Pamela D. Wilson – How I Help Solve Caregiving Problems

Support for Caregiving Problems 

Pamela D. Wilson solves caregiving problems. She offers real solutions and support for simple and complicated caregiving problems. If you’ve searched online for support, you know it’s easy to become frustrated by general or vague information when you want answers to a specific problem. Caregiving support is limited and communication difficult. It’s time for a change to a new way of receiving caregiving support that results in positive feelings instead of frustrations. 

Caring for for aging parents, a spouse, or family members is stressful. You may also be caring for a friend. Aging adults (we’re all aging) are interested in information and tips for a healthier and happier life. Professionals in the specialties of healthcare, elder law, or financial planning lack awareness of the day to day challenges faced by family caregivers and aging adults.

The Caring Generation is the place for solutions to caregiving problems and collaboration among professionals. Pamela’s professional and personal caregiving experiences help caregivers gain confidence and lessen the stress and anxiety of caregiving situations. 

Solutions to Caregiving Problems – Online Live Support Groups and Programming Coming Soon!

Caregivers want real answers to real problems. They want direct access to a live caregiving expert and proven,not generic,solutions. Help is on the way to ease the frustrations, anxiety and uncertainty of caregiving.

Beginning January 2019 we will be announcing online LIVE support groups and online programming. This support  is in addition to information already available in The Caring Generation library, Pamela’s monthly newsletter, and Facebook support groups. Stay tuned! 

Caregiving: It’s More Than You Think

Caregiving is a broad term that encompasses daily living skills, failing mental health, declining physical health, family caregiving interactions, coordinating medical care, making decisions about care communities, paying for care, responding to the challenges of caring for loved ones diagnosed with specific diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, making care decisions, initiating problem solving, estate planning and financial planning. Caregivers find it challenging for caregivers to respond to  the range of experiences that happen along the caregiving path. Some positive and many negative. 

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.

Hint: Asking for help when the caregiving ship has sunk may be too late to save yourself or a loved one. You don’t have to do all this by yourself. You do have to ask for help.

Caregiving: The Love-Hate Relationship

Pamela’s 20+ years of professional caregiving advocacy and the loss of both parents, a brother, and sister before the age of 40 is confirmation that caregiving challenges run from one extreme to the other. One day, caregiving is a blessing and a reward; thoughts of not doing everything possible for a loved one are non-existent. The next day, caregiving catastrophes become overwhelming with caregivers trying to navigate healthcare issues, managing emergencies at the house, paying for care, and holding down a job.

Caregivers become overwhelmed, depressed, and physically ill by continuing to believe that they can do it all. Many are drowning in responsibility and unable to take a break. Caregiving burnout is the result. Caregivers rarely have a back-up plan. If something happens to the caregiver, what happens to the person who needs care? Your husband, wife, aging parent, or loved one depend on you.

Hint: Taking respite breaks are important. Ten minutes outside in the fresh air or hiding in the bathroom to call a friend may be the break you need to gain a new perspective.

Caregiving Emotional Crises

Stress resulting from the role of a caregiver can push the limits of trying to remain positive. Why do bad things happen? 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 agency, and care community staff become the norm instead of the exception. Hypersensitivity and anxiety are the result 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.

Pamela’s parents were married nearly 60 years when her mother died. Her parents called each other “mom and dad”. Her father, John, faced great difficulty adjusting to life alone. Audible during phone calls were pain and cracking in his voice. Suggestions to remain positive were offered but felt like useless. Other family members were in denial about the seriousness of the situation and the depths of depression that Pamela felt were more than the normal grief experienced when losing a spouse.     

The call for help finally came. Pamela’s father called her one night and confessed. In the garage with the car running and the garage door closed, he was ready to end his life. Imagining a daughter, who lived nearby, finding him dead in the car stopped him from following through. Pamela convinced her sister to take their father for a mental health evaluation that was the beginning of a positive turnaround. 

Hint: The mention of taking depression medication is a no-go to many older parents. Talking about medication to improve mood and energy proves more successful.

Caregiving Refusals and Relationships

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 change.

Situations become stuck when we feel aging parents, spouses, and family refuse to change. Rather than looking for change elsewhere, we must look for change within. The solution is changing caregiving behaviors. Blaming others is no solutions. Beating ourselves up for things we did or didn’t do, won’t solve the problem. 

Loving ourselves more than being attached to blame creates positive change. By finding the self-discipline to stop rescuing and to stop controlling caregiving situations caregivers gain confidence, self-esteem and return to self-love. Loving ourselves, allows us to care for others, allows us to help others.   

