research,

Beverly Klau:  About Loneliness. When we look at family care givers they report being 40 to 70 percent of having depression caused by feelings of loneliness and isolation. So it's really a specifically a concern for people on this health journey and and I focus on caregivers in particular

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, those, I mean those are some big important stats that I'm interested to read that book and…

Beverly Klau:  Yeah, it's a great book.

Katie Wilkinson: something that I've noticed in my own experience and talking to caregivers, you know, day in and day out is and like, people are finding community and connection on social media as it exists. Now, And you know, there's there's nothing to say that one version is better than the other. It's like where you can find your people. But I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about just what you've experienced on social media and some of the trends that you're seeing, and

@joingivers 🆕🎙️This week, we talk to the Founder of Verbina, Beverly Klau about about her experience caring for her daughter, the growth of Verbina, and how to deepen connections and build community during the caregiving experience. In this episode— 🧠 How Bev came up with the idea for Verbina 🔬 What the research says about social connections leading to more positive health outcomes 📱Current social media trends 🤝 How Verbina is harnessing technology to promote connection, community, and healing 💜 How Verbina works for caregivers and their care partners 👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 The challenging family dynamics that many caregivers experience #caregivers #caregiving #caregiver #familycaregiver #familycare #caregiversoftiktok #caregiverlife #caregivertok #caregiversupport #connection #community #buildingcommunity #caregivercommunity #health #healthoutcomes ♬ original sound - Givers • Caregiver Support

Beverly’s take on current social media trends

Beverly Klau: Sure, I mean social media is it's the sea that so many people are just kind of living in but I have taken I, I wanted to learn more about it and so I think where I really started was with the Center for Humane Technology and you might be familiar with the movie, The Social Dilemma It was on Netflix and it's the really the folks who kind of built the technology that we all know today. They most of those key people have left and they've now created this new movement called the Center for Humane Technology. And their premise is they want to use technology for helping and not harming humans. And so I am. I've been following, they have a podcast and they also have a course. That's an eight module course, open to everyone, it's free. And they also have a really lovely community that I encourage people to check out, and, at the very least, watch the movie, the documentary, and if you


Beverly Klau:  Children teenagers people in your home, who have phones, they should be watching this. You should be watching it together and talking about it because it's so important to really look at social media. Critically. One of the things that we have found in sharing verbena with people is their whole understanding of what social media is really is so different from what Verbena is trying to be, You know, so people ask, You know, Well, like Is there a place for likes? It's like, No, this is This is not about amassing likes. This is not about getting followers, like, you are only gonna be communicating with people that, you know,

Beverly Klau:  And this is fully private, we're actually HIPAA compliant. So this is not a space where you're going to be promoting your brand or any of that. So we're really very different and I think we also you you pay to use verbena. So the host has to pay to have to have a video collection to host one and there, this is so different from what everyone is used to because on social media, you know, you think of it as being free, but actually, you are the product. So though, all those advertisers they are, you know, they look at you as as the product. So I always explain to people, which I learned from the social dilemma. It's like if you're not paying for the product, you are the product. You know, that being said, I I do go on to Facebook with a with a real consciousness around it, you know, I have certain groups, you know, like, within my town like I want to follow certain things that this is really the way to get information in a quick.

Beverly Klau:  A But I the people who I communicate with on Facebook, those are people who I know in real life and I think that that is important, that being said, I also, I do spend some time on LinkedIn and that is how I've gotten to meet a lot of people professionally. So, I think that. Social media. It's it's a real mixed bag. And I think that it's, it's important to to understand that it is. It's making it very hard to focus. It really is eroding at our abilities to have longer attention spans. In some cases, it is really making our world a much more divisive place and even eroding democracy. So you know, Verbena's goal is really to

Beverly Klau:  To be the opposite of that, we want to bring people together rather than divide them. So it's a very different consciousness of that where there were built on and I think that the consciousness of of a platform is really important. If you, you know, in creating verbena, the goal has always been to to create a space to bring people together whereas Facebook, it was created to really rank people on their appearances. So it's like, if you think about what what it's based on, it's not a surprise that it is having such an effect on on the external things that are really not at the heart of what matters.

