View Carducci Caregiver Consulting at www.bobbicarducci.com

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with The 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.

Bobbi Carducci:

Hi, I am Bobby Carducci. I’m a certified caregiving consultant and educator. I lead a caregiver support group. I’m the co-host of the podcast Rodger That, guiding you through the heavy haze of dementia. But the most important thing I do is educate caregivers on how to respond to dementia behaviors.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is really nice. And so, I’m going to make sure that Rodger That and all your other information, your websites and that are all with this video so people can tune in and listen. So, dealing with dementia behaviors can be really challenging. I always use my dad as an example. My dad is very docile. He’s a very kind person. He started with vascular dementia a few years ago as a result of lots of things, uncontrolled diabetes, stroke. He’s had bypass. And it was shocking. It was shocking to see the change in his behavior. I guess he didn’t do anything necessarily to anybody, but he was very threatening. And so, that was not like him. And dealing with dementia behavior like that is… And he took off. We actually had to call the police. He walked off down a trail, and he was gone for probably six hours.

Bobbi Carducci:

Wow.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We didn’t know that’s where he went, but eventually we figured out where he went. So anyway, he’s straightened out now. He’s much better, he is on medication, but it took a long time to get him there. And now, he still has dementia, but he’s very back to being funny and kind and reading, and he’s not threatening at all. And so, anyway, it can be challenging, it can be scary.

Bobbi Carducci:

It absolutely can. And that’s one of the things that so many people who come into the caregiving world for the first time don’t understand how this person that they’ve known and loved for so long is all of a sudden behaving very differently. And I hear these questions all the time. Is this normal? Is anybody else dealing with this? And what happens is sometimes the person, the caregiver, thinks that they’re doing it on purpose, and they’re absolutely not. I mean, this is a devastating longterm brain disease, and their brain is in control of everything just like ours are. So, if we can look at it… I’m so sorry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, you’re all right.

Bobbi Carducci:

From the point of view of what is it that’s upsetting them and how I can make that more comfortable for them and ramp down the tension, that’s the absolute first thing that you want to do is whatever it is to make them feel more secure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I think in hindsight, we also notice that as we told stories to each other about his behavior over even the five years prior to us knowing that he had vascular dementia, there were outbursts and weird things that happened, weird things that he had told me, or he would have an episode of anger that was really strange, and it would dissipate and go away. I often wonder if other people notice that once they have a diagnosis and they understand what their loved one is suffering with if they look back in hindsight and think, yeah, the last five years these weird things would happen. And that was probably a precursor to where we are now, but nobody ever knew it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I mean, my dad told me some crazy stories that never happened, and he believed wholeheartedly that they did. And he had a couple of really angry outbursts that were completely unlike him, and then would go back to being his normal self. And the whole family witnessed this, but we never put it all together that there was something else wrong because it was sporadic and not-

Bobbi Carducci:

Yeah. You mentioned five years. It could be even longer than that before the first brain connections start popping in and out like a flickering light bulb or being disturbed completely. So, what you’re describing is definitely progression of the disease. And a lot of us don’t recognize it until it’s become so constant that you can’t ignore it anymore. And one thing I like to tell caregivers as far as they’re telling stories about things that never happened is the brain is a wonderful storyteller.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It is.

Bobbi Carducci:

And I compare it to having a very vivid dream. We wake up and our heart is pounding because something frightened us. But when we wake up, we are able to tell the difference between being awake and what our brain has told us, and they can’t do that. So, they absolutely believe whatever it is that they’re telling you. And our telling them that that didn’t happen or that’s not true is only going to make them suspicious of you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Yes. He has told me… even in the last couple of years told me a story that… And here we are, full on dementia, and knowing that. But clarity, like in detail, like amazing detail about the story about someone who came to visit him. And it was an old friend, someone I knew when I was a little girl. And he told me this entire story. And I was like, “Oh.” And I talked to his wife and she was like, “That never happened.” I was like, oh my God. I was like, whoa. I totally believed it. And I knew he had dementia. I mean, but he was so on it. I mean, he totally knew [crosstalk 00:06:42] saying. And I was [inaudible 00:06:45].

Bobbi Carducci:

One of the women that was in my caregiver support group, her husband absolutely insisted that he was at Obama’s inauguration.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s pretty cool. But yeah. Yeah, so things like that are… I mean, he can still tell me a story to this day. And it’s all these details and people that I know who he’s talking about. It’s very possible that it happened. And he doesn’t do that so much now. But when his medications are off, or perhaps he needs a medication change, it’s amazing how creative the brain is. He should write books.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay, so I’ll get back to my interview questions. I know we got off the topic. But I love discussing this when I can relate to it a little bit. What is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Bobbi Carducci:

Well, quality of life is so important. And by working with families, both the person in care and the caregiver, I help them find ways to really appreciate the moments in the what I call moments of clarity in that special time they have together. I very often tell caregivers it’s difficult as it is day-to-day, to understand that you are giving them many more good days than they would have had otherwise.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. Absolutely. All right. Well, tell us what other successful leaders in the senior care industry, or maybe organizations that you’ve been a part of or been around, who has made a difference for you or what organizations do you think are doing a great job out there?

Bobbi Carducci:

Well, Denise Brown of the [inaudible 00:08:30] Academy who trained so many of us in this world is one of the people that I always refer to. And she was the very first guest on our podcast.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And she’s been with us, too. I love Denise Brown. So awesome. That’s great.

