We had the good fortune of connecting with Trish Laub and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Trish, how does your business help the community or the world?
In our American culture, where youth and fitness are prized, there is a prevalent, damaging stigma around Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. We are not a society that likes to focus on illness or death. For that reason, I can attest as a former caregiver that providing dignified care is anything but simple, whether the condition is Alzheimer’s, cancer or something else. Finding the resources, equipment, and providers needed requires navigating a maze. For most of us, knowing the steps to take to prepare for the end of life is an even greater challenge. We do our best to ignore the fact that every life ends, thereby denying death the dignity that it deserves. Comfort in their Journey® brings all of this to light and offers guidance, assistance and solutions that result in calm and comfort for the person being cared for and peace of mind for the family members.
Comfort in their Journey® assists families in understanding the importance of, and the legal terminology needed for, end-of-life planning. The consulting services and books walk them through the actual end-of-life process and the necessary steps after transition. The various elements of Comfort in their Journey® offer a roadmap to caregiving by pointing out the complexities of hiring caregivers and tips on employing quality people; explaining the different types of health care and living facilities; as well as the medical, legal, financial and insurance aspects of care. And finally, it offers a fresh perspective on those living with dementia and what can be done to ensure they continue to live a meaningful life. In short, Comfort in their Journey® helps the members of the larger community acknowledge the topics and step into the reality that will inevitably be their experience, and then serves as a source of information, guidance and support.
Another mission of Comfort in their Journey® is to create an awareness in corporate America that providing resources to employees who are family caregivers will improve the company’s bottom line. U.S. businesses collectively experience annual losses of over $34 billion attributable to full-time employees who are family caregivers. The losses are due to decreased productivity, turnover, increased stress-induced health care costs and other issues. Partnering with businesses to mitigate their losses, Comfort in their Journey® starts by working with their employees to help them move from fear to seeing possibility when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. We help employees navigate from crisis to having a care plan, and walk them through the necessary steps to prepare for the end of life. The multi-faceted program provides them with the support needed to balance work and caregiving, reducing stress and resulting in peace of mind. This process assists the employer in retaining their most valued human resource assets, their employees, and helps attract more talented individuals, creating a healthier, happier and more productive work environment.
For decades, the image of a family caregiver was a stay-at-home, “older” woman. That is long gone. Twenty percent of caregivers are now millennials and more than 50% of employed caregivers over age 50 are men. Nearly every person anticipates having to provide care for someone in the foreseeable future. What does that do to a society that has not acknowledged, let alone prepared for, its responsibility to provide dignified care for its elders? The negative effects of stress on health are well documented. Using a care philosophy and clear goal in order to create a strategy will allow a caregiver and their loved one to thrive, instead of merely survive, Comfort in their Journey® is here to help alleviate the caregiving crisis and guide families to outcomes that bring the peace of knowing they did their best.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Comfort in their Journey® was created as a result of my 2.5 years of not only managing the daily and medical care of my parents, one with Alzheimer’s and one with cancer, but also being a caregiver on the weekly schedule. My sisters, who were responsible for the legal, financial and insurance aspects of care, and I delivered the dignified care and end of life my parents desired. My experience has since included providing care for additional family members and friends and guidance for many others. Comfort in their Journey® offers practical guidance on living with dementia and for providing dignified care through the end of life for everyone. It was designed to provide guidance and direction: lists and bullet points, terminology, things to consider, questions to ask and leads to follow. It offers the opportunity to thrive throughout a process that is often traumatic and stressful and allows little time to research before making critical decisions. It offers caregivers and family members the opportunity to know the options and to make informed decisions – to think and then to take action. The initial challenge I had to overcome was to consolidate the amount of information that my family gathered and determine how best to deliver it to the countless caregivers who need it. The result was a three-book series, including A Most Meaningful Life, my dad and Alzheimer’s – a guide to living with dementia; Peaceful Endings, guiding the walk to the end of life and beyond – steps to take before and after; and Through the Rabbit Hole, navigating the maze of providing care – a quick guide to caring options and decisions. These are designed as reference books filled with concise, easily accessible and actionable information. This information is now also offered with the ability to search the complete content, including articles, of my work via a Membership on my website. I also do speaking engagements, presentations and consultations.
Several things set me apart. I have experienced the range from crisis through dignified care to end of life, and I also have developed my own philosophy about Alzheimer’s. Most people either oversee care or provide it, but don’t do both, and some contribute what they can from a distance. I was in the trenches managing the overall care of my parents, responsible specifically for their medical care while actively caregiving, even having been trained on some procedures by medical professionals so those tasks could be accomplished at home in the way most comfortable for my parents. The information I present is specifically designed for those in care crisis. It is accessible by very specific topic so as not to add to information overwhelm. At the end of the day, I am most proud of my ability to talk with others about the things nobody wants to talk about: Alzheimer’s, dignified care and end of life. At some point in our lives we will be faced with participating in the care of another and we will all face end of life. Sadly, statistically we will all be touched in some way by dementia, if only by knowing someone living with it. I know that we can ease the journey for others and assist in creating solutions to problems in order to achieve the goal of the delivery of dignified care, quality of life for as long as possible–-especially for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia—and a peaceful, thoughtful end of life. Comfort in their Journey® started as the whisper of an unfulfilled need in the community at large, one that I tried to walk away from for three years. When I could not, it became a vision of how best to offer my experience and the wealth of information my family had gathered in a manner that would best serve others and result in the peace of mind that we all deserve. This endeavor has required not only my caregiving experience but combining my previous computer software development, systems analysis, project management, teaching, and presentation experience. It is truly a labor of love created purely to help others.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The greater Denver area has so many really spectacular places to see and things to do. As a relatively recent transplant, grandfathered in with native parents, I’ve had many visitors. Being from Chicago, I don’t mind driving. For food and drink, I’d take them to Snooze for breakfast; Pizza Republica for lunch; Brown Place for high tea (Christmas is spectacular but requires reservations early in the year); Fogo de Chao in Park Meadows for happy hour Caipirinhas; and Lingers (trendy in the city), The Plimoth (local neighborhood) and Perry’s Steakhouse (Park Meadows with a view of the mountains) for three very different dinner experiences. There is no shortage of entertainment around Denver. Red Rocks Amphitheater is famous and a must for visitors. Cherokee Ranch is a special venue for high tea and events with a must-see tour. Comedy Works provides comedy both downtown and in Greenwood Village and often highlights local comedian Josh Blue. The Denver Performing Arts Center has a variety of shows year round. And finally, Soiled Dove presents outstanding musicians in an intimate venue. Moving west, the mountains offer anything a visitor could want: ziplining, rafting, hiking and, in the winter, skiing and snowboarding. On the ride to Summit County, you can see a buffalo herd in Genesee Park, as well as the unique view, and stop in the quaint town of Evergreen. Or you can take Berthoud pass north and loop back to Summit County from the north. Both rides are well worth it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to Shoutout to my two biggest supporters: Sophia Taylor and Roseanne Geisel. In addition to consulting on my branding and developing the most complex aspects of my website, Sophia Taylor of The Design House has been one of my biggest supporters in creating my business. She is beyond talented and creative and has a huge heart for projects that help others. Board certified patient advocate Roseanne Geisel, of Geisel Advocacy for Patients, has not only provided me with invaluable insight on her specialty but has also used her previous career skills as a journalist to edit my book series. As a life-long friend she has been there for me as long as I can remember, and most recently she has been my lead cheerleader since Comfort in their Journey® was just a whisper.
Other: Medium: medium.com/@trishlaub
Joanne Wagner Photography Kate Testerman Photography