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June 1, 2022 11 mins

It’s hard to know what to expect when starting the role of caregiver. Changes in a relationship with a loved one require caregivers to navigate the ever-changing emotions that come with the territory. Especially for young caregivers, the road to striking a balance between sacrifice and self-care can be a long one. But after her father’s heart attack, actress and caregiver Jennie Garth redefined her relationship with her dad and managed to strengthen their connection in deeper ways than expected. Understanding the power of boundaries, Jennie now shares how she grew as a caregiver, learned to ask for help, and looks forward to an evolving relationship with movement. This episode is a shorter version of our conversation with Jennie made for a shorter walk. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi everyone. I'm Holly Robinson, pete, actor, author, advocate, do
it all mom, and I'm also a caregiver. And this
is care Walks, a podcast from I Heart Radio and
volterin Arthritis Pain Gel. It's a show for family caregivers
who give everything to everyone and need to make time

(00:21):
for themselves through movement. Every episode is designed for you
to walk as you listen, so just think of me
and my guests as your weekly walking buddies. We'll discover
a community ourselves and maybe even alleviate some joint pain
due to arthritis in the process as we walk together
and connect to the best parts of being a caregiver.

(00:42):
As a reminder, right now you're listening to the abridged
version of this episode, but if you're looking to get
a little extra inspiration, don't miss a minute. Check out
the full length version of this episode in your podcast feed. Okay,
In today's episode, we're going to be digging into the
shifting dynamics when adult children become caregivers for their parents.

(01:07):
I am really looking forward to speaking with today's guest
on this topic. Not only is she an actor, advocate
and podcaster, but she is also a family caregiver who
took care of her father when he suffered from a
heart attack. I'm talking about my friend Jenny Garth. I've
known Jenny for many years, and I'm looking forward to

(01:27):
connecting with her and comparing our experiences of caring for
our parents. Yes, is challenging, for sure, but there's also
something really special about being a caregiver to a parent
as their adult child. It gives you a whole new
opportunity to get to know them, and I'm really interested
to hear Jenny talk about how it may have shaped
her life and relationship with her father in really positive ways.

(01:52):
I also know that Jenny has struggled with joint pain,
as so many of us caregivers do, so I'm going
to ask her about her own relationship with move it
and how she keeps active with osteo arthritis. Before we
get to our conversation with Jenny, let's get moving and
start our walk with intention and intention of gratitude. We

(02:15):
sometimes forget to express gratitude to even the simplest gifts
in our lives. There's a lot to appreciate about where
we are in this moment. Show gratitude for your body
on this walk and all that it is doing to
keep you moving forward. Think about how the parts of
your body must work in harmony for you to do

(02:35):
the amazing things you do every day. It's not always easy,
I know, but your body shows up for you. Used
today as a reminder to share that strength, appreciate your movement,
and consider how you can connect with someone who might
need that little nudge to find that gratitude today too.
We can only be as strong as the connections we make,

(02:58):
whether that is sharing a beutiful memory or deepening your
connection with yourself. Give thanks for the important connections in
your life as you settle into the rhythm of your walk.
I'm gonna keep talking and share with you my conversation
with our guests Jenny Garth, and together will widen our

(03:21):
community of caregivers. Today I have the pleasure of talking
to not only a great friend of mine, but also
a magnificent actress, fellow podcaster and caregiver, Jenny Garth. Like me,
Jenny cared for her father for many years, and she
has recently spoken out about living with osteo arthritis. Jenny,

(03:44):
thank you so much for joining us. Hey, Holly, I'm
so glad to see you too. This is an awesome
way to have some girl time catch up. I know,
I'm I just follow you on the Instagram. I see
all your work. I saw the whales in Vancouver. Oh
my god. Oh well, I follow you as well. And
that social media used for good. It keeps us in
contact with each other exactly. This program is really designed

(04:08):
to support caregivers. Um share a little bit with us
about your journey as a caregiver. Well, it started off
really young. I was about thirty and my father suffered
his first massive heart attack. We lived in Illinois on farm.
Everything was perfect and idellic and my dad was, you know,
this big strong man. All of a sudden he was,

(04:31):
you know, incapacitated and having a heart attack back then,
all those years ago, was a lot different than having
a heart attack now. So it was much more invasive
and disruptive to life and and so much harder to
come back from. So that really changed my life as
a young girl, uprooted up our family. We had to

(04:52):
move to Arizona for a drier climate for him, leave
some siblings behind. It was really a pretty traumatic it experience. Then.
This was a few years later. My mom was having
to work and continued to like do what she needed
to do to keep the household going, and so I
would fill in for her um And that was when

(05:14):
I was already living out in l A and and acting,
but I would take breaks so that I could go
back and take care of my dad. This as a
young girl was like, Okay, Wow, I'm going to jump
in and do this the best I know how. And
it was a lot. I think that it had a
lot of, you know, impact on just every aspect of

