Podcasts: Are they an easy access resource for caregivers on the go?

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when someone tells me, “You just have to make more time!” after I unintentionally emit, “I am so busy!” to someone. Though it gives me concern that the American culture has embraced and even elevated Being Busy as a status symbol, finding more time is probably not the real issue. Making more of the time you have may be a better approach. That might feel impossible when your time is already filled with work, family and other day-to-day responsibilities, not to mention, your commitment to be a caregiver for an aging parent or adult.

A critical role for a caregiver is having the pertinent knowledge in order to make the right decisions. These decisions can prevent a crisis down the road, help a care recipient make the right choices, or even help you be a better caregiver . There are many resources across various avenues such as books, videos, the web, a library, coalitions, support groups, and talking with people with similar experiences. The only thing more challenging than not knowing where to find these resources, is not making use of some of your time to explore them.

There is a vast amount of information about resources for caregivers that can help you at your fingertips–that of course requires you to focus on a screen (and not while you are driving please!). Is it possible to do two things at once, especially for those of us always on the go? Think of the last time you listened to music and did a chore, or drove to work and listened to an audio book. My neighbor has the Yankee baseball game blasting out of his outdoor speakers when he is doing yard work. I am actually listening to a podcast while writing this–Chel Hamilton’s Meditation Mini’s–one of over 30 podcasts I subscribe and listen to during different parts of my day and week. I’ll be sharing some of these in my next article “Some Of My Favorite Podcasts As A Caregiver”. Chel Hamilton’s podcast is a great example of a resource that helps caregivers deal with caregiver fatigue and stress and minimize the risk of caregiver burnout. I have found Ms. Hamilton’s episodes to be very relaxing, but I would not recommend driving a vehicle while listening to her show!

According to the Edison Research Infinite Dial Report that tracks digital audio and media consumer behavior in America since 1998, of the total population aged 12+ surveyed, 64% were familiar with the term podcast (compared to 49% in 2015). Of the same survey group, 44% indicated that they have listened to at least one podcast--that is estimated to be around 124 million Americans.

How easy is it to listen to a podcast? Not hard at all, and it is essentially free! There are many ways to download an episode, depending on when and where you decide to listen to one:

  1. Download a show on a computer. This is probably the easiest for a novice listener. Most podcasts have their own websites with a list of all their episodes, and listening starts simply with a click. You may have to have a podcast player app on your computer depending on how the show is offered, but usually the podcast website will provide you the guidance.
  2. Download on a smartphone, tablet or another portable device. With Bluetooth technology being more abundant and accessible in our lives, having a podcast episode on your portable device means you can carry your podcast episode wherever you go and on the go. You may need a podcast player app on your device but those are usually free and easy to obtain like Tunein Radio or Stitcher. Driving to and from work, I always look forward to connecting my smartphone to my car speakers and listening to my downloaded podcasts. Other listeners exercise, run, walk or sit on their deck and chill, listening to their shows.
  3. Listen to an episode on portable speakers. Now in the comfort of your own home or wherever you carry your portable speaker, you can listen to a podcast. Once again, Bluetooth technology has made this easy. Many listeners have told me that it helps with their household chores/activities to listen to one of their favorite podcast episodes on their speaker.
  4. Listen to an episode at home or work through your virtual assistance device like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. You supply the WiFi, and your wish is their command. Usually your device will play your favorite podcast if it is available once it is set up to do so. Refer to your product’s customer support for any assistance.

It really is getting easier to access and listen to podcasts. Some podcast websites have easy to follow instructions on how to download and listen to their shows. On Jaime Legagneur and Glenn the Geek’ very entertaining and informational Finding Florida Podcast website, they have a “How to Listen” clickable section offering easy guidance. Their show even offers a free and easy smartphone app that you can download and display icons you can tap to go right to your show.

There were almost 44 million caregivers who provided unpaid care in the U.S. in the last 12 months as reported in an AARP article in 2015. Upwards to 75% were females per the Institute On Aging.

Edison Research has shown that there has been a significant increase in females who said they listened to a podcast last month, 24% today vs. 13% in 2015.

With females making up the majority of the caregiver population today, it is encouraging to see that more and more females are finding and listening to podcasts. Some of the reasons could be that more and more females are producing podcasts. Or that there are more shows being produced that appeal to women. One of my favorite podcasts targeted for women and by a woman (yes, as a male, I subscribe because the content is great for anyone who wants to improve their lives personally and professionally) is by Katie Krimitsos the Biz Women Rock Podcast. She posses a very skilfull craft in engaging guests to share their valuable life experiences for the listener’s benefit. Her own personal stories are very impactful such as the episode on being a Mompreneur SOLO – Inside the Journey of a 6 Figure Mompreneur: Katie’s Story. Finding time to raise a child while working, and while carrying on day-to-day responsibilities, is no different than “raising a parent” while doing all those things–maybe even harder.

If one of the essentials of being an effective caregiver is being good to yourself, then perhaps making more of the time you have can be viewed as a reward. How good will it feel to be less stressed, less guilty, more productive and more content with the time you have to manage. Listening to podcasts can be a possible enabler and reward. And you can even listen to them on the go!

Special thank you to Jessica Kupferman for her contributions towards this article. By Zack Demopoulos, host of the Raising ‘Rents (as in paRents) Podcast.