Caregivers become emotionally hooked to situations by insisting they know best. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. 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.

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. 

Hint: Advocate for the wishes of aging parents and spouses. Don’t allow a controlling family member to become a bully. Question your own self-interest and intentions. Find ways to work together. 

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 transitions to a situation of total care. Time devoted to caregiving ends friendships and participation in social activities. Advocating with healthcare professionals who are biased against care for older adults diagnosed with dementia feels like a hopeless situation. Many older adults diagnosed with dementia are refused care by physicians and skilled nursing communities. 

Story after story exists of my clients being dismissed by physicians as being old and undeserving of care. It takes a strong advocate to support dignity and desire for care. Getting needed care is possible when you create a strategy for success. 

Hint: Never take no from a physician if you believe strongly in treatment for a loved one. Avoid becoming frustrated and instead use honey to attract someone who will help.

Costs of Care

You are shocked to learn that Medicare does not pay for in home care.  Costs of care are skyrocketing and out of control. The hourly rate for in home caregivers has increased 30-50% in the last 10 years. Costs for assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing facilities increase an average of 6% per year. 

If you and your family haven’t discussed how to pay for care for aging parents the time is now. Many options exist that avoid the absolute dictates of physicians. The repeated statement by healthcare professionals that sends caregivers off the deep end is  “your parent needs 24-hour care.” Maybe and maybe not. Take this recommendation with a grain of salt. The saying that there’s more than one way to “skin a cat” applies in this situation.. 

Hint: Have you considered that physician recommendations may be made to avoid liability? “My doctor never told me,” is a common accusation by patients. Take recommendations with a grain of salt. In Pamela’s experience 24-hour care and other recommendations have work-arounds to confirm the validity of of the recommendation.

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 a 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 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. Not talking about concerns don’t make them go away. Sweeping concerns under the rug until a crisis occurs will result in disaster.

If you don’t know this now, caregiving situations will not get easier. Are there solutions? Of course. It’s not time to throw out the baby with the bath water. Your parents may be able to return home if certain accommodations are made. Their stay in your home may only be temporary.

Hint: There’s no need to learn the hard way. Help exists here. Secrets and conversation starters are available to take the anxiety out of care conversations with loved ones.

Having the Talk

Remember when your parents had the sex talk with you? Is it time for you to have the hygiene talk, or the it’s time to give up the car talk> There is a time when the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored because concerns and risks have ballooned out of control. Roles reverse and adult children accept the role of a caregiver and a parent for parents. Why didn’t anyone tell us about this when we were younger?

You notice that your parent is 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 your once smartly dressed parent is embarrassing. Mention of these concerns may result in acknowledgement or violent denials and refusals. 

After multiple car accidents driving is no longer safe. Mom swears, “I drive as good as I did when I was 21.” There are secrets to disabling the car and having a driver’s license revoked when older adults refuse to give up the car keys. 

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 in the book, in the FREE caregiving library, and featured in my monthly newsletter, and discussed in Facebook support groups.

Caregiving is a blessing and a curse. Things will go wrong. Poor decisions will be made. Little details will be missed that could have totally changed the outcome of a situation. Caregiving responsibilities are bigger than one can ever imagine—it’s a dark and bumpy road out there.

Emergencies and unexpected crises are not the end of the road. Caregiving doesn’t have to overwhelm your life. By looking at situations one at a time, small wins result to relieve anxiety and worry.

Hint: Don’t wait, take action. Find the help you need here. 

Physical Care: Mobility, Nutrition, Medications and Other Daily Challenges

Aging comes with an increase in difficulties 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 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 you’re being told by doctors that your aging parent has a syndrome called “failure to thrive”. This means that body systems are beginning to shut down as the result of overall neglect.

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 to know what questions to ask and what actions to take.

How long has this situation occurred without notice? Is it possible to reverse? 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. 

Hint: Loved ones don’t decline overnight. Declines are usually slow and steady. Looking the other way or being in denial is not the solution. Solutions exist for those who act. .

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 is 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 power of attorney. Articles in the subject of healthcare and financial planning are in the library and will help you think about subjects you may have not considered.

Predicting the Future

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. 

The information offered on this website solves caregiving problems. Paid online membership support groups and programs coming soon will offer real solutions and real support.

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. I know that successful navigation requires inside information that isn’t accessible unless one has had direct experience with a situation.  It is possible to have a positive caregiving experience. I’m here to help. 

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. 

The Caregiving Trap

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