Caregiver Support Programs
The Caring Generation® Family Caregiver and Workplace Programs
Caregiver support programs benefit people from all walks of life, location, culture, and individual family backgrounds. The critical role of caregivers worldwide is more important today than ever. Whether you are a spousal caregiver, a working caregiver, or a corporation seeking options for caregiver and workplace programs solutions are here.
Support for Family Caregivers: Understanding the Consequences of Becoming a Caregiver
Watch More Videos About Caregiving and Aging on Pamela’s YouTube Channel
The Caring Generation is the place for
- Caregivers looking for expert tips and tools to care for elderly loved ones
- Corporations seeking to support working caregivers or educate clients, consumers, or prospects.
- Requesting and participating in on-site or online programs
- Identifying options to support employees in the workplace and in their personal lives
- Workplace and caregiver solutions that transfer to real life
Learn More about Pamela’s Online Open-Courses for Family Caregivers
This caregiving website offers extensive information through The Caring Generation® library, a newsletter, the Caring for Aging Parents blog, and The Caring Generation® radio program. Help for caregivers about commonly asked questions, self-care, and caring for elderly parents is provided through articles, videos, and podcasts written and produced by Pamela.
Human Resource Employee Caregiver Resource Group Support Programs
Working employees who are caregivers face significant challenges. Caring for aging parents, a spouse, or family members is stressful.
Caregivers worry about what might happen tomorrow. Worry exists about the unexpected. Participation in caregiver support programs and groups removes the worry and results in better care for the caregiver, aging parents, and spouses.
Pamela’s professional and personal caregiving experiences are shared in her open course for family caregivers.
Help for Caregivers
Caregiving is a role that includes a wide variety of tasks. Twenty years ago when Pamela was caring for her aging parents, the term caregiver did not exist. There were no discussions about caregiving or the responsibilities of caregivers. Today the word caregiver is recognized however the subject of caregiving is believed to be a family responsibility.
The healthcare system pushes responsibilities back to family caregivers, and significant gaps and a lack of caregiver support exist. Family members helping loved ones worry about advancing health conditions. Stress results from talking with medical and healthcare professionals. Making mistakes that harm loved ones is a concern. Caregivers feel depressed and suffer from poor health. Worry exists about paying for care.
Understanding The Life of a Caregiver
Caregivers have a never-ending to-do list. Tasks include helping with activities of daily living. Providing support with failing health means providing hands-on care. Family caregiving interactions can be uncomfortable and difficult. Caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia becomes more challenging with time. Loved ones want to stay at home.
Over time, caregivers become involved in coordinating medical care and making care decisions. Paying for care becomes a concern when aging parents need more help than the family can provide. Problem-solving, estate planning, and financial planning have their own complications. Caregivers can feel hopeless about all of the skills needed to responsibly help aging parents and spouses.
Caregiver support programs offer hope and help when situations feel out of control. The best time to seek caregiver support is long before it’s needed. Why allow a caregiving situation to turn into a crisis situation when the crises can be prevented?
At the right is a photo called “Me and Billie”, a woman and a delightful friend who changed Pamela’s life and career to the role of a caregiving advocate in 1998. Volunteering to visit Billie gave Pamela the confidence to leave a corporate career to begin a 20+ year career of help for caregivers and aging adults.
Caregiving: The Love-Hate Relationship
Caregivers become overwhelmed, depressed, and physically ill by continuing to believe that they can do it all. Many caregivers drown in responsibility. They feel unable to take a break. Caregiving burnout is the result. Caregivers rarely have a backup plan. If something happens to the caregiver, what happens to the person who needs care? Husbands, wives, aging parents, and loved ones depend on the caregiver.
Up and Down Caregiving Emotions
Stress resulting from the role of a caregiver can push the limits of trying to remain positive. Why do bad things happen to good people? When will caregiving get easier? The emotional and physical health of caregivers wears down trying to juggle all of the tasks to ensure a loved one receives care.
