Caring for Aging Parents Checklist – The Caring Generation®
The Caring Generation® – Episode 8 September 11, 2019 On this caregiving radio program, Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, talks about Caring for Aging Parents – A Checklist that helps take care of parents in the home. Special guest Dr. Valerie Worthington joins Pamela to share healthy aging tips plus the benefits of physical activity.
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Caring For Aging Parents Checklist
00:05 Announcer: Caregiving can sometimes feel like an impossible struggle. Caregivers may be torn between taking care of loved ones and trying to maintain balance in life. The good news is, that it doesn’t have to be that way. The Caring Generation with host Pamela D. Wilson is here to focus on the conversation of caring. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in exactly the right place to share stories and learn tips and resources to help you and your loved ones. So now, please welcome the host of The Caring Generation, Pamela D. Wilson.
00:48 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. The Caring Generation focuses on the conversation of caring, giving us permission to talk and laugh, very important to laugh, about aging, the challenges of caregiving, health, well-being, trying to balance work-life and family, and everything in between. All important things that we should know about life. Please invite your family, your friends, your co-workers, and others to join us each week on The Caring Generation. Podcasts of the weekly show are on my website, pameladwilson.com under the Media Tab and The Caring Generation Radio page, and also on popular sites like iTunes, Google Podcasts and more.
01:44 Pamela D. Wilson: This week, we will be talking about a caring for aging parents checklist. If you are a family or a professional caregiver, you know that the responsibilities of taking care of elderly parents, clients, and patients, all of these responsibilities begin small and they quickly continue to grow until everything — the responsibilities, the tasks — feel so overwhelming. When we combine being a working caregiver, and trying to balance work, life, and family, there are so many skills that we need. Sometimes more skills, abilities, and capabilities than we even have. This is where having a caring for aging parents checklist can be very helpful, and it comes in handy. The list isn’t only about caring for an aging parent. It’s also about the importance of caregivers taking care of themselves, something that they’re not very good at doing. Our special guest today in the second segment of the show is Dr. Valerie Worthington. She’ll be joining us to talk about healthy aging with the focus on being proactive, about physical activity, no matter if we are 20 or 100. We’ll talk about how elderly parents view their physical abilities, and concerns about safety in the home. Plus the importance of walking, balance, and physical endurance.
03:12 Pamela D. Wilson: It’s no surprise to any of us that our elderly parents want to stay in their homes. This leads us to talk about a caring for aging parents’ checklist. On the caring for aging parents checklist are skills that we can group by activity. For example, time management, organization, and planning skills. These are basic skills and very important skills. Let’s look at an example that I think all of you will be very familiar with. If you are an office or the care staff working in a doctor’s office or in some type of a healthcare community, you know how important managing time is. One little unexpected event throws off the entire day. If you are a family caregiver, who takes an aging parent to a doctor appointment, you also feel the pain of these unexpected events that have you sitting in the doctor’s office waiting. Sometimes it feels like hours on hours. These long waits in the doctor’s office, while sometimes they can’t be avoided, they are so frustrating. These delays make us feel like the staff at the doctor’s office really doesn’t care about us, and that our time is not important.
04:29 Pamela D. Wilson: Then, as you know, you’ll be lucky to get 15 minutes for the appointment because he or she has to be on to the next patient who has been also waiting hours right after you. If you are a son or daughter helping an aging parent, you might not think of yourself as a caregiver. If you’re attending medical appointments, you are a caregiver. All of these tasks at first may have been simple. Mom and Dad may have needed a little help around the house, grocery shopping, errands, then all of a sudden health changes. And when mom or dad have a new diagnosis, they may have to take new medications. They may have to monitor blood pressure or blood sugar. Then you start helping them with all of this medical equipment. You’re feeling in over your head. You’re now taking care of elderly parents at home and performing what we call hands-on or medical type nursing care. Things you never thought you would do. This is when all that worry starts. I always say there’s a first time for everything. Many caregivers tell me they worry about making mistakes, or they tell me they feel very uncomfortable the first time they have to help an elderly parent bathe or with incontinence. If you’ve never bathed an elderly parent, honestly, you can do it.
05:48 Pamela D. Wilson: There are plenty of tips and ways to make bathing less embarrassing and more comfortable. I’ve helped staff in care communities when they had to bathe some of my clients who didn’t want to take a bath or a shower. If you think being bathed by an adult child is embarrassing, add the complication of living in a nursing home or a care community and having a stranger bathe you in a cold shower room. Making that experience positive takes special skills on the part of the CNA or bath aide. And if any CNAs or bath aides are listening, God bless you, because you are so time-pressured. I know that sometimes you have to get through 10 baths, 10 residents in a day, that’s stressful and it is especially difficult if somebody is physically weak or has balance concerns, or if you have a client who just refuses to take a bath or a shower. You would be surprised by the number of CNAs who have been hit, bitten, had their hair pulled, been pinched, [chuckle] or other things happen. And I smile and laugh at that because I’ve been there. I’ve had the same experience. Only another caregiver understands what another caregiver goes through.
