The Great Resignation has been a hot topic lately, with many people debating its pros and cons. While some see it as a way to improve their work-life balance, others worry about the impact it could have on their career. But what is the Great Resignation, and why is it so controversial?
The Great Resignation is when someone voluntarily leaves their job, usually without another job lined up. They do this to focus on other areas of their life, such as their family or personal health. While this may seem like a good idea, in theory, there are some potential downsides. For example, leaving your job without another one lined up can be a risky move financially. And if you're in a highly competitive field, taking time off could put you at a disadvantage when you try to reenter the workforce.
The term “sandwich generation” is used to describe the group of people who are sandwiched between the demands of taking care of their aging parents while also caring for their own children. This can be a difficult juggling act, and employers need to be understanding and accommodating of this demographic. Employees in the sandwich generation may need more flexible working schedules in order to be able to meet the demands of caring for both parents and children. They may also need more time off or different types of benefits, such as elder care benefits. By understanding the needs of employees in the sandwich generation, employers can create a more supportive and productive work environment.
My guest is Julie Viola, MHA. She is known as a catalyst of healthcare strategies and go-to-market execution in the health tech field. Her ability to connect ideas and people results in strategies that drive brand preference, successful solution launches, and campaigns of impact. She joins me today to discuss the sandwich generation and what companies need to know about this demographic as it relates to working schedules and benefits.
Find Julie on:
Cody Health Ventures: https://www.codyhealthventures.com/
Hanh Brown: Hi, I'm Hanh Brown, the host of the Boomer Living Broadcast. Navigating the challenges of aging can be difficult, and it's hard to know where to turn for help. The baby boomer generation is ageing, and they are facing a host of unique challenges, including senior healthcare, dementia, Parkinson's caregiving technology, adoption, affordable senior living options, and financial insecurity.
Hanh Brown: The living broadcast is here to help. We provide accurate and up-to-date information on all of these topics so that baby boomers and their loved ones can make informed decisions about their future. We also offer a wide range of resources and support to help baby boomers and their families through every stage of their journey.
Hanh Brown: So I hope that you find the conversation informative and helpful, and please join the conversation and ask questions. Also, please check out our newly launched platform, the Senior Care System. It's an all-in-one sales and marketing platform for individuals and businesses that provide care for the aging population and senior care systems. One app to replace them all
Hanh Brown: So today's topic is great resignation, unpaid childcare, and flexible schedules. The great resignation has been a hot topic lately. Many people are debating its pros and cons, while some see it as a way to improve their work-life balance. Others worry about the impact it could have on their careers.
Hanh Brown: But what is the great resignation, and why is it so controversial? Well, the great resignation is when someone voluntarily leaves their job, usually without another job lined up. They do this in order to focus on other areas of their lives, such as their family or their personal health. While this may seem like a good idea in theory, there are some potential downsides.
Hanh Brown: For example, leaving your job without another one lined up can be a financially risky move. And if you are in a highly competitive field, taking time off could put you at a disadvantage when you try to reenter the workforce. The term sandwich generation is used to describe a group of people who are sandwiched between the demands of taking care of their ageing parents while also caring for their own children.
Hanh Brown: Well, this can be a difficult juggling act, and employers need to be understanding and accommodating of this demographic. Employees in the sandwich generation may need more flexible working schedules in order to be able to meet the demands of caring for both parents and children. They may also need more time off or different types of benefits, such as elder care benefits.
Hanh Brown: By understanding the needs of employees in the sandwich generation, employers can create a more supportive and productive work environment. So today my guest is Julie Viola. She's kn's as a catalyst of healthcare strategies and go-to market execution in health tech field. Her ability to connect ideas and people results in strategies that drive brand preference.
Hanh Brown: Successful solution launches and campaigns of impact She joins me today to discuss the sandwich generation and what companies need to know about this demographic as it relates to working schedules and benefits. So Julie, welcome to the show.
Julio Viola: Thank you. It's nice to be here.
Hanh Brown: Hi, how are you?
Julio Viola: I'm doing great. How are you?
Hanh Brown: I'm doing good. I'm doing good. And thank you so much for joining me today. Hi. Yeah, so where are you calling from, and can you share with us a little bit about yourself personally and professionally?
Julio Viola: Sure. Um, I'm calling in from the Boston area, uh, so on the east coast of the United States. And I have a young family.
Julio Viola: I have a four- and a six-year-old. And then, as you mentioned, I'm one of the the sandwich generation members of our society. I also have, uh, two wonderful parents in their late seventies. My mom is unfortunately diagnosed with dementia, and my father is her full-time carer. Um, so that's the personal side.
Julio Viola: Professionally, I've been in the health technology field for almost 20 years. I just recently launched my own consulting firm called Cody Health Ventures. Um, but prior to that, I did a lot of work in healthcare, informatics, virtual care, population health, and a number of other really fun areas. And exciting technologies in the healthcare space.
Julio Viola: I'm really happy to be here and excited for our dialogue. Yeah.
Hanh Brown: Well, thank you. I'm honoured to have you here, and I look forward to this conversation on a very important topic. So thank you. Absolutely. So in the wake of the great resignation, a lot of people are talking about the need for more flexible schedules.
Hanh Brown: So what do you think?
Julio Viola: Yeah, I think that first and foremost, there's no one size fits all, I'll say. Um, and I read a great article with Forbes, and they, you know, tied back the nine-to-five workday really to the assembly line. And so, you know, that type of work is still very much needed. And I think in some service industries, flexibility is going to be difficult.
Julio Viola: a tough nut to crack, as you would say. But I think, you know, in some of the other spaces, I know for myself what I found with my team over the past few years: we established some flexibility. Um, and I think one of the things that came across as, I would say, a best practise was agreeing on what were negotiable hours and what had to happen.