Daily battles with insurance companies, physicians, in-home care agencies, and care community staff become the norm instead of the exception. Hypersensitivity and anxiety are the results of midnight and emergency phone calls that are never good news. Hearing a loved one get up from bed at night and wander about the home becomes a concern.
Spouses, experiencing loss, miss the daily routine, and companionship of marriage, when providing 24-hour care for a husband or wife becomes the daily routine. When a spouse passes away, the stress of caregiving transfers to the stress of having to start all over again but not knowing how.
Dealing With Stubborn Aging Parents
Aging parents and spouses who refuse care are common. “I don’t need any help,” is a repetitive response. Anger and frustration are felt by caregivers who realize the situation must change. When attempts to convince a loved one to accept help are unsuccessful, temporarily walking away or refusing to help may be the catalyst that results in a change.
Situations become stuck when we feel aging parents, spouses, and family refuses to change. Rather than looking for change elsewhere, we must look for change within. The solution for caregivers is learning to change responses. Blaming others is no solution. Being angry about things caregivers did or didn’t do, won’t solve the problem.
Self-love and self-care instead of being attached to blame create positive change. By finding the self-discipline to stop rescuing and stop controlling caregiving situations, caregivers gain confidence, and self-esteem, and return to self-love. Caring for stubborn aging parents is a challenge that can be overcome when caregivers find a new perspective.
Caregivers Become Emotionally Triggered
Caregivers become emotionally triggered by situations and become stuck in mental and emotional ruts. Encouraging loved ones to solve problems can have positive results. Giving up control can be beneficial. The “superman” complex of caregivers who rush in to save the day removes choice and responsibility from an aging parent and a spouse.
Co-dependent relationships are damaging. By taking over, loved ones become more dependent on the caregiver.
Disagreements between aging parents and adult children can be challenging. In the most advanced situations, these disagreements are played out in the court system. There are times when court proceedings are necessary to prevent a controlling family member from harming a loved one.
Other proceedings are based on turf battles and interest in money. Situations that have played out in the public eye involve celebrities like Glenn Campbell, Casey Casem, Pat Bowlen owner of the Denver Broncos, and Peter Falk. These situations have the potential to permanently destroy family relationships.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia places additional stress on a caregiving situation. In the early stages, life may continue in a normal routine. As memory loss increases a sense of being tied to the home occurs. Loved ones cannot be left alone because of safety concerns. Emotional losses occur.
What was a marital partnership eventually transitions to a situation of total hands-on care. Time devoted to caregiving ends friendships and participation in social activities. Caregiver support programs and groups help caregivers who feel isolated and alone know that there are others in similar situations.
Advocating with healthcare professionals who are biased against care for older adults diagnosed with dementia can feel like a hopeless situation. In Pamela’s experience, elderly adults diagnosed with dementia are often refused care by physicians and skilled nursing communities.
It takes a strong advocate to support dignity and desire for care. Family caregivers without a caregiver support system may feel timid about advocating for care. Pamela helps caregivers create a strategy for success.
Costs of Care
Medicare does not pay for in-home care. Costs of care are skyrocketing and out of control. The hourly rate for in-home caregivers increased by 30-50% in the last 10 years. Costs for assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing facilities increase an average of 6% per year.
The repeated statement by healthcare professionals that sends caregivers off the deep end is “your parent needs 24-hour care.” Maybe and maybe not. When caregivers know how to manage care, there are many options for this type of situation.
Take this recommendation with a grain of salt. The healthcare professional is more likely interested in limiting their liability if a loved one goes home and an accident happens.
Assisted Living and Senior Care Communities
Imagine this, the doctor at the hospital tells you that your parent can’t return home. The only option is for mom or dad to go home to live with you. Shock and panic set in. Thoughts of life disrupted occur. Where will mom or dad live? In your extra bedroom?
It may be likely that this recommendation is not an overnight revelation. You’ve been watching the change in the health of your parent and had no idea how to approach a care discussion. You knew something was wrong but were afraid to speak up.
This hesitance and fear are part of being an inexperienced caregiver. You don’t know what you don’t know so you let things ride. Not talking about concerns doesn’t make them go away. Sweeping concerns under the rug until a crisis occurs results in more work and hardship.
