NCC18 Presenter: Jolyon Hallows


NCC18 Presenter: Jolyon Hallows

Join Jolyon for two sessions during our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference:

Harnessing Negative Emotions on Friday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m.
Caregiving is an emotional pit. Anger, despair, fear, and a host of other emotions beset all caregivers. Helping them find some form of calm or serenity is a goal of numerous advisors and seminar sessions. But many of these share a common misunderstanding. They believe that negative emotions are bad. That they are afflictions that needs to be treated by suppressing them, venting, or avoiding them.

But all emotions, including the negative ones, have a purpose. They are part of being human. They serve us. They are also automatic. Nobody decides in advance to be angry or sad. Our emotions are triggered by events or situations. We may choose to dismiss them, but they are persistent. As long as whatever triggered them remains, they will return and they will be relentless. So, what are we to do with them? We need to make use of them. To harness them.

Harnessing negative emotions means analyzing them to find out what they are telling us and then acting. We need to analyze them because they do not tell us why they arrived. They just did, and we need to figure out the reason. In some cases, that's obvious, but in others, the trigger for the emotion may not always be clear or it may not be what it first seems to be. And analysis does not mean re-living the situation that led to the emotion—that just reinforces it. It requires a framework.

This session on harnessing negative emotions provides that framework. It divides negative emotions into two groups. The "spurs to action" include anger, rage, frustration, and hate. These urge action even if it's only a lashing out at someone or something. The risk is that the actions can lead to violence. On the other hand, the "thieves of ambition" are despair, grief, apathy, and depression. People in the grip of these emotions just want to curl up, pull a blanket over them, and hope the world goes away. Unfortunately, it never does.

This session will cover the major negative emotions, ask what they are telling us, and give tools and techniques for analyzing them and responding to them. As with many such sessions, the goal is to get rid of negative emotions, but by respecting them, not by fighting them.
My goal for this presentation is that attendees will shift from the point of view that negative emotions are bad, that we shouldn't be having them, and that our health requires that we suppress or cajole them out of existence. The new point of view is that negative emotions are on our side. They are there to help us. We get rid of them by recognizing what problem they are telling us about and taking action to handle it. ~ Jolyon

Advice for New Caregivers on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m.
New caregivers rarely come equipped with the skills and knowledge they need. So one of the questions that experienced caregivers face is, “What advice do you have for the new caregiver?” This session will address that question and will offer five pieces of advice: learn, find support, reach agreement, practice self-care, and get help.

Learning. A new caregiver is, in effect, starting a new job, one for which he or she has no training. There are three areas for learning. The first is the physical skills needed. How do you dress someone who cannot stand? How do you transfer someone without wrecking your back? The second learning is about the caree’s disease. What are its effects? How does it progress? What are the treatments and how are they used? The third area is the services that are available. Is there home care? A day program? Respite? Subsidized transit?

Finding support. Caregivers sometimes need to talk to someone, to vent, to complain, or to seek advice. That may come from family or friends, and it can also come from counselors, support groups, or spiritual advisors. But there is one ground rule: no judgement or criticism or dismissal. New caregivers should also identify an “early warning sentinel,” a friend or family member who will be alert to signs of rage or depression and who has the caregiver’s permission to report concerns to a doctor.

Reaching agreement. Come to an understanding with the caree that is something like, “I will give all the care you need. In return, you must give acknowledgement and thanks.” Otherwise caregivers can come to feel like indentured servants.

Self-care. The caregiver must pursue his or her own interests. Going to the gym, meeting friends for lunch, pursuing a favored pastime, or just relaxing. That may mean having to arrange for temporary care for the caree, but caregivers retain their own lives. It’s important to live them.

Getting help. Bringing in care aides to provide care. These may be hired or part of a social service. Some people may urge caregivers to bring in help to give them some relief. That is often ignored because it’s hard for some caregivers to admit they need help. But the real reason for getting help is that professionals give better care. The caregiver’s relief is a side effect, welcome, but peripheral to the interests of the caree.
My goal for this presentation is to provide a framework for new (or even existing) caregivers to help them adapt to the demands of caregiving. Being thrust into the role is often overwhelming and many caregivers don't know where to turn or what to do. In this session, I hope to shift them from uncertainty or anxiety to some concrete steps to improve their caregiving role.  ~ Jolyon

Jolyon also will share perspectives as a male family caregiver during a panel discussion on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m.

Jolyon was the primary caregiver for his wife, Sandra, who had Parkinson's disease. For over twenty years, he cared for her as the disease progressed. In the last few years of her life, she remained at home and she needed total care. In those years, Jolyon learned how to be a caregiver. How to do the physical tasks such as dressing or feeding. How to modify the home environment to make his and Sandra’s life easier, and how to deal with the inevitable negative emotions that accompany caregiving. He has recently published a book on Sandra's and his life together. The book, A Parkinson's Life: And a Caregiver's Roadmap, is part memoir and part "how-to” guide for caregivers.

Jolyon is a published author of two management books, Information Systems Project Management, first and second edition, and The Project Management Office Toolkit, both published by AMACOM in New York. An accomplished speaker and seminar leader, he is on the faculty of a university certificate program in project management and regularly makes presentations for the local Parkinson's disease society on the disease and on caregiving.

To learn more about Jolyon, watch our video discussion about finding our best, which aired as part for our Virtual Caregiving Summit in May.

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~ Testimonials ~ NCC18 CEUs ~ NCC18 Costs ~

We are so grateful to the following sponsors for making our conference possible:

~ AARP ~

~ Seniors BlueBook ~ Seniorlink ~ Henry Ford Health System CARE Program ~

~ Society of Certified Senior Advisors ~ Mindlight ~