The Healthcare System and Caring for Aging Parents with Sammie Stephens

The Healthcare System and Caring for Aging Parents  with Sammie Stephens
“People need tools to help them put together a plan to care for their loved one. They also need to get really good at asking for help.” - Sammie Stephens

We’re not prepared to become the family caregiver for our parents. Yet so many of us are thrust into that role. How can we be more prepared? How do we handle this challenge?

Sammie Stephens, an adult-geriatric nurse practitioner, who works with caretakers and has experienced that role herself, says it starts with conversations we aren’t good at having. Often these happen as a result of an event, like someone breaking a hip.

Caretakers need to set boundaries around their time and what they can do, especially because they are often juggle so many other things, including children, businesses and more. But often, what they need first, is a plan. Sammie helps us navigate both in this conversation.

We talk about:

  • what you need to have in place legally to be able to get medical information to advocate for your loved one
  • using tools like CaringBridge to communicate what is going on and how people can help
  • taking care of your own health/body and using available resources so that the burden is not all on you
  • planning and budgeting for the cost of care
  • advance care planning and understanding what your loved one wants
  • setting boundaries, assessing needs, and building in self-care


Calling all women balancing wellness, work, family and self… Learn a 15-minute daily practice and go to bed each night proud of what you got done.


    At the end of every episode, we share three doable changes, so you can take what you’ve heard and put it into action. Sometimes we don’t act because we’re emotionally stuck or because the change seems so huge. Change comes from action. Even a little shift can make a difference, especially when you keep making those micro shifts. 

    Choose one of these doable changes that piques your interest or resonates with where you are — and roll with it. 

    Here are three Doable Changes from this conversation:

    • DEFINE BOUNDARIES. Think about where you are in your life right now. What other responsibilities do you have? How is your own health? What are the actual needs? Be clear on what you can do and what you need help with. Define the boundary and then seek help for the rest.

    • ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS. We don’t have conversations about advanced care planning or end of life, but we need to. Even if your loved ones are healthy and independent now, you can start having conversations about what they would want if they couldn’t speak for themselves. You can also start talking about where and how they’d like to live their later life.

    • CREATE A SELF-CARE PLAN. Caregivers often stop taking care of themselves to take care of others. This isn’t sustainable. Make a self-care plan for yourself. Start with sleep, nutrition, appointments and care for health conditions that you already have or that come up.
    From Overwhelm to Ease


    Sammie Stephens is an Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in

    both the clinical and administrative side of healthcare. She has a Master of Science in Nursing from Walden University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from New Mexico State University. She is also a graduate of the Real Balance Global Wellness Coach training program.

    In 2015, Sammie established a health coaching program for a Level II Trauma hospital in

    Wyoming. The program aimed to improve health and decrease burnout risk for employees. The

    following year, she played a key role in developing an integrative health clinic at the same

    hospital. The clinic focused on helping community members reduce the risk of heart disease,

    diabetes, and stroke.

    More recently, she served as a Nurse Practitioner for seniors, providing compassionate care to

    patients in various locations including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and

    private residences. In 2022, Sammie started Vivac Health to help family caregivers understand

    and navigate the healthcare system so their loved ones can get the care they need.


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