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EP 144 SCI Netcast: Linda Fodrini-Johnson Consulting/Counseling

EP 144 SCI Netcast: Linda Fodrini-Johnson Consulting/Counseling
Linda Fodrini-Johnson
Linda Fodrini-Johnson

Find Linda Here: www.LindaFodriniJohnson.com


 
The Empowered Caregiver
Purchase Linda’s book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1632994259

Valerie:

This is Valerie Van Booven, with a Senior Care Industry Netcast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care market share their advice. So let’s get to it in a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Linda:

Well, my name’s Linda Fodrini-Johnson and I am a geriatric care manager, a licensed family therapist, and I have been doing this for over 35 years and owned my own business for 30 of those years. And now that I’m, semi-retired, I do some consulting, some teaching, some support groups, and I’m a recent author, so promoting my book.

Valerie:

Yay. And we’re going to talk all about that. Well, of course you’ve been around for a long time and I’ve been around for maybe half the time you’ve been around, or I don’t know, 20 years, I’m old, but anyway, so I’ve heard your name through the waves of senior care, all of these years, and I know that your wealth of knowledge is unsurpassable. You just have been such a guiding light for so many, whether it’s in business role or in senior care for families. So tell us, in your vast knowledge, what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Linda:

Well, for me personally, it’s gaining knowledge of their history. I mean, it’s so wealthy and it just empowers me actually to help them, have the best life possible because that’s my goal. When I work with anybody, it’s to reduce stress and increase quality of life, and they have such lessons to teach us through the challenges that they’ve wavered and survived basically and how they’ve done that and how they’re so resilient and come, and many, many people get stuck in that hole that they fell in it at age 50 and they’re still in it at age 90, and I can use sometimes my counseling skills and get them beyond that. But, so, that’s very important.

Linda:

And then working with adult children of aging parents who are just totally overwhelmed and have no idea and no clue just to give them some hope and have life preserver that gets them to take care of themselves so they can take care of their parents. So, I think I get a lot out of, I’ve been cried the other day when I did an intake and this woman was concerned about her own memory and how she got ahold of me. I’m going to be able to help her through the whole journey. She has no one else and she had trouble even articulating to me what she needed and it just feels really good to be that kind of conduit in life to people who are struggling.

Valerie:

Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s so interesting to me that the time in our life, when we’re supposed to be relaxing a little bit, and we aren’t into the drama, we aren’t into the taking on extra challenges. We are ready to set our ship a sale and enjoy some years. And a lot of times that brings with us the most challenging years of our life instead, for so many. And you haven’t been in this business or even if you have been in this business.

Linda:

Yes.

Valerie:

It’s your parents. It is overwhelming. So folks like are definitely what, like you said, a life preserver for so many families and, it doesn’t matter how many stories you’ve heard and how many times you’ve done this.

Linda:

No-

Valerie:

It’s an emotional time. It really is. So with that, you have written an amazing new book and I want to hear all about it and everybody else wants to hear about it too. So tell us about it. I’ll move with the information about your book with this video. So-

Linda:

Okay, great. It’s called the empowered caregiver, practical tips and emotional support for adult children of aging parents. But just this morning, I did a support group and most of the people on my support group were spouses, and because they all know me, they wanted to buy my book and they have bought my book. So they think it’s good for all of us, anybody who’s caring, not just adult children. And they were all going to buy it for their adult children to take care of them when they’re finished taking care of mom or dad or their spouse. So I wrote the book, I started it for 10 years ago, but I was running a business. Then I completed it in my post-retirement first year.

Linda:

I wanted it to be succinct. I wanted to get to the issue and not the words and words and words. I’ve read lots of caregiving books and, they’re all great, but they have too many words in them. A family caregiver doesn’t have a lot of time to sit and read a book. So I wanted it to be used as a resource. So I have the chapters titled and, they could use it as a resource and just go to that issue, instead of reading it from cover to cover, but is a very quick read and it has the issue, then some strategies to deal with that issue and resources and every chapter ends with an affirmation. And when you have an affirmation, you probably have used them yourself, Valerie, in the past. It helps you remember that content and that feeling of what you just read.

