Advice From Your Advocates

EP. 24 - Part 2 - Fr. Joe Krupps Inspiring Journey in Dementia Care & Service

June 19, 2023 Attorney Bob Mannor Season 1 Episode 24
Advice From Your Advocates
EP. 24 - Part 2 - Fr. Joe Krupps Inspiring Journey in Dementia Care & Service
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When was the last time you acted kindly towards someone, despite feeling like a complete jerk? In our heartfelt conversation with Reverend Joe Krupp, we explore the power of kindness, generosity, and patience in our interactions, especially when dealing with families and caregivers of those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's. Father Joe shares his personal experiences and offers three key rules to live by: act how you wish you felt, remember that joy is a conviction rather than a feeling, and be generous with the invisible aspects of life.

We also dive into the importance of acknowledging and accepting our own limitations, as well as those of others. By doing so, we can better value the skills and expertise of those around us and more effectively meet the needs of the people we care for. Drawing from stories like CS Lewis' divine moments in the daily grind and the example of Father Paul, a selfless and thoughtful priest, we learn how to work together as a team and find joy, growth, and connection, even in the most challenging situations. Tune in for support and inspiration in your journey caring for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer's.

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ABOUT US:
Mannor Law Group helps clients in all matters of estate planning and elder law including special needs planning, veterans’ benefits, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and more. We offer guidance through all stages of life.

We also help families dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses that cause memory loss. We take a comprehensive, holistic approach, called Life Care Planning. LEARN MORE...

Attorney Bob Mannor:

You're listening to Advice from Your Advocates, a show where we provide elder law advice to professionals who work with the elderly and their families. Welcome back to Advice from Your Advocates. I'm Bob Manor. I'm a certified elder law attorney in Michigan, and today is actually the second part of a presentation that we started last week. So if you haven't listened to the first part of Reverend Joe Krupp's presentation, you may want to go back and watch or listen to part one, where we're discussing working with families and caregivers that have a dementia diagnosis or Alzheimer's or any of those things, and Father Joe has a very personal and meaningful perspective that I think you'll enjoy. Thanks for listening.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

So my first rule was I'm going to act like I wish I felt. My second rule is joy is a conviction, not a feeling. And then my third one came from this idea I am visible and I am invisible. That body, soul, unity, right That I am. There's a part of my life that is physical and there's a part of my life that is invisible.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

The invisible tends to be how we express our interior. If you think of the aliens landed on earth, again, i'm just, i don't know. See, i did think that was funny, i'll be honest. Okay, so if aliens land on earth and they see that every once in a while we just kind of grab each other and squeeze, it's going to freak them out. Yeah Well, in our country kidnapping is a crime, like no, we're doing something physical to express an invisible thing. I have this invisible thing inside of me that's crazy about you. So I'm going to grab you as a sign of that. It's a powerful thing to think about.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

But here's the thing I tend to believe most of us are obscenely aware of the physical at the price of the invisible. So what we want to remember is this if I'm conditioned toward the physical, then I'm going to accidentally start treating the invisible the same way. What do I mean by that? If I've got 10 bucks, and I might, nope, sorry, poverty, sorry, uh, you got 50 bucks, i'm just kidding. So if I've got a, if I've got two fives and I give you one and I'm not going to, okay, i've got less, yeah, i've got 10 bucks, now we got five. Why do I only have five? Cause I gave five away. That's how the physical works. But when it comes to the invisible, if I give it away, i have more. If you want to feel loving, act loving, you'll feel love. And this is one of those things when we talk about this invisible times.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Driving to my house and thinking I got nothing left, right, i got nothing left, and it's like, okay, but invisibly, i'm loaded for bear, i'm loaded for bear, i have too much. So I'm going to go give my dad from me, as best I can, as a train wreck, peace, love, happiness, kindness, patience. Oh yeah, thank you. Whoever laughed? cause the patience sucks. I just need to be better at it. Okay, sorry, do you get what I'm saying? And please respect the physical, don't make me go there, right, i don't want to say the obvious things. Get your rest, sweet Lord. Yeah, but when it comes to the invisible, remember the more generous you are, the richer you are. It's not like the physical, and that was my third rule Right Be generous with the invisible. I was at the fourth, third generous with the invisible. I don't mean this to sound like I usually use examples where I screwed up, but I just got one the other day where I actually did something right and someone needs to know.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

