Creative Care: Transforming Aging & Caregiving with Debbie Hertha

Content Warning: 

This audio episode contains some sensitive content, such as discussions of addiction, the ongoing opioid crisis, suicide, grieving, and loss. As such, we recommend that you listen to it with caution.

...things are going to change, your body’s going to change, your mind will change a little and accepting that and knowing other people are going through it. It really helps to say to people that it’s not only you that’s going through this,  it’s almost the rest of the population that is experiencing that too.

Debbie Hertha- Owner, Creative Aging



Providing support and innovative solutions for caregivers who are assisting the aging population. Debbie Hertha shares her expertise in gerontology, offering insights into the challenges faced by caregivers and suggesting creative ways to enhance the well-being of seniors. The episode emphasizes understanding the needs and capabilities of the elderly, the emotional toll on caregivers, and the importance of community and professional resources to aid in effective caregiving.




In this episode of the “Care to Listen” podcast, host Sean Burke talks with Debbie Hertha, who has a deep background in caring for older adults and runs a company called Creative Aging. Debbie shares her experiences and the challenges that come with helping seniors and their caregivers. She offers useful tips for improving the lives of elderly people and talks about the personal and emotional challenges caregivers face. The conversation covers a lot of ground, including how to better support aging parents and what can be done to help those caring for them.



  • Think Differently About Aging: Debbie talks about focusing on what elderly people can still do, instead of just their problems. This helps come up with better ways to help them keep living a full life.
  • Understand the Strain on Caregivers: The episode sheds light on how hard caregiving can be, emotionally and physically. It discusses why caregivers need to find ways to take care of themselves too.
  • Customized Help for Seniors: Debbie explains her way of working directly with older adults to really understand what they need and prefer, which makes her care plans more effective.
  • Support for Caregivers is Crucial: Debbie points out that there’s a big need for more help for caregivers, including in workplaces and through community resources, so they can keep up with their responsibilities without burning out.

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Sean Burke: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Care to Listen podcast. Today I am joined by Debbie Hertha. Debbie holds her Master’s in Gerontology and is the founder of Creative Aging, a company supporting caregivers and the aging population. In this episode, Debbie shares the challenges of supporting seniors and offers creative ideas for bettering the aging population.


This episode offers tips and strategies in how to protect your well being when supporting your aging family members. Today’s episode is being broadcasted to you on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh Nations. Trigger warning, this episode includes discussions that may be sensitive to some listeners.


The topics include dementia and supporting aging parents. Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Care to Listen podcast. I’m your host, Sean Burke, and joining me today is Debbie Hertha. Debbie is a wife, mother of two teenage boys, a care provider for both sets of her aging parents. Um, and she also holds her master’s in gerontology.


She’s the founder of the Creative Aging Company and just an amazing human being. So welcome to the show, Debbie. Thank you. 


Debbie Hertha: I’m happy to be 


Sean Burke: here. Well, we always like to get started just by giving an opportunity for our guests to introduce themselves, uh, So let’s start there. Who are you, Debbie? 


Debbie Hertha: Okay. So I originally am from Ontario and I moved here in 1996 and I moved here to do my master’s in gerontology and I’m, I’ve been married for 15 years to a Steveston business owner.


I am the mom to two teenage boys, well, 11 and 13, and I’m a caregiver. So I’m a caregiver to my mom, who lives in Ontario, and she’s 83. And so I’m doing a little bit of caregiving from afar, and my dad lives with us, um, here, oh, in Richmond, and, uh, he’s 86. And I am, so I hold actually two, two degrees in gerontology.


So I did move here to do my master’s and I have an undergrad in gerontology as well from the University of Guelph. And so I am a gerontologist, uh, and I also am the founder of Creative Aging Company. 


Sean Burke: Awesome. So somebody, obviously, who’s super busy, has a lot going on, and I think so many of our listeners can relate, um, in addition to pursuing a profession, um, and career, obviously, that’s supporting others.


So, uh, you know, when it comes to why you got into this field, What was really that passion or what’s the motivation for, for all the studies and now opening up your, your new business? 