Julio Viola: So for example, I had a team that was primarily based in the Boston area, but we had some folks out of town, and the flexibility that we were able to find was that we were going to do one day together. So one day, we're all saying we can make this happen. On the flip side, I had some folks that had, um, young children that needed to start maybe a little bit later because of drop-off and pickup.
Julio Viola: Um, and you know, doing a tag team with a spouse, and so on. The way that I used to say it was, Let's figure out what has to happen and then where there can be flexibility. I think the second piece is not everyone's the same. I will tell you that if you call me first thing in the morning, I'm really pretty sharp.
Julio Viola: I love talking in the morning hours. Whereas in the afternoon, that's kind of my time to let my brain, you know, kind of move a little bit more fluidly, be maybe a bit more creative, and be less, um, specific. But I had other folks that weren't, and they were great in the afternoon. And so just understanding what those norms are on any team has been really helpful.
Julio Viola: And I think from an employer standpoint, taking it from the team to the hierarchy, just trusting your people, trusting your leadership team to find what's best, and then I found that by giving that type of flexibility to my team and, honestly, to myself, we were just better for it.
Hanh Brown: Mm-hmm. That's great. Do you think it's important that both men and women have flexible working hours?
Julio Viola: hours? Absolutely. I think that's a really easy one, right? Um, this isn't about gender. I think this is really about, um, whatever it takes to make the workforce as great as possible. And then also on the other side, At home, everyone has a different role to play, and whether you're a man or a woman or what have you, it shouldn't make a difference.
Julio Viola: Absolutely.
Hanh Brown: Yeah. I think, and that's what, you know, makes it work in home life is sharing those responsibilities. It's not about gender, it's. It's what you can do blife,with your available time, whether it's, you know, being at home, taking care of the kids, taking them to practise, or being a coach at the team.
Hanh Brown: Right? It's life decisions that you make, and you do the best that you can for, you know, your family now and in the future. So, agreed. I agree with that. So now, how do you think we can make it easier for parents who manage work, childcare, and elder care? I.
Julio Viola: Yeah, I mean, I think that flexibility is the key, and like I said, I think coming to a commitment, um, you know, as an organisation is really important.
Julio Viola: And first, you have to carve out the time. I would say that, you know, secondarily, I don't think any employer, any team, or necessarily a manager, Comes into work trying to create a blockade. Um, I think what happens is that they don't know. They don't know. So, you know, for me personally, I have, like I said, a four- and a six-year-old.
Julio Viola: So I understand the demands of childcare because I'm in it. So when I've had employees with young children, I can understand what they're going through and maybe help them navigate it. I think the second piece, though, is that, um, From a benefits standpoint, an employer is going to benchmark, right?
Julio Viola: So for example, I've worked at companies that have had unlimited sick time, and so people stop actually inputting the sick time even though they're asked to track it. And so I would always say, if you need to take two hours to go to a doctor's appointment or you're not feeling well for an afternoon, Still put it in the system so that we have a benchmark so that if it ever is questioned, do we really need to have this benefit that the metrics are there so that they understand what to pull and push more?
Julio Viola: I think the second piece is that it's really easy, whether you're going to an employee town hall or you're one-on-one with HR looking for feedback, to just kind of roll over and say It's fine. Don't say that. Um, advocate, and if you know of other people who are dealing with things that you're not dealing with and you see that as a roadblock, you have to speak up.
Julio Viola: So, you know, the best thing I can say is, um, I've managed through both, obviously, childcare and going on maternity leave. And when I had my children, I had, um, probably one of the best managers I've ever worked for. And he said to me, It's a marathon, not a sprint. And so when I came back to work, you know, at two oclock, he would say, Go home.
Julio Viola: Go home. I know that in three months, when you're in more of a routine, I'm going to get 150% of you. Um, it's okay. You don't have to work nine to five. Uh, I'm not tracking your number of hours at your desk. Um, and he realised that by me having that extra time with my Young children, um, that I was a better employee.
Julio Viola: Number one, I was more loyal. Um, but number two, I was more happy. And you know, again, we work in a mobile environment, in a remote environment. So, you know, after the kids go to bed, I don't mind plugging in and doing maybe an hour of work later at night. Um, that's the kind of flexibility that mattered to me, but it might not be the same for everyone else.
Julio Viola: And then, just in the last piece, you mentioned elder care. I just don't think people have thought through it. And you know, Han, you and I had a chance to speak really quickly before we went live. And if you're not in that space, it's really hard to imagine it. And so sometimes, if you have an HR department that is just not well versed or hasn't had the personal experience, they may not know to even offer it.
Julio Viola: Or they might offer something that is fairly vanilla. And so they need feedback. And so I would just say to be outspoken. Be creative, think outside the box and in terms of what you need, and be that linchpin, so to speak, to get things moving. Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: Absolutely. So we talk about elder care and the sandwich generation.
Hanh Brown: Mm-hmm. It's, uh, it's a demographic that needs more support. And you and I are in this demographic with me. My kids are adults now: 25, 22, and 20. So what do you think employers need to understand about this demographic as it relates to working schedules and benefits? I know we covered some, but what are some key points that you want to highlight?
Julio Viola: Yeah, I would say, you know, a couple of things maybe just to bring to the forefront, and Han, you might have even more to add. Um, You know, most insurance, for example, doesn't necessarily cover elder care. So it's something that I discovered with my parents. So as I mentioned, my mom has dementia, and she was diagnosed, um, more than four years ago.
