combo 2 lisa jilFINALl
7:41PM Jan 29, 2021
Welcome to TSC Talks. I am here with my business partner and co owner of TSC Talks, Lisa Larsen, she has willingly agreed to participate in this interview. And when we were talking about ideas for this coming year for the podcast, we throw a lot of stuff out there. But one thing that keeps coming up, and it's kind of a general theme and, and the work we do here is people that are living with extreme situations that either that they didn't expect, that happened unexpectedly. And they're either kind of have to think outside the box to make things work. And, you know, I see this happening in the TSC community, I see it happening, you know, in autism community, I see it happening, but one place there, it happens all the time that we don't even think about is with the elderly. And Lisa, in the last year has transitioned her actually in 2020 transition members of her family that are older, into her living space, and I've just kind of watched it from outside. And it's been a really, you know, seeing that the challenges and the rewards. And so I thought it would be great for Lisa to come on. And just talk a little bit about, you know, what made her decide to do this, how it happened, and, you know, kind of the process and just so anybody out there, you know, I think this is a common theme for a lot of people is what do we do when our parents get older and they are forced to either, you know, have to go into an I shouldn't say forced, but they have to go to a you know, I'm just gonna say a group home, but you know, a placement, a
nursing home or just like a group home. Yeah.
So anyway, yeah, so nursing home. So that's kind of what we're going to be talking about. So thank you, Lisa, for being on. Yeah,
do you want to just tell me like, I guess you know, I know that you before you're your parent, you moved your mom in you. You had you wanted to downsize? And you made these plans to Packer and you put your house on the market and all this stuff. And just to say like, what how much I think you care about improving situations and making things better for everybody in your family. Just so it's just something that's all I've always like,
just inspired. So thank you. Yeah, we we had hoped to downsize. We're the sandwich generation. So our kids are with one in college. We have one who is still here, but almost ready to launch, hopefully. And so my husband and I had started talking about downsizing. But my kids were not quite ready for that. And it turns out my husband wasn't either It was really me who was ready to downsize? So we ended up deciding to stay in the house. But one of the reasons we had wanting to downsize is that financially, it's been a stretch. It really has. I mean, the town we live in Texas go up every year. It's crazy. So we kind of once we switched directions, we kind of had to figure out okay, well how do we make this work? financially and in the meantime, while I was packing us and downsizing us, we had also downsized my husband's stepfather after his mom had passed away. And then my brother in law passed away. So we had downsize his stuff. So we had now like, we had cleared out our house ready to downsize and then suddenly had melded into other houses into our house. And then during that time, my mom, my mom has had her own share of health issues. Her husband, she's been full time caregiver for her husband now for the last several years. She's 77. He's 86. So it's been a lot. So I have actually over the last few years spent a lot of time at their house, I had actually moved in first certain times for different reasons, because at times my mom would have physical issues that would make it so that she couldn't take care of my stepfather and and so I would move in and take care of both of them. Right. I
forgot about that.
Yeah. And so then it was getting to the point where I was, I had pretty much been a stay at home mom worked here and there, but I wasn't actually working outside the home. But I was going to their house pretty much every day all day. And we were just we were trying to figure out, you know, they aren't ready to go into a nursing home. They looked at assisted living. The biggest problem with assisted living was that they the kitchens don't come with an oven and my mother cooks. And that was just so it was it was a deal breaker for her.
it was that was just too much. And so we were thinking and we just couldn't figure it out and honest to God, one day I was in the shower, I was right the first thing in the morning and all of a sudden it was like Well, why don't they just move in here? Yeah, and I literally had to have been higher power otherworldly because I it wasn't something I thought it was. So I got out of the shower and I said, Honey, I have an idea and my husband being like, I don't One of the best guys in the entire world was actually on board with it immediately. And it just, it kind of put all the puzzle pieces into place. It just made sense. So we talked to my mom and stepfather about it. And they liked the idea too. So, and my kids were pretty good with it. Not 100%. But pretty good. So we decided to move forward and then COVID
Yeah, that's right. So I'm just doing the timeline. So yeah, like, right before COVID,
we made the Yeah, we made the decision that they would list their house and come live here. And no sooner did we make the decision within just a couple weeks everything shut down?
