Becoming a Proactive Caregiver

Jessica Cannon
Jessica Cannon

CPA Jessica Cannon talks about how to become a healthier caregiver and create a better quality of life for you & your LO.

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Podcast Transcript

April 6, 2023
Note: This transcript was computer generated and might contain errors.

Jessica Cannon: Yeah, definitely. Well I'm a wife mother sister daughter and now I've become a caregiver advocate so I started off my professional career in business management and then transitioned into becoming an accountant. I found my niche. What I was good at and after 20 years of working with financial statements, I got that calling. When I never expected to receive so early in life, But I got the calling to step away from the corporate world and become my mother's essential caregiver. This. Leading into this caregiver journey. It's Strengthened my faith in God. It has made me more spiritual. It's opened me up to understanding quantum mechanics, believe it or not. but I also now understand that the smallest details Can still have big impacts?

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. I mean, Wow. What a, what a journey you've been on. I'd love to dive in. Obviously, into this, you know, unique perspective of being an accountant, but if you're comfortable, do you mind sharing a little bit more about your mom? And you know what she was diagnosed with and what that was like, for you.

Jessica Cannon: Sure, sure. So during the years as I was building my career, Mom was a teacher She had definite routines that she had to maintain. She also was living very successfully in most cases with manic depressive, bipolar disorder. So, a lot of the symptoms that were the early on stages. We didn't recognize because we saw a lot of that is just being Her emotional typical roller coaster of highs and lows or unfortunately, society, sometimes does this she's just being the hormonal woman. but as the years went by, Those changes that we were somewhat normalized to and used to the highs and lows. So, we knew when to hide, basically. And when to avoid the erratic behaviors,

Jessica Cannon:  Became just too much to handle. And after I think her first 10, 15 years, because we've been in this for a really long time. She finally had some health issues that gave light to her first diagnosis, which was vascular dementia. Then a couple years after that, I would say roughly five or six more years, She had another diagnosis of early onset. Alzheimer's, at this point, she's in her mid 50s. A couple more years. And at that point, where I finally stepped away, my mom was finally diagnosed with the third and some what final form of frontal temporal dementia. And so this is her form is not.

Jessica Cannon:  Similar to the form that Bruce Willis is family has explained. As far as the language side goes, I believe because she was a language teacher and knew multiple languages for so long. That helped that area of her brain to keep it strong. So my mom is struggling with the behavioral side of it. Which that combination between the manic depressive, bipolar disorder and dementia. It was just throwing a powder keg into all of it, and It made it where you couldn't just say Oh Mom's fine. She can live on her own, she's doing fine. she was not doing fine, so This journey that we both been on now has taught me so many things and she still teaching me to this day as she's declining and unfortunately, getting closer to her end.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's a lot to take on. My mom has passed, but also lived with bipolar disorder and…

Jessica Cannon:  Hmm.

Katie Wilkinson: that made for, you know, complicated relationship for us. I'm curious,…

Jessica Cannon:  Brian.

Katie Wilkinson: I guess, you know, I'm jumping ahead probably a little bit but you know what was that like when you stepped into a caregiving role? And, you know, I don't know what you're relationship was like, you know before this that you mentioned,…

Jessica Cannon:  Right.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, meeting to like hide or duck away and sometimes like what just what was this this emotionally like for you to to take on a caregiver role for someone who I'm sure it was complicated to live with previously.

Jessica Cannon:  Definitely. Oh, when I stepped into this, I stepped in knowing it was partly love because, yes, this is my mother. but the rest of it was obligation and feeling that, Familiar. This is my family, I have to do this and since I've had only been able to get 20 years into my career, And over the years. Begging and pleading with her mom, Please just do this, Mom. Please try this. Just I was angry. It was really difficult to step in and say that part of me that judgmental part saying you were told to not do this over these years and you decided to do this. And now this has happened and now I have to help you. It was really difficult and after stepping away from all that. I had worked so hard to build, and pretty much what became my identity because I became, I'm the accountant.