Bobbi Carducci:

Dannelle LeBlanc of Caregiver Transitions. And then, of course, Brooks Kenny of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. Those three, and so many more. I mean, I could go on all afternoon. But each one of them is really reaching out into the caregiving community and helping others find their way into this world so we can help so many more.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Absolutely. Great list of people, and all are mentors and folks that have really helped just thousands of people in their careers and lifetimes. All right. Let’s talk about online marketing a little bit. Now you have a podcast, and I’m sure you have a website and all of that. Online marketing can be challenging. And in the last year, in 2020, it was really hard. We couldn’t really network together. I know things are changing now and getting better, but I think we’re all still a little leery. Especially depends on our age.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And I think I went into a restaurant with my husband yesterday without a mask on. Now we’re both vaccinated and we have low occurrence here. We’re in the Midwest, in the middle of United States. We’re not in a big city, necessarily. And I said, “We just walked in here without our masks on.” And he said, “Yeah, we can do that now a little bit.” I said, “Yeah, a little bit, but I don’t know about Walmart.”

Bobbi Carducci:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, it’s getting better, but certainly may have a little ways to go. So, online marketing has become pretty important. And I think even just from a technology perspective, Zoom, podcasts, all of these things have become more prevalent in our lives. So, how has online marketing changed for you or [crosstalk 00:10:46]?

Bobbi Carducci:

Well, and in a weird way, it’s become easier because so many people are using Zoom that they never did before. And because it’s international, I;m able to reach people in a number of different countries, which absolutely helped. But having that one-on-one communication. If you’re doing a workshop and you have people that are in the audience who are able to share their emotion in a way that they don’t online, it’s stifled it a bit. But I think the more that we continue to reach out to each other not only in the United States, but also across the world, the more of us that are doing this, the more we can educate people and more we can have an impact on these families that are coming.

Bobbi Carducci:

You and I know the tsunami is not only coming, it’s here, and millions of people across the world. This is another pandemic that’s not getting the attention that COVID did. And I understand that because the people that are dying from these diseases are dying slowly, and the impact isn’t… And what I call, we are an army of millions who are doing this one at a time, so we’re not as visible. But this work that we’re all doing is so important. In doing things like this, you and I supporting one another and putting the word out about Denise and Dannelle in Brooks and all the other people that are doing this has an immense, immense impact in the world.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Absolutely. And I do agree with you. The one-on-one connection is challenging still. And you really do get a more impactful, sometimes, message in a conference where you can see someone live. I mean, anything live is going to be more impactful. Right? But the [crosstalk 00:12:42]

Bobbi Carducci:

But one of the ways that I’ve overcome that to some degree is with the either Zoom or one-on-one phone calls with caregivers so they can tell me exactly what’s going on that’s upsetting them, that’s challenging for them in that day. And together we can work out a way to deal with it, to lessen the impact and the stress in their home.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Yes. Absolutely. I think there’s been a lot of really good things that have come through all of this, you’re right, about being able to reach out and speak to just about anybody in the world who has an internet connection. And to all of us learn together, those of us who always have had an internet connection for the last several years as long as we’ve been adults, understand how to use more technology like Zoom. Those things are awesome. And eventually we’ll get back to that, being able to do conferences where we all attend. And that’s probably coming for a lot of people this year, even. This fall.

Bobbi Carducci:

Absolutely. And I think Zoom also helps us to reach out to the Millennials and the other younger people who believe that somebody my age just doesn’t understand technology or what some of their challenges are. And I think that’s brought us back together, too. Because one of my goals is always to reach out to diverse communities, whether it’s the LGBTQ or the Hispanic community or a community of young adults who feel like we don’t understand and we’re not there for them. And we are, because there’s millions of them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true, that’s true. The seniors that are older than me that are able to use… They’re very resilient. So, if we look at our baby boomers, extremely resilient group of people who’ve in a lot of times and in a lot of cases been through way more than this pandemic brought to them. So, they’re very resilient people. And the learning curve is pretty short for most of our seniors. They’re willing to learn. Give them the device [crosstalk 00:14:57].

Bobbi Carducci:

Yes, definitely flexible.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Bobbi Carducci:

I think we’ve touched on it, to reach out to one another for support. Every time I participate in a workshop or a conference or a Zoom meeting with somebody in this world, I learn something every single time. And we’re not competing with one another. We’re all here for the same goal. And I am happy to share any knowledge that I’ve gleaned. And I am happy to say, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you.” I think the best thing we can do is support each other and see that we are a community of caring individuals.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, we can never… Being competitive, it has its pros and cons. And truly, there are so many people that need assistance and need help and need outreach that-

Bobbi Carducci:

Yeah, there’s plenty of work for all of us.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. We’ll never run out of things to do and people to see and people to help. So, there’s really no competition. I mean, it’s as many people as you can bring into your fold and assist in your lifetime. It’s the sky’s the limit if you think about it that way.

Bobbi Carducci:

I firmly believe that service to others is the rent we pay for being here.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Really, I do. I totally agree. I’m a nurse by trade, and service to others has been my entire adult life. And so, I think as we perpetuate and continue that in whatever way we can, that’s awesome. All right. Last question is supposed to be a fun one. Some people were like, oh, I don’t know. When you have a win in life or in business, when you celebrate, how do you celebrate?

Bobbi Carducci:

Well, I do my Snoopy happy dance in my kitchen with a glass of wine.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, that’s it.

Bobbi Carducci:

And then I continue because every time I see a smiling face or we have an aha moment for a caregiver, that’s a celebration for me. But definitely the wine and the Snoopy happy dance.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s perfect. That is a perfect… It’s my first Snoopy happy dance and I’ll take it because that’s one of my favorite characters. So awesome. Thank you, Bobbi, for being on the show and for sharing your wisdom with us and for sharing about yourself, your show, and all the things that you do for caregivers. So, thank you very much.

Bobbi Carducci:

Thank you so much for having me. This has been a delight. Let’s stay in touch.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, let’s do.