Well, in some ways, and I'm sure you'll talk about this, but it seems like that's almost a good thing. Because otherwise, if they were going through the health crises in assisted living, you might not be able to see you.
Absolutely, I do believe all of this happened for a reason. When COVID hit, of course, you know, it was the beginning, we none of us really knew anything. I was absolutely terrified to go to their house to visit them. I used to literally run in, drop stuff off and run back out again. And then I would talk to her from outside. It was just, it was we didn't know
right? We didn't know. I mean, they had shut everything down. All we knew is like, you know, it was just, it was terror. And basically it was like if you're old and you get this, you will die. Yeah, no. I mean, they're both elderly. They both have significant health issues.
I you know, I'm at risk,
right. So I knew they were high risk, but not being able to see them was just torture. And my mom and I are very, very close, sometimes maybe a little too close, we're all each other has, I had a sister she passed away. 11 years ago, I have a biological father who's not in my life. And so we're as close as we can possibly be. And luckily, my husband is very close to her too. And he has lost his parents. So he considered You know, that's
like, there's no way that you could really go forward without figuring this out. Right.
Right. So I mean, then then when we couldn't see them, it became even more like we all knew that moving in together was what we needed to do. It just kind of cemented that we were making the right decision. So we had hoped, you know, like everyone else we figured, okay, spring will come everything will improve and you know, then it didn't so much. But so by June, my mother was like, I can't do this anymore. I that's it. No matter what happens. Yep. Yep. We just have to do it.
Okay. That was that they wanted to stall it a little because it wasn't just because of COVID that you couldn't
Yeah, just COVID at the very beginning, because everything shut down like so we just put everything on hold. Right. So yeah, I'd say it was about June, my daughter was home she so she went she was helping my mom start with the packing and the purging and all of the fun things. And, you know, we we set a target date for August 1. And we just pushed as hard as we could. Once my daughter went back to school. In the summer. I was there every day, all day we packed we purged we just worked constantly. And then at the end of July, my mom had what looked like a stroke.
Oh my goodness, that's not all about
it was the second time it happened. It happened a year before that almost exactly a year before that she was talking and then just went limp and lost consciousness. Why come to find out? Yeah, it's terrifying. So come to find out. They think this is some sort of weird migraine thing, but it looks exactly like a stroke. So we have to treat it like that and hasn't happened again. And we'll knock on wood and yeah. So when that happened, we had the movers scheduled and she wanted to push things back. But for some reason, I was like, nope, wait, we need to have you guys moved in will. Yep. I said we're gonna have a movie that day, and we'll finish afterwards. Not so sure. That was a good idea. I don't know. But we did. We did that. Yeah, I just we needed to all be living in the same house. I mean, it was about six weeks after that my mom and I moved every day we went to the old house to move things and so it was a lot but they were here, right. And one of the reasons they moved here also is that my stepfather is is having a very hard time with mobility. So he's, he's moving towards a wheelchair and and that is really what is safest for him in my house is wheelchair accessible because my husband is disabled. So that was one of the reasons we wanted to get him here quickly too because it was getting to the point we weren't sure we were going to be able to get them in and out of their house much longer. Yeah So we had him come in, he's taught several falls. So it's still been fairly difficult. But having the entire family together, has helped. And when they moved in, it had been suppose that I would be one of the full time caretakers because I was home. But it, it kind of turned out that this amazing job fell into my lap. And so I'm not home being the caretaker right now. But my husband is home during the winter. And so he's the caretaker right now.
Yeah, I'm incredibly like,
how you made it work. And
you didn't, you know, I didn't think of that other piece that you didn't have to make a lot of accommodations to write. Right, Paul? Paul? And so
yeah, yeah, we were lucky in that way. We really were so and, you know, we've just, we're also really blessed that the four of us my parents, and my husband and I, the four of us are just determined to make this all work.
So yeah, yeah. Yeah, all had to be on board.
Right. And, and so I think that's been a huge part of it is, and part of it too, like, we wanted to make sure my stepfather was going to be comfortable moving in, you know, he's never had to do this before. My mom has actually live with us and at times, and we've lived with her, so it wasn't as big of a deal. But that was huge. And luckily, I think the transition has been going. Yeah, so it's been pretty good. Most of the challenges have actually involved my kids.
They're both Pesky Things.
