356. Navigating the Challenges of Caregiving with Allison Applebaum

In this episode, we talk about a topic that touches so many of our lives: caregiving. Whether it’s something we’ve already experienced or might face in the future, caring for a loved one with a disease or illness is a profound journey.

Allison Applebaum, who is the founder of the Caregivers Clinic and Author of the beautifully titled, Stand By Me: A Guide to Navigating Modern, Meaningful Caregiving comes on board to enlighten us about the realities of caregiving—the stress, the work, the emotional burden—but also the unexpected rewards. She talks about discovering strengths you didn’t know you had and finding deeper connections with those you care for. 

Allison’s perspective is holistic and empathetic, offering a well-rounded view of caregiving. We cover everything from the emotional impact to practical tips and the broader societal issues like ageism and bias against those with neurocognitive challenges. It’s a conversation full of perspectives that you may not have even considered before. Let’s dive in!

Listen and Learn: 

  • The Allison Applebaum definition of family Caregiving 
  • How Allison founded a clinic to support caregivers, cared for her father, coped with her mother’s unexpected death, and dealt with the challenges of illness and loss in the healthcare system
  • The moving tale behind the title of Allison’s book, Stand by Me  
  • Recognizing the significance of a person’s identity and dignity in healthcare 
  • Combating ageism and elder speak in the health system 
  • Tips for beginning the caregiving journey for a loved one facing a health decline
  • Navigating through conflicts and disagreements within families regarding care for a loved one
  • What is caregiver burden? How can we prevent or address it? And, is it the same as caregiver burnout?
  • The challenge of uncertainty for caregivers and helpful strategies for dealing with this 
  • Can meaning and suffering coexist? 


About Allison Applebaum

Dr. Allison Applebaum is an Associate Attending Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), and an Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is the Founding Director of the Caregivers Clinic at MSK, the first program of its kind in the United States to provide comprehensive psychosocial care to family members and friends of patients who are in the caregiving role. Dr. Applebaum is also the author of the recently published narrative nonfiction book, Stand By Me: A Guide to Navigating Modern, Meaningful Caregiving.

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Episode 356