Katie Wilkinson: yeah, I think you've just said something really interesting about this distinction between like validation and connection and I think Some people like you've just said, can use social media really intentionally and and find connection in a meaningful way. But largely you know it's likes and shares and follows and you know these like vanity metrics that somehow then feed into to our worth if we're not careful and…

Beverly Klau: Yeah.

What’s challenging about using a social network that has a different consciousness

Katie Wilkinson: You've talked a little bit about how Verbena feels different how you want it to feel different and how it's, you know, behaviorally a little bit different than what people are used to and I'm just sort of curious about like, have you heard from people about, you know, a hump in like this behavior change or it being Different at. This is sort of vague but just like because it's so different from what someone's used to. You know, what are the sticking points there? Or is it just like positive feedback?

Beverly Klau: Yeah. no,…

Katie Wilkinson: People are like finally this is what we need.

Beverly Klau: it's so different that people

Beverly Klau:  Users have been a little bit confused because we're so used to going somewhere and being passive. And whereas when you go on to, if you download verbena and you go on to the app, there's you you can you can check out. We have one sample video collection so you can see what is this? Look like there's a welcome video from me, but other than that, you're not going to be scrolling. You can't like, you know, search people all you can do is become a host and create a conversation. Or if you're invited by a host, you can then contribute, but there is no passive activity. There's no advertising in fact, when talking to people, about for being a so many folks are very confused because they're like, well, like, you know how, what's your engagement what's the sticking point? How long are people gonna spend on there? And it's like, Well this is the opposite. You know, I think if you kind of compare it to like a meditation app like you go in there for a specific purpose and then you you kind of connect with people


Beverly Klau:  And then and then you're done and then you should hopefully feel better and then you go about your life and you can dip back into these conversations as often as you want. But the idea is not to to just like lose your day, you know, I you know for myself like whenever I do go on to To social media. I make a point to either set a timer or look at the clock so I know how long I've been on there. I mean we've all fallen into like a doom scrolling, you know, very long time on the couch and that is that is that is not what Verbena is designed to do.

Beverly Klau:  You know, the it's we're not trying to like drive engagement and you know, that is, it's not, it's not the model that we're using. So it is very different and I think that it's taking folks a while to kind of come around to how how it works, and also like it takes effort, you know, it doesn't take any effort to scroll on Instagram, but this takes effort. You either are hosting a conversation or you're responding and it it requires Being being real and and connecting with something important and then providing messages of support, which take effort. And it's, it's very different.

Katie Wilkinson: Think what you're touching on those, why people feel so lonely on social media? And I'm boiling this down probably so simply but you know you think you're connected. And I I work in social medias and a lot of time on social media but like you know you think you're connected you're not really building connection because it's so easy. And I think to be vulnerable and build real connection or real community with people, you have to like put some like work in but we're not used to that.

Beverly Klau:  Yeah. Right right now, it does it takes it takes effort. And you know, we're trying to make verbena as a similar to like a real life conversation as possible. That's why it's all video based. So it is it is like I think the next best thing to being in person you know we sometimes we say like verbena brings you to the bedside because you can't in some cases bring everyone to the bedside. And in many cases like the patient wouldn't want everyone by their bedside, you know?

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I'm thinking about your dinner table analogy. you know, trying to replicate this feeling and it's like, Yeah, of course it's more work to like bury your soul and share things with people but the end like the end of those conversations always feel so

Katie Wilkinson:  Fulfilling and gratifying and like, you know, rich to to have those connections with people that it's worth the, the legwork or the effort that it takes. So I'm excited about what people can do in Verbina and you mentioned that you have an example in there. Like, you know, someone can see what it looks like. I'm wondering if you can give us an example of however, being in my work for, you know, a caregiver, a care recipient, this, you know, care partnership or care team.

