Understanding And Implementing Beneficial AI with Dr. Valerie Morignat and Finding Caregiving/Work Balance In Managing Geriatric Healthcare with John Paul Marosy

AI may seem like the new black, but it’s not new technology. AI has actually been around for 70 years, and it originally meant emulating human level intelligence in machines. Virtual environment and cognition expert and innovation strategy consultant Dr. Valerie Morignat talks about beneficial AI or the use of AI to positively impact the world. Dr. Morignat is also an experienced entrepreneur and executive, a global keynote speaker, and AI ethics and strategy expert. As AI enters its renaissance, she shares her opinion about embracing the technology and what angles we should look at when creating such technology.

Trying to arrange care for your mother, your father, or another older person in your life can be very complex. You have to make sure you’re getting the right answers to the questions on the healthcare side. You also have to figure out how to pay for the care or how to find the right housing options. Factoring into all that is respecting and involving the older person to keep as much autonomy as they possibly can and make their own decisions. John Paul Marosy, a pioneer in the field of aging and caregiving/work balance, talks about the emotional and logistical component of working in geriatric health care. He shares a step by step process to balancing work and family so you can properly care for your elderly.

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AI

 

We have Dr. Valerie Morignat and John Paul Marosy. Valerie is a global keynote. She’s an AI-First Strategy expert and a tenured associate professor. John Paul is a nationally-recognized expert on caregiving/work balance, also the author and Founder of Caregivers Work. It’s going to be a fascinating show. 

Listen to the podcast here:

Understanding And Implementing Beneficial AI with Dr. Valerie Morignat

I am here with Dr. Valerie Morignat who is an experienced entrepreneur and executive, global keynote speaker, an AI-First strategy expert and a serial award-winning designer. In France, she’s been a tenured associate professor of Cinema Interactive Arts. She is a researcher in virtual environments and cognition. She serves as government-appointed innovation strategy consultant. She’s got this very fascinating background. I’m looking forward to this. Welcome doctor. Can I call you Valerie? 

Yes, you can call me Valerie. Diane, it’s my pleasure to be your guest. 

Please call me Diane. This is going to be fun. We’ve had a little bit of time to talk before the show and I’ve looked at some of the stuff that you sent me. I’m fascinated with everything right now that’s interesting in terms of artificial intelligence. You’ve got involvement in that area. You have to be super busy right now because that’s everybody’s topic of interest. We’re going to give a little bit of background in more about maybe what you do than about you. I know that you’ve done some amazing things and I want to find out how you became in artificial intelligence. 

I had many lives in my life and that’s because I’m someone curious and very passionate about always finding ways to look at the world differently and discovering new things. I was very passionate with AI pretty much all my life. Even as a child, I felt that this was a cool topic every time I was watching science fiction movies. This was always there in a way in my life. I was born in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, which is a very remote island. The connection to the outside world were books and movies, I’ve developed those passion. I knew very early that I would devote my life to research. 

That’s why I studied at the Sorbonne University and I became an assistant professor. I taught all sorts of very cool classes in cinema, arts, virtual reality and augmented reality. I’ve always been very interested actually in connecting technology and innovation with the art of the past and ancient stories, mythologies, history also. It’s very important to combine the learning from the past with the findings of the present. That makes us a lot more aware of what’s happening. That has been my strongest interest for many years, everything related to visual arts and how to innovate with visual arts.  

I started speaking, writing and thinking about AI through arts, through interactive arts and through cinema because at some point, when I became a tenured associate professor in cinema, I realized there was a revolution happening in the world of visual arts on the cinema side. That revolution already was encompassing AI. AI was present in the way we were making movies and in other themes within movies. My passion for AI developed at that time and that’s when I started publishing my first research papers on the topic. All these led me to a few steps here and there doing other things. This led me to doing what I’m doing now. I founded the Intelligent Story in San Francisco, which is an AI strategy firm. 

I want you to talk about your firm and what AI exactly is because that’s an interesting question. The most important question for you is which one’s better, Star Trek or Star Wars?  

Star Trek. 

Thank you. I’m so glad you said that. 

Like I said, I’m a Pacific islander. When you’re born on a tiny island, you’re dreaming of having teleportation capability. 

I’ve had a couple of people who have had some technologies that talked about things like this. I’m more of a Star Trek person too. I mentioned that I wanted to find out your definition of AI and what you do at Intelligent Story, your company in San Francisco. Can you touch on those? 

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Implementing Beneficial AI: Beneficial AI is the use of AI to have positive impact on human groups and the world.

