Episode 001: 9 Beginner Steps to Raising Parents (part 1)

Show Notes:

  • Common themes can be seen whenever we think about experiences such as: running a home care agency, dealing with families of clients, caring for our own parents, or raising our own kids. We call those themes the 9 Beginner Steps to Raising Parents which are in no particular order except Step 1 “Be Good To Yourself” which must be achieved first and then Step 9 “Be There” which is not attainable unless you complete Steps 1 – 8.  Go to website for the full description: raisingparentspodcast.com
  • Step 1 “Be Good to Yourself.” Zack’s wife Phyllis shares a comparison to how raising your children is not much different from caring for your parents. You must treat yourself as #1.  It’s not self-centered — how can you care for others if you cannot care for yourself.  Phyllis shares a real-life example and emphasizes that this is about not burning yourself out and being prepared.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance of the National Center on Caregiving based in San Francisco California has a great fact sheet titled “Caregiver 101: On Being a Caregiver”. They have a section that’s called “The IRS of Caregiving” IRS being an acronym for Information, Respite, Support. Click here for more data
  • Phyllis shares another real-life example
  • Step 2 “Be Resourceful.” Zack created this podcast as a resource for any adult kid who is currently, or someday, will have to care for an aging adult. A lot of resources are out there.  The Web, government agencies, support groups, individuals with actual experiences who tend to be the best resources.  Phyllis shares that when a potential client contacts their agency she offers them informational packets and answers initial questions, but then reminds them when you buy a car, you do not buy the first car you ride in.  Do your research on the agency. Get references from previous clients or their family members and call them. Call three people and speak with them. They’ll help you brainstorm what questions to ask.  No matter if this is for home services, home renovations, activities, look and ask for help.
  • Zack emphasizes you cannot wait until the last minute. You must be prepared.
  • There are passionate service providers out there with personal experiences. Deb Hallisey has a website Advocate For Mom and Dad and shares an experience.  Connie Pizzaro is a senior advisor with Oasis Senior Advisors and she shares an example.
    Don’t be afraid to ask and hear what you may not want to hear.  Phyllis says you want to hear the good and bad situations, you will learn something from each of them.
  • If you have feedback, a question, or a great story you want to share, email raisingrents@gmail.com, tweet @raisingrentspod, or join our Facebook group RAISING RENTS PODCAST. We may feature your question in a future show or possibly have you as our next star guest. We look forward to hearing from you!
  • Next week we are going to talk about Step 3 “Be Talking And Listening” and Step 4 “Be Patient.”

Links Referenced:


This show is dedicated to Zack’s best friend Tracy “Kiddo” Lynn Armstrong (May 25th, 1964 – October 19th, 1989).  She was born with Werdnig-Hoffman disease which is a Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the worst of the bunch.  She never walked, could not sit up independently, and her parents were told she would not live to her teenage years.  He met her in 1980 when he was 18 and she was 16 at a Muscular Dystrophy camp.  They learned that they lived only a few miles from each other and became best friends.  She might have only been 40 pounds but what she taught Zack about caring, communication, love, compassion, and respect to name a few, was worth tons.

Before she died at the age of 25, she accomplished more than anyone would have imagined.  She traveled all over the country including Las Vegas so that MDA celebrities like Jerry Lewis could meet her.  She graduated High School which included many field trips, membership in the Honor Society and going to the Senior Prom with her dad as her date.  She was sung to on stage & under a spotlight by Lionel Richie at her first concert in Charlotte, N.C..  She was a bridesmaid in Zack’s wedding. She wrote a book titled “Tracy’s Story-The Other Side Of The Coin” by typing every single word using a pencil on an electric typewriter one letter at a time.  Her mother Janice Armstrong published it after Tracy passed. Tracy was an amazing woman who inspired anyone she came into contact with, especially Zack.  Please read her book to learn more about her, and you will also find Zack’s 8 pages of a personal dedication to her.

Happiness Is:

The sound of a friend’s Voice

A Warm hand in yours

A gentle Touch

A Warm body lying in bed next to you

Someone to say “I love you”

(one of Tracy’s poems from The Other Side Of The Coin, p. 92)


  • Raising ‘Rents intro and closing music by Arthaiz
  • Opening music: “November” from Bensound.com
  • Other music: “Blue Dot” by Wahre; “Old Man’s Tale” by David Szesztay
  • Doorbell by soundjay.com
  • Thank you to Zack’s daughter Anastasia Demopoulos for opening voice over
  • Website developed and managed by Philip Golden

Raising ‘Rents is made possible by the support of ComForCare, a national home care provider who truly helps you live your best life possible. Visit webpage here