Debbie Hertha: So this might take a while. I started actually when I was 16 years old, uh, in what was called in Ontario, a rest home. So it was called Garfield Manor.


And I worked there, um, at the age of 16 and I did everything for the seniors. I, I cooked. And I cleaned and I helped them wake up, I helped them go to bed and, um, uh, did, uh, recreation with them as well as, um, anything else that they needed. So I fell in love with working with seniors at a very young age.


And when it was time to pick out, uh, where you’re going to for university, I had a talk with the counselor. And at that time she said, there’s this new. This new degree called gerontology. And that was the first time I had heard the words gerontology and it’s a co op program and I just, That’s perfect for me.


And so I went into it and wow, like 25, 30 years later, I’m still in the field and all of my work and all of my [00:04:00] previous jobs have always been around aging. 


Sean Burke: Well, and you know, having so much of that experience and being able to actually have supported seniors. Uh, and then now going through it with, with yourself, with your parents.


I’m sure you’ve seen a lot and I’m sure you’ve come up with a lot of different like creative ideas, um, around how you can support that aging population. I’m curious if you have some, you know, quick tips that might be. Yeah, 


Debbie Hertha: and the reason I, um, opened, uh, the business, Creative Aging, was all about that, just that.


Like looking at creative ways and out of the box, thinking about how to, to support seniors as they, as they age. And I think a lot of it is looking at, uh, what people are capable of doing, still capable of doing, uh, rather than, uh, What is, um, their ailments or their disease or chronic conditions? It’s always about what they can still do.


And I think that enriches their lives so much better. 


Sean Burke: Was there anything that surprised you or stood out when you started, like, doing some of that research and exploration? Surprised? 


Debbie Hertha: Um, I think for me, It’s, it’s really about the, the extensive amount of people who are aging. I guess everyone is aging every day, but from, I study 50 years to 100 plus years and that’s, that’s a lot of, of people in that, that age category.


And what surprises me is how, how different everyone is. So everyone ages differently and it’s, it’s such a, a vast, um, a, a vast array of seniors like the di diversity of the seniors are. That’s what surprises me every day is every client that I have is different and their needs are different. And, um, what they want in life is different.


Sean Burke: And you know, when we, we had a previous conversation, we talked a little bit about the complexity. And given, you know, even just talking about a 50 year old versus a hundred year old, I’m sure that the range of supports and everything in between is going to be completely different. Um, versus, you know, maybe somebody who’s recently had a baby.


Um, you know, there’s a lot of supports that are in place. So, what about this, um, profession really calls you to focus on areas that, that can provide a little bit more of, uh, tailored solutions and services? to some of your clients. 


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. And just as you said, um, the fact that the younger population, so I’ve had the privilege of, of raising my two, two boys in.


And when they were born, and even before that, when I was pregnant, there were a lot of supports out there. You just knew where to go when you’re, you’re pregnant, you get attached to a physician and other supports, and then when you kind of know, a couple months in what they’re going to do. They’re going to crawl at this age.


They’re, they will speak at this age. So there’s so many supports and it actually is a very happy, you know, exploratory time. And when you look at the, the seniors population and, and studying that, that field, there’s no manual. There’s no support system or there’s not an automatic thing that happens to you where you say, like school, like the 12 years of, uh, of school where you put your, your kid into school and, and you know, they’re going to be taken care of.


So that’s the complexity of, of the field I’m in is there is no manual to look at and there’s nobody really, uh, Supporting you and holding your hand through that. And so that’s the difficulty and the challenge we have as gerontologists. 


Sean Burke: So how do you create something that you know, [00:08:00] is tailored, uh, but also can be, you know, more of a framework that maybe could be followed by somebody or, you know, roadmap or milestones that, you know, maybe you might want to consider like what you just said.


I’m curious how one would approach that. 


Debbie Hertha: So in, um, my business creative aging, we created something called gerontology sessions, which are, um, sort of, um, Um, we have a number of aging navigation sessions where we sit one on one with a senior, either a caregiving senior or an aging client, and we talk to them one on one about their, um, so what they’re going through.


where they want to be and how to get there. So it’s, it’s talking about what challenges are facing now. Um, maybe their past occupations, careers, what their, their dreams are. So we, and we do look at what they’re needing. So it could be something acute where it’s, um, memory loss, or they’re, um, have a chronic condition.