If you don’t know this now, caregiving situations will not get easier. Are there solutions? Of course. Solutions exist when you take the step to access caregiver support programs and groups. There are times when only an assisted living or senior care community is the option.
Caregiver Support Programs: Difficult Discussions
Caregiver support programs and education help caregivers have difficult and uncomfortable discussions with elderly parents. Remember when your parents had “the sex talk” with you? Now it may be time for the caregiver to have the hygiene talk, or it’s time for the “give-up the car talk.” There is a time when the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored. Concerns and risks eventually balloon out of control. Roles reverse and adult children accept the role of a caregiver and a parent for parents. Why don’t parents talk to adult children about caregiving?
As time passes, parents may be unable to remember to change clothing, manage incontinence, or take a shower. Sense of smell has declined to the point that body and household odors are unnoticeable.
Vision may be so poor that looking in the mirror is pointless. The appearance of a once smartly dressed parent is embarrassing. Mention of these concerns may result in acknowledgment or violent denials and refusals.
These hot potato subjects are included in Chapter 7 of Pamela’s book, The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes® Many of the items discussed on this page are featured in the book chapters.
Caregiving is a blessing and a curse. Things will go wrong. Poor decisions will be made. Little details will be missed that could have improved the outcome of a situation. Caregiving responsibilities are bigger than one can ever imagine—it’s a dark and bumpy road out there.
Caregiving doesn’t have to be this difficult. The role of caregiving can be easier with participation in caregiver support programs. Help for caregivers is a mouse click away.
Activities of Daily Living Challenges
Aging comes with an increase in difficulties in managing activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). These are the activities of bathing, dressing, continence, eating, toileting, and transferring. Other activities like managing medications, paying bills, keeping a calendar, making nutritious meals, doing laundry, and doing housekeeping tasks also fall into this category.
Physical and health diagnoses make it more difficult to complete tasks that were once completed automatically. Alzheimer’s and dementia destroy organizational abilities. Overnight doctors report that aging parents have a syndrome called “failure to thrive”. This means that body systems are beginning to shut down as a result of overall neglect. Failure to thrive and elderly syndromes are addressed in the Stay at Home caregiving course in great detail.
Early Signs That Loved Ones Need Care
Poor walking ability, balance, and gait results in potential falls. Some older adults who fall and break a hip die within a year. Many cannot return home from the hospital. There are many early signs that a loved one needs care. The devil is in the details to pay attention to these signs and then know what questions to ask and what actions to take.
How long has this situation occurred without notice? Is it possible to reverse it? In many cases yes, when care plans and support are put into place immediately. Waiting results in a slippery slope to the end. By taking action when little concerns are noticed it is possible to prevent more serious care situations.
Elder Law, Healthcare, and Financial Planning
Elder law, healthcare, and financial planning are important specialties associated with caring for a loved one. Poor legal, healthcare, and financial literacy are common in caregiving situations.
By planning ahead and becoming aware of all of the things that happen, many of the common disasters can be avoided or at least managed. Click on this link to read more about the power of attorney. Articles on the subject of healthcare and financial planning are in the caregiving library and caregiving blog. These articles and podcasts for caregivers will help you think about subjects not considered.
Help for Caregivers Is Here
While it’s impossible to predict the future in caregiving, it is possible to plan for the unexpected and make contingency plans. Life rarely goes as planned. Tips, secrets, and formulas exist to make the journey easier. Old systems of one-way communication to receive caregiving support will become a way of the past.
Online caregiver support programs are easily accessible. The information offered on this website solves many caregiving problems.
I’m Pamela D. Wilson. I solve caregiving problems. I know that trying to solve problems and receiving generic information is more frustrating than helpful. I’ve lived through horrible and challenging caregiving situations in my family and with my clients. Being a successful caregiver takes everything that I’ve learned in the past 20 years.
You’re in the right place to receive answers and solutions to caregiving problems and aging concerns. Let me know how I can help you.