Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Communicating without Aggravating

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

My 90 year old dad called at 5:30 p.m.Wednesday night saying “Bob (my husband), Marion (his 89 year old wife) isn’t good. She wants Joan. Get her up here now!”

On July 28th they moved into a new Supportive Living Facility in a town about 50 minutes from our home. The staff don’t know them like the place they had been in for the past 18 months so they needed an advocate.

As soon as we arrived I knew Mom had an UTI (Urinary Track Infection) and needed an antibiotic. UTIs hit the elderly really hard and mom becomes confused and exhibits signs of a mini-stroke. She is also legally blind so staff have to be told so doesn’t fall if they get her to walk or stand up.

There was no way we were getting an antibiotic without a doctor’s order and they hadn’t seen a doctor yet so the only alternative was to call the ambulance and take her to the hospital  about 4 minutes away.

I focused on one message. “I’m sure she has an UTI. She needs an antibiotic and it will take her about 3 -5 days to get feeling better. ” The staff at the care facility didn’t know me, nor trust me and were following the rules.

My brother was able to find out what antibiotic worked and texted me the name while I sat with mom in Emergency. I kept repeating my key message and kept emotion out of it. Inside I wanted to scream, “Get her an antibiotic NOW!” It is so difficult to watch mom suffer and know what needs to be done.

I also had to keep in mind that the staff (supportive living, ambulance and hospital) were following the rules, were doing their best and specific procedures had to be followed. I kept all emotion out of my voice and just kept with the same message.

“No, often she doesn’t run a temperature with this, yes she becomes very confused, she vomits and moans. This tells me she has an UTI.”

One hour later, after a urine test, she was diagnosed with an UTI and an antibiotic started. My brother had arrived and the doctor told us she would be admitted to the hospital. My brother went over to see dad and my husband, who was with my dad at the Supportive Living Facility, came over and we headed home. We got back at midnight. Mentally exhausted.

Once my brother got dad settled down, he headed to the hospital until mom was in a room at about 1:30 a.m. He was mentally exhausted.

What happens to the elderly who don’t have family caregivers? The medical staff are great, and when they don’t know the history of their patients, and that patient is incoherent,  they must follow specific procedures, which aren’t always the best.

My brother and I share the caregiving and many days we are worn out. Mostly mentally, watching the parents we love and respect, struggling. At 61 and 66 we get tired too! We have supportive spouses and have each other.  My parents are able to pay for extra help when they need it. Many seniors are not.

The staff at the supportive living facility are super. They are stretched to the limit with responsibilities and since the place is brand new they are on a steep learning curve.

More staff is needed. The loads on the existing staff is huge, as it was in the last place my parents were. The staff we see are caring, professional and want to help, it’s just that they are expected to do too much for too many.

My parents have each other and family to check in. I feel for the clients that do not.


#37 Stressed, Tired and Unhappy At Work?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

“It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.”

Mary O’Connor, Romance Writer

I love quotes that make me laugh. That’s exactly what the one above did for me and then… it gave me a slap upside the head. Why are so many people SO busy and SO stressed and SO tired?  And why are other people, who are just as busy, happy and content?

I wonder if some aren’t like the mosquito, sucking all the blood out of others by negative attitudes and never looking within, for answers or help. If we keep pointing at others and pointing out how they are upsetting us, we will never stop and take an honest look at ourselves.

Do most of your sentences start with ‘but’?  Get rid of that word. Catch yourself and substitute the word ‘and’.  If ‘but’ is in your self-talk you might be using it to make excuses for your own behaviour.. ‘But he never listens to my ideas’. “But I was hurt at my last job, that’s why I won’t try again.”

How do you speak to yourself? Are you looking for trouble before it happens? Are you blaming the past? Are you setting yourself up for failure? If we keep enough negative words circling in our heads we become like the mosquito. People see us coming and they wish they could reach for the spray.

If you find yourself making sweeping negative comments, stop and ask yourself, ‘Is this true’, ‘what is true’. Those two phrases will help you reframe your thinking. Often we use phrases like ‘he ALWAYS’, or ‘she NEVER’, when in fact if you ask yourself ‘what is true’ the situation is far less earth-shattering.

When dealing with difficult people, we are told to ask questions for clarification. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Why do you say that?’ Perhaps it’s time to point your finger back at yourself and ask yourself those same questions.

Learn to listen to yourself and think about what messages you are sending before you start to judge others. Ask yourself, ‘are you a bee or a mosquito’?

Joan Craven’s bookGot It! 21 Communication Tips for Busy People is available on Amazon and as a Kindle.


I Got It! #18 Want To Be Inspired?

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I just chatted with a fellow writer Erica Jefferson. She was interviewing me for one of her upcoming shows. She was delightful. Her voice was animated and full of life and I loved her accent. Funny thing, she asked me where I was from as she could hear my accent too! Made me think how quickly we draw impressions, even when we can’t see a person.

What message are we giving off when we speak to someone? Are we enthusiastic and engaged? Are we good listeners or are we waiting for our turn to talk? Interesting thoughts for a Monday.

If you would like to learn more about Erica you can go to her website at

Happy Monday!

I Got It! #17 Want Some Quick Book Marketing Tips?

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Getting your books into as many libraries as possible is a great way to build momentum. Most public libraries will buy more than one copy so it just makes sense to make sure they know about your latest offering.  In Canada there are over 21,000 libraries so think about sales if each one bought 10 books.

  1. First ask your friends and colleagues to recommend your book at their local library. Provide them with the ISBN #, Title, Author, Publication Date and Publisher name and contact.
  1. While you can approach Canadian libraries separately, you might like to ensure that your book is available for purchase through all of the following:

Library Bound Inc
Library Services Centre
Whitehots Canadian Library Services

I’m sure there are compatible lists in the United States and as soon as I research it I will let you know the links. Good luck!

Just in case you want to recommend my book here is what you need:

Title: Got It! 21 Communiation Tips for Busy, Impateint People

Author: Joan Craven

ISBN: 978-1-60976-690-0

Publisher:Eloquent Books (January 2011)

Pubisher: Strategic BOok Group


The book is also available in the Kindle form.

Thanks for your help in getting the word out! :)


I Got It! #14 What’s Happening in Writing and Publishing Today?

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Yesterday I attended a thought-provoking workshop called Secure Footing in a Changing Literary Landscape. Some interesting tidbits I learned from writers and speakers Betsy Warland ( and Kelly Duffin included:

  • The future for writers is fantastic because we are now free to create our own books, forge innovative collaborates to produce books, promote our passion for our subject in unlimited ways and continually reinvent ourselves
  • We will need gumption and adaptability to learn this new way of writing
  • Many publishers are checking with big box wholesalers before they accept your manuscript . Saleability is what it is all about.
  • Over the next 10 -15 years there will be a 10-12 million drop in readers as post- baby boomers pass away
  • The average adolescent texts over 40,000 words per month
  • I need to change the photo on my website because crossed arms means I’m not to be trusted :)
  • One of the most trusted sources on the web are personal BLOGS

The Writers Union of Canada ( is running these workshops and I’m glad I attended. Made me think about new ways to market Got It!