 

Let me start by giving you the overall definition of AI and maybe down the road, we will dive deeper into this. First thing, AI may be the new black, but it’s not a new tech at all. There’s a lot of hype around it, but it’s not the new technology. It’s actually a 70-year-old technology. Originally the term meant emulating humanlevel intelligence in machines. We’re still trying to do that nowadays. We are not very successful at doing it yet, but I believe that we will, we can do already a lot of extraordinary things, but we are at what we call the narrow AI stage. Why did I create Intelligent Story? In my previous positions, I worked in the healthcare industry. In my research also, I’ve seen what good and purposeful use of technology can achieve. 

That’s why I wanted to dedicate myself to helping businesses implementing what I call beneficial AI, which is the use of AI that can have a positive impact on human growth, but also on the world. I’m writing a book on the ethics of AI, but I wanted also to be a part of that revolution on the industry side. Now is the best time to do it. I’m going to give you a prediction here that I found in a study I’ve read. By 2030, every business will be AI-powered. That means that the capability is already there and it’s very easy to see how companies can save hundreds of millions of dollars integrating AI and using AI, and at the same time, they also can have a beneficial impact on the world. 

That interests me a lot. I realized the more I was talking with executivesbusiness owners and leaders, that they were all excited about it, but they don’t know how to harness that. They don’t know how to integrate that in their companies and within their business strategy. 75% of business leaders nowadays say that they don’t have the necessary knowledge to make strategy decisions regarding AI. It’s a real concern and that stood out as a very critical problem that I wanted to help solve. That’s why I created Intelligent Story because I want to help business leaders navigate the complexity of AI, the velocity also of the technological cycles of AI. I want them to be less intimidated with engaging with strategic decisions using AI. 

The reality is that if you want to reap the benefits of AI, you need to find a strategy that aligns with your business model and that aligns with the value proposition of your company. To do that, you need to have an AI strategy. You also need to have a workforce that is welcoming of AI. A workforce that you will help overcome the fear of being left aside of that revolution, the fear of being obsolete. You need to drive a data-driven culture in your company. That’s why I created Intelligent Story. It’s to bring those answers to executives and to help them put in place the two foundational steps of their AI transformation. AI strategy, which is the backbone of AI product integration and deployment and AI Readiness Training, which prepares the workforce for a world where we will on a daily basis collaborate with intelligent machines. 

You brought up so many great things in that. I gave a talk at SHRM about improving innovation through developing curiosity. I was thinking about how much of what you talk about and what you do, we overlap in so many ways because I’ve actually worked in an art gallery, I worked in healthcare, I do research, I sold technology. I taught ethics, and some of this stuff that you’re talking about is all very familiar. I’ve had a Jürgen Schmidhuber on the show talking about AI that he created. I know that there are a lot of questions about this ethical, problematic issues with all this. When you’re saying all of these companies are going to be AI-powered, I want to know what you specifically mean by AIpowered. Is that asking your Echo a question? How deep does that go and what are the ethics involved? 

It's very important to combine the learning from the past with the findings of the present to become more aware of what's happening. Click To Tweet

It can go very deep, such as for instance becoming in the future what we call an AI-first company. Meaning you are developing your models and your entire strategy revolves around being a company that does AI. You can also be a company that actually harnesses the power of machine learning and deep learning. I’d like to be more concrete and maybe demystify a little bit those terms because it’s very important for people to understand what those terms mean and why ethics in that field is so important. AI is not a brand-new technology. It’s been around since the 50s and it’s an umbrella term. 

Under that umbrella term, you have machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, neural networks, all of them were already existing in the 50s. Around the 2000s, we understood that trying to emulate reasoning in machines by encoding tons of rules was not very effective. It was costly. It was timeconsuming. AI researchers started to teach machines to learn by themselves directly from data by making predictions from data. That’s what machine learning is. There are three big factors that enabled that. There’s Big data. We are surrounded by data. There’s an explosion of data due to all the devices we’re using and the connected world we live in. Computing power dramatically increased. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Your smartphone now has more computing power than all of NASA back when they sent the first man to the moon. 

It’s a very good example because it shows you the velocity here in terms of computing power increase. This is an accelerating trend. That computing power enabled your smartphone to have a neural network that can recognize your face, which is stunning. I know it leads me to the third example here, the third factor as why now AI is entering a renaissance. That third factor is called deep learning. Deep learning, it’s an evolution of machine learning that uses multi-layers of artificial neural networks. Those are inspired by how the brain is structured. Those deep learning algorithms can outperform us in a great variety of tasks. They’re very important for industries like healthcare, for instance. That’s very important to understand those notions. 