So there's a coffee place near my house And okay, so I'm a Christian, obviously. So I I thank Jesus for coffee every day. Coffee is yay, coffee is okay. I'm going to get emotional. I love coffee and I served in the Middle East for years And if you've ever had Middle Eastern coffee, yeah, your eyes bleed and that's the decaf. Do you know what I mean? This stuff is savage and I love it.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

And somebody opened a Yemeni coffee place right near where I live And I have frequent flyer miles now you know. But one of the things, i got a card from a bunch of the kids who work there. I come in to give my coffee and they're like Hey, this is for you. I'm like the back. You know it's not coffee, it was just thank you. You're always so kind. Well, you know it was so awesome, right? Bunch of high school kids thanking an old fat man for being kind. You're giving me sugar and caffeine. Dude, I'll do whatever you want, but I have been there when people come in with the coffee order this long, right, do you know the rule The longer your coffee order, the bigger the jerk. Yeah, thank you, it is science. It is science. Now, you know, and I see people just abuse them or yell at them or whatever. And every time I go up and I say I bet you're doing your best And if they're not, how would I know? So assume I don't know what their best looks like. Sure, looks like they're hustling to me And just that kind of. I've never been kind to those kids and walked out. I'm out of kindness. Instead, you feel it Even when I feel like a jerk. Just give me my coffee. Yeah, that's what I feel, and if I can give from the invisible, i get better. Is this making sense? Okay, how are you doing? Are you all right? I know, okay, not like I'd stop. You know, okay, i always do this to my poor parishioners.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Number five accept your limitations. Yeah, and I know, you know this, you know this, you know it to teach it. I hope you know it to live it. I stink at this. Yeah, you guys, truly, literally on the way here, seven minute drive for I have to talk to you today, father, and that's gosh 15 today And I have a full time job. Yeah, i felt that pressure. I felt that I have need. That's the pressure I have to recognize I can only do so much. I'm just one guy And I'm okay at this, but I have to accept my own limitations. There's things I can't do.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

First, talk I gave at my new assignment when I moved here. What, four years ago, was this ready? You're going to hear me and you're going to think I'm a good preacher. You're going to And I am. I work really, really hard at it. But then you're going to think I'm a good counselor. I'm the worst. You do not want me to counsel you. It's not my side. No education in it, i have no training in it And I'll just believe whatever you tell me I will. I am the worst at counseling. I like me, but I'm not doubting myself. I just know I stink at this, and I told him too.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

If you walk up to me right before mass or right after mass. That's our worship time And you say I need I will not remember. I have no short term memory And I'm so focused on what I've got to do or what I just did, it's just not going to stack Right. So I expressed what I saw as my limitations And here's the thing It didn't help. Yeah, father, my 15 year old son is talking about suicide. Come over and help. I'll come over and get him to a hospital. You know I'm me helping him, no idea what I'm doing. Right, i believe him when he says okay, i'm fine now for tonight. When he isn't, you can't get me by accepting our limitations and fighting for them. Right, 20% of my phone calls are people yelling at you for what I can't do. Right, you've been there When I accept it and enforce it. I respect the people who are training it. Right, if any of you are therapists or counselors, you went to school for a God awful long time And you sat there and listened to story after story. How arrogant am I if I think, yeah, i can do that? That was my David Putty voice, for any Seinfeld fans Feels like in Harvey's night. When we accept our limitation, we respect the skills of others and we actually respect the needs of others. I can slap a band-aid on your severed limb, but it ain't gonna help. Yeah, and then the one sympathize with the limitations of others. You'll get better at it when you accept your own limitations.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

One of my sisters in a restaurant did anyone know the heritage house and chess things, anyone know? Oh, rocket, okay, that was my. So my mom's were 14 in her family. That was her brother, six up from her, right. Crazy story. I'll tell you something. She worked there, right, it's basically free labor. If you're a cousin, that was funny.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