Linda:

So it kind of empowers you. And in my chapters that are dealing with the aging parent or family conflict, I give scripting because a lot of families just don’t know how to say it. They’re always trying to reason with their family member, reasoning, especially if there’s dimension involved, never works. So, if I can get that across, and then give them some tips on how to communicate to be successful and not just successful in the communication with somebody with dementia, they’re going to need care. How do you bring in care and be successful? I got tips for that. I have tips for, if you were abused by your parent or even your spouse, how do you be a kind caregiver, for that person that was never kind to you and my publishers didn’t even want that chapter in the book.

Linda:

And I said, Uh-huh (affirmative), I’m a therapist. I’ve done this for way too many years. And I’ve heard too many people who were abused. They need some tips on how to deal with it and permission to hire other people to provide the care because they just can’t. They can’t. So, I guess I have some unusual chapters that most caregiving books might not have if they’re not written by a professional, that’s been in the field for a long time. And as you know, I’m past President of the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers, now called Aging Life Care. And I really promote the use of care managers for families, even if it’s just for one consultation. So they get on the right path and they know resources, that are solid and proven to help those families. So, I really feel like it’s a good resource for every caregiving family.

Valerie:

I would totally agree with that. And I’m glad, you included those unusual chapters that other people wouldn’t even think to include. It does take a good therapist to recognize and understand the importance of that because there is so much dysfunction. It could be mental or physical abuse, we have a generation of people who didn’t know what therapy was. They didn’t know they were doing things wrong. They didn’t realize that, that wasn’t good parenting-

Linda:

Right.

Valerie:

They thought that’s how it was or they were taught that themselves by their own parents. So, a whole generation of people who come from a family where maybe the mom wasn’t the greatest mom or the dad wasn’t the greatest dad, or maybe they should have never been a dad. I don’t know. You hear that a lots, from generations of people. And so it’s not uncommon.

Valerie:

It has a ripple effect through that adult child’s life for the rest of their lives. And some people do get therapy for that. And some people don’t, but they’re going to have to deal with it. And there’s a guilt associated with not cutting them off and not caring for them when they do become frail and need care and maybe have no one else.

Linda:

Right.

Valerie:

So I’m glad you included those chapters. We hear that so much, but even in a fairly normal situation, where you’ve had a loving experience and a good experience with your parents, even just communicating with brothers and sisters who may not agree on care or may not agree on who should be power of attorney or financial issues that comes up as you know, a lot. So it brings out the best. So, I’m glad you wrote this and, it’s up to date and it’s new. We can always use new, fresh resources, a fresh set of eyes.

Linda:

Sure.

Valerie:

And a fresh set of wisdom about these things. So I appreciate you doing this and we’ll definitely make sure a picture of your book and the links, I was going to assume, it’s on Amazon.

Linda:

Yes, it is.

Valerie:

Awesome. So we’ll make sure everybody has the links where they can find it, read a little bit more about it. And what about audio? Have you considered doing an audio version?

Linda:

Well, it’s interesting you ask that because one of my clients asked that because their parents that they wanted to share the book with, was visually impaired and they were encouraged me to read it in my own voice because a reader would not have the inflection or the passion that I do have for some, definitely some of the points in the book. So I’m going to be talking to my publishers about that. I mean, there is, your Kindle version that you could buy on, but to have an audio book, a little bit different than the Kindle read by me.

Valerie:

Yeah. It’s nice to be able to, even on, like audible, to be able, to be on, if you’re driving a lot, you can just listen to the book while you drive back and forth to work or wherever you’re going.

Linda:

Exactly.