Julio Viola: And I think, arguably, we probably knew maybe five or six years ago. And, um, Nobody can give you a timetable of what that looks like. Um, there are predictions of when things will plateau or decline, but there's no certainty. And so, um, one of the things that's been incredibly helpful is having companion care to give my father, who's a primary caretaker, a break.
Julio Viola: Um, and so what has happened is, you know, there might be different agencies charging different amounts, but maybe it's between $25 and $35 an hour. Um, that can add up. And so it feels reasonable when you're just doing 10 hours at the beginning. But what happens when that person needs really and truly full-time care, or 40 hours a week, or even 25 hours a week? There are simply people who can't afford that.
Julio Viola: Um, or, you know, we live in a society where part of our life, um, management, or, uh, retirement planning, is so that we don't go bankrupt. From caretaking at the end of our lives. Um, and so I think employ, that's another thing. I think employers just need to be educated on the burden that that feels, and I'll give you a real example.
Julio Viola: I was in a role where, um, I was going for a new role and had been given the green light. Julie, you're the candidate. And there was a pay increase. And it lingered. And it lingered and lingered. And what that meant for me was that the pay increase was the difference between me being able to pay for my parents having 10 or 15 hours extra and not, and so, The ability to move fast and to offer that kind of, um, either pay increase through just merit, um, those things matter to people that are in this generation.
Julio Viola: And speed and clarity on benefits and pay are really important because you might be in a position, um, you know, where cost is a barrier to care. Um, I'm lucky that my parents have planned very well, but not everyone's in that situation. Um, and it creates such a tremendous amount of stress on the employee.
Julio Viola: And so again, it comes back to what I had mentioned about the manager that I had, who was incredibly supportive. What happens to employees when they feel supported? And they understand the benefits that are around them. They're going to soar, and they're going to do great work for the company. And so put those, um, those support structures in place so that people can feel that way.
Julio Viola: Um, you know, I think this is the second piece that's a little bit harder to do. Rationalise or understand if you haven't been in it. I'll say that. Um, you know, you mentioned mental health in your introduction, hon, and I think that's really important. One of the pieces that's a little bit more complex in elder care versus, I'll say, childcare, not to say that doesn't happen with childcare, is, um, you know, my mom's going through dementia.
Julio Viola: You mentioned Parkinson's. There are some other, um, disease states that can be very, I'll say, cruel and so on. When my mom was diagnosed with dementia, that was difficult, but it's been slow progress. Um, my dad's taking care of my mother, and when I went to take care of my mom, when my dad had a cardiac event, I was there.
Julio Viola: I was that person who's incredibly stressed because now all of a sudden it's 24 by 7. Right? But more importantly, when my mom realised that, um, when I realised my mom no longer knew who I was, That point, for anyone who's a caretaker of anyone with any kind of cognitive decline, is your grief point, right?
Julio Viola: That's when I say—I always say that—that's the day that I lost my mother. But the crazy thing is, your benefits aren't set up that way, so the next day you go back to work. And are you whole? And is the support structure there? No. And so then I think the second piece is, you know, if I took time off to, I'll say, grieve and have that time, there are two options.
Julio Viola: When you look at a more traditional, I'll say employer benefits plan, take, you know, vacation time, take an unpaid leave, or take some kind of, um, short-term disability if that is something that would qualify. But then, if you think about it, as we've mentioned as the sandwich generation, am I willing to take a week off to grieve?
Julio Viola: But then, in the summertime, does that mean that I can't go to the beach with my kids as much as I'd like to? And I think that's the push and pull that so many people are feeling right now. And it's hard because, you know, should it all fall on the employers? Should there be more government support? Should it, um, you know, be employee-driven and should it be employee-led?
Julio Viola: I don't have the answers. This is what we have to figure out as a society that makes this, um, so complex and fragile to some degree. because there's a lot of emotion with it. And I think the same thing would happen to, um, parents who have children when things don't go according to plan. Yeah, there's a comp, there's complexity, there's some sadness, and there are some horrible things that happen.
Julio Viola: Um, there's just a need for more nimbleness in some of these benefit packages so that we're not making every single employee have it. The full strength package, but there's the flexibility to turn that on without having to put people through, you know, some kind of obstacle for us to get there.
Hanh Brown: And Covid has certainly has been a great reviewer with a great resignation. Yes. And all the complexitied losses and everyone's lives so. Threputation. k you for that. I'm with you.
Julio Viola: I know.
Hanh Brown: Yeah. So do you think the trend of parents quitting their jobs to take on unpaid childcare will continue?
Julio Viola: I do. And I think, um, the reason I think that is for a couple of reasons, and it's not all doom and gloom. I think people have found that there are so many opportunities for flexibility now that if you're an employer and you're not offering flexibility, you're going to lose people. Um, and I think the second piece is, um, we've seen it ourselves.
Julio Viola: Like right now, I'm in a family room that is, um, my in-law apartment. My in-laws, uh, live with us part-time. And so I think the trend of more multi-generational housing is coming back, um, to make ends meet so that if you have to move to more of a part-time schedule Versus the full-time schedule that you have, you have the financial foundation to be able to do that.
Julio Viola: Um, I also think that there's been some really great work with some employers in terms of job sharing. Um, I know my spouse at her company; they do a lot of job sharing, and That's great. So there's, you know, um, I'll say a baton pass; you know, I'll do three days, you do two days, but we're a whole person when it comes to the payroll.
Julio Viola: Um, You know, that might happen. And then I think also people have found, you know, like myself, that working for yourself, I can still maximise 40 hours, but I have the flexibility, uh, to work at the hours that I can so that I can spend some of the daytime either with my children or with my parents.
Hanh Brown: Very true.