We’re talking about some of the issues involved and we talked about voice and there’s facial recognition. There are a lot of things that out there are saying, “This is a problem. You don’t want to have this certain amount of recognition.” Do you feel we’re getting too much of us being captured and saved? Do you have an Echo? Would you feel comfortable with all of the technology out there? Do you think that there’s too much or should we say, “We’re already past it. Get over it and embrace it? 

I love that you’re asking that question because that is typically a question for an AI ethicist. We have to look at any technology under every possible angle. Can that technology help this or that industry and bring better outcomes? Can it increase and amplify an existing prejudice in the real world? Facial recognition is of course a very important area of concern for many reasons. The first reason is bias. I’d like to talk about that because it’s at the core of what I think about every day and this is what I also help companies prevent. There are researchers who actually work every day on the question of bias in face recognition. One of them is someone who’s a superstar in terms of ethics. 

Her name is Joy Buolamwini. She’s a PhD and a researcher at MIT. She’s a black woman and she’s the Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League. She raises awareness on the fact that facial analysis can of course be a problem in terms of mass surveillance, weaponization of AI, harmful discrimination and in a law enforcement context of course. What she did is pretty amazing. She uncovered that there was an unacceptable racial and gender bias in facial recognition algorithms used by top companies. For instance, Amazon, that algorithm would not recognize her face. The algorithm was unable to track her face because she’s a black woman and because the data sets that trained that algorithm was mostly data sets of images of white males. You see the double prejudice. Facial recognition can be an issue if the data set contains a bias, but algorithms did not invent bias. Bias is in the human mind in the first place. If anything, those algorithms are showing us, if we haven’t noticed before, that’s we are full of biases and that we need to be a lot more inquisitive in our thinking. 

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AI
Implementing Beneficial AI: We can be very innovative from a technology standpoint, but we’re still not very innovative from a social standpoint.

 

It’s funny because I’m writing about bias and perception right now and all this is very interesting to me. We know that there’s a lot of discrimination against minorities and there are not a lot of women in the field that you’re in. What is the reasoning for that in your mind? What can we do to make that change? 

What I see is that we can be very innovative from a technology standpoint, but we’re still not very innovative from a social standpoint. This is where we need a very proactive change and that change needs to come from the top in those fields. I’m going to give you a few examples that I always have in mind when people ask me that question. 88% of researchers in the world who publish papers on AI at leading conferences are men. 80% of AI professors are men. 75% of undergraduate students in the field are men. 71% of AI job applicants in the United States in AI are also men.  

Why is that? Is it that women are not interested, they’re not feeling welcomed or what is it? 

It’s a consequence of a mindset that existed before that. Where females were not encouraged in pursuing a career in computer sciences, technology or engineering. They were more encouraged towards pursuing careers in education and healthcare. It’s cultural. What we are having now as a situation is a consequence of that culture that was not supportive of women pursuing careers in those fields. This is changing. I can see that firsthand. There’s a dramatic increase in terms of awareness within companies. They are taking that problem very seriously. They are trying to be more inquisitive, but it needs to be more prevalent in terms of hiring strategies. Let’s take another example of a bias that was shocking. Last year, some researchers identified the fact that women were showed less paying jobs ads than men on social media. An algorithm was doing that and the algorithm was peeking on the current state of the worldEthicists in AI are working on correcting that because we cannot have algorithms amplifying issues that we encounter in the real world. 

You’re not from United States with your beautiful accent. You’re from France. I’m curious if you’re seeing that there’s a difference in different parts of the world where they are having more women interested in getting into AI. How is AI developing in all these different regions? Do you know more information about that? 

Here is what I’m capturing through my networks globally. What I can tell you is that 100% of women I know are interested in AI and they are all interested in AI. That’s for sure. In France, we encounter all the same issues. The majority of people working in AI are also men, but the interest is shared by every woman. America does a better job though at voicing those concerns than France. That’s what I would say. The working groups here for instance, female business owners in AI, women in AI are probably more active on social media than in France. This trend is changing too. I have a lot of hopes actually. I think we are on the right path. The future of AI is female. 