Yeah. You know, I mean, like, the bathroom, our main bathroom in the house has kind of been converted. And so there's a lot more stuff in it. And there's things for people who are older and more disabled. And so it's just, yeah, you know, there are there are definitely things that have been an accommodation to them. And I think that it's been a little bit hard for them. But they've done pretty well,
too, though. I mean, I guess I've been thinking about it, as teenagers are. Exactly, I
think that if I were 19 or 23, that I probably would have had a lot to say about them. Honestly, you know, I think they've been rockstars, my son gave up his room. He has his own room in a different place in the house. And that's actually working out for him. But you know, there's definitely been a lot my daughter's away at school for most of the time. So that's been good. Talk to me in the summer. Who knows, but for the most part, we've all really just wanted to make it work. So we've made it work. I would say the biggest challenge has been combining the households on finding room for everything. We wanted them to bring whatever was important for them to have. So we've you know, we've managed is my house really crowded? Yep.
Like, yeah, like you've been really organized throughout the process. So did you What's your what's your organization? How did you coordinate all this? Okay, as Jill knows, well,
I am completely anal. And I am, I am and I'm a little bit OCD. So how I handled it was lists and lists and lists and listen, listen, I just, that's your technique. That is how I do it. I had, I have a calendar that I use for everything, and I schedule everything that I need time for on the calendar. And then I make to do lists. And that's how I organize and my mom organizes similarly. So I was I was able to give her lists. And you know, I mean, wow, we can we worked really well through it. Yeah, it's
really hard together. I mean, I think that we do your mom have a bit. Didn't you work with her on a bit?
I did. Yeah. My first real grown up job was working for her. Yeah. So that was, yeah, we've had to. We didn't get along growing up. It's really weird at all. So it was not until I became an adult that actually we became friends. And so but it was and this is kind of funny, and I have any I don't even think I've told you this, but when she when they moved in. Hmm, one thing I noticed is there were certain times like she get irritated about stuff. Uh huh. And I get really upset. Like I, I start to feel like my stomach would be. And at first I was like, What the heck, it has nothing to do like she'd be upset with her husband or something else. It might be taking it really perky. Yeah. Well, you know what it was? It's my mom. And, you know, when I lived with my mom, I was a kid and usually if she was annoyed, it was about me so Oh, totally triggering like me into this childhood crowd. Oh my god, it was weird. So it took a little bit of walking through and a little bit of like, okay, we're all grown ups here. What did I do wrong? Oh
my God did not break my curve.
Exactly. I was just like, oh my God, what did I do to make her upset? Yeah. So I've kind of worked through that. And I've had to say to her a few times, are you upset with me? And she's had to take Nope, it has nothing to do with you. You know? So yeah, that was kind of funny. And another really funny part is my kids, both actually and my husband, all of them now are like, wow, we we get why you are the way you are. And I don't think they're saying it completely negatively, although there is a bit of a negative component to it. But yeah, they're definitely seeing where I came from.
That's great. Wow. Yeah. Cool. I don't know how they could not see at least
I know. Yeah. Well, they get how much I am like.
Okay. Yeah. And, you know, I think that's, I think, I've noticed, like my own children kind of taking more of an interest in my relationship with my mother, as they get older, kind of looking at it watching to see you know, how we interact, like, suddenly aware of it. So I can see the timing on this too. It seems like yeah, that idea that you got in the shower, or whatever was something like epiphany would really happen. And then, like Kenny been on board with it, and everything kinda seems to support the idea. And you've really, I don't know, I've been really impressed and kind of just watching to to see the challenges. And you know, I knew you'd make it work. I just know, that's that you were determined. I just, I felt so bad when when you downsize? Or you wanted to downsize? And it did and it out like, that had to be a huge blow. But you know what, it's like you were prepared. You were preparing because you knew know how to write.
You know what, though? It made it all make sense. Like, okay, I mean, you know, here we are, we're with these two kids who are getting ready to fly the nest, like, what the heck do we need this house for a while we you know, what, we need the house because we need a handicapped accessible place for them. So, I mean, this is, I think that you know, the universe was trying to do this. And but I do believe that it all worked out for a reason. And, you know, we're all here now. We're fairly well organized in the house, we have our own spaces.