Hanh Brown: I love the idea of flexibility because you are likely to end up working more than 100 percent. You're likely to give 100 percent of yourself. Yeah. Because in all aspects of your life, it's fulfilled. You're more available to perform and exceed expectations. So Agreed. Yeah, agreed. Now, how do you feel about the trend of young professionals delaying parenthood until they can have a more flexible work schedule?
Hanh Brown: What do you think about that?
Julio Viola: I think it's hard. I think anytime your employment dictates your personal choices, that's really difficult. Um, I've heard of a lot of the tech companies, especially out in Silicon Valley, doing creative things like paying for eggs to be frozen so that you have more viability and can delay later.
Julio Viola: Um, uh, I think it's always, um, I'm going to stick away from a very political topic. I think it's tricky when employers get really tied up in your reproductive rights. Yeah. Um, right. Whether it's choosing the one you have, having children, or anything else, for that matter, Um, it's just a slippery slope.
Julio Viola: And, you know, I went to a conference earlier this year, and there was a great speaker who talked about The trend right now is that you're not seeing a lot of people stay at the same employer for more than two or three years. And if you think about family planning, that's typically not a quick decision.
Julio Viola: Um, and so it's, you know, I think. There needs to be a way to, uh, I'll say, untether the decisions around that and your employer. Uh, what a strange concept, but it's something that we've all been embedded in, uh, you know, for so long. Um, but I hope that that trend, um, I don't want to say changes for the reason that if people want to have children later in life, I know I did; I had my kids at 36 and 37.
Julio Viola: Um, but it was a personal choice. I hope that people don't do that because of their jobs. Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: Yeah, it's, um, very personal, right? Whether you stay home or work part-time, you really need to have the infrastructure of support at home and at work.
Hanh Brown: And then, of course, the flexibility of your children adapting when you're not at home Is it with another significant other? Is it with a grandma or is it a daycare? I mean, those are major choices.
Julio Viola: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of it's a privilege. I mean, I started my career in the service industry.
Julio Viola: I worked, uh, as a pastry chef. I worked in the restaurant business. I was a manager. Um, you hustle, and those businesses and those service industries, um, are so important. You don't have the option to necessarily work from home; you're needed out there.nd so that flexibility is there. And then, you know, when you start thinking about having a family in that business, most people choose to leave that business and go into something where there is more flexibility, and, um, you know, those are life choices that you have to make as a family.
Julio Viola: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: So, I know you touched on this a little bit. What do you think is the biggest challenge to achieving a better work-life balance?
Julio Viola: I think we have to kind of start over almost, um, erase the, the past. I think what I have found in my conversations with, uh, friends who are business owners or other, um, you know, people, leaders at different companies, is that if we have the nine-to-five workday as our beachhead, then anyone that's not doing that is going to be an outlier.
Julio Viola: And that's not an easy role to play. I personally never mind being an outlier, but that's not for everyone. Um, and so you have to almost, you know, something that I found when I worked with a team that was really incredible. and it was led by somebody in, um, the Netherlands. And what he did was focus on milestones, not meetings.
Julio Viola: Mm. Um, and I love that. And so we did something called daily management, where every day we committed to each other. Um, we had something that we were working on and a deliverable date. Now, if I needed to work on those things at different hours, um, to get those things done, great. Now, we never talked about flexible work days or any of the more formal things that you and I are talking about right now, but, um, when I look back on that time, I had flexibility in the way that I thought and the way I scheduled my meetings.
Julio Viola: And I have never felt more successful in a workday than I did during that time. And so, you know, I think each company is going to be different. Like I said, each industry is going to be different. Each industry is going to have different amounts of flexibility that they can manage. Um, but I think any employee who feels like an outlier in what they're doing is an exception.
Julio Viola: That's not setting them up to thrive. Yeah. Um, and so I think a lot of companies are starting to look at some of these things, like I said, around milestones and building, um, objectives and clarity in what we would call our performance review or an annual plan around those things. Um, I think that's honestly why a lot of people have moved into more of a consulting role.
Julio Viola: We need you to finish this deliverable by this date. Mm-hmm. Um, and what do you need to do to get that done? To get there? Yeah.
Hanh Brown: I love it. No, I love that principle because, at the end of the day, it's about your productivity and meeting, uh, the company's objectives, right? Yeah. And it's about delivering in a timely fashion and meeting your goals, whether it's in a two-hour or 10-hour span.
Hanh Brown: Hey. Get it done. Get it done on time. Yeah. And move on to the next objective and help your company grow, and, uh, mutually so. Right. I love that philosophy. Now, why do you think that more employers don't offer paid childcare?
Julio Viola: Yeah, it's a great question. I mean, um, and it comes back to the gender piece that you mentioned at the beginning.
Julio Viola: Um, you know, I know it's I don't know the answer. It's not my area of expertise, but I'll say it really quickly, I think. It comes back to loyalty and setting up any kind of benefit to keep your employees. If you're not offering those types of things to your employees, they're going to leave. And I think, you know, you mentioned the great resignation.
Julio Viola: What is it? Why is it happening? It's happening because we've reset expectations as a culture. Um, you know, I always say to my team, whenever I make a big change, or anytime I've made a big change in my life, what are my non-negotiables? And you know, if I'm getting ready to have a family, if I'm an employee and I'm getting ready to have a family, I've talked about that, and if that's something that I want to do, then I'm going to look for a company that has a great benefits package.
Julio Viola: If I'm at a company that doesn't have one, I might be looking to leave. And I think it's really that simple. And again, just that clarity on what are my non-negotiables, um, and what do I need to be successful? Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: I want to acknowledge our guests, okay? Mm-hmm. Hi, Kay, jk. I appreciate you participating.
Hanh Brown: Hey, Michael Mann. Hello. I appreciate you being here.