07:02 Pamela D. Wilson: That idea of physical weakness and balance leads us up into the conversation that we’ll be having with our guest in a minute. How many of you have heard the term sedentary? The term sedentary most often is related to elderly adults. Although if you sit at a desk all day and you rarely get up, you might be considered sedentary. It means that a person sits, lays or really doesn’t move for about eight hours a day. Doesn’t include sleeping at night. There was a research study published in the Gerontologist that investigated how older adults perceive their physical behaviors. Many of the older adults in the study didn’t believe that sitting around all day was bad for their health, even though they had major physical difficulty getting around, even in their houses. They didn’t want to be called sedentary because they felt that that word applied to old people in a very negative way, and they didn’t want to belong to that group.
08:05 Pamela D. Wilson: The tip for the caring for aging parents checklist is to be as physically active as a caregiver, and to do the same for aging parents. Don’t be sedentary. Encourage your elderly parents to be active, even if you have to be the one that initiates going on walks or exercising together. Make a schedule and just do it. In the long run, you and your aging parent will be so much better off, because the minute that we start to become physically inactive when we’re older, a lot of other issues begin to happen. And we’ll continue talking about how elderly parents view themselves in the second half of this hour. Many believe that they are much more active than they are. Many believe that they can do so many more things than they can. And we as the adult children watch our parents decline. Dr. Valerie Worthington is going to be joining us after this break. She has developed programs for universities focusing on health, fitness, nutrition, healthcare ethics, communication, and more. She is a board-certified coach with a very unique skill. She holds a third-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. You are with me on The Caring Generation, live on the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back after this break.
11:56 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host, you’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Dr. Valerie Worthington joins us to talk about healthy aging, the benefits of physical activity, and the gaps between how we and our older parents might view our physical activities. Dr. Worthington, welcome.
12:24 Dr. Valerie Worthington: Thank you very much.
12:26 Pamela D. Wilson: Can you talk about why you have an interest in physical health, and maybe share a little bit about your background?
12:33 Dr. Valerie Worthington: Sure. My educational background is, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Dartmouth College. I have a doctorate in educational psychology from Michigan State University, I have a board-certified coach designation through the Center for Credentialing and Education, and I’m currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at the College of New Jersey. And you also mentioned that I have a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a third-degree black belt and I became interested in physical fitness. Actually, I’ve always been somewhat active, but Jiu-Jitsu is really what sort of galvanized it for me, and what I discovered was the mind-body connection. And so, the more I did this particular activity, the more stimulated I was mentally, and I just really liked to, I liked to be in my body and to think about that.
13:32 Pamela D. Wilson: Talk a little bit about your black belt, because that’s quite unusual. How has that affected the work that you do with your clients?
13:41 Dr. Valerie Worthington: Sure. What I have discovered over, I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu for 21 years now, and what I’ve discovered is that for me, Jiu-Jitsu is basically an encapsulation of life. And what I mean by that is that, for example, it requires all of the personal qualities that I’m striving for in the rest of my life. It requires patience, courage, humility, and what happens often times when instructors of Jiu-Jitsu are teaching children, is that they make these parallels very explicit, and they say, you need to be patient, you need to be a good team player, these are the kinds of things that you’re going to need to do in life. And I’ve also had numerous conversations with practitioners, adult practitioners about how/what we learn in Jujutsu is relevant to the rest of life and vice versa. So, what I’ve discovered is that even though I may not have experienced exactly what my clients and Jiu-Jitsu students have, I can certainly empathize with and understand on a values type level, what they may be feeling, and as an added bonus, I can come up with some interesting analogies.
14:51 Pamela D. Wilson: Well, let’s talk about that empathy. So, my clients over the years have told me that they don’t need help with bathing, when clearly, they are a safety risk, or they refuse to use a walker because, “Oh, it’s only those old people who use walkers.” What results in us having that type of self-perception?
