Most unmillennials acknowledge that having aging parents is a life change you are never really prepared for. This episode details my experience realizing something was wrong with one of my parents simply by looking at the apps we were using to communicate on a daily basis.
THIS UNMILLENNIAL LIFE PODCAST SHOW NOTES:
LINKS MENTIONED IN THE LIFE SAVING APPS FOR AGING PARENTS EPISODE:
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podcast, apps, umillennial, Gen X, aging parents
(transcript generated through AI; may contain spelling errors)
Regan Jones 00:00
Today’s broadcast is brought to you by your color guru, your color. guru.com is where I went this last year to get my color consultation done. And there’s a little bit of comedy in thinking about having your colors done. I say that in air quotes because many of us as unmillennials, remember back in the days of the 80s, doing your color, but let me tell you what your color Guru is doing is so far beyond that. And they’re giving you so many tools when you actually have your colors done. And the reason that I say so far beyond that is because back in the day, when we would find out what our colors were, I think it was like four seasons, winter, summer, fall and spring. But your color Guru is much more robust than that. For instance, I’m a moonlit summer which is different than a sunlit summer. And one of the things that I love the most about your color guru and the color consultation consultation that I had done is that it comes with a color card, I have both a printed card that I can throw in my purse, so that when I am out shopping, I can pull that card out of my purse and hold it up to anything that I’m looking at to determine Hey, is this one my best colors, I also have the JPEG on my phone. So if I don’t have the card with me, I just simply look at my phone. And it has been invaluable. It makes shopping so much easier. So if you are interested in having your colors gone, or gifting it to someone else, you can get 10% off of your color guru consultation by simply using the code Regan, which is r e g, a n at checkout at your color guru.com. There’s a link in the show notes. If your skin doesn’t know whether to break out or wrinkle if you’re caught between planning the third grade class party and researching retirement plans, or if you want to work out but the idea of CrossFit makes your 40 Something knees a you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to this on Millennial Life.
Regan Jones 02:03
I’m your host, Regan Jones. And welcome to today’s show. And Welcome to Season Seven of this unmillennial life. Before we get started in what is going to be a very personal story about what I’ve already shared with you in the season seven teaser trailer about my experience with my dad and his hospitalization. I want to be transparent with you in a way that I haven’t been transparent in the past. Not that I’ve been trying to hide anything from you, as a listener of the show. But the last few years, really as COVID kind of came onto the scene and the country went through a very divisive election, which it looks like we are headed into another divisive election season as those things unfolded, and as I was confronted with what I have been very transparent about my experience being diagnosed with breast cancer, and going through the treatment of that I very honestly have found myself over the last few years with this podcast, in a position to frankly not talk about some of the issues. And some of the topics that were top of mind for me. And the reason is because to be very honest with you. And I’m going to say this upfront knowing that for some of you, this may change how you feel about me and this podcast. And it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I am comfortable with accepting that for some of you you’ll you’ll frankly turn this podcast off and not listen to it moving forward because of the transparency that I’m going to share. But the reality is, over the last few years, I have realized that some of what I thought was my own millennial illness is actually my conservativeness. It’s actually my Christianity. And there are a lot of topics that have come up over the last few years that I had a different opinion than many of my peers. And the majority of what I would say is the legacy traditional media. The way things have been reported on various topics, the way things have been reported. They have been different than how I saw things. And early on. As I began to realize, Wow, I have a considerable difference of opinion than a lot of the prevailing opinions online. When I first realized that and after some personal attacks that came my way, as I was realizing that it really made me stop and pull back and reevaluate how public I wanted to be with my opinions on different topics. And when I say that to you, I’ll say this just to go Go ahead. And I guess, get to the point, I do not in any way intend to turn this podcast into anything that is trying to push a political agenda to you that you may have a difference of opinion. I don’t intend to weigh in on topics that I think are exceptionally divisive. But I also feel like I owe it to you, as someone who I assume has listened to the show. Over the years, or maybe you’ve just recently discovered it, I owe it to you to be a little bit more transparent, just so that you understand that sometimes the take that I have on different topics may be different than what you hear on other podcasts or in the mainstream media. And for some of you, that will mean you don’t want to listen to this podcast. And I understand that I did not for a number of years, want to run the risk of alienating you from me or myself from you. But what I’ve come to realize is that one of the things that I think that we lack in this country right now is the ability to separate people, there may be political leanings, or their religious leanings, or that lack thereof, we have come to a point where we don’t seem to be able to alienate those things, from our known experience with those people have those people been kind to us, have those people, you know, brought some sort of value to our life. And while the overwhelming majority of people that listen to this podcast, I don’t know you personally, I hope that you know that over the last six seasons, I have done my very best to bring to you episodes that provide some sort of either insight, and maybe some entertainment, but mostly insights that help you in some way. And even if it’s just to offer a difference of opinion that you potentially hadn’t considered on a topic. I’ve done that as a service to you and our relationship. If knowing that I do consider myself conservative, and Christian, and I may have some viewpoints that differ than yours. If knowing those things makes you not want to listen to this podcast, I’m okay with that. I would love to keep you here. I would love to be able to continue to offer episodes to you on topics that are of interest in my own millennial life and potentially of interest in your unmillennial life. But I’ve also come to accept that I really shouldn’t feel like I have to hide behind a microphone, and keep all of my opinions to myself. So that’s the transparency that we’re starting off with season seven. Putting that all aside, I want to jump into today’s episode. And thanks for sticking around. If you’re still here, and then tune out after that brief introduction.