So they’re no longer able to be mobile. So it’s really looking at them on an individual basis. And I think that’s, um, it’s not a cookie cutter approach. It’s really. So I’m going to talk a little bit about what I call an aging journey, and it’s, to me, the aging journey is not linear. It’s all over the place.


And not everyone, this kind of feeds into the stereotypes that are out there. Not everyone does end up having memory loss. Not everyone ends up in a nursing home. And so it’s dispelling those stereotypes. Those myths and stereotypes and letting people know that they have options as they age. And uh, there’s certainly a lot of supports out there to help them.


Sean Burke: And so for that, uh, care provider who, you know, is spending all day. Working with their, their patients, uh, and then is going home and then supporting, again, you know, their aging parents or someone similar to that. What, what type of toll might that take on, on somebody and, you know, have you ever worked with anybody that, you know, has been a healthcare provider where there is that sort of um, you know, ongoing continuous support role that they’re playing.


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. And I can attest to that. I’ve went through that as, as well, um, working throughout the day and then having to come home and you’re still caregiving. And I do have, um, some clients who are, are working as I call it, working caregivers who, um, it, it’s a lot. And just having that conversation about what supports are out there and how I can help them.


It, it takes a load off their shoulders. Um, and it’s, it’s a little combination of self care as well as just taking off all those responsibilities of caring for an aging parent. Oftentimes, they have no idea where to start. They’re very frustrated and confused about. The health care system and the system in general is not so friendly when it comes to caring for an aging parent.


So allowing them to take a little bit of a rest as I kind of sift through those difficult times, and those confusing health care system questions really does help. 


Sean Burke: I can almost see from a perspective of like, You know, when you’re supporting somebody else, um, you know, as a patient, there might not necessarily be that, uh, direct emotional attachment to, you know, the, the individual versus when it’s your, you know, your immediate parents or family member, that might be a different toll.


How, how do emotions show up when it comes to supporting, you know, a loved one? 


Debbie Hertha: And I think it’s for, for me personally, as a [00:12:00] family member, there’s lots of guilt associated with, um, should I be, should I be spending time with my parent or should I be going to the gym? It’s that balance all the time where, um, those emotions of, um, yeah.


And just for me, I’m, I’m such an empath that I, I,


So it’s, it’s going through their losses as well. So at the end of the day, I’m usually exhausted and I could, I could see how a lot of, uh, caregivers who, um, work in the field are exhausted. They’re reliving what’s going on with their clients as well. So that takes a toll on you 


Sean Burke: emotionally. Are there any sort of like tips or I guess techniques that you might work on, uh, with some of your clients to help them, you know, to process some of those emotions?


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. And I was working with a client just the other day and, um, I had forwarded some, some videos just about the aging process and this, for this example, um, he was dealing with his, um, his wife who has, uh, probably moderate dementia. And he wasn’t understanding what was going on. It’s, it’s so easy to take things personally when your, your spouse is, is going through those changes.


And it really is changes in the brain that, that may cause them to, to act out or become. aggressive when they normally are not aggressive. So it’s about educating about that, the aging process and what happens exactly when somebody goes through, um, dementia or any kind of, um, Alzheimer’s disease. Um, what else that works for me is to just tell them to, um, ask for.


Ask for help. And I know that’s really, really hard for some people because they assume that they should be doing it all, all themselves. So I usually plan based on what their hobbies are, what their likes are, and, and just ask them if they can carve out some time to, to take a little bit of a break. And that’s where I’d help them with, um, home support or home care that could come in just to have them take a little break.


Sean Burke: Yeah. And it sounds like, you know, You know, that emotional toll of being able to, uh, disconnect yourself from work, but also to the, the need to support your, your loved one can be quite challenging. Um, and then, you know, to be able to have that emotional support from somebody who can sit there and listen, but also to offer guidance and, and support is obviously extremely helpful.