Hanh Brown: Hi, Patty. Patty, Sharon. Thank you for being here. Okay. Why don't you address acknowledge Kay and Michael and Patty, go ahead. Julie, can you see their comments?
Julio Viola: Yeah, I can. And I love it. I mean, I think the biggest thing is everyone saying, You know, flexibility is key. Need for support systems. Um, I love what, um, Kay, you mentioned around, you know, the need for insurance and benefits to support the needs of the carer, um, mental and emotional health.
Julio Viola: Fully agree. And I think one of the things to keep in mind that, um, Kay, you referenced in the chat is that if we don't set up this infrastructure either through the employer or through government programmes, then it falls to the community safety net. Um, and I think those are the things that, um, you know, there are some parts of that that are great where you have just bootstrapping and people chipping in to help their neighbour.
Julio Viola: That's a core tenet of, um, you know, just great neighbourly behaviour. But I think on the other side, it creates a burden. I always said, You know, How many of you have seen either on Facebook, Instagram, or some kind of post about somebody who was in some kind of accident and they're doing a GoFundMe to pay for their expenses?
Julio Viola: Um, that's really hard, and it just puts more pressure on the carer rather than fixing the root cause. Um, and so I love your comment, Kay. Those are, uh, really important. Um, so thank you for everyone's feedback. And again, let's definitely figure out this flexibility piece for, uh, caregiving of all kinds, whether it's children, elders, or otherwise.
Julio Viola: Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: Hey, Mike. Michael. Michael Mann. Thanks for participating. Yes, Patty. Let's see what Patty has to say. We desperately need insurance benefits that support the needs of carer, mental and emotional health, communities of support, financial management, patient care advocates, respite care. Absolutely.
Hanh Brown: Absolutely. Hey, Tracy, how are you? Thank you so much. Thanks for participating, Tracy, and I look forward to talking to you. You want to address Michael Mann's comment here.
Julio Viola: We're on the nine-to-five.
Hanh Brown: The, uh, we need to get away from the nine to five. Yeah.
Julio Viola: Yeah. And Michael and I have been communicating as well.
Julio Viola: We went to school together. Um, so he is a good friend of mine, and we've been doing a lot of research together, which has been great. And this is something we both care passionately about. And, um, I'm so happy to hear him reemphasize that. It's so good. And, um, yeah, I think that's really important. And again, there are some industries I don't want to be insensitive to.
Julio Viola: Some of the businesses simply cannot change that. Um, but I, I think when possible and where it is, um, that needs to just change. Because, like I said, that outlier mentality is just horrible for an employee's feeling of success. Um, we've all been there. If you've been in any kind of work environment, anyone who gets an exception is immediately discredited, and that just shouldn't happen.
Julio Viola: Um, because if, you know, you don't want to trade spots with that person, more than likely Um, you know, with what they're dealing with. At the same time, I understand that when we live in a capitalistic society, when there are bonuses, increases, or whatever, those things might be at stake. You don't want to feel like somebody has the upper hand over you or has been given an exception.
Julio Viola: And that's why I say we have to normalise this a bit. and get away from that. And if it's through benefits, like I love what you and Patty said about respite care, that's huge. Let somebody have that time to care for themselves. Um, and it's up to the employers. If things feel like they're being taken advantage of or they're not being taken advantage of enough, then they have to take the initiative and empower their HR teams and their benefit teams to go out and find the right ones.
Julio Viola: Um, and that starts at the top. And that just takes great leadership.
Hanh Brown: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we also need to remove the barrier where the employee has to make that tough decision. Mm-hmm. But then often you feel less than; why is it less than to take care of a loved one? You know, whether it's agreed, whether it's dementia, whatever condition they have, why do we feel less as human beings?
Hanh Brown: Right. A great point. We should somehow change that paradigm; it's an honour. It's a privilege to be available and have the option to make that decision to care for your loved one. But I tell you, I mean, I felt that way. It's wrong. I don't feel that way now, but we need to remove that barrier that it's an honour, right?
Hanh Brown: Mm-hmm.
Julio Viola: Well, you know, I'm talking. I love that.nd that's something actually that Michael Man and I have said a lot about, um, pride, and you know, I think as a United States culture, maybe the treatment of elders has We've gotten away from where we used to be. I grew up in a very Italian Catholic household.
Julio Viola: Um, And so I was used to being around ageing parents and ageing grandparents. My mom took care of both of her parents when they went through their stages of dementia. My father and my mother took care of both of his parents who went through cancer. Um, that was just innate to who we were. Um, it just doesn't happen as easily.
Julio Viola: And I think the The piece you mentioned on honour is really important. And I think that's one of the things that I was very intentional about when I left my corporate job and went into this new space that I'm in. I've been very public about it because I want to start normalising it. It's not, um, to your point; it's not something that you should step away from.
Julio Viola: This is a job; this is a role. This is something I'm very proud to be able to do. I actually wish I could do more. It's been, uh, an eye-opening experience. You are so used to being in a corporate environment where you're pulled into a million meetings in a million directions, and then you move into this, and you might not be as needed as you thought you might be.
Julio Viola: But, um, yeah, I think that that component of how we treat, uh, employees or people in this part of their journey is really important. I think the Arch Angels Group has done some really great work on this. If you're not aware of them, please look into them. Um, I think they do a really great job of coaching people on how to normalise that.
Julio Viola: Um, I personally went through a career design fellowship to help identify what I'm going to do in this More fluid part of my career. Um, it's not something that I, you know, should be ashamed of or take a step away from. It's an important part of who I am. Um, and I'll tell you the really, really greatest thing was when I made the announcement that I was leaving my corporate job to do something a little bit different and take part in my parents' care.
