PAMELA D. WILSON, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA is a national caregiving thought leader, caregiving expert, advocate, and speaker solving common and complex caregiving problems. Pamela offers online support and programs for caregivers seeking support and advice for the care of aging parents, spouses, and other family members. Pamela supports adults, age 50+, with positive aging advice and programs to increase health literacy and self-advocacy. Collaboration with professionals in the specialty areas of estate planning, elder law, and probate, financial planning, and healthcare raises awareness of and sensitivity to stressful family caregiving and healthcare issues.
Since 1999, Pamela has been a business owner providing direct service to older adults, family caregivers, and professionals. Her expertise includes care management and fiduciary responsibility in the roles of: guardian, medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and personal representative. Her professional caregiving experience combined with personal caregiving losses of a sister, both parents, and a brother offers rare and authentic expertise in the fields of healthcare and aging. Pamela offers experience and empathy in stressful caregiving situations to build confidence and peace of mind in daily caregiving and decision making.
The Escalating Caregiving Crises
The care and healthcare systems lack sensitivity to the daily issues and and emotional stress experienced by family caregivers and aging adults. Hospitals refuse to admit Medicare patients to avoid financial penalties or attempt to dump patients with little notice to families. More shocking to families is that Medicare does not pay for all types of care. Costs of care are unaffordable without a plan and will continue to skyrocket annually with 3-6% increases.
Lack of early family caregiving conversations (why not wait for a crises?) results in disasters for family situations involving spouses, adult children, and aging parents. The “let’s talk about it later,” or “I don’t need any help” delay tactic results in drastic care choices and limited options. Unexpected situations occur. Caregivers lack credible experts to support problem solving and decision making. Providing caregivers with a list of resources, a book, a pat on the back, and “good luck” is the usual response from social service and referral experts who have no direct practical experience. Book smarts fail caregiving situations.
Nursing home care, unless one has an advocate, is a situation of last resort. How many nursing homes have you visited where residents are sitting in wheelchairs bent over asleep lined up by the nurses station? How many hallways smell of urine? If Alzheimer’s is the diagnosis, the majority of nursing home staff are untrained in the skills needed to compassionately care for aging adults with memory loss.
Care and retirement communities are a blessing or a nightmare depending on leadership. Unreported falls, injuries, medications not given or given incorrectly, skin wounds, refusing to get out of bed to come to a meal, or sitting in urine or feces for hours are frequent occurrences for aging adults who need more than a hello or a quick check in. Family members must show up or find someone to help with visits to make certain loved ones are receiving care. Staff may be supportive or judgmental of resident and family relationships.
Professional caregivers experience poor treatment by management. Physicians lack bedside manner and are condescending not only to staff but to family members. Turnover rates of 50% are normal in care communities and care agencies. Many professional caregivers are burned out family caregivers struggling to make ends meet on low wages and absent benefits. Many of these caregivers have hearts of gold and love their jobs. More support and training is needed so the caregivers who are compassionate remain and advance within the industry.
In home care, an option to delaying a move to a retirement or care community has similar issues. Turnover is high. Care staff come and go. Training is minimal. Caregivers lack experience and professional boundaries. Successful situations occur when family creates care plans, manages the caregivers, and establishes quality check in points. Family caregivers lack the experience or the time to manage care situations. Care of parents and aging family members is at the mercy of a care system that is rushed, too busy to care, and constrained by policies.
Even with the escalating caregiving crises, solutions and hope exist. With over 20 years in the industry Pamela has rare experience that lends to supporting caregivers and aging adults through situations that may seem impossible. The role of the caregiver is not easy. Aging and having health issues may be frightening. Physical and emotional exhaustion are common. Uncertainty leads to sleepless nights. Constant worry about a ringing phone and the next emergency makes caregivers hypersensitive.
The solution to the caregiving crises is caregivers who want better care for loved ones. Caregivers who will commit to become more educated and aware of systemic problems that have solutions. By learning the questions to ask and verifying information, better than average care will occur. By learning how to work with healthcare professionals to gain support, the care of loved ones will improve.
Many aspects of the caregiving crises are beyond the obvious and lie in the small details of information, interactions, and care. By becoming educated and learning to advocate, stress, feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and crises will become more manageable. Caregivers will feel more confident in decision making and problem solving. Worries about making a mistake will lessen. Time will become more manageable. Family crises will become a past issue.
You are thinking, “I can’t add one more thing to my schedule. I have no time.” Do you then have time for more crises, emergencies, managing the health declines of a loved one, poor health, anxiety, stress, poor relationships with your family, stress at work, and sleepless nights?” Make time to become more educated, more confident, and less emotionally unbalanced by responding to constant caregiving crises. Until you choose how you respond to the caregiving situation, nothing will change. The time is now for real answers and real support.