Valerie:

So, I highly encourage it and yes, I would agree with that person reading it in your own voice, because this is a passion for you. Definitely, and, I’ve even heard, I’ve listened to other authors read their own books and they don’t even in interject a little bit, which is okay. Something that isn’t in me, but they interject a point or an example or, I wrote this in 2018, so just knew that this might be different today or, and it’s very nice to hear them read their own stories.

Linda:

Right. Good.

Valerie:

I highly encourage. That’s great. So all the years that you’ve been doing all the great things that you do, I would imagine there are other successful, there’s successful organizations, I know, you’ve been past President of, and successful leaders in the industry. Is there anybody that stands out in your mind, whether maybe it’s local, maybe it’s national, that really does a good job for consumers and seniors?

Linda:

Well, I belong to a business support group. It was called tech at the time and they’ve been bought by another company since then. And, but my business advisor, I would say a business advisor, Ted Rowe was his name, and I’m not sure, I think he’s really retired now, but anyway, and I had him in my life. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology and I’m a licensed therapist and a certified care manager. I ran a business for 30 years with no business degree. You need business advice.

Valerie:

Yes.

Linda:

So I belonged to the group and it had at least 12 people with other businesses, but it doesn’t matter if you’re making brooms or you’re doing home care, you still have a bookkeeping problem or marketing problem, and we help each other. And then we have a leader who brings in great speakers and resources to us.

Linda:

And that helped me so much Valerie, to just have a team, had a good attorney, the care managers in the national association have a listserve, so they share problems and become support for one another. So reaching out to many people, I can’t name just one. I would say all of them, were supportive of me, and I of them. And I do a little bit more that way now, because I have all these years of experience behind me. But, don’t try to do this solo or outside your wheelhouse. We’re not all experts in marketing or…

Valerie:

Numbers-

Linda:

bookkeeping. Thank God. My husband was my partner. He took care of all that legal kind of, to deal with social security in the IRS. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to focus on the clinical work of my business. So we were a great partnership that way. But if you don’t have, if you don’t marry a CPA or a MBA, you got to find yourself a team. And I had a great team.

Valerie:

That’s awesome. And I would agree. I would say that I’m a registered nurse by trade and yes, I’ve been doing marketing for 14-15 years and been a nurse for, 25 years. But, business, running a business is not my forte. It might be a little, I’m pretty good at it now, but that was not what I was trained to do. So bringing on a business partner, 10 years ago, or more, who was a numbers person, who had the same interests, but not the clinical in, expertise was the best thing I could have ever done.

Linda:

So I totally agree. Yeah.

Valerie:

Business partner, who is a numbers guy and we don’t even live in the same state. We don’t see each other very often, maybe a few times a year, but we talk almost every day. So it’s been a virtual partnership for many many years, and it’s been the best thing that we could have ever done. And, it’s been a great partnership. So yes, having, different skill sets is okay and you’re not partners, but finding someone who’s…

Linda:

Yeah.

Valerie:

So, that’s great. I’m glad you recommended something like that. Having a team of people, whether they’re truly on staff or just…

Linda:

Consultants that you hire.

Valerie:

Absolutely. All right. If you had to give just a couple of pieces, pieces of advice to senior care providers out there, folks, maybe they’re care manager, maybe they’re in home care. What kind of advice would you give? I know that’s a big question.

Linda:

Love what you do. If you don’t love it, don’t stay in the business. This isn’t a business like other businesses. You must have compassion for older adults and want to deal with their challenges. You have to have passion there and patience, maybe passion and patience. I have a daughter and she’s been my, she’s the Google expert. She’s the marketing expert. And she has a business called reaction concepts. And everybody was saying, don’t sell your business, can’t your kids. And my daughter says, I really don’t like old people. I mean, I guess she was honest, but she loved her grandma, in general that wasn’t her cup of tea. So it wouldn’t have been good for her to take over my business. So I think you must know it. You must, if you’re going to work in the senior care industry, don’t pretend you know something.