Julio Viola: The outpouring of support has been truly humbling. Um, because, you know, we've said this before, you join a club that you don't necessarily want to be a part of. Right. Um, but it's a really supportive club when you're in this space. Mm-hmm. It
Hanh Brown: It is. Thank you. Thank you so much. Hey, Michael Mann, God bless you.
Hanh Brown: He says that it's been an honour to fill in the gaps and take care of your dad and your mom, so that's great. Yes, I feel the same way. Um, it's a tough decision. It is an honour, but let's face it, it's It's tiring, it's sad to see the decline, and you know, you have to make the adaptation at home. It's all-encompassing, but it's, and I love the fact that you said that we need to normalise these kinds of conversations because if you haven't experienced this, you will.
Hanh Brown: Likely, you will. Yes. And the more that we have these conversations, the more I hope that they will inspire employers and employees. Situations like this to be better prepared and provide better support, and that when you do make a decision like this, just know that you're not alone. Many people are going through it.
Hanh Brown: And perhaps we can offer, you know, a helping hand and the inspiration that it is a blessing regardless of how tiring and declining it is. It's good to be there.
Julio Viola: Agreed. And you said at the beginning, around. The reentry. So when somebody, so to speak, exits off of the off ramp into a different area of their life, um, how do we make it great for them to go back onboard seamlessly?
Julio Viola: Um, I think that's something we have to figure out as well. Um, and I don't have a solution for it fully, but I think it's an important piece to bring up.
Hanh Brown: Yeah. Reentering the workforce That's, mm-hmm. That's a major topic, and that's another topic that we can explore deeply. And, uh, we need to normalise those types of conversations now because there's going to be a lot of people like us making these tough decisions.
Hanh Brown: Mm-hmm. So, agreed. Let's say, what advice would you give to someone who wants to achieve a better work-life balance but is struggling right now? because they just made a decision to leave work and be at home taking care of their loved one.
Julio Viola: Yeah, I would say, um, I think I mentioned this earlier, but I think the best thing that people can do is take time to assess a couple of things.
Julio Viola: One, what is your risk profile? How much risk can you take on in terms of leaving a job for, you know, unpaid caregiving? Um, I think the second thing is, um, Really understanding your goals. What are your personal goals? What are your professional goals? And, uh, what are your non-negotiables?
Julio Viola: So I'll give you an example. Um, when I made the decision, my non-negotiable was my parents. Um, I'm adopted. My parents have been incredible to me. They have stood by me through every, uh, high and low. And so my non-negotiable was, Um, I'm going to be there for them during this phase, even if it's really difficult for me.
Julio Viola: Um, because it's really hard to watch your parents regress. Um, it's not something I, you know, would say lightly. Um, so that was non-negotiable. And then I think the second piece was, um, I wanted to make sure that I could be in the right mindset with my young children so that they weren't scared of this process.
Julio Viola: And so taking time for them as well was really important. Um, I think the next piece was, you know, when I talked to my spouse and, you know, other family members and other really close friends, taking time for me. It's really important, and that ranges from, um, you know, having the right setup for me to have my alone time.
Julio Viola: But then also, uh, what support systems do I need? Do I need to talk to somebody? All these different things, but have that list of your goals clear. The last piece I would say is, um, know your strengths. I took a number of online tests and quizzes. The five strengths, I think it's called
Julio Viola: Um, Wonderful. And so, you know, your strengths play to them. Um, you know, I understand that I'm a storyteller and a connector. Um, so I'm trying to find ways to expedite that. Um, I'm really great at strategy, so one of the things that I've been doing is working with, um, other companies on a part-time basis, like I said, as a consultant.
Julio Viola: And so I'm making sure that I'm talking about the strengths that I have so that when I'm working for them, I can maximise my time with them. Um, and so that clarity is really important. So when somebody says, Julie, how can I help you? I can answer them, and I'm not just saying, Geez, I don't know. I'm in a really tough spot.
Julio Viola: Or if it's a tricky time, I can answer them. And so, just be thoughtful. I think the last piece is that there are a lot of really great There are courses out there, um, for these different changes in time. Um, so like I said, I took a career design fellowship through my alumni group at my university for, um, $250. It was a great use of money, and it just gave me some of the tools that I'm talking about.
Julio Viola: Um, but if you're not into something more formal like that, there are books at the library. Um, I would say StrengthFinder again is a great, great way to figure out who you are and what you're good at, so that if you are making a change, you know where you're going to succeed and your career is still going to excel no matter what pivots you make.
Julio Viola: Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: Very true. I'd like your, uh, suggestion. Come up with a plan, your non-negotiables, what your strengths are, and Because it gives you something more absolute to March to, right? Yes. It's not an easy thing to do, but it's necessary. I try to have that plan, and um, it gives you a direction on, hey, you know what?
Hanh Brown: reminding myself, Hey, it was the right decision. It's a tough one ahead, but you're making the right decisions. Mm-hmm. And along the way, what are your strengths? What can you do to add value? Not only at home but by other means, and somehow find that inner peace that I'm in a good place. Yes. As difficult as it has been, I am blessed to be in this place.
Hanh Brown: I agree. Yeah, I agree. So I want to acknowledge JK Kauflin: we need to change the narrative about being a family carer in this culture. I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, I totally agree. So let's, um, let's talk about what's ahead for the future of caregiving. You know, what challenges do you see in the caregiving space as far as innovation and technology?
Hanh Brown: What's your take?
Julio Viola: I think there's, um, a lot to be excited about and a lot to be weary of, and it's finding that balance. Um, I would say starting on the positive, I think we're here because, like you said, COVID was the great revealer, and it's starting to unearth a lot of things, whether it's inequities, because that's a huge, uh, piece that we haven't even covered yet today.