AI originally meant emulating human-level intelligence in machines. Click To Tweet

I’ve seen Sophia and yes, she was. If you’ve seen that robot, I was at an event where they brought her. I play with that comment because I do think that it is going to be a bigger market for women and not just making robots in the shape of women. It’s very important to you to take a look at the change in what it’s going to impact for work. As we get all these companies, you mentioned that we’re going to have all of them using AI in the future. How can we have foresight? How can we be proactive to that? What can we be doing now to make sure that this works well? What’s the smooth transition? 

Two things. The first thing is that every industrial revolution brings the fear of obsolescence in people. There’s a fear of mass unemployment and the media is very good actually at amplifying that fear. That is completely understandable. Everywhere you are trying to make a change, you will face resistance to that change. The strategy here is, first of all, to have people understand that machines aren’t competing against us. AI is not going to massively replace jobs tomorrow. It will change the job landscape as we know it. It will destroy some jobs equally for high-paying jobs and low paying jobs. It will transform jobs, but it will also create jobs. Look at all the jobs that were created by the digital revolution. 

Several years ago, we would never have imagined that we would have something like all the social media we are using and that social media manager would be a job. There are many jobs and functions that are going to be created by the AI Revolution. The best way to prepare for that is first, I would say, to create a cultural mindset shift within companies. Alleviate the fears. Have people understand that this revolution is going to give them the opportunity to learn new things and to work in a more effective way with machines. Machines are going to collaborate with us. They’re going to adapt better to us. I have a very positive outlook on how AI is going to transform everybody’s work on a daily basis. Companies need to train people and have them understand that there’s no need to fear this. It’s better to start now and understand how we can adapt to it. 

I was thinking how we’ve always said that as jobs will go away, new ones will be in place of those jobs. You’d never thought of having a social media manager, that kind of thing. It’s growing so rapidly. I sold System 36 and 38 in 1985 or something, and back then they were worried about all this stuff, but things weren’t developing at the speed that they are now. Now that we’re expanding so quickly and doing so many, I can do so many more jobs than what computers could do back then. Is there a real difference of how many jobs can be created as compared to back then? Is it always going to be the same thing? 

I have this on top of my mind because I looked at a report. If I look at the prediction of the World Economic Forum, it estimates that by 2022, AI will create 133 million jobs. This is an incredible number. It’s showing us that this revolution is already exponentially creating wealthcreating new jobs and creating new ways of sharing, thinking, collaborating and inventing. It’s redefining the way we look at the future. There’s a lot of opportunity for people now. Even if their company is not proactively helping them training for that AI Revolution, there are many opportunities for people to find very interesting certificates that they can get online. The learning opportunities are there, thanks to the digital revolution. We can go online and learn a lot about this revolution and how it can help us make better decisions for ourselves tomorrow. 

Is there a particular certificate that you recommend? I had someone who went to one at MIT and she liked that. I was curious if there was anything that you’d like. 

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AI
Implementing Beneficial AI: AI is not going to massively replace jobs. It will transform jobs, but it will also create jobs.

 

That’s exactly what I was going to recommend. MIT has pretty good certifications, and equally on the strategy and the data analysis side of AI. There are interesting opportunities for everyone there. Oxford University has very good programs online. Stanford, of course all the top tier universities are providing opportunities for certification in those fields. When people hear AI they think mathematics, they think data, and they’re right because if you want to build an algorithm, you need to have those skills. AI is not just computer science. AI is becoming more and more multidisciplinary. 

You have nowadayphilosophers working in that field because philosophy is about asking questions. It’s very important to us to have questions with AI because like you pointed out, with technology like face recognition, if it’s put in the wrong hand, you have a mass oppression tool. If it’s used in the right way, you can help in fighting child trafficking and animal poaching. You can do all sorts of things that could help the world. It’s a multidisciplinary field. More and more, we need people in sociology, people in psychology, people in even user experience because our interfaces tomorrow will be entirely driven by voice and intelligence will grow within them. The things are going to be very different on the design side. 

I actually serve as a board advisor for Radius AI and I’m very interested in seeing what they do with their recognition software without having issues like you’re mentioning. They’ve found ways around all of that. I’m very fascinated by that whole field. I was looking forward to having you on the show and this was so much fun. I know a lot of people are going to want to know how they can reach you and find out more. Valerie, can you share how they can find out more about what you’re doing? 

The smartphone today has more computing power than all of NASA back when they sent the first man to the moon. Click To Tweet

They can go to IntelligentStory.com. That’s my company website. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. You can also add me on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to provide any answer to any question. 

I appreciate that. Thank you so much for being on the show. 

Thank you very much for inviting me. 