Can you give an example of how Verbina works for caregivers and their care partners?

Beverly Klau: Oh, that's great. So, you know, I'll give you a real life example that we use for. I mentioned that my daughter has a rare condition and that was really what, you know, kind of brought me along this path. And so part of her her like routine maintenance, is she gets routine MRIs. And so this was not her first MRI. It was not like an emergency, but it was just a routine MRI. And so I thought, you know what, I'm gonna surprise her with a verbena and so, I reached out to just a small group of just family and friends and invited them in and said, You know, in my invitation message. This is not say these first MRI, but it would be awesome. No one likes to get an MRI. Look, if you haven't had one like, it's, it's awful, like, it's just not fun, right? It's loud. It's uncomfortable. And so I said, You know, just give her a little boost and tell her, you'll be thinking about her and that you love her. And so then on the drive from our house to the hospital.

Beverly Klau:  At a time that is, you know, fraught with anxiety. You're like, What do I do? He said, Hey Sadie, guess what? I made you a verbena. She's like really and so you know I sent it to her, she opens it up on her phone. She's now 11 at the time and she gets to go through and see these really beautiful messages from people who love her. And she gets to kind of You know, be just buoyed in in energy and love going into this appointment, and she can watch the videos over and over and then she can see, you know, someone like, Oh, they've got their dog with them. Like, I love the dog and, you know, she's like watch the videos over and over. See the things that she didn't notice the first time, and then in the waiting room, again, a time, when you're gonna be anxious and she can revisit them. So, and then as as her mother, as her caregiver,


Beverly Klau:  It makes me feel like all you want to do, when you're the caregiver is Make your loved one comfortable, make them happy, like What can you do? There's so much anxiety in terms of like I don't know how to help them and this is one thing that you can do you can make going into a procedure just a time when they're really showered and love and support and so that is that's just an example that I love to share because it was a moment of like, Yeah, this is actually fulfilling our goal here.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's awesome. I got an MRI this morning and I forgot…

Beverly Klau:  oh, oh my God.

Katie Wilkinson: how loud they are inside. I haven't had one in probably like 10 years and I forgot how loud those machines are And yeah, I'd like a message of encouragement, even though it's not, my first one would have been so nice.

Beverly Klau:  Yeah, yes.

Something that we encounter a lot are challenging family dynamics—like families who don't get along, disagreements among siblings, caregivers who won't accept help from family, lack of trust/transparency, etc. Can you hypothesize with me how something like Verbina could impact this?

Katie Wilkinson:  I guess a follow-up question related to caregivers and or people that are in, you know, caregiving situations. I think something we often see is just like complicated family, dynamics people that live far away or There's like a lack of trust and transparency related to finances or siblings. Don't agree on what they should do for Mom or Dad or, you know, any any number of reasons I could list a million. And I'm wondering if you can just like hypothesize with me out loud about, however, being a might impact, you know, these kind of complicated family relationships.

Beverly Klau: Sure, you know, I think what Verbena offers in the same way that like, in real life, you might, if the whole family's together, you might pull aside, a few people to have a certain conversation. The way of verbena video collection works is that that host only invites particular people into a conversation. This is not going to be broadcast in a large way so you could really as a host you can control who hears what, or who's invited to what conversation and

Beverly Klau:  Furthermore, if someone says something that is not productive out of line, whatever it is, if it's like a taboo subject, then you can as the host, you can delete that contribution and then you could pick up the phone and call your brother and say, Hey, we're not going to be talking about that in this video collection, where this is gonna be messages for Mom. So, like, what? Let's not talk about that or you, and I need to have a conversation about this. This is not the place for it, so you know, I think that

Beverly Klau:  What I've used my understanding of real life facilitation, where you really set, very clear parameters for this is what we're going to be talking about. These are the guidelines you could, as the host, create a conversation along those same lines. So it's really it's all about like putting the guardrails up for a conversation. I once heard like the the stronger, the container the, the more fruitful the conversation I might not be getting that exactly. Right. But it's along those lines of like, you know, and you can as a host really create a very, very safe and and strong container for whoever you're gonna invite in. So it's it's possible, you know, we're being, it could be used for so many different uses and it's really up to up to the host and like, how do they want to use it? Do they want to use it to have a conversation about finance or a conversation about

Beverly Klau:  You know, really complicated, family dynamics. Maybe, you know, it might, it might be for some families, a more productive space than a, than a real-time conversation.