Julio Viola: Um, I think the second thing is that The speed of innovation right now is so exciting. Um, we just have to harness it towards this area. I think one of the pieces that, um, Michael Mann and I have talked about is that there are so many wearable companies. Do we really need this many wearable companies?
Julio Viola: Um, because. A lot of them are doing the same things, right? Um, but when you look at it, there are still great things about that, right? Um, wearables are needed for certain condition types, and they're going to deliver really great results. I think the reason that we're seeing so many of them is because of reimbursement, and all the startups in a number of different companies are going to follow the money.
Julio Viola: And so I think, you know, getting back to, you know, what we spoke about in the beginning of the podcast, how do we, um, bring these needs to life so that we can change policy and demands that are coming from the employer, more of a grassroots, um, acknowledgement of what's needed? Because if we can change the reimbursements, then big tech and other companies will follow with innovation.
Julio Viola: I think. Um, the second piece is that there are some really great, not necessarily companies or a specific piece of technology, but just ways of working, and I'll give you a great example. The trend towards community paramedicine has been happening for over a decade. Been following this. If you think about it, we talked about the community safety net, or if I think about some of the comments that have come up in the chat around the community support system, we need to figure out how to harness that.
Julio Viola: Community paramedicine. It's firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs in your local community, and they know where the vulnerable populations are. And so whether that's going over for a half hour to just check on that lonely person that, you know, is going to call 9-1-1 just to have somebody show up and say hi to them,
Julio Viola: Um, that's a value. Or if it's somebody who just doesn't feel safe, comfortable, or confident taking a walk around the block because they're unsteady and somebody can go and walk with them, that's huge. And those are little things that can help. Um, I think just, you know, this might be a bit futuristic, but I think, um, there are some things happening even in like robotics that are really cool.
Julio Viola: Um, being in Massachusetts, we're really close to a lot of the innovation down in Cambridge. And if you watch the MIT robotics lab, um, they're starting to become more dextrous with their hands, these robots, and so, Could that be something that could happen in the next decade? I don't know. You know, even just somebody coming in and putting groceries away for somebody, or a robot being able to do that,
Julio Viola: Um, I think there's maybe some of the more fun side of innovation that could be coming down the pike. Um, but I do think that on a more practical level, we have to figure out what's really helpful. And this is something that Michael and I have talked about. How do you help somebody bathe a wearable?
Julio Viola: Not going to do that. That's not going to be done; it's going to be done through an iPad. Um, that's the biggest challenge I know my father has. It's, you know, he has no problem making food, or I can, if I can't get to them, um, I can DoorDash them a pizza, or I can DoorDash them a salad smoothie. Right. Um, but, you know, getting hygiene taken care of with that without having to have an outside provider come in all the time
Julio Viola: That's the stuff that we have to figure out. Yeah. Um, So,
Hanh Brown: Yeah, no, I agree with that. But back to your point about wearables, many, as you know, perform the same way, and I see a lot of technologies coming out aside from wearables. So how do you synchronise, and I guess more in a unified fashion, so there's not, you know, too many of one type of technology coming out and not enough of it?
Hanh Brown: The other, just like you described the, uh, bathing, is something that's a bit more private. They're all going to need some help. So, and I don't know. Yeah, I know. I don't know if robots, I mean, there are a lot of positive things that are coming out of robotics. Absolutely. But I'm not sure if there are the right solutions for what you and I just talked about.
Hanh Brown: You know, agree on privacy, agree on bathing, and so forth. And I know cameras. To prevent falls and things of that nature, it was just huge and very necessary. But how do you do that at night? You know, because people do fall at night, and how do you do that when they're in a bathtub bathing? So there are, I don't want to say, easy solutions, but there are solutions that will cover some capacity of the problem, but I'm not sure if they cover the entire problem.
Hanh Brown: Right.
Julio Viola: For sure, and I think, you know, getting into the wearables, I worked with children's hospitals a lot in my previous role, and I, you know, listened to some of the feedback that they had. That's not different from what we're talking about with Elder care. Their biggest challenge is a lot of the time with the chronic and complex care that they have in their and their paediatric communities and the impact that that has on parents getting into work.
Julio Viola: Um, Being one of them and having to stay overnight And so I think, when used appropriately, something like a camera can be an oversight. So a parent can get a good night's sleep, or, um, any kind of carer can get a good night's sleep, whether it's elder care or childcare. Those things can be helpful.
Julio Viola: Privacy is obviously a major concern. I also think, you know, wearables are great. One of the things that I was mentioning was that I recently went to the American Telemedicine Association Show and talked to a number of these wearable vendors who provide access to care. If they're a healthcare proxy, the different apps have much better access for somebody like myself, who's the proxy for their parents, where I can log in and actually
Julio Viola: Participate, or if I see my parents aren't being compliant, how do I get involved? I know that there are ways to do it with certain vendors and with certain condition types, but how do we make that more accessible as well? So, And I think I see in the chat, j uh, jk, uh, Kauflin, you say it right perfectly. When we innovate, make sure we include the carer, the care receiver, and the potential solutions.
Julio Viola: I think, to her point, it happens in a vacuum a lot of times. And so we come out with these surface-level problem solvers, which are important but not deep. Right,
Hanh Brown: exactly. You described it. Well, we need to solve the root of the problem, not just the surface. Type of solutions, and there's a lot of that, so I appreciate your comment, jk.
Hanh Brown: Thank you. All right. So what are some of the most innovative ways that you've seen caregiving done, whether it's through technology or any kind of service that you see coming out? Well, I mean,
Julio Viola: I think there's just great services that are happening from home health, whether it's a home instead of an imara or, um, you know, health dispatch.