Today’s episode, as I said, it’s gonna be a very personal detailing of what happened in the spring of this year. As you know, I’ve been getting back up to speed trying to produce episodes of the podcast after taking a little bit of time off or a lot of time off, however you want to look at it for my cancer treatment. And I now realize that I actually had a lot less energy coming out of that for about a year, then I really realized I am back to work, full speed ahead. But it is been, you know, an uphill climb to kind of build back from that experience. And I know there are many, many women who listen to this podcast who’ve been through the same thing. And I just commend each and every one of you for showing up to work during treatment and trying to build back because nobody can prepare you for how difficult that is. But that all being said, I really found myself in the spring of this year, beginning to get things moving again, getting back to work. I have launched a brand new website. We’ll talk more about that and in a different time, but just about the time in the spring that I was really getting going about a week after Easter break. As I’ve told you in the season seven teaser, if you listen to that my dad suffered a very serious fall in his home, had to be rescued and had an extensive hospitalization Intensive Care Unit, hospital stay rehab stay. And I was really sidelined from working for quite a significant period of time. The reason that I wanted to do this episode is because as I’ve told this story to a number of people, the thing that continues to jump out in my conversations with people is that so many people are somewhat amazed at the way it all unfolded. So here’s what happened. About a week after Easter break. I knew that my dad had what we thought at the time was a cold. I’ve called this the life saving apps episode because I have a couple of different apps that I’m synced up with, you know, friends and family, specifically, my mom and my dad, both of whom live alone, they’re not married, have it been for 40 some odd years, and they live separately. And I don’t have any brothers or sisters. So their, you know, network of extended family is not terribly extended. And with both of them, I have them on life 360, and I have them on Marcopolo. Now, with my mom, I’ll just go ahead and say my mom’s very socially active. So she has a lot of people checking in on her kind of on a daily basis, places that she’s going doctor’s appointments, things like that. So historically, I haven’t worried quite as much that if something happened with her, that, you know, we wouldn’t be aware. But I’m not saying anything that my dad wouldn’t say to you himself, if he were on this episode, my dad is is not as socially active as my mom. He doesn’t as I said, he doesn’t have any other children. He has one sibling, and she lives a few hours away from him. And he had someone significant in his life for a number of years that he saw on a daily basis. But she passed away a year ago, this past January. So I increasingly have fought over the last couple of years, hey, you know, my dad is at an age now where I just want to make sure that I’m checking in on him on a daily basis. And as I said, about a week after Easter break, I knew he had what he called a cold. And I was checking in on him. You know, every morning, my routine was to drop my youngest son off at school, and then send a quick Marco Polo, you
guys have heard me talk about Marco Polo, I started using it. In the early days of the initial lockdown with COVID, it was a great way to communicate with people, you know, sort of almost face to face, similar to FaceTime, but a little bit more flexibility in terms of timing, because it’s more of a walkie talkie type video. And I still use it all the time to communicate with family and friends and I love it. But I would check in with him every morning at about, oh gosh, 705 Eastern Time. And typically his routine was to follow me back within an hour, maybe two Max, this was on a particular Friday. And I did have what I would say is that small still voice, I consider that personally the Holy Spirit speaking to me, you can call it what you want. But I had a small still voice that said, when he did not check in within an hour or two, you need to dig a little deeper, you need to go a little further. My dad was pretty formulaic about his routine. And I looked on life 360 Because again, I was connected with him on life 360. And I saw that his phone battery was dead. So those of you who have children that are a driving age, you probably have like 360 It’s such a common app. And it gives you you know, the opportunity to see where your kids are right at the moment, where they’ve been, how fast they’ve been driving all kinds of things. But one of the things that it will also show you is how much battery do they have on their phone and we’re constantly battling this with my oldest son did like keep your phone battery charged up. But my dad being someone who spends a pretty good bit of time at his computer at his desk. He is a longtime retired engineer. So you know, he’s not at all a stranger to electronics and computers. And that’s sort of, you know, part of his routine would be to keep that phone charged up and right by his desk. When I noticed that morning that his phone battery was dead. And he had not responded within the last couple of hours, I began to get worried. I gave him a little bit more time because, you know, there comes this unique moment in our lives. And we’ve done this episode on parenting aging parents, but there becomes this unique moment where