Jessica Cannon:  It was well, who am I now? Now I'm I didn't see it as I'm her daughter. Helping. But I didn't quite understand it, as I know your caregiver either. Because there was just so much of that in between of, well, she can do these things and I visually see this grown adult. And we did have those good days. I just I couldn't find that. Consistent area of not being angry and not saying she's just being lazy, she's just being difficult. So was it was a challenge.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I believe that. Last question before we dive into some of like you know, sort of point of those podcasts but you know how is it? Now obviously that transition you just described as you know confusing and challenging now that you guys have,…

Jessica Cannon:  Right.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, reached later stages how has your relationship or your feelings about you know caregiving or whatever sort of label you want to put on?

How a dementia diagnosis changed Jessica’s complicated relationship with her mom

Jessica Cannon:  Right.

Katie Wilkinson: How is that changed now?

Jessica Cannon: Well, thankfully over the years that relationship improved because what I needed to do as an accountant, I needed to know why. And so, I started doing the research and I started looking into her background, and when I did that, I felt like this is a God thing, because it helped me, see my mother as a human being who was doing the best she could to get by with the condition. She was living with. And so I finally started to have a lot more compassion, a lot more understanding, and then we had the conversations that I wished. We had when I was growing up, but we were finally able to have those conversations later. And the more I saw her as this person living with dementia, not just my, my erratic hormonally challenged mother, you know, it made a huge difference. So now as I'm watching her decline more,

Jessica Cannon:  I know what's happening. I understand it but I'm still feeling like that. Little girl that's reaching out going. No mom, don't go yet, don't go yet. So it's They'll bend the one consistent thing is change.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's what they say, changes. The only constant. And yeah,…

Jessica Cannon:  Exactly.

Katie Wilkinson: I mean so complicated. Just family relationships. So thank you for sharing all of that you touched on,…

Jessica Cannon:  Yeah.

How did being a CPA make you a more effective caregiver, if at all?

Katie Wilkinson: you know starting to build your career as an accountant and then stepping into this caregiver role. Can you talk about how being a CPA has made you a more effective caregiver or how it's, you know, influenced how you give care?

Jessica Cannon:  Right. I think this helped me be the better caregiver that I could be. Just because when I stepped into a role of her caregivers initially, I was still in that mindset of accountant. I was still Trying to review historical data, create the projections track the trends, you know, do all of those deep dives into the research. And so stepping in, in that way, I did step in in an objective way at first before the emotions started to take over. So when I started to look at her medical data and review her habits, I was able to kind of get that perceived projection of Oh wow. If we don't make drastic changes right now,

Jessica Cannon:  This is what's going this is where we're headed and unfortunately you have to have a willing participant to make those kind of changes. And so we are Unfortunately, where I assumed we were heading. We got there a lot faster, but It is what it is, and Now. Taking that continued, accountant, mindset. I continue to research to see. What does this mean? How did this originally present? How did we not see this? Why did we not see this sooner Aside from the bipolar issues? What can we do about it? If anything and selfishly, how do I stop this from happening to me?


Katie Wilkinson: I don't know that that's selfish. I think that's, you know, I mean unique situation that caregivers get put into, it's forward thinking in a way that I don't think we do at large, you know, a How do I stay healthy? Who's gonna take care of me? What do I do later?

Jessica Cannon: Right. Right.

Katie Wilkinson: and, I guess on a personal note, you know, I guess in addition to your professional career as a accountant on a personal note, how did stepping into a caregiving role? You know, impact your thoughts of, you know, spending and saving or thoughts of the future financially

How does caregiving impact your thoughts of the future?

Jessica Cannon: Definitely. Well, it was A huge reality check. Because Stepping into this role, you don't realize, excuse me, you don't realize how expensive this way of life is until you become that caregiver and especially, like, I stepped away from the corporate world, which means I stepped away from my level of income. So, if Mom isn't able to afford things and I need to contribute now, it taxes are family in my future, retirement savings to provide for her so What it really did was give me that sense of urgency that I need to. Beef up my savings a lot more, I need to learn about. What does it mean to self ensure and what is that going to look like? And how do I create? The boundaries of.

Jessica Cannon:  This is how much we need to live off of and this is how much I need to keep in mind of a growing savings balance for that pending future that you know, may or may not happen. But when I looked into this stuff for my mother, Gosh. It was disheartening to find that the long-term care policies that she could have had years ago. Before her first diagnosis, but she said, I don't need it. I don't need it. It's okay, we can go without it just for the idea of being able to save money. And now it is costing so much more and she did need something. More than what she had prepared at that time.