(05:37):
my life. Like many caregivers, did you go through like
an evolution of emotions throughout your experience as a caregiver
and what or who were the strongest support systems for
you and your family? For me, back then with my dad,
I had my mom to talk to. I have my siblings.
Now with my mom, I have my siblings to talk

(05:58):
to about it, sort of share stories and the ups
and downs of it and the frustrations of it. And
I feel like that's so important to have somebody or
more than one person that you can just talk to
and kind of vent with and let go of all
that responsibility for a minute. That burnout is so real

(06:21):
and and if you don't address it, I feel like
there is just a disaster waiting to happen because you
can't handle it all on your own. I want to
talk a little bit about joint paint. You recently shared
that you are dealing with ostio arthritis, and I would
love to know what what did the road to your

(06:42):
oh A diagnosis look like? Well, it was a full
of denial. Let's start with that, because who wants to say, oh,
I have joined pain. I feel like I might have arthritis.
Like for me, that was like something that old people
had to deal with and I was just not ready
to cross that bridge or just acknowledge it. And but

(07:07):
the fact is it's not an old people's disease quote unquote.
You can have osteo arthritis or forms of arthritis, you
have joint paint at any age, and it's just specific
to who you are, your genetic makeup, and what your
lifestyle is like in the foods that you're eating, anything
that you're doing, or products that you're using specifically that

(07:29):
have really helped with your o A joint pain. Well,
there's over the counter voltairean arthritis pain gel is something
that you can rub on and get relief with that.
I use it my siblings. I'll use it and then
people come out of the woodwork like, oh, vault teren.
I use balls are and too, because it's like it
really does help, you know, I have five dogs. I'm

(07:53):
constantly bending and lifting and taking care of them and playing,
and you know, I just want to stay really active. Also, Holly,
oh my god, I'm so excited that I'm going to
be grandma someday. Not yet. Wait, I thought you were
going to break some news to me. I wasn't ready. No, no, no,
I'm not ready either, but I'm missing I'm really looking

(08:14):
forward to that, and I want to be super like
active and I want to stay like, you know, tip
top shape, not just from me and my dogs anymore
my husband, but from my grandkids someday. Realizing the importance
of exercise and movement the whole package, the whole like physical, mental, emotional,

(08:35):
all the well beings that go on with a person,
like all the parts of me that I need to
keep well, that's my goal. What are some of your
favorite self care practices? What just makes you feel like
you love yourself being outside, being in nature, like you know,
just putting down the work and going outside and having

(08:57):
some good fresh air is one of my favorite things
to do. I'm a meditator too. I love to sit quietly.
It sort of grounds me back to my true nature
of just being quiet. I will light some instance before
I go to bed, just and also, you know, it's
so easy to watch the news before you go to sleep,

(09:18):
or watch something on TV before you go to sleep,
but I try to remember to turn the TV off
and just be in like silence and let my body
sort of calm down the way it's rhythmically supposed to
and have a good night's sleep. So sleep is the
most important thing, like I have. Like a thing that
I learned from a therapist was a seven day week,

(09:39):
Like look at your month in seven day increments, Like
if your life is a pie chart, right, and here's
the part where you're taking care of someone else. Here's
your work, here's your romance life, here's your social life,
here's your self care life. Make sure your pie is
really as balanced as you can when you're divvying up
your time and your energy, it's really importan and to

(10:00):
have that balance as much as you can it is
so important. And Jenny, I really appreciate this conversation. It's
been so awesome talking to you. I feel like we
see each other and we've worked together, we've done things,
we've see each other in passing, but this is like
the longest conversation we've ever had, and it's the best one,
and it's it's I think. I hope that everyone listening

(10:22):
will will take something from this. And I really appreciate
you joining me for care Walks. So thank you, Jenny
gar Happy, so happy to do it. Great to see
you you too. I want to thank Jenny Garth again
for being my guest today. Really enjoyed our conversation. We
talked about the parent child dynamic, how she saw her

(10:45):
dad is such a strong figure as a child, the
importance of balance in your life when you're a caregiver,
and some of Jenny's favorite self care practices. She loves
her bath, so do I, meditation and being in nature here. Well,
that's it for today's episode. Thanks again to Jenny for
joining me. Don't forget to tune in next week when

(11:08):
we talk all about nutrition and joint pain with Dr
Monica Agarwall. Care Walks is produced by I Heart Radio
in partnership with vol Teren Arthritis Pain Gael and hosted
by me Holly Robinson Pete. Our executive producer is Molly Sosha.
Our head engineer is Matt Stillo. This episode was written

(11:28):
and produced by Sierra Kaiser, with special thanks to our
partners at g s K Platform, GSK, Weber, Shandwick and
Edelman
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