Where, where have you found. Um, some of the, the biggest impact that you’ve been able to make with some of the clients that you’ve worked with. 


Debbie Hertha: I think for me, the most happiest moments are when they have all of this. And I, I often refer to it as the stuff, the confusing, the frustrating things, and they have a lot going on.


So I come in. And just ground them, take note of everything that’s ailing them, confusing them, keeping them up at night, and I compartmentalize. So I’m very good at looking at the big picture, finding out, um, exactly what’s going on with a senior in their household, and then breaking it down into very, um, more, more achievable, um, Um, it’s a little bit more, um, kind of, um, easier to work with parts.


So if it’s, um, they’ll usually come in and ask me one question. They’ll say, well, I’m looking for transportation options. Um, now that I don’t have my license anymore, I’d like to get around to go to the doctor’s office. Uh, but when, when I meet with them. [00:16:00] It’s a whole lot of other things. So it’s, it’s a lot.


It’s, I can’t move in my bathroom any longer properly. It’s not safe. I can’t use the stairs anymore. Or I’m also looking for a little bit of social activities to do. So it’s, it’s, it’s breaking them down into more easeable, like easier ways to, um, Yeah.


Sean Burke: And as I’m listening, there’s two words that are really sticking out with me. And one is awareness of what’s really going on and the second is acceptance. Um, how do those two, uh, concepts play into the role in, in the way that you’re able to support some of those care providers, um, who might be supporting their aging parents.


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. Yeah, the, I think working with The adult children, it’s, it’s different from working, let’s say, with, um, the older adults and in some ways it’s similar, but, um, I find that as people age, it really is hard to accept that you’re, you’re needing a little bit more help. And for some people it’s, um, it’s really difficult.


So sometimes when I sit down and, and talk with people, that’s all we talk about is. Um, the acceptance that things are going to change, your body’s going to change, perhaps your, your mind will change a little and accepting that and knowing other people are going through it really helps to, to say to people, it’s, it’s not only you that’s going through this, it’s, it’s, um, almost the rest of the population that is experiencing that too.


And after. talking a bit and making them more comfortable with accepting the fact that these things happen with aging, then the awareness and the knowledge about services that are out there, it’s a little bit easier for them to accept. 


Sean Burke: Well, and I think you mentioned to the need for these types of services is, you know, only continuing to grow, um, with the aging population.


Um, and, you know, You know, then seeing how that ultimately trickles down and impacts those, those care providers, what are the misconceptions, um, when it comes to, you know, being a caregiver or care provider for, you know, some, someone who might be aging? 


Debbie Hertha: Yeah, I think both with my experience and the caregivers that I’ve worked with, it’s, you know, It’s a lot.


It’s a lot, a lot of pressure that somebody has to take care of an aging parent, and I see varying degrees of it. Um, I do care give for my mom, but in different ways. She lives in Ontario. So it’s it’s support such as she doesn’t use credit cards. So I would have to pay for certain services here. And I talked with her each each week, I may give her a bit of guidance with health.


My dad that lives here, he’s, um, living with dementia. And so that takes a toll on a caregiver. Their whole life becomes, um, impacted by it. And that’s, that’s with worrying. That’s with the guilt that comes with, again, um, sacrificing some time for yourself. Um, and it’s, it, that’s what really surprises me, is that whole, um, it, it’s the amount of work.


that a caregiver needs to hold on their shoulders each day. And that’s in addition to, if you are a carer in your profession, it’s non stop. 


Sean Burke: And as I listen to, you [00:20:00] know, talking about guilt and thinking back to my own personal experiences and, you know, even something as simple as helping my parents who are not necessarily, um, at an older, you know, age quite yet, but as they grow, technology is something that Could be a challenge and the frustration sometimes that mounts when it comes to, you know, providing that support.


And I’m just thinking again, what that, that toll in terms of the mental load, um, that somebody might carry, or even, you know, prior to this, to starting the show, we were talking about turning off our phones. Um, you know, and you brought up, well, Oh, actually if I turn it off, I still might get this call because you know, you’re a care provider and you know, if your father falls or something, you’ll be getting a notification.