Finding Caregiving/Work Balance In Managing Geriatric Healthcare with John Paul Marosy

I am here with John Paul Marosy, who is a pioneer in the field of aging and caregiving work balance. He’s a successful leader and manager in geriatric healthcare, housing services and managed care for frail elders. He’s a nationally-recognized expert in caregiving, worklife balance, and the Founder of Caregivers Work, a network of professionals and consumers committed to improving the quality of life of employed family caregivers. He’s also the author of Caregivers Work: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family: Elder Care Edition and A Manager’s Guide To Elder Care and Work. It’s so nice to have you here, John Paul. 

I’m delighted to be invited, Diane. 

You’re welcome. This is a little bit different of a topic. I’ve not had anybody talk about this on the show and I don’t know why it hasn’t come up before this. It’s nice of Mike Saunders to introduce us because he was a guest on the show. He was great and he had great things to say about you. I’m very interested in getting a little background on you. What got you into this? Can you give us a little history? 

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Caregivers Work: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family: Elder Care Edition

My background is in geriatric cure and management services to help old people stay independent. That’s what my whole career has been about. I was the President of the State Association for homecare a few years back when my father took ill. I had to get involved in helping him make it at home, which was his desire to be able to stay at home as long as he possibly could. Even though I had been in working in the field of home healthcare for the elderly for fifteen years, I couldn’t believe the stress level, the level of complexity and confusion, the difficulty of putting the pieces together from my own father. I figured if I have been in the field of elder care and home care for fifteen years and this was tough for me, what’s it like for the typical person who has had no contact with this world of Medicare, Medicaid and senior housing options? That motivated me to write my first book, A Manager’s Guide To Elder Care and Work, which has been recognized as the core reference text used in business schools and elsewhere to give a framework for employers to deal with this issue. 

It is a very big issue with so many boomers in the age group that we’re hitting right now. It’s challenging to know what it is to expect. I don’t think a lot of people have foresight for what’s going to happen. You mentioned it’s so complex. What makes it complex? 

It’s your emotional component. There’s also a huge logistical component to it because the kinds of situations and challenges that you can face as an individual in trying to arrange care for your mother, your father, or another older person in your life can be very complex. It can range from getting the right answers to the right questions on the healthcare side, figuring out how to pay for care and how to find the right housing options. There are all the dynamics within the family. Emotions run high when it comes to working with mom and dad and make decisions. Factoring into all that is wanting to respect the older person to keep as much autonomy as they possibly can and make their own decisions. It’s a real balancing act and bringing all that to the workplace and staying productive is not an easy thing for people to do. That’s why I wrote this little guide, which takes people through a stepbystep process to assess their situation at work, assess the situation at home taking care of mom or dad and create a written plan that they can follow. 

I’m curious when you talk about the steps involved, are companies very sympathetic to what you need to have timewise to help somebody? They realize the time it requires when you have a new baby or certain things, but this is a little different. How are companies reacting to this? 

It’s interesting you’re asking that question because there’s a very important Watershed Report that came out in February. It’s called The Caring Company: How Employers Can Help Employees Manage Their Caregiving Responsibilities by a couple of researchers at the Harvard Business School. The essence of their report is employers know the demographic challenges out there, but a lot of them still have their heads in the sand. They’re not understanding what the nature of the challenges are that their employees have. They’re not realizing the scope of the problem. The most incredible thing that I found was the underutilization of the benefits 

The mismatch between what employers think important benefits are and what the employee caregivers think important benefits are. The essence of this is meeting today’s challenge in the labor market. When we look at the demographics, we see that the fastestgrowing segment of the workforce are going to be women over 55 years old. When we look ahead for the next ten to fifteen years in the workplace, these are the people who are going to be feeling the stresses of caregiving. The way we respond in terms of our manager training, the benefits we offer, our policies and practices are going to be crucial to remaining competitive in the changing labor market that we’re all going to find ourselves in. 

A lot of women I know are over 55 years old and they have a very challenging time finding a job to begin with because they’re 55 years old. You’re trying to get a job, you’re caring about these benefits that you may not even be offered and then you need the time off to some extent to deal with this. Is it that deck against that group of people? 

It’s not for companies with the right culture. A lot of companies have increased their awareness and adjusted their benefits offerings and policies to better meet the needs of some of their younger employees in terms of raising children. A lot of those companies are well-positioned to do a little bit of tweaking and an increase in awareness around the caregiving issue. Remember, we’re not only talking about people caring for older people. We’re talking about Millennials caring for a partner who is a person with a disability or younger families that have a child with special needs. These caregiving issues cut across the age spectrum. 