15:12 Dr. Valerie Worthington: If I answer this with an analogy from my teaching and coaching in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, what I’ve noticed is that when athletes transition from being competitors or being in the prime of their athletic careers to being more elder-statesmen and women, they are experiencing loss. They’re afraid of losing a sense of identity. A sense of perceived value, a sense of perceived capabilities, and we as individuals become invested in seeing ourselves a certain way. And the process of changing the way we see ourselves can be extremely difficult, precisely because of being involved in accepting that loss. And I’ve seen this happen a lot with people in Jiu-Jitsu who have identified as active competitors or who have simply been young and able to recover quickly because of their youth. But then, once they start to feel the effects of some of the years passing, they turn around, and then they’re not in prime physical condition anymore, and those aches and pains happen more often, and they stay longer, and recovery takes longer, and the mental health component becomes more challenging. So, what that means is that we have to view ourselves differently, and that can be a real challenge for people who are clinging to a sense of who they used to be.
16:25 Pamela D. Wilson: You mentioned a fear of loss, and I agree, older adults fear a lot of things and I want to translate that to, let’s say that they had a fall and they broke, broke a hip or broke something and now they’re afraid of being active, because they think that that’s going to happen again. How do you in sports, how do you work your mind against — you know, you have a sports accident, but you still have to go on?
16:52 Dr. Valerie Worthington: Sure, that’s a really good question. And some of it is unique to the individual. But one of the things that we as coaches can do is to remind. Well, what I can do as a coach is, remind athletes of the joy that they took in the sport. I can remind them of the other benefits that they derive from participating in the sport, and I can also remind them that they don’t need to train, they don’t need to participate in the same way they used to. So, if they’re concerned about being hurt, if they do have an injury that they’re nursing, well, then that’s something that is very important to work around and that is perfectly valid.
17:34 Pamela D. Wilson: And so, older adults who, let’s say, they had a fall, and now their walking is a little shaky, their endurance isn’t as good as it should be. How do they adjust or how would you recommend they kind of get back on the horse? Do they walk so many steps one day, and then walk more the next day? And I think we’re going to a get to a break, so if you can hold the thought [chuckle] on that question, we can talk about it after the break. We will continue our conversation with Dr. Valerie Worthington after this break. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, your host. Please invite your family, your friends, your co-workers, and others to join us each week on The Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. You can follow me on Facebook at PamelaDWilson.page, where you can watch my Facebook Live videos, I do them every day. There are more than 100 on my page. And for listeners who’ve asked how to be reminded about this show, if you follow me on my Facebook Page, I post weekly events about the shows with information about upcoming radio shows. If you register for the event, believe it or not, Facebook will send to you a reminder. [chuckle] It is truly amazing how all this technology can help us remember things. Stay with me. We will be right back after this break.
21:12 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation Radio program for caregivers, and aging adults coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Let’s continue our conversation with Dr. Valerie Worthington. We’re going to pick up where we left off. So, Dr. Worthington, the question is, an aging adult has a fall, they’re scared to death to start walking again, how can they start to become more physically active, and have confidence that another fall is not going to happen?
21:46 Dr. Valerie Worthington: Sure. From a coaching perspective, one of the luxuries that we have is that people are there of their own volition, so there is kind of an in, excuse me, an innate interest in getting back on the horse, so to speak. So, with your audience, the stages of change, the model by which we make changes in our behavior is the same. There just may need to be a little bit more encouragement. There’s a model of behavior change, called The Transtheoretical Model, and it suggests this idea that there are stages to the process of becoming able to make changes in our life. So, if you have someone who got injured and is afraid to get back into the sports that they did or some sort of physical activity, the first stage is pre-contemplation where the person isn’t even thinking that they want to make a change. But then the contemplation stage is when the person starts to think to themselves that maybe it’s time that they did something.
22:48 Dr. Valerie Worthington: And what I like to do, actually at this stage is, remind clients that just the act of thinking about making a change is a really, really, big step. And we have no guarantees, right? We have no guarantees that we won’t get injured again. But as I was mentioning before, giving people validation for even considering making a change and then helping them to remember all of the reasons that they were interested in doing this for in the past, all the benefits that they experienced. Those two things together, helping people see that they’re constantly working on themselves and also giving them a reminder of some of the benefits that they experience, those can go a long way.
23:32 Pamela D. Wilson: As we age, do you see that there is a difference in the idea of, we’re thinking about making a change, and then we think it’s time to make a change. When we’re 20, do we do that more quickly than we’re likely to do it when we’re 30, 40, 50, 60?
23:50 Dr. Valerie Worthington: What I have found with my Jiu-Jitsu students and myself, I will say, and also with my coaching clients is that regardless of the age you are, people don’t like being bad at things, and they don’t like feeling stupid or feeling like they look stupid. The challenge though, for something like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is, if you want to get good at Jiu-Jitsu, you have to spend a lot of time being bad at it, and if you have any self-awareness at all, then this is going to translate into feeling stupid. Even though we all go through the same thing. So, in my experience as someone who is coaching people through this, and also as someone who’s been through it myself, change is difficult regardless of what age you are, and having a sense of the need to make changes, being patient while your body learns to comply, stepping outside your comfort zone. All of these seem to me and what I have seen to do basically a universal challenge.