So I’m curious, just like what, what does that mean when it comes to like the mental load or maybe you can help explain a little bit more about what that looks like. 


Debbie Hertha: And it, I’ll give you an example. Cool. Of, um, we went camping last year and because I am the number one responder for my dad, I do have a personal emergency response system that I put in place for him.


So he does wear that around his neck and, and, um, in the past, I, I do have difficulty asking for help. And even though I’m in the field, I’m, I, I’m still a human and I, I am a caregiver. We went camping and in a place that, that has no wifi capability. And that was a real struggle because, um, at first I said to my husband, we can’t, we can’t go camping.


So it was, it was a toss up between getting somebody to take on that responsibility of the personal emergency room. response system, which is when my dad leaves his, his place, it goes off. And so I need to respond on, um, on a, uh, uh, an iPhone saying he, there’s no help needed. So he would just come back and forth to his house, to our house.


And that was a real struggle because we, I need, I know I needed to get out to be with my family, to enjoy time away. But in the back of my mind I was thinking, who’s going to respond? Like, I, I’m the only one who knows how to respond properly to him. And I know the system and who am I going to get to help, help me out.


Sean Burke: And so like dealing with those everyday, um, you know, challenges or issues. And I can imagine even too, then, you know, with your partner, having that conversation around Oh, well, maybe we have to cancel this trip. Um, you know, and the trickle down effect that that might have. So are there any sort of tips or, you know, conversation pieces or how would you approach working that with some of your clients?


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. And it’s, it’s asking for help, but it’s also the fact that the reason I created this creative aging company was because I felt there was a gap in services available for For people to be able to get that help. What, what do I do in that, in that sense, when I’m looking to go on a vacation, but I still have.


My, um, aging parent at home and he’s, he can’t be left alone for long periods of time. So I created the, this to, to support people. And so for, for tips in terms of trying to figure out what’s out there, besides coming to, to find out a, a program like Creative Aging. Um, I would say to, to just reach out to anyone for help.


A lot of the employers [00:24:00] do have employee assistance programs, which, uh, to some degree can help support you. So anything that’s within your, your, your job or your career that, um, you can reach out for support as well. I, I had to learn to ask for help. And that’s, that’s a big thing and I’m still working on it.


It’s a work in progress. I, I do take a lot on myself. And so just asking for help in any way to a friend, even to say, can you come sit with dad? 30 minutes or perhaps an hour, just so you can get out. And what I’d like to do with my dad and it works, which, uh, my dad likes to chop, chop vegetables, chop food.


I love to cook, but I don’t like to do those other things that, that, uh, come with, with cooking. So some days we will turn the music on. Dad will chop. I will, I will cook and just be kind of present in that moment gives me a little bit of a break and could possibly give people breaks too. 


Sean Burke: And I kind of want to jump back into unpack a little bit the challenges that people have when it comes to asking for help.


Um, you know, it seems like such a simple thing to do, put up your hand and ask for help yet, you know, time and time again, we hear that as being, you know, one of the most difficult things to do. Why do you think that is? Um, you know what? What’s preventing people from getting that help or asking for that help?


Debbie Hertha: I think there’s this notion out there that everyone can do so much and that it’s a little bit of a pride thing as well. Like, why can’t I do it alone? And I, I faced that talking to the caregivers there. They almost feel guilty to ask, um, to hire me to help them because they know they could do it themselves, but.


We know people cannot take on all of that, um, on their own. And so I think it’s a combination of that, but also I know from working in the field so long, people just don’t know it’s out there. So I’ve had a couple people within the last couple of months, Just say to me, you know what? I’m, I had no idea this service was out there.


I had no idea people could help me through this. Um, it’s still, it’s still a new field, even though 30, almost 25 years ago, I did get my first degree. I think the idea of gerontology and supporting people as they age is still quite new. 