you try to balance or I’ve found that you try to balance you are the child and you want to respect the autonomy. I guess that’s the best word of your aging parents and not saying like you’re trying to take over and you know, run their lives and also did not want to, you know, panic needlessly. But when both of those things, both of those apps, I should say because I think they’re so key to acknowledge that it’s these two apps that I really relied on to See that something was out of the ordinary. When both of these popped up, I then began to text and did not receive the text back from my dad. And I thought as a last resort, Hey, is it possible that he’s sitting at his desk that he doesn’t realize his phone battery, his rundown, and he’s, you know, reading email because he spends a lot of time going through email and reading newsletters and that type of thing. And so I sent him an email and said, Look, I’m trying to get in touch with you, you’re not responding. Let me know you’re okay. And I gave that all of that experience about one additional hour. And at that point, when I didn’t receive anything back from him, I to be honest with you got extremely worried. It’s still even today, all these many months later, it’s very hard to talk about. Because it was such a very scary situation. And what I’ve detailed so far was not the scariest, and I’ll go through that with you have called this the life saving apps episode, and I’m realizing as I’m beginning to detail this that some of this is gonna be a little bit is about the apps, but a lot of it’s just about the story. So, at that point, I did call his sister, my aunt, and just said, Hey, I’ve been trying to get in touch with him. You know, here’s the story. And what do you think I should do? Do you think I should call the police, you know, and we both agreed, you just really don’t want to needlessly panic if you don’t have to. So we agreed to ask my mother, my dad’s ex wife, you know, they’re they’ve been very, very cordial my whole life, which I’m so so very fortunate. Any of you all who have been through a divorce, know that it doesn’t always turn out that way. And I’m very, very fortunate that they have always been cordial to one another. So I sent my mom over to his home. And she blew the horn, tried to knock on the door, could not get him to the door. And I had, she had no speakerphone and at that point, we agreed it was time to call the police. And what happened from there is, like I said, really kind of hard to talk about because it pulls in these emotions of being in that moment, listening to the police arrive and discover that my dad was in the floor. He could not get up. He had fallen as it turns out, around 3am ish Central time, he had gotten up which was kind of his routine in the middle of the night, and he’d gone to get something to drink. And when he started walking away from his kitchen, he became extremely dizzy. And just as he says kind of twirled around and fell on the floor. And he could not get up from there. He had double pneumonia, a lot of different things going on and out of respect to him. I’m not going to detail all of those, those issues, I just will say that, what I have learned and talking to people who took care of him that at this point in people’s lives when they reach sort of what I would hate to call my dad elderly. But Dad, if you’re listening, I’m just kind of using it as a as a generic term. When the elderly reached this point, falls are not uncommon. And unfortunately, falls and not being able to get up from those Falls is actually more common than you would think. I don’t have any statistics. But it was made really clear to me by the medical professionals who took care of him that it does happen. And the reason I’m bringing that to your attention is because if you’re someone who has aging parents, especially ones that live alone, I think you should be aware that the risk for them falling and not being able to get up is actually a probably a lot higher than you realize. My dad had virtually no issues going into this acute illness and this fall, he was very active. So it’s not as if he was in a position that we anticipated, hey, if he had a fall, he wouldn’t be able to get back up. But that is what happened. He was not able to get back up. And here’s kind of the next part of that story that I want you to know. When he presented to the emergency room. Like I said, I’m not gonna go through everything that was happening with him from a health standpoint, but he was in what you would call I believe, and I’m sorry if I pronounced this wrong rhabdomyolysis and that is a breakdown of the large muscles in your body. And it is extremely damaging to your kidneys. So he presented in basically acute kidney failure, not because there was anything wrong with his kidneys originally, but because when you lay there for CAUTI it was probably seven or eight hours. On these large muscle groups, your muscles begin to deteriorate very quickly. Somebody asked me as I detail the story, one on one one time, well, what’s the difference between laying in the bed? Eight hours and laying in the floor? And to be honest with you, I can’t answer that. And if any of you are nurses or doctors, or medical professionals that can answer why someone who falls on the floor and can’t get up will be in what they call Rhabdo. Versus, hey, we lay in the bed for eight hours. I do know most of us toss and turn, I certainly do. Um, if you can answer that, feel free to reach out to me and kind of explain that. But it was made very clear to me that that is what had happened with him is that part of