Online Family Caregiver Support
Pamela offers family caregivers online support and programming to solve the escalating caregiving crises. Her experience helps caregivers stand up to care systems that lack empathy and compassion. Over twenty years of practical 1:1 experience provides value to inexperienced caregivers and care situations that feel impossible. Insight and experience about what will happen or what is likely to happen is invaluable in preventing future care issues.
Common caregiving issues include: responding to unexpected crises, managing difficult family interactions, medical decision making, in home care, assisted living, nursing care, palliative care and hospice, coordinating care with providers, and navigating uncertain and intimidating situations. Add to this interactions with egotistical and uncaring medical professionals who quickly dismiss care for aging adults. Caregiving can feel like a daily battle.
It is common for caregivers to feel guilty, angry, frustrated, or emotionally exhausted by care situations. Being a caregiver negatively effects personal health, home, and employment. Women caregivers are the most effected by caregiving stress; women work, caregive for children, and caregive for aging parents. Family caregivers will continue to assume increasing responsibility for loved ones with chronic disease and the memory loss diagnoses of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The role of caregiver is uncharted territory and an unexpected role. One day you are living your life. The next day you are a caregiver. The unintended consequences of the role of caregiving are significant. Caregiving results in health declines and emotional trauma and distress. For caregivers who opt out of the workforce to care for aging parents, financial income and savings are negatively affected. Lost income and retirement savings cannot be replaced. While many caregivers would not choose a different role, it is important to initiate conversations and to consider the long-term effects of present day choices.
Elder Care Advocate
Pamela advocates for changing the faulty belief that minimum standards of care are acceptable for seniors and the elderly. Higher standards of care are not only necessary— but are the duty and ethical responsibility of all caregiving professionals serving individuals with chronic health and memory loss concerns.
Family caregivers who are more educated are better advocates for loved ones diagnosed with chronic disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Healthcare and caregiving systems are necessary supports that operate with internal constraints. These constraints make it difficult for care recipients to receive needed and beneficial care without strong and persistent advocacy skills.
A combination of caregiving and healthcare planning, legal planning and financial planning ensure that current and future needs will be met. Legal and estate planning ensure that documents are thorough and consider the wide range of unexpected challenges that may result in litigation. Financial planning ensure that funds are available for care when needed and that insurance policies are available for care needs.
Collaboration with Professionals in Healthcare, Financial, and Legal Planning
Pamela collaborates and supports professionals in the areas of estate planning, elder law, probate, financial planning, and healthcare to become trusted resources. She guides professionals practicing in estate planning, elder and probate law, and financial planning to create plans to address unexpected concerns identified in her past role as a professional fiduciary.
Family disagreement is common. The self-interests of adult children desiring a financial inheritance today is in opposition to ensuring that parents receive good care. Financial and emotional abuse occur. Well-meaning individuals within and outside of the family cause complications. Thorough and proactive estate plans avoid costly litigation, destruction of family relationships, and ensures that the plans are implemented as intended. Detailed consideration and planning for a wide range of future consideration is necessary.
Healthcare professionals are supported by Pamela’s expertise to increase responsiveness and sensitivity to the extensive range of care challenges faced by care recipients and caregivers. The healthcare system, meaning providers in medical offices, hospitals, in home care, and care communities is disjointed. Specialties do not coordinate care with each other. As a result, mistakes occur. Coordination, continuity of care and training for healthcare employees represents a gap that negatively effects older adults and family caregivers.
Caregiving Thought Leader, Expert, Advocate, and Speaker
Pamela’s expertise is authentic, originating from personal and professional experience. She experienced the death of both parents and family members at a young age. Her professional experience in elder care began in 1999 and her expertise has grown through increasingly responsible business leadership roles. She offers online family caregiving support and programs to build confidence in caregiving abilities. Professionals benefit from consulting with Pamela, special programming, and speaking. Click here to read Pamela’s bio.
Click HERE to request additional information about programs, consulting, caregiver support, or to inquire about speaking.
The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes®
Pamela’s book supports conversations of care that emphasize choice, planning and balance in family caregiving relationships.
Welcome to The Caring Generation®, a community of online support for family and professional caregivers. Many caregivers feel alone in their journey; if you identify with any of the statements below, you’re in exactly the right place to find support and guidance.
“I feel guilty and angry. There are times when I don’t know what to do. I find it difficult to say no. Family members refuse to help. I am trapped caregiving for a parent for whom I have no emotional connection. My physical and emotional health is near breakdown. I have lost friends. I love my husband (or wife) but this is not the retirement I expected; I can’t be a caregiver anymore. The healthcare system is broken; for many it’s just a job and no one cares. Neglect and ignorance result in death. Information is fragmented. I was too naïve to recognize the self-interest and unethical practices until it was too late. Most of us don’t know where to turn for help. What do you mean Medicare doesn’t pay? I didn’t know what I didn’t know; ignorance is dangerous.”
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