Why do you think we’re getting more attention to this now? Is it because of a report? 

The underlying trends are unstoppable. I would say companies and employers ignore this issue with their peril. Everyone can see the changes in the demographics. The United States Census Bureau announced that for the very first time, the number of older people over 65 is going to exceed the number of children in the United States. Secondly, the demographics in terms of the changing workforce alluded to, we’re not going to be able to find the workers and the younger population completely. This caregiving issue is going to come to the center of focus for productivity and avoiding turnover. 

There is underutilization of benefits and mismatch between what employers and employees think are important benefits. Click To Tweet

You mentioned productivity. I’m wondering what’s the biggest impact of productivity if they’re dealing with a special needs child? 

When the Harvard researchers did their study and they did a representative sample of 300 HR and executive level professionals in corporations of different sizes around the country, they talked to a sample of 1,500 employees involved in caregiving. What they found the number one need was for time. It’s time, flexibility and policies that made it possible for people to job share and for people to work remotely and adjust their starting and stopping times. Probably time is the absolute number one need, an area for opportunity in adjusting policies and practices. Timely information was number two, which means the ability to find the information rapidly about what kind of resources are out there, either within the company as benefits package or in the community to help solve the problems. 

The third one was financial solutions because the cost of longterm care especially for older people has a huge impact not only on the older person’s budget, but we find that a high percentage of employed workers are actually helping to subsidize the cost of care for their parents. Finally, which goes to your central theme of emotional intelligence is emotional support. We have these companies with wonderful mission statements and statements of corporate culture. Many times, the chief executive sincerely believes that they’re creating a work-family balanced environment. Yet when it comes down to the brass tacks to an employee needing to be able to take the time off, if the climate is there with their manager, with your supervisor that says, “This is not okay in our department,” they don’t ask for the time off. 

We find a big underutilization of benefits because of the climate of fear and the climate of lack of knowledge about caregiving. The starting point for any employer who’s serious about avoiding the turnover and productivity loss related to caregiving work balance conflict is to walk the talk and to talk the walk. It’s both. If the C-suite people can’t tell little stories to their middle level managers about the ways that they’ve taken some time off, about how they’ve coped with caring for a special needs child in their family, those stories, if they don’t get told by the top people, they don’t get ticked up by the middle managers. We can look at all the demographic information and statistical analysis. If the middle managers aren’t getting the message that if the words on the paper don’t match the behavior of the leaders of the company, they don’t actually give the flexibility that those line workers need in order to maintain their jobs and not quit due to the stresses of caregiving work conflict. 

When you say that, it reminds me of a job I had where my boss was great. I liked her, but she would keep us extra late sometimes at night and say, “Let’s do a top sales push and stay extra late,” because her husband stayed home with her kids and she didn’t have to rush home. Later when she got a divorce, then she had to take care of the kids, and then you get a different perspective. What about these C-suite leaders who haven’t had these experiences? Somebody else’s taking care of the kids or the parents or whoever has the issue. How do you get through to them so that they see this? 

I’ll give you a perfect example. I had a nice conversation with the CEO of the world’s largest dining services company. His name is Scott McClellan. Scott and I talked about this issue and we talked about how do we crack this open so that people start to deal with it in a real way? What he decided to do is he got twelve copies of my book, Caregivers Work: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family and he provided them to the members of his leadership team. He asked them all to take a look at the book, consider if it wasn’t affecting them directly, somebody new in their family who was affected and then come back and talk about what they learned from looking at the little book that I put together. A lot of light bulbs went off. You’re right, some C-suite folks may be in a position where they can pay for outside help to deal with these issues so they don’t personally have to get involved, but that doesn’t mean the emotional aspect isn’t there for them. Showing some of those real human feelings as part of it also open your door for a conversation about it with top level leaders, which can then cascade down to middle managers is the starting point. 

Any cultural change we’d like to see come from the top and it’s always great to see the C-suite buy into some of these very important issues and this is one of them. I’m curious about when you mentioned some of the underutilization of benefits and how some benefits are important. Which ones are people underutilizing and which ones do they want more? Did you get into those specifics in anything you saw? 

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AI
Implementing Beneficial AI: We find a big underutilization of benefits because of the climate of fear and a lack of knowledge about caregiving.