the laying in the floor had had caused this acute kidney failure. Now the good news is over a few days of being an ICU, it did begin to resolve and so I’m happy to say that that does not appear to be anything that has had long term consequences. But it is a reminder to me and I hope to you that if you have people, and it doesn’t have to be your aging parents, it can be other people that you know, who are living alone. I know, it’s super easy to get busy with our lives, and be moving at a rapid pace where we are content to kind of check in every few days. But I’ve heard some horror stories in the hospital about aging people, elderly, senior citizens, whatever, you know, label you want to give them who fell in their home, and weren’t set to talk to anybody in their family for a few days. And they stayed there for days. I’m so, so thankful that while this was an extremely serious, it was life threatening. At one point, we really just did not think my dad was going to make it
Regan Jones 21:48
very serious, very life threatening and very lengthy experience hospitalization, rehab, I’m thankful that he pulled through it. I know, without a doubt, had I not been using these apps with my dad, and had a sense that something was wrong, this story would have ended differently. So I’m not sure that there’s anything else I can tell you about the story that really is going to make a bigger impact than what I’ve shared already. Really, at the end of the day, the point is to share with you that these are apps that you don’t typically think of using with aging parents, maybe Marco Polo, but certainly you can make the case for that’s not even necessary. Life 360 does not jump out at me as one that I would necessarily think would be super helpful for aging parents. But in both cases, these were the communication and monitoring apps that I had in place that if I can paint the picture most broadly, to assess why I think I’m why I would like to recommend them to you is they allow for the most again, autonomy with my parents, where you know, I’m not necessarily having to get them on the phone at this time or that time I’m sending a polo they’re watching it when they want to watch it. They’re sending me back a polo I’m watching it when I want to watch it, which I think works really well when you are as busy as many of us are, you know, we have aging parents, but we still have children at home, you know, you’re working a job, I’m trying to rebuild a career, you know, there’s all these things taking place. And so an app like Marco Polo, that lets me communicate, but on my terms and on their terms, has been wonderful just in and of itself. But the consistency and the pattern of talking to my dad was really the number one thing that gave me pause to say, hey, something is wrong. And then secondary to that, again, would be live 360 You don’t think about needing to necessarily monitor, you know, the comings and goings of your parents. But when you can know that they usually go to, you know, the grocery store, this time of day, or they go to church this time of day, or, you know, we all tend to have some patterns. And when you can see that those patterns are not taking place. You know, if you know that they always plug their phone up before they go to bed and that phone is dead. Then again, these are things that can give you a red flag that you need to check in on something. I think the only additional thing that I would add and this is something that we have added to my dad’s home after all this had happened is and thankfully we have not yet needed it and I hope and pray that we never do. But we did go ahead and add a couple of Alexis to his home. He was never really a big fan of having an Alexa in his home. And I understand why. You know this is one of those places where there are a lot of people who are not huge fans of devices being within earshot. and listening in on, you know, potentially everything that you say, and I’m not here to debate that issue one way or the other. But what we realize is that in the event he were to fall, and not be able to get up again, if he could call out to her to call one of us, I say one of us, me or my husband, really, that’s the, you know, the extent of who he would probably be calling, that also could potentially be a safety net, in ensuring that he did not lay there for any extended period of time, again, in the future. So that’s the story. That’s what happened in spring of this year. That’s what had me sidetracked for not only weeks, but months realistically. And while this has not been the traditional episode, that I usually kick the seasons off with a new topic and new guests, I really think is important for you just to kind of understand what went on. And I hope that it gives you an opportunity to evaluate the communication channels that you have in place with people that you care about. And in both cases, these are free apps that you can use with your parents or again, you know, people that you are responsible for that you are concerned, that maybe don’t have a lot of people checking in on them on a daily basis, I just say, you know, why not. And probably the last thing to summarize, the most important part of the whole story is I say that these are life saving apps, and I really think that they are, but the real life saving component is just having the routine of checking in, I know it can be difficult to keep up with communications with all the people that you want to communicate with, you know, friends from high school friends from college moms that you’ve met, you know, on the lacrosse team, there’s so much vying for