According to Wikipedia, the term “sandwich generation” became so popular it was added to the dictionary in July 2006. The Sandwich generation are people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children. Carol Abaya categorized the different scenarios involved in being a part of the sandwich generation.
• Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
• Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
• Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
My client, Karen Fuller, Owner of Care Full Heart Coaching helps adult children who are caring for their aging parents. Recently I had a chance to talk to Karen about her business and to be part of today’s guest Q&A.
Karen, please tell us about Care Full Heart Coaching.
To tell you about Care Full Heart Coaching, I have to start at the beginning. I come from a strong medical background with many years managing Long Term Care Facilities. It was only when I was blind-sided by a dramatic change in my mother’s health, that I began to fully appreciate the experience of those exhausted and guilt ridden caregivers that relinquished their loved one to our long term care facility.
I soon recognized that there was a need for support and planning, facilitating family communication, and reducing the emotional and financial strain placed on the adult child that is providing the care. With these goals in mind, Care Full Heart Coaching was born.
I’m so sorry to hear about the recent passing of your mother. How does this help you to relate to your clients?
Losing a parent is never easy, particularly when it is your last remaining parent. My mother’s death was particularly difficult because our relationship had been strained for many years. It wasn’t until she was admitted to a long term care facility and she began receiving medication for her depression and dementia, that our relationship changed.
Our relationship over the last three years while in her facility was filled with tenderness, compassion and laughter. These last three years gave me the opportunity to acknowledge my mother with her human frailties’ and allowed me to enjoy a relationship with her that had always eluded me.
I hope that this experience will help me have a deeper appreciation of the grief experienced by my clients, as well as recognizing the opportunity within their care giving journey to transform family relationships.
Can you assist people who may wish to use Care Full Heart Coaching’s services if they live outside of London, Ontario?
I have developed a working relationship with services in Kitchener-Waterloo, Huron-Perth Counties, and London, Ontario. This is helpful for those adult children living in London that have elderly parents living in those areas. I can provide referrals when immediate in-home services are required. Once those immediate needs are met, I can provide my coaching services and family support though conference lines or Skype. I strive to liaise with other care providers to facilitate optimum communication.
Tell us about Caring TEAtogether – the six-week workshop that has been offered at the Covent Garden Market.
The goal of the workshop is to provide a place for those that are caring for their elderly parents to come together and share with others who understand their journey. The needs of adult children that are providing care for their parents are unique. Not only are they caregivers, many times they are still involved in parenting, employed and active in their community. Their lives are so full that stress relief and self-care are low in priority.
How can people register for this workshop?
This Saturday marks the end of this 6-week series. I will be discussing how to beat the fear of not doing enough. They can register here. We are planning a half-day workshop entitled: Shifting the Balance: Too Good for Your Own Good to be held on Saturday, April 6th for those that want a more in-depth approach to setting personal boundaries and returning some balance to their lives. Watch Facebook for more information and registration.
Care Full Heart Coaching is on Facebook. What kind of success have you had with social media?
Social Media was not in my vocabulary. I didn’t understand it and I really felt it was mainly for the younger generation. I knew it was a necessary part of business promotion but I wasn’t convinced of the impact. Consequently, I treated it as a marketing tool that I would get to some day and avoided it.
I continued to avoid it until I met Jennifer Grigg at a networking function. The benefits she shared seem valid but I was still skeptical. In August 2012, I decided on a limited contract to test the results. In 5 months, I have 110 followers and a readership consisting mainly of my target market of 45 – 64. Facebook forms 47.26% of the referrals to my website. Facebook readers also spend the longest time on my website and constitute almost 25% of my new visitors. My Facebook readership has expanded in to other parts of Ontario, the US and the United Kingdom.
What advice would you give to other businesses that want to use social media and may be uncertain of its value and ROI?
You might say that “I am a believer.” Through Facebook I have seen the awareness of my business grow, I am touching and developing a relationship with my target market on a daily basis. With Jennifer’s help, I am building the “know, like and trust” factors that are paramount in making any purchasing decisions.
About Karen Fuller
Karen Fuller provides support for caregivers of elderly parents. She helps caregivers thrive in their caregiver role by regaining balance, discovering opportunities for personal growth and experiencing a sense of well-being. This unique coaching service offers family consultation, individual & group coaching, informative speaking presentations and workshops. Visit www.carefullheartchoaching.com for your FREE eBook – Choosing Care for Your Parents: A Step by Step Guide. You can contact Karen directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org