I'm a new
like, routine stuff. How did that how did you coordinate like the shower? And like, I guess what I'm getting at is, what if someone is listening, and they want to, you know, they're curious about the process? Like, what are the takeaways that you?
I think, like, one of the big things that we've all figured out is that we all need our own space. So we've kind of set up our own spaces, we've all kind of, I feel like we all kind of have these invisible boundaries. Like, we Yeah, we kind of we gave my mom and Paul like our living room. So they have the living room, they have the bedroom, they have, you know, all this space, and that's fine. And then we have a family room downstairs. So we have plenty of room to spread out. It's just kind of, you know, trying to figure it out. And there are some days that we all love to be together. And there are other days were like, Oh, God, you go in that room. I'll go there you go there. Don't talk.
No, absolutely. Right. And I also, I really try to do a lot of checking in with everyone. As you know, Joe, I'm the checker enter, like, Are you okay, what can we do better? You know, is Is there something bothering you that we can work on? You know, we had our first major blow up. Gosh, I want to say it was like two weeks into them moving in. My stepfather actually had been in the hot he was in the hospital. He had taken a fall. So he wasn't here. My mom was here, very stressed. We were still cleaning out the other house. And it was just a lot going on. And my son who has his own sets of issues. I don't even remember. But he came up and he just he started yelling and it was a thing. And he and my mom got into it. And when my mom and my kids fight it just oh my god. It's the worst possible thing. Yeah, it's bad. And so my son had to walk away. My mom looks at me and goes, I'm moving out and she goes, this is my notice. I'm moving out at all I could think was dude, I've spent the last few months moving you here. It's like the hell you are where you are out of your freaking mind. I was ready to kill everybody.
Yeah, I bet I bet Yeah. I
remember God told me about that, you know, we walked through it everybody cooled down, we all talked it was fine. And we all said you know, these are things that are going to come up we just all have to talk. And since then, I have to say, you know, there have been minor little skirmishes but nothing major. And, you know, we are making it work and we do kind of all have different schedules. So like the showers we all take showers at different times. It kind of all like worked out naturally. And so it's all kind of Yeah,
it's flowed. Yep. So that's, that's just I don't know, I love hearing that story. And it kind of made you know, in where everything seems like it's falling apart. You found a way to To put it back together in a today, organic way today. What's your long term plan? Do?
I know? I mean, it could all go to hell tomorrow. I don't think it will. You know, I mean, my stepfather has a lot of bonuses. He's not going to live forever. I wish he would, but he won't. And you have
to be realistic.
Right? I think that, you know, we've kind of said that we're willing to have our mom, my mom with us, for the rest of her life to be perfectly fine with it. I think that you know, we're short term here. We'll be in the house for the next few years, until the kids are grown. And as long as Paul is here, and then I don't know. Yeah, we'll see what comes next. I think that I definitely don't want to take care of this big of a yard forever.
No big. So yeah.
But I'm willing to do this short term, because it's really working out for everyone. Sounds like it. Yeah, it's done. I mean, this winter, I think I'm very worried about everyone. I mean, I get to go to my job every day, which is awesome. But I didn't have that job. And so I would be a little worried.
Yeah, it's kind of worked out. As much as I missed, I think, I don't know, the podcast, I think it's worked out the way it's supposed to. Because, you know, if you were there all the time? I think
I would. And I think that it's kind of given the other three, this new dynamic and their relationships, too, you know, I mean, so it's all too. Yeah. And and it's, I mean, there's been some, you know, there have been a couple skirmishes, but again, you know, that everybody respects each other, so everybody can talk it through. And so far, that's how we've been, and hopefully it will continue this way. I mean, this winter is challenging. It really is. Everyone's mostly home, where we're both of the older folks and my husband are at an increased risks with COVID. I am trying to keep them all home a little bit more, I'm out and about doing what I can and trying to stay as safe as possible and not bring anything home to them. And that's, you know, that's all we can do. And you know, yeah, and you know, and my mom and Kenny, when they get crazy, they go out for a little while. That's what they have to do.