your attention every single day and people that are vying for your attention to communicate with and one of the things that has really come out of my cancer experiences, I value relationships with people so much more than I used to, and that includes my family. But with all of the things that are vying for our attention, I can tell you that I am tremendously, tremendously thankful that I had established this routine of checking in with my dad on a daily basis, I really didn’t have a routine of checking in with my mom on a daily basis. It’s like I said, she has such a sort of vibrant calendar that I haven’t worried as much about her. But she is my mom, he is my dad, I’m their only child. And while I can’t accept responsibility for you know, everything in their lives, they don’t want me to nor am I do I expect for myself to be responsible for everything. I think it’s not too much to ask that I check in with them every day, just to make sure that things are okay. Mom has transitioned now to a text checking them every morning. And so I know that if I don’t hear from her every morning, you know, I’m going to be checking in. And maybe for many of you, this is not as big of a concern. You’re both your parents are married, they live together or you have siblings nearby who knows, very similar to when I gave you my breast cancer story. I know that not all of you will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but one in eight women will. And so if it’s not you, maybe it’s somebody that you know, and I just hope that the information that I’ve shared today will be something that will be of help to you or someone that you share it with.
And on that note, let me just ask you, please, if you enjoy this podcast, please share it with a friend. Word of mouth is frankly one of the very best ways that this podcast gets shared. When COVID hit, there’s a lot of jokes out there among podcasters about how the podcast world exploded, everybody was at home. And if they weren’t doing sourdough baking, they were starting a podcast. And so while the competition is pretty hefty in the podcast space, I know for many of you, you’ve been here for a long time, and you’re very loyal listeners. And I hope that you will remain that way. Like I said at the beginning of the show, just because I’ve been transparent about with you about how my view a viewpoint may differ than some of the mainstream viewpoints that either you hold or you can hear from others. I don’t in turn intend to turn this podcast into anything that is divisive or controversial. I’m just trying to be transparent with you. But if you like this podcast, and you find these topics helpful, please share them with a friend. That’s one of the best ways that you can help grow this unmillennial life. One of the other ways that you can help grow the podcast and help me out is to leave a review. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on the show, but I’ll tell you now, because it’s a day of transparency, that when this podcast first launched, it got picked up by iTunes and was featured as new and noteworthy. And let me tell you that is a moment of viral sharing and exposure that I’ve never experienced with any of my other businesses or brands. And the good side about that is it exposed this podcast to probably many of you. And that’s how you found it. And I had amazing exposure and new people come into this podcast as a result. But the other thing I got was some pretty negative reviews from people who did not like this podcast. This podcast is not for everybody. And I certainly make no promises that it is so well, I don’t think I’ve really ever pointed that out to you. There are some pretty cruel ratings and reviews on iTunes as a result of people in the first season getting exposed to this podcast who, frankly, they just it was never going to be a good fit for them. And ironically, when people are happy with podcasts or happy with businesses, they don’t tend to leave positive reviews. When people are unhappy and want to find fault and criticism with you, they leave negative reviews.
Regan Jones 30:53
So if you’ve never taken the time to leave a podcast review on Apple podcasts, I would so appreciate it. It would make my day and I know that it helps Apple understand who is a better fit for this podcast so that they can recommend it in the future. Lastly, let me just invite you to connect with me. Certainly some of the things that I’ve shared today have been very personal in nature. Some of those again at the beginning of the show, you may I don’t know find fault with and you want to reach out and tell me why. Hey, I’ll take those emails at Reagan at thisunmillenniallife.com. I’m also back on social media now I have kind of separated my social media accounts to make it a little bit easier for people to understand, you know the account that they’re following. I have Regan Jones RD, as my primary food and baking account for my new website, thisbakinglife.com We’re not going to talk about that today. I’ll talk more about that again in the future, if you’re interested, but that’s Regan Jones our day but if you want to connect on all things related to on Millennial lifestyle and this particular podcast, you can go to this unmillennial life on Instagram. I’ll be sure to place a link in the show notes. And as a reminder, if you’ve never joined the Facebook group, that group is at facebook.com/groups/thisunmillenniallife. Okay, that wraps it up for today. I will be coming back very shortly with a number of new episodes. Hope you have a great week.
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