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June 15, 2022 12 mins

Sometimes we don’t realize we need to take a step back from caregiving to reconnect with our loved ones and the larger communities we’re a part of. Laketa Caston has been a dedicated caregiver to multiple family members in need over the years. She knows all too well how isolating caregiving can be without the support of others and acknowledges how self-care is equally important as caring for others. Laketa shares how she has found ways to combat isolation through movement, creativity, and a close connection to her community.  She is also launching “Caring for Caregivers,” an organization that will offer respite and resources for self-care to those dedicating time to their loved ones. This episode is a shorter version of our conversation with Laketa 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
Volteran Arthritis Pain Gel. It's a show for family caregivers
who give everything to everyone and need to make time

(00:22):
for themselves through movement. Every episode is designed for you
to walk as you listen, So just think of me
and my guests as you're weekly walking buddies. We'll hear
stories from caregivers and gain tips and insights from health
experts and advocates who know how important it is to
take care of yourself and manage joint pain due to
arthritis that often accompanies being a caregiver. Will discover community,

(00:47):
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. So thanks
for joining us on what will be another great episode
of care Walks. How has your week been? Were you

(01:09):
able to take some time for yourself? Don't forget to
lean on your support systems and find ways to connect
and reconnect with the people and activities you love outside
of your caregiving responsibilities. 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

(01:31):
a minute. Check out the full length version of this
episode in your podcast feed. Today's episode is all about
the importance of finding and maintaining a community as a caregiver.
It's so easy to become an island and feel like
you're all by yourself in this role, and that isolation
can lead to depression. When I was younger, I didn't

(01:52):
realize how much caregiver isolation was affecting me. And that's
why I'm so glad that we can share care walks together,
because you don't have to do this all on your own. Today,
I'll be joined by caregiver Lakda casting. Lakida has served
as a caregiver to multiple family members. In her first
two caregiving experiences with her aunt and uncle, Lakida frequently

(02:15):
felt alone and without any support. When another aunt of
hers became ill, she was determined to make sure her
cousin didn't go through the same sense of isolation she did.
Lakida volunteered to help her cousin and her aunt and
she is now taking on a new mission with her organization,
caring for caregivers. Before we get to my conversation with Lakida,

(02:37):
let's get walking. A great mantra for today's conversation will
be I am stronger when I ask for help. Whenever
you're to do list pops up during this walk, say
that to yourself, I am stronger when I ask for help.

(02:59):
Feel your feet connecting with the ground on each step.
What do you notice about the way each part of
your body works together to keep you in movement. Let's
take a couple of deep breaths together and through the nose,
out through the mouth one more time, and through your

(03:22):
nose and out through your mouth. If you're someone who
is responsible for the care of someone in your life,
you know that sometimes it can feel incredibly isolating, but
you are not alone. With each step you take, think

(03:44):
about someone who has been there for you. How do
you feel when you let someone support you the same
way you support others. Now, as you start to settle
into your pace and your breath, remember to stay present
in this moment, and when you start to think about
your daily to do list again, remember today's mantra, I

(04:07):
am stronger when I ask for help. Keep moving and
give yourself time to recharge. I'm going to be there
in your ear, keeping you company. Alongside our guest and
fellow caregiver, Lakida Caston, I'm here with Lakida Caston. Lakida

(04:31):
is a family caregiver based in Detroit. Lakida first began
her caregiving journey when her aunt reached out looking for
help caring for Lakida's uncle. Shortly after, her aunt passed
away from cancer, but Lakia stayed in Baton Rouge and
cared for her uncle alone for five years as he

(04:51):
battled Alzheimer's disease. Today, Lakida is still caring for her
family members, but no longer alone. She supports her cousin
as they care for his mother together and build the
organization Caring for Caregivers, which provides support and respite to
family caregivers. Lakda, Welcome to care Walks. Thank you, thank you.

(05:12):
I'm so happy to be here. I'm happy to have you.
So could you tell us about how you first became
a caregiver. It was the most extraordinary thing. My aunt
was ill. I didn't know how ill she was, and
she called me one day and said, you know what,
I need somebody here. Your uncle and I are getting

(05:32):
a little older and we need somebody staying in the house.
Could you come down and help us out? And so
I came down and two weeks later she passed away.
She had stage four lung cancer. She was an opera singer,
so she sounded so strong over the phone. No one
knew she was as ill as she was. And when
I got down there and I saw her how emaciated

(05:55):
she was, it scared me a little bit. But if
you knew her life, you would know that he had
lived a wonderful life. It was just amazing to see
the love that she had for her husband. She told
me that he was suffering from short term memory loss,
but I found out that it was Alzheimer's and he