Katie Wilkinson: This is a really silly thought that I've just had, I just watched the bear with me, the bachelorette bachelor season is on right now, there was a women towel episode last night…

Beverly Klau:  Okay.

Katie Wilkinson: where all the, you know, contestants that haven't made it, come on stage and share about their experiences. And it was just chaotic. You can understand what anyone was saying because they were all just talking over each other. And when you just said, you know, get like giving it a strong container for a conversation to happen, that was like exactly what they needed last night…

Beverly Klau: No.

Katie Wilkinson: because it just picture a family doing the same thing where everyone's, you know, shouting and talking and yelling over each other and it's like we're not going anywhere because no one can even hear each other so I can see. However, Bina can that was, you know, a bit of a ping-pong there from my immediate thought to the bachelor but I can see how we're being. I can be that kind of container and…

Beverly Klau:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: One logistical question about Ruben. I'm just curious. Do the do the Capsules or…


Beverly Klau:  All right.

Katie Wilkinson: conversations? Do they stay later? Like, Could you watch them after the fact?

Beverly Klau:  Yeah, they they live on there. They live in the cloud and so they they are there and until you until the host deletes them. So they live there infinitely. And that's one of the reasons why we do. We do have to charge because the you have to pay for storage. So that's, you know, they do they live their infinitely. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I was thinking, as you were talking about different use cases and, you know, in this case, I can imagine one where, you know, there's no often there's a primary caregiver and they're, you know, telling Dad or telling their siblings, keeping everyone in the loop. I can imagine a place where this could be useful for that where you're trying to relay information to many people and build, you know, trust and transparency about the care for Mom or the care for your daughter. So, and

Beverly Klau: Absolutely. And I think along those lines, when you are a caregiver, many times, you're exhausted telling the same story or the like the update and it's, it's like, I just, I don't want to say it again, and so you could just say it once and you could, you know, invite everyone in, they can hear it, they could then, you know, respond to it. It could definitely be a way to to share with folks, what's going on.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. I mean, I love all the different use cases of Rubina from, you know, practical to encouraging and a way to build connections. Between your community and you talked a little bit about, you know, your experience feeling lonely, and your caregiving experience. That's what Rubina's been born out of

Where did you find community during your caregiving experience?

Beverly Klau: yeah, I mean, I found that when I was, you know,

Beverly Klau:  Dealing with being a caregiver in a really high stress moment with my daughter's diagnosis. You know, I found I wanted, I wanted to connect with people in two different ways, one way is, I wanted to connect with people who were really in the same boat as me, you know, like I wanted to talk to other parents who had the exact same diagnosis for their child. And so like so many people, you know, you you go on to, you find like a private Facebook group for people whose kids have this rare disease and and on the one hand, I found comfort, you know, like comfort kind of in quotes of like being like, Okay I'm not alone, there's some other people here. I can ask questions of, like, Oh, have you tried this medication? What works, do you find these symptoms? And it was, it was, it was helpful in some ways for like, some of that tactical answers. But every case is unique, I also found that

Beverly Klau:  It wasn't some ways really not helpful because you know, I'd find people who were saying things that were like not based on science, you know, like um and I think like social media like I found it was a mixed bag. Like I would kind of walk away from, you know, dipping in and asking questions and reading stuff and it was like Oh that was kind of mixed You know. Like there was some people saying negative things and I was like Okay well I guess I got answers maybe but like I'm probably better off talking to our doctors but at the same time I feel like I'm not alone. I'm not the only mom who's got a kid with this very rare. You know, one in a million kids have this um, So then that was like, one way that I would feel social connections, but what I actually found more powerful for me was connecting with my own.