Sean Burke: Yeah, and I can totally see just like, uh, the ever evolving sort of landscape and how you can support, um, also to the, the, some of the technologies that are, are becoming available in terms of enabling that support and providing support as well, too, can be probably overwhelming, just looking at everything that’s involved, um, when it comes to an employer and some of their roles,


Debbie Hertha: So, uh, I, I do remember when I worked for them, municipality, we did, um, we were trying to implement dimension friendly communities. And with that, we did a couple of focus groups with the, in employees and I remember asking a How many of you are impacted by, by dementia? And over 90 percent said yes. Wow.


They also, yeah, we asked another question following that up is, is do you have access to supports? And many did not have access. So I think it’s so important as the population ages and there are so Much more need for caregivers that they’re working in the workplace. They need to be supported. And I think that’s [00:28:00] not, um, yet fully recognized by employers that the caregivers need support and especially the care the people in care positions.


So the working caregivers need even more support, uh, through in their job, but when they go home as well. 


Sean Burke: I mean, I can totally see just the, the increased level of stress, the staff shortages, um, you know, dealing with different, I guess, changes when it comes to labour contracts and inflation and everything else that takes its toll on, on people when it comes to adding on that layer of stress and then going home and having to deal with, you know, again, more issues that, that happen at home and, you know, And you know, with those aging parents, so I can absolutely see how that would be a difficult time.


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. And I, I know from speaking with some of my clients who are caregiving, they’re actually taking time off to take mom to appointments using their own sick time. And so that does impact, um, the workforce. It, it, it also could lead to, You know, absenteeism, early retirement, early unplanned retirement, as well as, uh, increased sick days and just the productivity of the employees.


Once they start to break down, it’s going to be seen at work. 


Sean Burke: So how would you approach supporting an employee to go have a conversation with? um, you know, um, you know, you’re going to, you know, you’re going to be you know, doing an interview with an employer, especially like during this period in their lives.


Debbie Hertha: Yeah, and that that’s difficult. The clients who I work with say I’m not going to bring it up to their employer because they’re going to be, you know, say, um, kind of flagged as uh, taking care of their parent at home. we’re gonna be kind of micromanaging them a little. It could be even a conversation with HR.


I know that a lot of companies are bringing in sort of what I mentioned before, the lunch and learns, but kind of emphasizing their employee assistance programs is a, is a big thing as well. Um, I’ve put in a couple articles in people’s newsletters, like employees newsletters about my service, but about also, caregiving and how that’s going to impact the workforce later on.


So small conversations could be could be useful for employers to support, 


Sean Burke: especially as it becomes, you know, an even more and more prevalent, um, you know, challenge in society. I think it’s going to only need to have more and more conversations. So the fact that you’re already having those conversations, I think, is already a win.


And, you know, I think it’ll be a win. time will tell in terms of how society chooses to respond to some of those challenges. Um, and then when it comes to the actual, um, you know, aging parent in this example, not really wanting or accepting that they need that, that support, but you sitting there looking at on the outside of like, well, yeah, we actually really need to offer that support, um, or get you some assistance.


That in and of itself could probably be a pretty difficult conversation to have. So how would you, you know, offer some guidance in terms of starting that conversation or recognizing when it’s time to get that help. 


Debbie Hertha: Yeah, that, that is a tricky one. And, and a couple of times I would work with the, um, the, the adult children.


And in some ways, um, they feel guilty about having the conversation with me because they’re talking about how their parents are stubborn or they’re, they’re not asking for help when they clearly, um, have maybe had a series of falls within the last couple of months. And so it, it really is. I like to talk directly [00:32:00] to the seniors at times because I want to, um, I want to relay to them that they shouldn’t feel guilty or they shouldn’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s happening.


This is an aging process that things happen. Uh, But relaying those stereotypes as well, like making sure that they know that it’s not going to happen where they’re going to definitely have memory loss, or, as I said before, end up in a nursing home once I begin to explain those, those options to them, and they’re clearly.


understanding what the process is and what may happen and the supports that are out there. So my aim with my business is to allow people to do the fun things in life and to get back to their hobbies and their, their purpose and their meaning in, in life. And it’s, it’s not all about those things that are ailing them.