 

What I found interesting was even to the most basic, which to me would be flexible work hours, in the survey done by the Harvard Business School, 65% of employers are for the benefit, but only 39% of employees utilize that benefit. Maternity leave is offered by 60% of employers, but only utilized by 28% of those who are eligible. Unpaid leaves offered by 55% is utilized by only 19%. Naturally you ask the question, why the gap? Why if employers are offering these important benefits, why aren’t they being utilized? It comes back to what I spoke of. It’s the culture and the message being sent from top to middle managers and how that translates in relationships between managers and their direct line employees. In my six step guide to balancing caregiving and work, one of the steps is assessing the trust between the employee and his or her manager or supervisor. It’s four simple questions, circle response from each statement. 

My supervisors treat each other with respect and politeness, agree, disagree, not sure. My supervisor keeps commitments that he or she has made to me, agree, disagree, not sure. I don’t worry about making occasional mistakes on the job because my supervisor respects my work, sees mistakes as a way to learn and grow on the job, agree, disagree, not sure. Finally, I’d be comfortable discussing my caregiving situation with my supervisor if I felt that caregiving must have an impact on my job performance, agree, disagree, not sure. When the employee completes these few questions, I suggest to them that if the trust level is high, they can proceed with the next suggestions that I have for entering it to a conversation about finding an accommodation sometimes on a temporary basis. If the trust factor is low, I advise them to seek out information and support from a third party, maybe somebody in the HR department. Unfortunately were in a situation where despite the best intentions, sometimes the trust level among managers employees is not where we’d like it to be. That gets in the way of employees feeling comfortable utilizing the benefits that employers are paying for and putting on the table to support their work-life balance needs. 

Everything you’re talking about ties into the research I did in curiosity of what holds people back from being innovative and engaged in all the things that work. A lot of it ties back to curiosity. One of the factors that stop people from being curious is fear and your environment. There’s fear, assumptions, technology and environment, the four factors. When we’re looking at fear, you don’t want to look bad to anybody at work. That ties in exactly to what you’re saying there. The environmental influence is your boss, what other people are doing, what the culture is can have a huge impact. All of this is what I would like to see changed because fear holds so many people back for so many different reasons. A lot of leaders don’t even realize that they’re instilling fear because that’s how they were led. It keeps going from leader to leader and it doesn’t change. This is an important conversation. You mentioned six steps and we touched on one when we’re talking about assessing. The other five, can we touch on those? 

For people who are reading and who are involved in project management, this is going to sound familiar because the first step is to assess the situation. The next is to learn about resources internally at your place of employment, but also in the community and then weighing the options. What are the different ways that you can cope with the challenges that you find in your situation? Begin to implement a plan, monitor for changes, and then adjust the plan as time goes by. One of the most powerful things about the book that is now available in print as well is when you purchase it as an eBook, there are all these live links in here. I’ve done extensive research to narrow down the plethora of information that’s out there on the internet that’s there to help caregivers, but it’s all knowing what sources can you trust and who’s posting a product that’s not the right fit. That’s the toughest thing. The elder care resources from A to Z section of the book makes it easy. Click on the link or dial an 800 number and get instant access to the resources that people need to cope with their particular situation. 

You mentioned some resources that aren’t very helpful. Do you list some that maybe you’d want to avoid? 

No. What I try to do rather than take a negative approach is provide objective sources that have evaluated different kinds of service. For example, if you’re going to pick an elder law attorney, I will suggest that you go to the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys because these people are vetted and they meet certain criteria. There are levels of expertise. The same holds true for engaging in private care manager. A care manager can be a huge help. There are lots of people like me who have a long distance caregiving situation. I actually engage the care manager. I live in Denver, Colorado. I have an uncle who’s 87 years old and was in a very tough situation, not getting proper care in a nursing home in northern New Jersey. I was able to engage a care manager there who was certified and found her through the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers. 

I could see her background, her credentials. She was able to intervene and create a presence for me that I couldn’t personally have back there in northern New Jersey. Having that presence in the nursing home, we found immediate results in terms of the level of care, the quality of care that he was getting. It helps me to create a plan to get him out of that particular nursing home and make alternative arrangements. Being able to go to trusted sources is critical. I’ve done the research that the average person wouldn’t be able to do because they don’t know the system to the level that I do. 

For people who have a long-distance caregiving situation, engaging in private care manager can be a huge help. Click To Tweet

I’m curious about if you looked into any technology for monitoring for people who haven’t quite got to the nursing home level yet, but they’re old enough. You worry about them, but they could still have their own home but you’re worried maybe something might happen and wouldn’t know about it since they live alone and that type of thing. Do you talk about maybe technology to monitor them or options involved or do you recommend anything specifically for that? 