Beverly Klau:  Community like my own friends, my own family. And, you know, even though I didn't have, I don't have any friends, whose kids have this condition. I have a friend whose kid had leukemia and, you know, she could talk to me about, okay? You know, a children's hospital, here's where the coffee shop is. Here's how you're gonna deal with the 504, you know, and I could talk to someone else about about other things. Sometimes. Also you want to connect with people and not talk about About your kid who's sick? You want to just talk about other things or maybe you actually want to connect with yourself, you know, like What do I like to do? Like, I like to take walks, I like to do yoga. I like to cook, you know. So I think that

Beverly Klau:  Really. There's like the tactical needs of like I want the answer, is this the right medication? Is this a good place for my parents to go when they're living? You know aging in place you you want to kind of get like gather information and and then there's also like I want to connect and really fill my cup you if you will So I found strength in both of those areas, but ultimately what Verbena is trying to do is, you know, we're not trying to be like like a Swiss Army knife for caregiving, in terms of like there are lots of apps that really help with the logistical pieces of like, medication appointments, where to keep all of your information. And we're really all about the social connection piece. So I hope that answers your question.


Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. Totally. I think I think there's just a feeling at the beginning. That's like, where are my people? So it's always interesting to talk to caregivers but where they where they found their people and what was useful to them, you know, in their

Beverly Klau: Yeah, you know, and what I did find also is that knowing, like you're not alone even though it can feel very lonely. You know, if you're a caregiver want, you're one of 53 million plus caregivers in this country, you know, and it might feel and, and people don't talk about it, like, that's the big thing about caregiving is. People, don't sell identify, so you might not realize that someone else is caring for their loved one because people aren't talking about it, but I do think more people are talking about it.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think. That's interesting too. I cared for my dad for a while who has substance use disorder and didn't identify as a caregiver because I think of caregivers as people that care for someone with dementia are Alzheimer's that sort of like the default in my brain and I guess as a follow-up what you've just said, You know, your daughter was diagnosed that must have been very scary especially with such a rare disease. Trying to figure out what's going on when and how did you become comfortable talking about that with other people? You know to then realize that oh I have a friend who's Sanhad leukemia or, you know, any any other connection you made, you know, what was that experience, like sort of starting to open up about your caregiving journey.

Beverly Klau: Yeah, you know, my daughter was diagnosed during covid. And so it was a very I know I'm not alone in that the diagnosis was a long path. And I think that as a parent you you know your child and you know, when something is wrong and

Beverly Klau:  The, the doctors didn't didn't see it, you know, I was, I, I knew that there was something inherently not, right? And it's, it's really upsetting how many times that these things are are not like the physical isn't always looked at first, sometimes it's like the psychological. It's like, Oh, maybe she's sad, maybe she, she misses something. And because this was all really coming to a head when she was doing her remote school during covid times. It was, it was, it was a very difficult time to to recognize that there was actually something physically going on. So it was like, Oh, maybe she's fatigued from looking at a computer screen. I knew that wasn't going on. So we also had her tested for covid over and over and over, so like maybe it's covid. Ultimately, I, you know, I think that's really important as a parent and as a caregiver,

Beverly Klau:  To advocate for your loved one. And if you think something is not right to keep pushing to be a squeaky wheel, I wouldn't rest until I knew we had really uncovered everything and so it was it was when I took her to an optometrist that the optometrist said You need to bring her to an ophthalmologist. And the pediatric ophthalmologist said She needs to have an MRI and a lumbar puncture you need to. That's your next step. so, I I think that it's really important to and I and I was pretty vocal, you know, with my friend group I'm blessed to have to have really close friends, other parents who I would talk to and to get support from them and they knew that we were trying to figure something out. I also recognize that I was