I want to take that away and say, you know, there’s help and support out there for that. Let’s get to the, The fun stuff like after when people retire, it should be just as fun as before they retired. Right? 


Sean Burke: Absolutely. Yeah. And I’m even thinking to like somebody who does move forward to to work with you or get support in some other manner.


Sometimes there can be that stigma that’s attached to it. And although we’re working really hard to You know, reduce that stigma to eliminate it. Um, it may exist and it may be a barrier to prevent people from, from stepping up and getting that support. So how do you, you know, work towards ensuring privacy?


Um, confidentiality. How does that play into the work that you do? 


Debbie Hertha: Yeah, that, that is a big thing. And allowing people, creating that safe space for them to be able to talk about different things. Um, I work a lot with spouses who have, um, their spouses are living with dementia. And that is in itself another layer of the aging process, which is highly stigmatized.


Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to reveal to their friends that their spouses are going through this. It’s a devastating. disease, but lots of support out there. Um, I’ve talked with lots of, um, spouses, caregiving spouses that have lost friends because of it. Their inner social circle is beginning to shrink and that, that tears at my heartstrings knowing that, that they don’t have anyone to talk to.


So being able to have a place to talk about that is, I think is very important for people, especially men. And I’d have to say that just because I see the role reversals happening with some of my clients where the, um, the wives have taken on those roles before. And when a diagnosis of dementia Uh, impacts the wife.


It’s often the men that are left with all of those, those kind of traditional roles, cooking, cleaning, you know, personal care and dealing with everything. And so, yeah, it’s, I think. For them, just having somebody to talk to about that is huge. 


Sean Burke: Yeah. And your example here speaks volumes to, you know, a personal experience of mine where, you know, I’ve seen my grandfather have to go through that, um, and seen, you know, the, the impact and the transformation that has had on his life, um, but on not only his, you know, the rest of the family that’s, uh, needed to step in to support.


So, uh, Again, I feel like this is a, you know, a topic that impacts everybody. Um, and having those supports, um, feeling supported in addition to not only just being given some tactical steps or [00:36:00] strategy in place to support the individual is such a, you know, Such an amazing opportunity for people to get help through something that can be quite difficult and challenging when it comes to your profession.


What are some of the hopes and aspirations that you might have for. people who are supporting aging parents. 


Debbie Hertha: Yeah. I would think, um, I just want people to know that there’s, there’s help out there. And even if it’s my business, creative aging or any other initiatives that are looking towards supporting people, like really supporting people, not only It’s not just a one time thing or a lunch and learn where they learn about what they can do, but really handholding and supporting people through the aging process is, is what I want to see more and more of people.


It’s a difficult time and there’s emotions. And like I said before, there’s no manual to do it, but there’s also sad emotions that come with that. There’s lots of loss that happens. As we age and even seeing through me, the, the biggest thing, I guess, in the last a couple of months is, um, going through with somebody, the fact that their, their spouse who they’ve been married to for 40, 50 years is no longer recognizing them.


And I think that that I really want to help people. To be able to go through that, like that’s tough for anyone to, to be able to be going through and, and that’s what I see. Um, you know, my profession and hopefully others can, can help people who are in need. 


Sean Burke: Well, we can certainly see the impact that you’re, you know, you are making and the need.


And as it continues to grow, uh, we’re really fortunate to have people like yourselves who are stepping up, um, creating customized plans and solutions to support people, um, through some of the most difficult times. And so with that, you know, I’d love to just thank you for, for coming on the show today to sharing so much of your, your wisdom and your knowledge, um, and for really providing that safe place for people to, to get the support that they need.


Thanks for coming on the show today. 


Debbie Hertha: Oh, thank you. And likewise, thank you for, for having this podcast people. You’re supporting so many people through it. 


Sean Burke: Amazing. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks for listening to this episode. Be sure to visit the links in the show notes for resources and supports from the Care for Caregivers program.


If you’re interested in sharing your story on the Care to Listen podcast, please reach out to us at careforcaregivers. ca forward slash podcasts. And don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast platform to be notified when new episodes are released. Thanks again for joining us and see you next month.