Julio Viola: I think just those things happening routinely and predictably is really great for our society in terms of helping people get back to work who need the respite. Um, those are great, and because Human care is wonderful. And I think those are, um, some of the easiest ways, or not the easiest ways, but the most, uh, wholesome ways to solve things like loneliness and somewhat of a way to keep people independent, which I think is really important.
Julio Viola: Um, I do think that there is, in the tech space, like I mentioned, some work being done. That's broader than wearables. And, um, I won't name specific companies, but I just think that, you know, any of the components that go beyond just the wearables on the wrist or the chest or things like that are getting into helping people move.
Julio Viola: And that's why I brought up something like robotics. I don't mean having like an R, D, and 2 in a kitchen moving around. I mean, is there something that, with oversight from another human, could help move? You know, somebody in a wheelchair seamlessly into a bathtub, or, um, like I mentioned, even just moving things around a house.
Julio Viola: Um, I think that type of innovation is really exciting, personally, and I think that with the right reimbursement shifts, some of these companies that are doing wearables will start to shift. And so if I look at something like Best Buy Health, they already have wearables, et cetera, that are, you know, available through their remote patient monitoring solutions.
Julio Viola: But I think what's exciting about what they're doing, um, is that they also have, uh, social workers that are on call 24 by seven. So they have that opportunity to not only have the wearables but also the support of a human. Um, that's the kind of combination that I would say that we need to start to see holistically in the market.
Julio Viola: Um, because I don't think one vendor can do it on their own. Even at a Best Buy, there might be something that needs more in-person care. Um, so partnership is really important, and that's going to take, um, you know, shared royalty, shared interests, and shared profits amongst a number of these different companies.
Julio Viola: So I think we'll start to see a lot of that, um, forming in the next few years.
Hanh Brown: Mm-hmm. That's true. Another area that I'd like to see is a way to lift a senior once I've fallen down instead of waiting for an emergency to come, because falls are huge. It's a major problem for seniors, and too often, when they've fallen, they're laying there for a long time before they can get help, you know, so I see.
Hanh Brown: Let's say grandma's fallen and grandpa can't lift grandma, and then they have to, you know, lay there and wait for, I dunno, half an hour or 45 minutes for someone to come and help. So that's another area. I think we need some innovation.
Julio Viola: as well. Agreed. And I think that is where some of these wearable companies can help.
Julio Viola: Right. With fall detection, I think we're seeing great strides in that area. And then, to your point, how do we make things move faster and safer? Because falls are also one of the number one reasons why people move into, you know, assisted living because they no longer can live on their own.
Julio Viola: Right. Right. So I fully agree. Mm-hmm.
Hanh Brown: Well, in closing, I know we cover a lot of important topics. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
Julio Viola: No, I think just reading a chat and reflecting on our conversation, Han, is the biggest thing that all of us can do, um, if you're on this call and you care about this topic, and I think the normalisation of caregiving, uh, seeking ways to improve the benefits package, is in a number of different employers.
Julio Viola: Um, but also, Don't just push it out and expect an employer to figure it out on their own. You have to be a part of the solution, especially if you want the solution to be maximised and really and truly beneficial. Um, and then I think, you know, if you are in a position of being a people leader, um, think outside the box.
Julio Viola: If we want to get away from this nine-to-five beacon or beachhead, so to speak, then you'll be the one to say, It's okay. We can change this. Uh, we can be milestone-driven. Um, be the voice of reason. Um, and then also, I think, you know, look out for folks that are in this carer, um, environment. It's really hard.
Julio Viola: Check in on them. Uh, look out for each other. And then I think, you know, Han, you and I both mentioned a plan. Whatever you can do as a family to come up with a plan, you might divert from it. Um, and that's okay, but starting with what your needs are, you know, understanding what people want at the end of life, understanding everyone's financial circumstances, asking for help, and joining seminars
Julio Viola: And then, lastly, know your non-negotiables. Um, um, really be clear on that, because it will make you happier.
Hanh Brown: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Boy. I echo, I echo that. h needed. And you know, again, you're not alone. Reach out to folks that have gone through the journey, and there are a lot of resources nowadays as well.
Hanh Brown: So thank you so much, and I want to thank JK Kauflin, Michael Mann, Patty Sharon, and let's see. Hey Michael, and thank you so much, Tracy Chadwell, again. You know, we're learning from you, folks. And I hope that you've gained some good insight from here. Let's everyone normalise this conversation and, uh, put it at the forefront.
Hanh Brown: There's nothing to be ashamed of in making tough decisions in life, and you'll come to a time when you're going to be so happy that you made that decision. So, as you know, parenting is tough, and many parents don't mind the late nights or the early mornings. Family balance is a challenge, and parents are quitting their careers to provide unpaid childcare or unpaid daycare.
Hanh Brown: Some families can do this, but most cannot. It's not a viable work-life balance solution. So instead, we must modify how we view work to promote flexibility, and young professionals, like we shared previously, may defer childbearing for more flexible work schedules. It's not for everybody, but some are making those decisions.
Hanh Brown: Changing our culture of overwork is the largest hurdle in work-life balance, in my opinion. So we need to value quality over quantity and prioritise our wellbeing over our productivity. I think only then will we be able to achieve real progress on this very important topic. And, uh, thank you so much for tuning in today.
Hanh Brown: And also, please remember to check out our newly launched platform, the Senior Care System. It's an all-in-one sales and marketing platform for individuals and businesses that provide care for the Asian population. So again, thank you, and we'll see you again next week. Thank
Julio Viola: you. This is really wonderful.
Julio Viola: Thank you, Hanh, for reaching out and making this happen. Thank you.
Hanh Brown: All right. Be well. Take care. Bye
Julio Viola: bye-bye.
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