I’m glad you brought that up because technology is bringing a lot more opportunity for peace of mind for people like myself, for trying to take care of an older person living remotely. There’s a whole trend toward what we call the smart home. With that situation, we see that there are devices that can be installed that track the normal patterns of behavior and movement of the older person in their home. When there’s a variation from the normal moving from room to room or an unusual ceasing of activity, it sends a text alert to the caregiver. I’m not going to mention companies by name, but I would direct people to the smart home section of my book or to take a look at the AARP website, which is a good objective source of information on the range of technologies that are available for that remote monitoring. 

We remembered that the ads, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” where they had certain devices and things. No one wants to feel old, so you don’t want to say, “Here, you need to wear this thing. You have to have a camera watching you,” but I like the idea of not so invasive but keeping track.  

Technology is becoming a lot less invasive and provides you the information without interrupting the day to day living of the older person. 

That’s a hard thing. Even with my own mother, she lives very well. I can tell if I send her an email if it’s read or not. Everything’s okay. She reads her email, but there’s going to be a point where I would want to do more monitoring because you don’t know. How do you know when it’s time to start that? 

Technology is becoming a lot less invasive. It's providing information without interrupting the day to day living of the older person. Click To Tweet

If you find that there are changes in ability of the older person to do the normal things that they do, whether it’s cooking or cleaning, remembering appointments, that kind of thing, it’s probably time to have an assessment on. A good source of an overview on what’s available in terms of the smart home is a report that’s been published by the National Institute on Aging. It’s called a Guide To The Best Technology Resources And Tools For Seniors. You can obtain that at the National Institute On Aging website. Especially if you’re trying to do caregiving on a long distance basis, having some eyes and ears of a real human being at the other end of the country visiting, taking a look, seeing how your mom or dad is doing is valuable. That’s where the geriatric care management service that I mentioned can come in as a very valuable resource. 

I can imagine. I’m only five minutes from my mom and even then I’m running over there all the time. You don’t want her changing a light bulb up on the ceiling or something. There are so many things that people need you don’t even think about until they get to that age. A lot of this is helpful. Everybody reading is probably wondering how can they find out more? You’ve listed some websites and are there some other links or anything else you’d like to share? 

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AI
Implementing Beneficial AI: Technology is bringing a lot more opportunity and peace of mind for people in taking care of an older person living remotely.

 

If you are looking to get started, there are several guides that are published by AARP. The AARP.org website is a good starting point. Also for the particular resources for the workplace, let’s check out our website at CaregiversWork.com. On that website you’ll find a free report which will give you ten low cost, nocost things for every employee. I also have a link here to get a free copy of the Harvard Business School report that we were talking about. You can go to CaregiversWork.com 

I appreciate that, John Paul. This has been so interesting and so helpful. Thank you so much for being on the show. 

It’s my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me, Diane. Keep up the great work. You’re doing a great service to businesses of all kinds.  

I’d like to thank both Valerie and John Paul for being my guests. We get so many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. If you go to my website, DrDianeHamilton.com you can get there to the blog, you get to the radio show, you can also get to all the Curiosity Code information, so it’s all there. If you want to go straight to the Curiosity Code Index and buy the book and all that, it’s all at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio. 

I’d like to thank both Valerie and John Paul for being my guests. We get so many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. If you go to my website, DrDianeHamilton.com you can get there to the blog, you get to the radio show, you can also get to all the Curiosity Code information, so it’s all there. If you want to go straight to the Curiosity Code Index and buy the book and all that, it’s all at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio. 

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About Dr. Valerie Morignat

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AIDr. Valerie Morignat is an experienced entrepreneur and executive, a global Keynote Speaker, an AI-First Strategy expert, and a serial award-winning designer. In France, she has been a tenured Associate Professor of Cinema and Interactive Arts at the University of Montpellier III, and a Researcher in virtual environments and cognition at the Sorbonne University of Paris. She served as Government appointed Innovation Strategy Consultant prior to moving to the US where she occupied positions such as CIO and Head of Interactive Innovation in creative agencies, healthcare marketing firm and technology startups.

About John Paul Marosy

TTL 585 | Implementing Beneficial AIJohn Paul Marosy is a pioneer in the field of aging and caregiving/work balance. He is a successful leader and manager in geriatric health care, housing and services, and managed care for frail elders. He is a nationally recognized expert on caregiving/work balance and the founder of Caregivers Work, a network of professionals and consumers committed to improving the quality of life of an employed family caregiver.
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