Linda:

If somebody gives you a problem that you don’t have an answer for, find a resource for them, find a geriatric care manager, an elder law attorney, somebody that you can tap onto with. I’ve just talked to a family that has this problem. Can you help me with that? I’ve heard from so many families that have gotten advice from the senior advisor or the housing place specialist, which is totally wrong legally that got them in trouble, financial trouble, because they took the advice of somebody who wasn’t an expert. So you can work in the senior industry and love it and love the older clients that you’re working with and their families. But you’re not an expert in all areas. Just find resources for those families, because no matter who you are, if you’re the CPA, the attorney, the geriatric care manager, the LOI attorney, those clients are going to turn to you for advice that’s not part of your expert knowledge. So you always want to refer out to the other experts in the community.

Valerie:

I would agree. Don’t be the Jack of all trades. It’s okay to be a Jack of all trades, regard to resources. Knowing a lot of people in your community, knowing where to turn someone when they need help in a certain area is great. But yeah, don’t give out legal advice. It’s not your degree.

Linda:

No, you’re right.

Valerie:

And financial advice is so tricky in this world.

Linda:

Yes.

Valerie:

It can cause so many challenges if it’s done incorrectly. So yeah, you’re right. Thank you for those words of advice, we [inaudible 00:18:50] for sure.

Linda:

Yes.

Valerie:

Passion and patience. Yes, okay. Last question is supposed to be a fun one. When you have a win in life or in business, how do you like to celebrate, like the day you received your book in your hands, your baby, in your hands, how did you celebrate?

Linda:

Well, I had to wait about a week and then I gathered about 12 people who have really promoted me in the community all through my career. Just, somebody calls and said, Jack Smith told me I should talk to you and nobody else, those kind of people. And they’ve been in my circle of supporters, I guess you would say for a long time. So there was only 12 of us because it was on the spirit of the moment.

Linda:

The book came and my family was saying, you’ve got to do something. So we had this lovely dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant and I made sure we could eat outside. So those are, still a little bit afraid of COVID, which we all should be safe. So we had a lovely lovely dinner. And when I was running my business, that’s how, when the numbers were good, the number people would report, the numbers were good, we would have celebrations. We had lots of celebrations and also making donations, as a way of just being thankful of what’s coming my way to give back someplace. And all the time I ran my business, whenever there was a crisis from 911 to earthquakes, we would match all the donations of our employees.

Linda:

So that’s not really a celebration, but, we did our values and extending values, I guess, is a way of celebrating life, actually. It’s about being grateful.

Valerie:

Yeah. I agree. I agree. And that’s great. That is great. I mean, we love, that reminds me that, we love to donate too. Like it’s just local, usually, so something, family needs help or whatever, that tends to be a nice way to celebrate the fact that you can donate or you have the ability or the resources to help someone else. I find that to be very rewarding. And so, but a good dinner, that is always in my mind.

Linda:

Right, always food, some say, bringing the chocolates, one of my staff, at one point, because we had a lot of sweets in the kitchen, said, could we have good choices? One of the nurses, could we have good choices in the kitchen? So from that time on I bought about $30, $30 to $50 worth of fruit every Monday morning, and they be it, by Friday.

Valerie:

Well, they didn’t go bad. So then…

Linda:

No, no that’s good. I think, caring, just caring is a way of celebrating too. Yeah.

Valerie:

Great. Well, congratulations on this new book.

Linda:

Thank you.

Valerie:

And thank you for being an author and for writing and for helping so many families that maybe can’t, get to you personally or, and I’m sure some will, but for those who just need to be pointed in the right direction, things like this are so helpful. So thank you very much.

Linda:

Well, thanks Valerie. Thanks for what you do, as well.

Valerie:

Thanks for talking us today. So that’s it.

Valerie:

And we’ll make sure everybody gets ahold of this and knows how to get ahold of your book.

Linda:

Thank you. Have a great holiday season.

 

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

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