And my sister ran the upper floor and she had this one waitress who three tables. She was a goddess, right, like one of those things where people would come in and say, can we have Sue tonight? Because they had Sue last time and Sue's just a beast of a waitress. She was amazing, she was cheerful, she was joyful and she was, on top of that, give her four tables. And people died.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Yeah, something about the fourth table was just pulling the pin and throwing a grenade, right, she would melt down, start crying and run away. They'd be like, oh that, that that's not good, you know. So the man, the guy who was under my sister came to her and started complaining I can't give her four tables, right, if I give her four she melts down. And she said crazy idea, don't give her four. Yeah, it's bold, but it could work. If giving her four compels her to melt down, i don't know. Don't give her four. I'd rather have three happy tables, because then they might come back.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Yeah, except that other people aren't perfect like we are. That should make you laugh. Except that people just not good at some things. Oh, there's a ton I am not good at. I am the worst at predicting business models, right, and when they put you in charge of a parish and this is really dumb, by the way they give you the budget Here. Take care of that budget with your philosophy, theology and history degree. Sure, no problem. So what do I do? I don't know. Find people who do that, because I know priests who are like I've got this And then burning church. You know, sorry, thank you, i did think it was funny. Always time for an insurance joke.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

But here's the thing. Like my nephew, i remember when he was at some school in Ann Arbor. I went to visit him. We were so ashamed. I went to visit him there and he says let's go get coffee. I'm like you don't go get coffee, right, the coffee's here? No, no, no. And he tells me about this place where you go away from where your house is and other people make your coffee and charge you $900 million for it. And we're sitting there and I says Chewy, i love you. This is the stupidest thing ever. It's called Starbucks. It worked. Oh, no, right, you don't want.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

If you're ever thinking of starting a business, if I say yeah, go for it, don't do it. If I tell you that's the stupidest idea ever, go for it. You're going to make cheese. I know there's things I'm terrible at and I accept those limitations and by accepting them, i can ask for help and also be at peace with the fact that not everyone's like me. Thank God, you know how it is. There's people who will ask you things where you're like yeah, and you can't say that's the dumbest question ever. You can say it in your head It's just the limitations, that's all That's all Like.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

For those of you who've dealt directly with Alzheimer's, you knew the I want to go home face. Okay. Now my mom defined stubborn. Yeah, if you looked up stubborn. There's my mom right there in Webster's Now that, with the I want to go home phase, i thought we were all going to die. We tried every like. At one point, seriously, i sat next to her on the couch and she started she goes. I think they've got us locked in here And I'm like she's like I want to go home. I'm like let's go. Yeah, this is what the doctor told us, just roll with it. So I got her in the truck and we just drove her around. Oh, here we are. That worked once. She was so on to me after that, even if we were going to the doctor ready. I know what you're doing And you know what we thought. If we just talked to the right one of you, you'll tell us how to make it go away. Oh, just do this. Oh, sweet.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Now I'm sure the 9,652 social workers we talked to all were like you can't do anything about it. But what did they know? We didn't know It's not our world. We didn't know they all go through this. I think they all do No idea. And again, those social workers could have told us you know that's a really stupid thing to ask And objectively they would have been, but we wouldn't have gained anything except contempt. Yeah, we accept the limitations of others. We accept our own limitations. This is just life, it's not personal, it's what happens. Yeah, number six, and this one's tough make or be a team, okay. Now, the people you work with are a big resource And you might think, yeah, a resource for my psychotic death, and I get it. Yeah, but here's the thing If you ever I see some of you guys looking at each other suspiciously, I'm available for counseling.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

But and you know CS Lewis, he wrote this thing called God in the Dock And it was just his experience of these divine moments in the weird daily grind. And he talked about how he would go home to his wife every day and gripe about this dude in the philosophy department And what an idiot this guy was. And he was like every hope I have for the department shipwrecks on that guy, right, he drives me nuts And if we could just get rid of him the whole department would function better. This was at Cambridge And he said this lasted about three months. And then my wife said Clive, do you know? someone goes home and says this about you, pardon. She says you're someone. Shipwreck, you're the one. Somebody is in their kitchen right now telling their wife Clive's an idiot, we would do so much better without him. And she said and here's your choice You can keep trying to control what you can't control or you can keep going and find a way to work. And I'm wow.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

And this for me, was within my family more than anything. Right, it was again. My folks were just these people that people would call them all the time. I can't tell you. I thought this was normal. How many times I would see my mom and dad leave quite suddenly and dad come back walking a beat up woman into the house, right, and then he'd drive back and talk to the husband. That's how you deal with it out there, right back then I thought that was normal. Everyone's mom and dad gets calls 24 seven for help And again we have no money. Mom and dad just had this thing. I don't even know how to explain that. Everybody wanted help And when mom started to slip, they all disappeared, every one of them, and the rage and sorrow almost broke me.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