Jessica Cannon:  Being able to depend on Medicare and Social Security. A lot of people use that as their Plan B and it's not intended to be something that we can live off of its supplemental. And so it is proven to me how much more I need to say our family needs to save for us to be prepared for these possible. Expenses. Although

Jessica Cannon:  looking at it now, I mean, Mom, didn't think that she was, as a teacher and building her retirement. She never expected to need assisted living or memory care. So, she didn't expect me half a million or over half a million. For just the expected time period of that, three to nine years of decline. It's just a sticker shock, really?

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think sticker. Shock is a good word. I think that That is what a lot of caregivers experiences sticker shock and and probably a sense of like overwhelm, like What are we gonna do or does this money come from? from your professional experience and…

Jessica Cannon:  Yes.

How can a caregiver set up helpful bumper pads for life’s unexpected costs?

Katie Wilkinson: also now your personal experience and And you know now becoming an advocate for other caregivers. Can you talk a little bit about how caregivers can set up, you know, bumper pads for for these,…

Jessica Cannon:  Yes.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, unexpected costs or potentially expected costs. Like How can people start to make a plan towards this?

Jessica Cannon: Right. Well, one of the areas, of course, as an accountant. Making a budget. Not everybody likes to do this, not everybody knows how to do this. But creating the budget is been something that has helped me the most not only in my own finances, but for my mother's finances because it's one of the things that helped me track what she was spending. Where it was all going, what were the higher areas? And how we can maybe reduce some of that spending. And then the way I created her budget was It outlined basically. What was going to be needed when it came time for her tax preparation. So not only did I know her medical expense because not everybody understands the

Jessica Cannon:  tact language of your adjusted gross income and you're allowed to deduct what's in excess of 7500 of your adjusted gross income. Well, in order to figure this out for her every year, I used her budget and heard the spreadsheet that I created for her to find how much was spent on prescriptions, how much was spent on doctor's visits lab work and other medical inpatient or outpatient type of things, and what was spent on her long-term care expenses, Thing that helped. Twofold manage it during the year and prepare at the end of the year for taxes.


Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think you know budgeting is like not that sexy people don't like talking about it, but I think it can, you know, it can help a lot and like provide a lot of peace of mind. You mentioned a spreadsheet and I imagine you built that yourself because that sort of falls in your wheelhouse and…

Jessica Cannon:  Right. Right.

Tell us about your system for managing care expenses—what works well and what could be better/where do you need help?

Katie Wilkinson: I guess, two questions. One is, you know, what did you like about this system or do you like about the system for managing money? What could be better and then I guess a follow-up question is like Where can other people start? If Excel isn't their thing or They've never built a budget before.

Jessica Cannon: Right.

Katie Wilkinson: You know what what sort of like square one? If someone's trying to set this up, that was a lot of questions at you.

Jessica Cannon:  I get. No, I totally understand that because that, that's what I've Talked with other caregivers, So you're absolutely right. Not everybody loves spreadsheets, I'm a geek that way, but even if you're not tracking them in a spreadsheet, have some sort of list somewhere, whether it's a pen and paper, notepad that you jot down. What are your monthly expenses? Just you have an actual idea. Because What happens most, and I've seen this, with both of my sons even is, it's paycheck to paycheck hand to mouth. That's how we have learned to live, and the idea of savings

Jessica Cannon:  Is unfortunately last it is so last it's scary. And so one of the things that helped them understand this, at this point in time is creating savings accounts. If you have a checking account have two savings accounts, there's no limit on how many you can have separated out. So you may not be seeing it in a spreadsheet, but you'll see it in your bank statement and the key to this is having Self-discipline. It's not a matter of saying Oh I got paid and this month. I have an extra two hundred dollars, so I'm going to go shopping. Okay.

Jessica Cannon:  Let's say, maybe we put $100 of it in savings. Number one, and $100 in savings number two, and we don't shop this month. We're going to shop next month. When we have a little bit more built up and savings number one, and the difference being is one is your mad money so to speak. Any other one is your emergency funds because oil drive cars and have car repairs that happen when we least expect it or home repairs or appliances stuff that we when we least expect it. What do we do? We have either a credit card to jump to, that has incredible amounts of interest, or we have that emergency savings to pull from the other thing is, Utilize your 401ks if your caregiver and you are still in the working world.

