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This Caregiver Life

Author: Mary Hahn Ward

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Hosts Jennifer Mackinday & Mary Hahn Ward are long-time caregivers. "This Caregiver Life" podcast explores the journey of caregivers from all walks of life. Whether you are a caregiver, clinician, or community member supporting caregivers, you'll connect with our stories, resources, and insight. We share an unfiltered look into the frontlines of caregiving, of #thiscaregiverlife.

p.s. We are excited to share we have recently been rated a top ten caregiver podcast! Wow!
52 Episodes
On December 21, 2004, a suicide bomber attacked a military dining facility in Mosul, Iraq. Hundreds of service members were having lunch at the time, including Jenn’s younger brother James, an 20-year old Army Specialist serving with the Deuce Four Stryker Combat Brigade. In total, 14 U.S. soldiers were killed along 4 U.S. civilian employees of Halliburton, and 4 Iraqi soldiers. Another 72 people were Injured, including 51 U.S. soldiers. At the time, it was the single deadliest suicide attack on U.S. soldiers. For the men of Deuce Four and their loved ones, Christmas time would never be the same. Thank you for listening to this special episode. Honor the lives of those lost: --- Send in a voice message:
E21: What About You

E21: What About You


Shawn Moore, a caregiver to her husband, and founder of "Caregivers on the Homefront" talks about the importance of caregivers remembering who they are, and the ways in which she has navigated the holidays in recent years.  --- Send in a voice message:
E20: A Brand New Day

E20: A Brand New Day


Tara's husband, Todd, was wounded in Afghanistan. Two of the men Todd was serving with, who were dear friends of both Todd and Tara, died in battle, on the day Todd was injured. It also happened to be Tara and Todd's anniversary. Tara shares how they changed things up so as to continue to honor the men that lost their lives on the day they died while celebrating their love and life commitment to one another with full hearts on a brand new day.  --- Send in a voice message:
E19: Letting Go

E19: Letting Go


Roxana Delgado joins us for a conversation about reducing stress and letting it go. Roxana cares for her husband, Victor, a veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury while deployed.  --- Send in a voice message:
Caregiver, Lara Garey, loves the holidays. She shares that over the years, traditions evolved that her family loves. When her husband was diagnosed with ALS she created new ones, like an upside Christmas tree, to help them lovingly hold onto the memories of those traditions pre-disease.  --- Send in a voice message:
E17: This Life We Have

E17: This Life We Have


Brian Vines, a veteran, joins us for a frank conversation regarding the holidays and caregiving. He shares insights on how he has cared for his wife, wounded veteran, while also having his mother living with them for a period of time.  It would seem that there are not nearly as many male caregivers as femails. Brian helps dispel that myth when he shares that at least 40% of caregivers are males.  --- Send in a voice message:
Colleen believes building a good team with family, healthcare providers, and community is highly important in helping her to be the best caregiver possible for her care recipient, her husband. We couldn't agree more.  --- Send in a voice message:
Jenn shares her recent experience as a panelist on Politico’s program “Caring on the Homefront”. On October 17, 2019, Politico hosted a panel discussion on improving policies that could help military/veteran caregivers. Jennifer was joined on the panel by Lisa Pape Deputy Chief Patient Care Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Terri Tanielian Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation & Fellow,  Military Service Initiative, George W. Bush Presidential Center, and Ashish Vaziran Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Military Family Association.  #CaringOnTheHomefront #Politico #ThisCaregiverLife  --- Send in a voice message:
E13: 2nd Time Around