I was at the grocery store and the sky walked up How's your mom? And I couldn't help it. I went. You know you can gain that data by driving a mile and a half. I can show you how to get there. I think you forgot. Oh, father, i just I can't see her like that. Sure, you can. You drive that mile and a half. You walk up the stairs, you cowboy up like she did for you, and you sit with her. That's my version of gentle. This is why don't you counsel? Never did it. Oh, came to her funeral, put on quite a show. Yeah, in the midst of all of that, i had three rock star sister I mean a lot, they're all rock stars. And these three one of them was engaged when this started and her and her fiancee agreed we're going to wait till it's done. Right, i need to be here.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

She took a sabbatical from her job and moved back in with my mom and dad, she and a couple others. We just bound together And even if it was going FaceTime because I was two hours away and just balling over FaceTime together, right, we were a team. Did one or three of them drive me nuts at certain points? Uh-huh, yes, of course I didn't drive them nuts. I'm basically perfect. I don't know how I drove them nuts because they never told me. They were too busy hugging me and saying we can do this. Mom will die at home. Team is worth fighting for. It's worth bleeding for.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

We were made for each other. We're not supposed to do it alone. Find your team and if you can't find one, you make one By being selfless and patient, unfailingly polite and kind with each other And lock your eye on the goal. This was our line That chick's going to die at home. That was our line That chick's going to die at home. So make a family or enjoy your family or your team. However you want to do this, please, don't do it alone. Please, how are you doing?

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Okay, number seven we're at the coast of the end. People are crazy, isn't that great? Yeah, about a week before I got ordained a priest, we were supposed to pick a priest and go spend a week with them before we take our vows. And it's probably to see this is how nuts you'll be at 70. I don't know. But so I picked this priest because all this cat does is hit home runs. He's just a phenomenal selfless, kind, thoughtful, hardworking guy. So I called him. I said, father Paul, can I stay with you for a week? Will you pray with me every day? Will you guide me before I make my vows. And he said yeah, of course. So I get there And at one point when we were in session, i used his bathroom And on his mirror he had written I am not the Messiah, everyone is crazy.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

So I go back and like Padre, can we talk about the mirror? He says you know that? right, i was like I know you're not the Messiah. He was like listen when people need you. Oh, you're the best. Oh, you're the best, thank you. We need you And you did what we want. We love you. When they don't need you, they know how you should have been doing your job. Yeah, why, we're all crazy. There's crazy we're comfortable with as a society and there's crazy we're not comfortable with The crazy we're comfortable with we call norm. Yeah, and it helps to be able to hear someone tearing you a new one To just in your head go huh, he's crazy. Do not say it out loud, write that down. I honest to God, one time this person was just gutting me And when I went, honestly, i think you're nuts. It didn't help.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Some people are just crazy or some people are very sane, but in a crazy time of their life, um, i don't know if this. I hope this is okay to say, ignored If you don't like it, want to. Uh, for me, one of the things I do is, as someone's doing crazy on me, i just, oh Lord, bless them, heal their heart, heal their mind. Right, i could take it. Yeah, when you're number 12, you can take any beating, right, physical, emotional, spiritual. That's just Tuesday for me, right? But you know how it is When you do what they want, oh, you're the best. And when you don't do what they want but what they need, crucify them. Yeah, people are crazy, We're crazy, it's okay, it's why we're together, it's why we're communal. So I'll close. Oh, thank God.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Okay, I'll close by telling you a couple things. First, mom died peacefully. It was October and we knew we were hitting the homestratch And I was literally doing a funeral and it was my second funeral that day And during it the secretary walked in and her eyes were this big and she's standing in back of the church. I'm like, okay, shoot her Or right, you know, this is whatever her news is, it ain't good, you know. And you know she came up and just said you need to get home, gotta finish, you know. But so I finished the funeral and got in the truck and oh my gosh, this is so sweet A bunch of my parishioners my secretary called them. So when I got there my stuff was packed, there was food in the passenger seat and I had this big 150-pound dog And there was two people that dog liked besides me and one of them said I got your dog just giddy up.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

So I got home and six, seven, six of my sisters, two of my brothers and I were there And this was the well, don't go there. So we're all kind of around her And I think and I have three sisters who are doctors, but I'd probably been around death more than anybody, right? And I said she was hanging on. It was like good lord woman. My mom was just not going to go gentle into that good night And I said, guys, you know, moms don't really like a lot of people there. I don't know what it is, but I've seen it a million times. Let's back off a little, yeah. So my oldest sister parked right next to her and we all just laid on the floor right And just fell asleep. And this was crazy. I was sound asleep And I, before I knew I was awake, i was sitting up and I looked for of us kids, just all set up at the same time And she died And it was again. Obviously I buy the Jesus thing. It was like sorry, but part of the comfort was she did it. Yeah, and I hope this is okay.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