I was like, yeah,
yeah, yeah. Can you take a lot of rides, he just takes a lot of rides. He knows I don't want him going places right now. But he does, he goes out and he'll, like, go to a drive thru for lunch or whatever. So he does, he takes, he's also an introvert and he needs time to himself. So he does do that. And I kind of pushed him to do it. And my mom, I'm also pushing to do that, because sometimes she does forget to take care of herself, you know, as caretakers. As far as we know, caretakers just don't do that. And we're trying to talk my mom into coming on, because I would love. Yeah, I think that the discussion between you and her, especially around caregiving is going to be phenomenal. So Angela, my mom have this awesome connection. So stay tuned for that. Because I do think that'll be a good one. I do. I think you guys will have a really great conversation.
Yeah, no. Yeah, we've
actually, I have to say that we have had a fairly easy adjustment. And I, I would say that we've been very, very blessed. Because I know it's not always like this. I have watched other people go through things like this. I have talked to other people. I can't tell you how many people who I told I was doing this to said, Oh, my God, you're crazy. Don't do it.
Yeah. You know, I think that the level of your your evolution, I hate to say but yeah, everybody in your family, it seems like kind of went to their highest level to make this to kind of assess the need and realize, you know, whether putting personal interests aside, I just
like you trying to make it work for all of us, right, for the greater good kind of thing. You know, and we've, we watched my parents in law, both of my parents, my father in law, died fairly quickly. But my mother in law was sick for several months before she passed. And we watched that and, you know, so we did have some up close to know what to expect. And and there's also a part of dementia with this, like my mother in law had dementia, my stepfather has dementia. And he goes in and out of some serious delirium, which goes along with dementia to which that is that is definitely challenging. And I'll also like, give a shout out to my kids again, because I think if I were their age, and I saw that I'd be really freaked out because there are times that he's talking to the ceiling or you know, I mean, they're, you just you never know what to expect. And it's, you know, we try and kind of have a sense of humor about
it. For your kids, what a beautiful example, just natural living circumstances. This is what happens in the life cycle. There's no like Hiding these things? It's Yeah, right there.
And I agree. I agree. I hope that it's teaching them that I mean, right now what it's teaching them is don't think I'm ever gonna do that for you. I'm putting you in a nursing home. That is what I'm hearing right now. But I have to say, when I was 19, or 20, that is absolutely what I would have said to my mother 100%. So, you know, I'm hopeful. But then again, my mother never expected this. It's not like she said, You know, this is what we want to do. It was an it like you said, it was an evolution on all of our parts. And I it was actually, I think, a harder decision for them than it was for us, I think, because she didn't want us to feel burdened. Right, you know, yeah, mother's. Right. Right.
you know, I mean, even even here, she tries to do everything on my like, you know, we're here, we're here helping and, yeah. So it's, it's tough, it's tough to let go of that caregiving part,
it really, you know, challenges you to see yourself from all different angles and other people as well, you know, right. Out of the same roles, and pretty, it's pretty interesting. And I think I get I don't want to go off on a tangent, but it's just like, our society has not given us enough solutions that are really adequate. And our systems of care are, there's just such a low black and white lay, and we aren't black and white people. And we've got to like these fluid and flexible ways of finding solutions seems to be what I want to work towards and what you've done.
I think, too, though, that in our society, that if you are elderly, or you have a disability, that you are invisible, and most of society would like you to just kind of go to your corner and hang out. Oh, before, before I moved them in, I was working at our senior center and had been blessed to be able to make relationships with a lot of seniors. And again, that was like a job I never expected to have. But I believed that I was supposed to be in for so many reasons. But I see, you know, we live in an affluent town and I see our senior housing and it's, it's, it's absolutely ridiculous that we live in a town like this and that we have our senior housing has stairs. I mean, and I looked at these apartments, and I looked at my husband and I said they're not handled accessible. Like we would not have access to those someday, you know, I mean, yeah, what the hell? I so yes, Joe, there is definitely a very, very larger, you know, and I think that's what we TSC Talks are trying to talk about is like, there are so many people in our society being marginalized. And I would say in general, the elderly are definitely part of that marginalized society.
Yeah, we only valued like this middle part, this one part. Yeah. And if you're anywhere outside of that, then you're really gonna have you're gonna have to, like, find a way to fit yourself into these square pegs into round holes, or you're gonna have to find a new way. So Right, exactly. Yeah, I just yeah, I think I can't speak highly enough of what you've done of you as a person and just a mother and daughter and all the roles that you have just really great. Lisa.
Thank you. I
am. I am honored to talk to you and have you as a friend