E13: 2nd Time Around


Meet Lisa who balances her growing career with caregiving for her husband. Lisa shares insight into how she makes it all work, and how any can keep moving forward in their life, despite setbacks. We also learn about They connect clients with board-certified, leading doctors across the country for an expert second opinion via video or phone within 3 to 5 days. the best part is their Care Team coordinates all the details, so you can focus on one thing – getting the best care possible.  This season is all about asking for help, where to find it, and how to accept it when it's offered. We hope you enjoy this episode. Please consider leaving us a 5-star rating, and if you're a superfan, share a link to this podcast on your social media. You can connect to us online at, on Twitter @ThisCaregiver. Interested in being a guest or sponsoring our show? Send us a note: --- Send in a voice message:
Welcome to Season 2 of "This Caregiver Life". "He Loved Her First", Denise Albea shares with us the journey she has been on caring for her dad and how she has found help along the way. Her dad has Parkinson's Disease and attends a program, Elderhaus, for people who are 55 years old and up. Elderhaus is a program that provides community and home based care. Season 2 is focused on help: getting help, asking for help, accepting help, offering help. We will explore the various ways in which caregivers have been in the help mode, and how they have addressed it. We will also have conversations with organizations and agencies that sometimes have the help we need.  --- Send in a voice message:
This episode is a rebroadcast of our companion podcast, Sarcasm Sisters. We relive Mar’s experience preparing for an enduring Hurricane Florence. Caregivers will find tips and suggestions when preparing for natural disasters themselves, and anyone can learn how to support caregivers during stressful times. Thanks for listening. Be sure to connect with us on social media @thiscaregiverlife on Facebook and @thiscaregiver on Twitter. You can also send us an email, . --- Send in a voice message:
Welcome to our last episode of Season One. Marjorie Pennington, author of "Bring Home the War: The Life of a Military Caregiver", joined us for an in-depth conversation about being a military caregiver to her husband. "Bringing Home the War" is a powerful story of faith, and commitment.  Marjorie says this: "This book is the culmination of a long journey. It wasn't a journey my  husband or I can say we chose, but rather it was one that chose us nonetheless. I decided to write this book as an insight into the life of being a  caregiver for military soldiers injured by war. I wanted to share our  journey so that it could inspire others going through similar battles  and also provide some insight into how to cope when the going gets  rough, as it inevitably does." As we close out Season One we thank all of our listeners for following us. We will be back in August with a kickoff to Season Two. To follow us on Facebook look for This Caregiver Life where we post articles, resources, and items of interest to caregivers throughout June and July.  --- Send in a voice message:
E8: Carrying On