Beverly Klau:  really in a place of privilege that I speak English. As a first language, I feel comfortable talking to doctors and questioning them. I grew up with my father working in a hospital. So I was very comfortable in a hospital setting and so I did not have The issues that some people might have of really being assertive. And so I think that that is It's not something that I take for granted, that that's a privilege that I I feel comfortable continuing to push for answers and to ask for to ask, for more testing. So, you know, after she was put on medication, And things looked fine when the headaches returned. I, I knew that she needed to have a follow-up MRI and so, I just kept pushing for it. And so, I think that you have to

Beverly Klau:  You have to be a squeaky wheel, you have to, you have to demand for for what you want and it's, it's often, it's often not the natural instinct and I think in many times women in particular can can be questioned. so, I think that that's, it's all it's a long road, it can be very lonely and it can feel like you're being


Beverly Klau:  Diminished in a way, you know, I don't want to say gaslit but I know that that does happen. Many times for folks that didn't happen for me, but at the same time, I had to really persevere. So I think that that's very important.

Katie Wilkinson: yeah, thank you for sharing, you know that part of your your daughter's story and your story also and I do know too well the experience of being dismissed by the doctor you know maybe it's not full on gaslighting but definitely not feeling heard by Professionals. And totally. Echo, you just said about advocating for yourself and you're the person you're caring for and We like to ask everyone to wrap up this conversation and…

Beverly Klau: Here.

What is your top tip for other family caregivers?

Katie Wilkinson: you just talked a little bit about, you know what, you might advise to other care givers. But what is your top tip for other care givers out there

Beverly Klau:  I think it's really important to take care of yourself as a caregiver. If you are not taking care of yourself, you really cannot take care of your loved one. And it's, it's something that you have to actively do. And one of the most important things, as we talked about, that social connection really is medicine. It's absolutely vital to your health and well-being, and you need to seek it out. You have to make that a priority and whether that's in person on the phone on verbena, you need to have those personal connections. I know for myself. I build it into to my life, you know, I make sure that I go to my book club and make sure that I schedule times for walks with friends lunch with friends. If you don't do that, you're you're health and well-being will suffer and you have to build it into to who you are.

Beverly Klau:  And that's, that's my number one tip. And I know that for myself when I'm starting to feel sad, that means that I am not I'm not getting the social connection that I need. It's like a vitamin. So you have to take it.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that and I mean I love what you have built in our building, ever been to to be a vitamin for people. Like to help fill this illness and help people be connected to their communities. I guess before we go, is there anything else that, you know, you want to share about Rubina that we've missed? And then where can people find find you and find Verbena? If they would like to participate,

Beverly Klau: Absolutely. So we are on both platforms. You can verbena is v-e-r-b-i-n-a. So similar to the plant but Bina with an eye so it's words verb beena means wisdom so words and wisdom and but like the plant so it's something natural and beautiful. And actually the verbena plant was used for many years for boosting your serotonin. So that's also what we're trying to do at Verbena to make you feel better so you can find us on both platforms. We are building out our Web-based version. We have learned that so many folks want to use verbena, but sitting in front of their computer, the more thoughtful approach where they can really sit down take their time as opposed to holding their phones while contributing messages of love and support. So we're building out our Web base so you can find us at Verbena Dot App. So verbena.ap and you can find me. I'm on LinkedIn Beverly.

Beverly Klau:  File Klau. And I'm, you know, we're really trying to make Verbena a place that helps and supports people, and we're trying to grow In terms of our connecting with other businesses and institutions that serve patients and care givers. So, if anyone is interested in using verbena, to support the people in their community, just you can reach out to me, would love to partner with you.

Katie Wilkinson: Awesome. Thank you so much and I am I I can see the V behind you reaching over. It's got like growth plant vibes based off what you just said. This has been great.

Beverly Klau: Exactly.

Katie Wilkinson: Thank you so much for sharing about the app and about your story. And, you know, the journey you've been on with your daughter. I think this is all really valuable to our audience. So thank you so much for your time.

Beverly Klau:  Thank you Katie. I really enjoyed it.