Jessica Cannon:  Utilize 401ks as much as possible because the employers that have matching 401K that's free money, take it. You put in $25, they put in $25, you have now $50 in your savings. just take advantage of things like that and then other areas, one of the things I learned after I became a caregiver or things like, Going to companies like Schwab. And let me just say I'm not affiliated with them in any way. It's just worked for me by having the Schwab intelligent portfolio. I thought I was going to have to learn how to be a broker or learn the market and start watching the news more often.

Jessica Cannon:  So, I can manage things, and it was a huge relief to say. Here's X amount of money manage this. And this is what's helped me manage my mom's funds so that she does have what she needs. And when she, what she's not using yet is still growing in the market.

Katie Wilkinson: Yep, I love that. I also love that anytime we talk about, emergency like an emergency fund. Everyone's first example is car breakdowns, because I think that is, that's the most like,…

Jessica Cannon: It happens the most. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: oh shoot, yeah. And yeah and tires are not, you know, inexpensive or…

Jessica Cannon: I'm not cheap especially now after Covid.

Katie Wilkinson: any car repair.

Jessica Cannon: Everything is far more expensive. Yeah.

How are you funding your mom’s care?

Katie Wilkinson:  Yet. It's wild out there. You talked a little bit about, you know, you left your job. You've come home, you are you are funding, some of your mom's care. If you're comfortable, do you mind sharing a little bit about? You know, what are the other funding sources for your mom? And how did you think about like, how much money you're gonna need to save? Or make better to fund her care?

Jessica Cannon: Right.So, because she was a teacher for so many years, she did have and she still has her teacher's pension. But what's happening now is my mother who will soon be 73 years old this month. She was grandfathered in. So, new teachers coming in aren't necessarily getting as high of the benefits as she's received. So between her retirement benefits, and then adding in Social Security, she's able to have some money to be able to support herself. And before assisted living became an issue that was more than enough. She was always the saber. She always lived on the least amount, she possibly could by with and saved everything else. Now.


Jessica Cannon:  Then assisted living becomes part of our day-to-day and that savings is, is a joke. It was just nowhere, close to being enough. And so now being able to See what assets she has. Having to liquidate what she had housing and other, you know, vehicles everything liquidated. So that, that money that was liquidated or became available was invested. So that we can maximize it as much as possible but other areas like the little things where she needs the day-to-day even if her assisted living is covered because that's the bulk of it. That's the huge chunk of it. There is still the day-to-days of the toiletries and sometimes there's Thankfully now because she is on hospice. The toiletries. Some of them are covered. The

Jessica Cannon:  Undergarments. I don't like calling them adult. Diapers it just sounds crazy, but the undergarments that are needed and other things related to oxygen that she has to have. And so there's a difference between what insurance pays and what hospice pays and then whatever falls out from that is going from her monthly income.

Katie Wilkinson: It just juggling a few, a few things.

Jessica Cannon: Yeah, just a few.

Ways to avoid becoming a victim to our healthcare and insurance systems

Katie Wilkinson:  Insurance playing, You know, a bit of a role here, can you talk a little bit about how you know what you've learned and how other caregivers can avoid becoming victim to our like healthcare insurance systems?

Jessica Cannon: Yes. So just like not everybody is open to using spreadsheets, not everybody understands insurance. and the thing that kind of hurt me this past year even was wondering who pays for certain items, For example, hospice hospice is paid through Medicare well. This past year from 2022 to 2023, Medicare improved increased the rate for providers. My mother has been on hospice for the last year now, and from July of 2022 to December. there was a decline, there was a noticeable decline and now the decline is happening faster than it ever has the whole entire time But I was told that she was going to be graduating off of hospice.