E8: Carrying On


Caira Benson is a seasoned professional in the nonprofit community, a homeschooling mother of five, and caregiver for her disabled veteran husband and three of their children. Her dedication to providing the best quality of life to her clan is inspirational. Join us as we learn about Caira's journey as a Hidden Hero, and we learn how she manages to even make time for herself.  Caira is an Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellow, proudly representing South Dakota.  This is real life. This is Caregiver Life.   --- Send in a voice message:
In their opening 'This Caregiver Life' podcast Jenn and Mar, caregivers to their veterans, share their thoughts on Chicago O'Hare's new, accessible bathroom: “Changing Places Restroom”.  --- Send in a voice message:
Jenn and Mar took some much needed time away during the month of July. They share the value of taking a pause from the heavy demands of their caregiving responsibilities, work, podcasting, and other activities in life that pull on them. They talk about how it is not easy to take time away for respite or to go on a retreat while living This Caregiver Life yet how powerful it can be to do so.  There are some resources available for caregivers who need respite and may need some assistance in getting it:  National Respite Network: Lifespan Respite Technical Assistance Center: National Family Caregiver Support Program: Specifically for military/veteran caregivers: Caregiver stories are the backbone of This Caregiver Life podcast. It is the stories of others that can often help us in our time of need. If you are a caregiver and would like to share your story on This Caregiver Life podcast we'd love to hear from you. Email us at and give us a brief overview of your caregiver life. We look forward to hearing from you!  --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode, Mar & Jenn are joined by Speech-Language Pathologist and Life Coach Tsgoyna Tanzman. She's helped thousands of people transition after stroke and brain injury to the next stages of their lives. Tsgoyna is an expert at helping people find their inner and outer resources using her unique approach that combines traditional and holistic speech therapy along with the life coaching practices. She is best known for her down-to-earth practicality, enthusiasm, and sense of humor while compassionately guiding caregivers and survivors through recovery. One size does not fit all when it comes to recovery or caregiving, and in this show, we discuss Tsgoyna's 5-part 'secret sauce' of recovering: faith, curiosity, persistence, humor, and gratitude. We also talk about the importance of HOPE, why you should have, why your care recipient needs it, and why the best medical providers share it!  Check our her book Hope After Stroke for Caregivers and Survivors: The Holistic Guide to Getting Your Life Back. Tsgoyna’s humor and poignant life stories appear in 15  differentiations anthologies of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has also been featured by Huffington Post, CNBC News, USA Today, Glamour Magazine, Woman's Day Magazine, the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune. Connect with Tsgoyna Tanzman online: and, or email Find resources for stroke and aphasia by visiting and (which also has a simplified version for stroke sufferers).  Thanks for listening! Find us on social media:,, and We’d love to receive your thoughts and request, so send us an email or even a voice memo to …until next time! --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode, Mar and Jenn are joined by Raquel Derrick, Founder of Family Operating Base in the last of our 4-part collaboration.  We discuss the complex issues of caregiving we've explored in this series and the takeaways we hope listeners can use in their lives.  We're still working from home. We're still experiencing the COVID-19. Stay at home, don't stay at home, take a million precautions. You can go here but not there. We're still in the midst of that. So life is still complicated. Just like this caregiver life. Whether it's during this time of COVID, or in the future, this caregiver life is all about making connections and communicating with one another, and that's what this series with Family Operating Base has been all about.  Thanks for listening! Find us on social media:,, and We’d love to receive your thoughts and request, so send us an email or even a voice memo to …until next time! --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode, Mar and Jenn are joined by Shawn Moore, LMSW, Executive Director and Founder of Caregivers on the Homefront and Raquel Derrick, Founder of Family Operating Base.   We discuss the challenges of caring for yourself while caring for a loved one, and ways we can show ourselves the grace we show others.  What is grace? The definition tells us that it's simple elegance or refinement of movement, courteous goodwill, or do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence. Showing one's self grace can be challenging, so we discuss ways to make internal grace a reality.  Thanks for listening! Find us on social media:,, and We’d love to receive your thoughts and request, so send us an email or even a voice memo to …until next time! --- Send in a voice message:
Mar and Jenn are joined by Larry Niesenson, Genworth Financial Chief Commercial Officer, the parent company of CareScout® Caregiver Support Services.  A caregiver for his father who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Larry is passionate about solving the problems caregivers and employers face in the workforce.  In this episode, we explore those challenges for caregivers and employers. Larry is an expert and wants to connect. Feel free to email him at  Caregivers and the workforce: Nearly 60 percent of all family caregivers work full or part-time Caregivers frequently experience feelings of guilt and remorse when leaving their loved ones to go to work Employers often offer paid leave or related programs that can help employee caregivers, though employees who don't identify as caregivers may not be aware of their benefits.  Helping employers understand the need by self-identifying can expand offerings such as flexible work hours, employee assistance programs, and telecommuting opportunities. Click through to AARP for more information about caregiving & employment and to read Jennifer's employment case study. We also discuss long-term care insurance. Did you know by the time you reach 65, there's a 50% chance that you’ll require paid long-term care (LTC) someday? Paying out-of-pocket averages $140,000! Only 7.2 million or so Americans have planned for this expense by purchasing LTC insurance, which covers many of the costs of a nursing home, assisted living or in-home care expenses that aren’t covered by Medicare. Thanks for listening! Find us on social media:,, and We’d love to receive your thoughts and request, so send us an email or even a voice memo to …until next time! --- Send in a voice message:
Mar's guest today, Michael Bullen, was a caregiver to his spouse, Lisa, who had an aggressive form of ALS. They were married for twenty-five years. The last fourteen months of their marriage they battled an aggressive form of ALS together. Michael is committed to a lifelong ALS awareness campaign that includes the need for treatments, a cure, and kindness to those who have ALS and the people who care for them.  The form of ALS Lisa had is bulbar ALS. To find out more about ALS please visit this site: To view the ALS PSA video at the beginning of this podcast please visit: #ThisCaregiverLife #Caregivers #ALS #EndALS  --- Send in a voice message:
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