(06:16):
was doing pretty well, pretty good at first, but it
became worse and worse, of course, as years went by.
She sounded like an amazing woman, your aunt. Just the
fact that she reached out and you were able to
come and connect with her, and then you shifted your
focus to her husband, your uncle. Yes, my uncle was
a very very intelligent man. He was a dean of

(06:40):
engineering at Southern university. So to watch him decline that
way was a bit unnerving, but every day you have
to get used to a new normal. But I got
to know him in a way that I I don't
think anyone else knew him, and that was a consoling
thought for me. You mentioned that you were on your

(07:04):
own as a caregiver in Baton Rouge, and since then
have you been able to talk to your friends and
your family about your feelings and your experience. Yes, I have,
And as a matter of fact, my daughters would come
and visit me when they could. We all live in
separate states, so they came and visited when they could,
and they would give me a break or let me
go for a weekend just to get some rest, because

(07:26):
that's that's what's needed. I started Caring for Caregivers, a
foundation where I want to supply respie care for family
caregivers and that's it. Maybe they need a massage and
home massage or hair done, just something to make them
feel like themselves. They're not always a caregiver every single

(07:48):
moment of every single day, because that's what you are
as a family caregiver. Caring for caregivers sounds like an
awesome resource, just an opportunity just find community. Yes, that
was something that I wish I had. I found it
was very difficult to find resources for caregiver support. Yes,

(08:10):
So how would you suggest caregivers best combat feelings of isolation?
The way I did it was going back to something
that I loved When I was younger, I majored in
performing arts, and of course I couldn't do that. They're
in bad and rouge. I couldn't really do a lot
of theatrical things. But I became a costume designer for

(08:35):
community theater there, so I did a lot of costume
design and then I ended up acting. And that was
one thing that my uncle was then still for because
my aunt was an opera sinker. He would love to
go to the theater and just sit and watch. It
doesn't matter whether it those rehearsals. And that was one
thing that was constant. And then isn't it wonderful Your
theater community is amazing. They're all family, so they would

(08:58):
sit there with him. He became everyone's uncle and it
was amazing how they treated him. The first role that
I played in was Dot by Coleman Domingo, and it's
about a woman who has Alzheimer's. Wow, and it was
so prophetic. It was amazing. I was able to like

(09:19):
channel some things from him and totally understand where that
character came from. So I loved how everyone rallied around
my uncle, and I loved how I was able to
do that and he was able to see it. I
don't know whether he understood everything about it, but he
always had a kiss on the cheek from me when
I came on stage, And man, I'm tearing up from that. Wow.

(09:43):
That never know, that's so emotional. That's that's a great
memory though. That's a great memory. My question for you
is when when do you know you need to reach
out to others for help or support? What are the signs.
I think when you're angry, the frustration kicks in. I
think that's when you need to make sure that you

(10:05):
reach out, because God bless them. There were some days
that I was just like, would you please just do
as I ask? Let's get this done. That's why I'm
not gonna be that picky about things that need to
be exactly the way. You're gonna put on these socks,
you're gonna put on these pants, you know what you
want to wear? Your underwear outside your your gym shorts.

(10:28):
We're not going anywhere today, Fine, but yeah, that's when
you start getting so frustrated that you're frustrated at your
loved one and you're frustrated at yourself. That's when you
need to go out and you need to talk, and
you need to talk to someone quickly. I first one
to a caregiver support group when I was about nineteen
or twenty, and I felt so good after talking to

(10:50):
other caregivers and other families dealing with Parkinson's. At the time,
I felt so heard and seen. So I always encourage
caregivers to get together and talk, most definitely because didn't
you feel a little bit. I don't know about you,
but I felt a little awkward even when I took

(11:11):
my uncle out. Not awkward about him and his condition.
I felt awkward that other people would look at him
or maybe laugh or or I just felt like I
didn't want him to be judged, and I didn't want
me to be judged. I just didn't like the idea
of someone mocking him. So I love to be able

(11:32):
to be around people who understood the situation and there
was no judgment. Wow, I've really enjoyed this conversation and
I'm so glad to meet you and connect with you.
Take care of yourself. Thank you YouTube. Thanks again to
Lookida Caston for joining me today. Hearing more about her

(11:56):
story really reminded me how proud every caregiver should be
of them elves, not only for the time they dedicate
to their loved one, but also for finding joy in
that process and being able to share that joy with others.
That's it for today's episode. Join us next time with
physical trainer and fitness educator Pete McCall. Together will explore

(12:18):
the importance of mobility and strength training for caregivers with
joint pain due to arthritis. Until our next walk, don't
forget to find the support you need and take care
of yourself too. Care Walks is produced by I Heart
Radio in partnership with al Ter In Arthritis Pain Jael
and hosted by me Holly Robinson Pete. Our executive producer

(12:40):
is Molly Sosha. Our head engineer is Matt Stillo. This
episode was written 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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