Jessica Cannon:  Made. Absolutely no sense at all. Until I started asking and going into the Networking environment of what's going on what happened. And that's when I found out about the provider rates for Medicare, and I realized, Oh, this is a medical decision. She's not graduating because she's improved, they're trying to get her off of Medicare so they can put her back on and get those 2023 rates. It's just an ugly side of caregiving when we rely on these systems to get our Health needs taken care of, but if you don't understand that insurance yes it's there to help you get your needs. It's still a business and they're in the business of making money. As an accountant, I understand that. But as a caregiver that's trying to make sure my mother has her needs covered.

Jessica Cannon:  It is infuriating because now not only did I learn about the financing. And doing her investing. Now, I need to learn about insurance. And what is allowed, what is legally allowed and what is not?

Katie Wilkinson: Where did you go to learn? This like how did you start to get into the nitty-gritty of of the insurance landscape and and learn what you need to know?

How to learn about the nitty-gritty of Medicare

Jessica Cannon: So I started actually going to the Medicare website. I believe it's a or If there's another acronym, CTs, something like but and be careful. Because there are some out there that are sales websites. So don't take that to heart. I started researching there. I know a lot of this material is dry as I'll get out if you're meeting something to fall asleep to, that's where you go. But for me I had answers that I was searching for and so I sifted through to figure out what is allowed, what is not? For example, hospice, This is another area that and I keep going back to this because eventually caregivers are in this regardless of what your loved one, if it's dementia or not. Eventually the end is this need for hospice and


Jessica Cannon:  When my mother was transitioning and initially two hospice, you get the approval from the doctor, The doctor held his approval. Unless I decided to use the provider that he wanted to recommend, that is illegal. So I found this on Medicare explaining that they are only allowed to provide three choices at the very least for you to choose this one. This one or that one they cannot hold their approval hostage. If you don't do what they say, That's not fair to the caregiver out there that is just trying to provide the best service and especially if it's a service you disagree with. Because

Jessica Cannon:  Referrals. The rest of this is asking your friends and neighbors. What did you experience? Where did you go, Who did you use? And then you have some of that referral information to fall back on too aside from reading lengthy, documents. Not everybody goes for that. I'm just weird that way.

Katie Wilkinson: Well I think it speaks to a couple things like It's good that you're doing research and you know I'm glad the information is out there but also needs to be more digestible for people so you don't end up in you know this situation that you that you just described you were able to go back.

Jessica Cannon:  Yeah.

Jessica Cannon:  Yes.

Katie Wilkinson: I imagine and and say, I know differently, I want other options but You know,…

Jessica Cannon:  Exactly.

Katie Wilkinson: it's a bummer that that information. Isn't more easily. understandable or digestible for people who aren't gonna,…

Jessica Cannon:  Right.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, sift through the whole Medicare website,

Jessica Cannon:  Yeah, that is a huge problem because when we need answers, I mean there is So much information. Some caregivers will say There's nothing out there. It's out there, it's just how it's out there. There's just, it's not accessible for the actual day-to-day family caregiver. Or even professional care, givers to understand, but they're the ones that have the legal departments that can explain things to them. Right.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. In a in a clunky transition Here. I mean, speaking about digestible information, you you wrote a book, the proactive caregiver. Can you tell us a little bit about you…

Jessica Cannon:  Yeah.

What motivated you to write your book?

Katie Wilkinson: what motivated you to write the book and about the book.

Jessica Cannon:  Definitely. So after meeting so many different caregivers and various situations and then attending more more support groups. I kept hearing the same questions over and over again. And so I thought Well again I'll go research these questions and figure it out because some of the questions were the same ones I was having and the answer. So I found Went above and beyond, just the caregiver. The lemma or the uncertainty of what's happening and why it gave me peace of mind. And it set me free to the idea of. Wow, This is how dementia crept into our life. This is how it stole our in destroyed our family.

Jessica Cannon:  This is what stole my confidence, even and Mom's ability to thrive and so I felt compelled, Okay? Now I know this. What do I do with this? And so I Wanted to write a book that was explanatory. It was the cathartic process for me as well. I wanted to warn the public and Hopefully, stop this growing epidemic. That dementia has becoming. Because it is preventable.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I mean you talk obviously in the book about being a proactive caregiver, can you talk about what? You know, How do you define a proactive caregiver? What does that mean?

How do you define a proactive caregiver?