I don't want to be offensive, but there's a passage where, right after Paul was sentenced to death, she fired off this quick letter. It's in the Bible and he writes as for me, my life is being poured out like a sacrifice. The time of my death's come. I fought a good fight, i ran the race and I kept the faith, and now there awaits me a crown of righteousness And that's all I could think. Right, she wasn't perfect. She just like Paul. She didn't write. I won the race, i ran it, she didn't write. I won the fight, i fought And I was so proud of her. I really was.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

And it took me back to probably the most important moment And it was the second year She was losing her ability to communicate. But I stayed there for a day and I was driving back and dad called and mom was crying. I could hear and it was because I never visit her. Right, i was a mile and a half away from having spent a day there And that broke me Right. I pulled the truck over.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

For those of you who know I was on M13 over by Montrose and I just cried And I was why? why am I even going there? Right, and what came to me was like the first five years I don't remember at all of my life, no clue, right. But I know she got up in the middle of the night, i know she walked me places, i know she carried me places, i know she loved to sing in German right, mom and dad are from from there and she would sing Adelweiss And I know she did it to the grandkids and she's like oh, i always sing Adelweiss to you kids. I don't have any recollection of the blood and sweat and tears she poured out for me my first five years And what a crazy, weird, awful, beautiful gift that I get to love her that same way. At the end That the last five years, i can love her with no hope of memory. I can serve her with no hope of gratitude. I didn't like it, but it sure gave me a context to see it as beautiful as well as horrible. So this is what I learned and am learning I get called for folks with Alzheimer's or dementia all the time, as you can imagine.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

And I carry these rules everywhere in my heart And I offer them to you again as a labor of love and a fruit of error and trial, but just striving. And one of the hard parts about being a priest is people come into my, i come into people's lives and no one comes to see a priest when things are going well, right, no one. I'd like to point out, father, why Everything's going great And I just got to tell somebody no, no, it's death, it's horror, and it's 50 times a week. Families ripping each other to pieces, marriages falling apart, violence in the home, drug addiction, suicide, all of it Every day, a lot. Yeah, and they call me in, come help, come help. It's best I can I get them to help and they never speak to me again. Yeah, they're done with me.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Oh great, we needed you. You were here. We don't need you. Please don't bother us. I mean they would never say that You hit that a lot, i know, and for whatever it's worth, it's not true of everybody And there are people who will just need some time.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

Just need some time and some distance from the pain. You came to help And maybe they'll find you, maybe they won't, i don't know, but there's somewhere thanking God for you, that you were an answer to their prayers or their cries, whatever thing you wanna say, and I honor you for it with all of my heart, and I hope you can tell that I'm not faking this. I mean it, be it the medical, the emotional, the legal, whatever it is, with all of my heart. Thank you from someone who got on the phone, balling, lost, confused, and someone said I'm away. So great. So I thank you for this opportunity to come and talk to you, and I know it was a long talk and I know it was after lunch, but I don't care, i had a mic And so thank you for this invitation and know that this whole oh, my dad, when mom died, dad moved in with me, right, so that poor man lives with me now.

Fr. Joe Krupp:

And we were the other day I was in the office for four straight hours with just crying person after crying person, and finally at 7 pm And I'm like done, yeah, and when I get home, i know my dad's there and because I'm 12 years old, i start yelling, dad, you know, in this kind of dramatic voice And I think I'm hilarious And I keep doing this until I find him and he's on the phone And literally this is what he's saying. This is what my life's come to. This is 89 years old, this is my life now, but he is right now home for you. Seriously, that's his commitment. If I get a call at 2 am, he's in the truck with me, right. Wherever I go, he goes, and if he can't go, he writes it down and prays, because he's like what else am I gonna do? Yeah, but so know that And I pray that God bless you guys and give you everything you need. To continue to be faithful, thanks.

Attorney Bob Mannor:

Thanks again for listening to advice from your advocates. Don't forget to subscribe and we will talk to you next time. Thanks for listening. To learn more, visit manorlawgroupcom.

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