Jessica Cannon: Yes. So in my opinion, a proactive caregiver is someone who deliberately prepares for, uncertain outcomes, financially, legally, Emotionally medically and even spiritually. Proactive, caregivers. They are the ones that guard their health. They? Want to prevent becoming the care recipient themselves because I've learned this time and time again, we cannot take care of our loved ones. If we don't take care of ourselves, I want to help them stop being Exhausted and emotionally beaten down. And so the proactive caregiver steps into this role in a way that stops the reactive nature. and starts preparing you for,


Jessica Cannon:  the potentials, the possibles, a likelihoods

A proactive caregiver is someone who deliberately prepares for uncertain outcomes–financially, legally, emotionally, medically, and even spiritually. Proactive caregivers are the ones that guard their health. They want to prevent becoming the care recipient themselves because I've learned this time and time again, We cannot take care of our loved ones if we don't take care of ourselves. The proactive caregiver steps into this role in a way that stops the reactive nature and starts preparing you for the potentials, the possibles, the likelihoods.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think that's I have not yet. Read your book. And I am excited to because I think these are the, you know, questions that people are asking especially early in their, you know, caregiving journey or…

Jessica Cannon:  Yes.

Katie Wilkinson: foreshadowing, you know, a potential future caregiving journey, and You talk in the book about caregiver compliance.

Jessica Cannon:  Right. Right.

What is caregiver compliance and how can caregivers achieve this?

Katie Wilkinson: Can you talk about what that term means and how caregivers can achieve caregiver compliance?

Jessica Cannon:  Yes. So this compliant refers to the family caregiver, whether they are an adult child or spouse even especially if there's a spouse that has a The blended family, multiple marriages. That type of situation. But it's basically being legally protected and prepared well in advance because caregivers need to have at least five legal documents set aside that are created notarized filed, And multiple copies made so that they are provided to every single doctor hospital, you know, position whatever they are in medical needs. Are that everyone has this? Those documents are the medical power of attorney.

Jessica Cannon:  Statutory durable, power of attorney, the HIPAA Authorization, and Advanced Directive to Physicians and their declaration of guardianship. Now, that's a lot of information but unfortunately we live in a world where

Jessica Cannon:  The legal system has to step in in some cases. And in my own personal experience, being a caregiver brings out. Sometimes the ugly side or the hurt sides that have not been healed. And so sometimes there is a need for the legal intervention.

How caregivers can practice self-care in a realistic sense 

Katie Wilkinson: And you mentioned, you know, like a spiritual or emotional sort of softer side of caregiving taking care of ourselves. Is, You know, an essential part of being a caregiver. We can't provide good care if we're not providing good care to ourselves. I think this can be hard and…

Jessica Cannon: Right.

Katie Wilkinson: it's advice that I think we see all over social media and ever, you know, it's everyone, sort of first tip is like, Take care of you first. I don't want to give away too much of your book, but, you know, Can you talk a little bit about like, how people can do this in a realistic sense or even an emotional sense? Like Take out the guilt of like, you know, self cares and bubble baths necessarily it's like eating well or, or whatever it is that how do we like, how do we mentally shift to be okay with taking care of ourselves first?

Jessica Cannon:  Right. Were taught early on to take care of do your things like, Do your homework, get your chores done, do all these things that have to happen first, and those at least that's something that was really ingrained. In me, Do this first before you get to go play and have fun. Now as an adult, we need to do the reverse of this. We need to remind ourselves that we need to schedule time that is for us to laugh. And, you know, it's it sounds cliche live, laugh love but we need to laugh enlighten, the spirit within us self-care. Some people say Oh that's getting my hair done. That's getting my nails done. I'm gonna go get a massage. Yeah, that's a form of it, but self care is also being financially. Well, being Mentally. Well, so

Jessica Cannon:  therapy. If you need, if you feel like the world's, weighing down on you as a caregiver and you have no idea what to do and for me, my time in the shower was my time that I got to cry and just let it all out and then get myself together and put that smile on and continue my day with my mother. Stuff like that has to happen. I mean us trying to be strong. Only makes us weaker. And it's ironic when we see it that way. So when you take the time for mental healthcare emotional self-care, Practical, even being organized. I mean, it. Is all in effort to reduce your stress in life because stress is the other side of what contributes to dementia.

Katie Wilkinson: I have this that I was taking care of my dad for a while after my mom passed and I was them, not taking care of myself. And I took a photo of myself one day where I just looked like horrific, like you can just see how bad I look. And I'm really glad I took that photo because it's been a reminder since like just like…

Jessica Cannon:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: how bad I felt and like how unfunctional I was for everyone else because I was like I can't let go of this control and…


Jessica Cannon:  Exactly.

Katie Wilkinson: I'm glad I took that photo to as a reminder. Now that it's like I have to take care of me in order to take good care of other people too.

Jessica Cannon: Right. That's perfect. Because unfortunately, sometimes those reminders tend to be the hospital,…

Katie Wilkinson: Sure. Yeah.

Jessica Cannon: when the caregiver has burned themselves out and Some doctors telling them Have. You had enough water? Have you What have you been eating lately? How much sleep do you get? I mean, Yeah, we need those reminders.

What do you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your care experience?

Katie Wilkinson: Definitely. You've been caregiving for a while now, and what do you know? Now, obviously, you know, a lot of things you wrote a book, but if you could sort of boil it down to those that are listening, what do you know? Now that you wish you knew, when you started your caregiving experience?

Jessica Cannon: He? oh, what I know now is how much The Business of Aging. Has become a deterrent. I wish I knew early on that. I was going to be faced with these challenges so that I wouldn't have so much anxiety and so much shock to deal with when I needed help. I would also.

Jessica Cannon:  throw in the fact that what I know now. Every decision I made. Five, ten fifteen, twenty years ago, affects my present time now. And so, making healthier choices Will make a world of difference for every caregiver and even if some say I'm already, however, old they are, it's never too late to start. Just never, it's

Katie Wilkinson: yeah, can you give an example of what you mean by like what kinds of decisions are you thinking of when you say, when you say that,

Jessica Cannon:  Yeah. So You know, the looking into planning. Proactively Planning. If you plan a wedding, if you're planning a funeral. There's always this salesperson out there that is ready to make money. Well this is the same thing for the family caregiver. There's always someone that is promoting a service, whether you really need it or not. And if there's other options that are less expensive or in some cases free, That's the business side of it. And I've talked to so many caregivers who experience horrific situations in connection with hospice which is supposed to be beautiful and helpful and stress leaving. But not all hospice companies are created equally.

Jessica Cannon:  So that side of it was something I never expected so I wish I could have told my earlier caregiving self, heads up, this is coming and you need to be prepared and then the other side of it with the Being healthier. Knowing that you're going to work yourself because of the control factor. You're going to work yourself down to illness and you need to start fortifying your body now. So eat healthier foods, get in way more, green healthy, rich, green salads, cleanse your gut is as soon as possible and don't put more crap in it. That you have the energy and a stamina And the peace of mind to wake up every day and do this job. Day after day until They take their last breath and even still.

Jessica Cannon:  It's still up to you. You have to continue to take care of yourself after that point because healthcare never stops.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, you you mentioning more leafy greens? That's probably good life ad. For just for all of us forever.

Jessica Cannon:  Yes.

Katie Wilkinson:  Thank you so much for, I mean, sharing so much of your story and you know, how your personal your professional life has impacted, you know, your personal life and your caregiving experience. And if people would like to learn more about You and your story and your book, where can they find you?

Jessica Cannon: Absolutely, you can go to www.proactive, you can find the information, I have blogs, I have podcasts. I have the book as well that they can purchase from there. And the book is on Amazon and Walmart online, Barnes & Noble. There's a couple of different places that it's at that. You can actually search and find, but the fastest way is the proactive because you get a several other bits of information there as well.

Katie Wilkinson: Awesome. We'll be sure to you know tag you once this is live and anything else any you know, final tips or parting thoughts for, you know, those that are listening

Jessica Cannon: Definitely. And it's what I want to drive home that thought self care is not selfish. Being proactive means you're being selfish for yourself in a way that helps you and your loved one in the long run.


Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much Jessica for your time. And for,…

Jessica Cannon:  Definitely.

Katie Wilkinson: you know, sharing all of this, it's I think it's really valuable to people to hear

Jessica Cannon: Absolutely, thank you for letting me be here.