24:46 Pamela D. Wilson: Well, and I think it’s really interesting what you said about not to feel bad about making a change, and sometimes we feel stupid. I think we all feel like that. Do we ever get to the point where we think, “Ah, you know, that change, it’s just too much trouble?” Where do we find motivation to say, “Okay, maybe I should try this?”
25:07 Dr. Valerie Worthington: So, this is where, in my opinion, and in my experience working with clients, the idea of successive approximations is really helpful. So, if you want to continue with a sports metaphor, I wouldn’t work with a client who has been sedentary for the past five years and suggest that that person get up off the couch and run a marathon. If that’s something that that person wanted to work toward as a long-term goal, then there are things that we can do successive approximations-wise. And that might even be walking half a mile, or walking a quarter of a mile or whatever it is that the person can do at that time. And no amount of progress is too small and the amount of progress doesn’t have to be too big. It can be something that gets the person outside their comfort zone. I like to talk about it in terms of pushing ourselves as opposed to fooling ourselves.
26:06 Pamela D. Wilson: And you may not be able to answer this, but maybe you can relate it. So, let’s say that I’m a child, adult child, and my parent has been sedentary. They have just been sitting around. But I want to get them up and get going and the doctor’s like, “Okay, do whatever you want to do.” How do we set reasonable goals if, to your point, we’ve been sedentary and we’re 80? Is it walking 50 steps and then 100 steps and then 150?
26:30 Dr. Valerie Worthington: It’s a really good question, and it’s one that I would be reluctant to answer, universally. I think that’s something that is really important for people of that age to work with their doctors on. So that could actually be a really great first step is get off the couch, go see a doctor and go get a sense of where you are, what a baseline is for you and what would be a healthy way for you to push yourself.
27:00 Pamela D. Wilson: The other question I have is a lot of times we may have failed to change a habit in the past. And let’s use weight loss as an example. We’re all trying to lose weight. We’re all trying to get healthier and we just kind of don’t get there. In sports, how do you gain that confidence of making a little step and then see that, okay, I can do it and I can continue?
27:22 Dr. Valerie Worthington: So, this, it’s a couple of things. This comes back to this Transtheoretical model of change that I mentioned before. It comes back to the idea of successive approximation. And the other thing that it comes back to is the idea that this kind of change. It can be like a spiral. It can be cyclical. So, you can “fall off the wagon.” But then maybe it takes you less time to get back on the wagon and to get back to where you had been before. So, we learn something through every “failure” which is why I preferred not to think of it that way. But every time we make a mistake or we fail in some way, we learn something new that’s going to enable us to hit the ground running even faster than we did the last time.
28:12 Pamela D. Wilson: Thank you for that. We have to cut out again for a break. After the break, we’ll continue with the idea of talking about a checklist for aging parents. I’m Pamela D. Wilson. You’re with me on The Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. We’ll be right back.
30:44 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host, you’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers, and aging adults live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Let’s follow up with the idea of things elderly parents believe that we, as their adult children, might find a little odd. Earlier in the program, we talked about elderly adults being sedentary, meaning sitting around all day but not wanting to be called sedentary.
31:15 Pamela D. Wilson: Having that preference of not wanting to be grouped with other people is no different than when an elderly parent says, “Ah, I don’t want to go to the senior center, because there are old people there.” In reality, the seniors at the senior center, are probably healthier and more physically active than our parents. We’ve probably also heard our parents say, “Oh, I’m not going to use a walker, no cane, those are for old people.” An elderly person would rather fall in my opinion, than be seen using a walker. It leaves us to wonder about the logic of that type of thinking. But as we talked with Dr. Worthington, there’s that fear of physical decline of getting worse, and if we take that a step further, let’s say that a person has serious heart disease, they have high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, maybe they can’t walk more than 50 feet without tiring out. Is there anything about that that one can deny? Believe it or not, yes. I have had elderly clients who were aware of their heart issues, aware of poor diet, aware of not exercising, but they just couldn’t get to that point where they were motivated to do anything.
32:31 Pamela D. Wilson: And there are times when our elderly parents become apathetic. Meaning they just don’t care. What can a caregiver do? What is on the checklist for that issue? It’s highly unlikely that an elderly parent is going to want to admit that anything they did led to the current condition. Honestly, who of us wants to admit that we were responsible for anything that didn’t turn out the way we wanted. As Valerie said, it means that we did something wrong or we made a mistake, and we don’t want to admit that. As a caregiver, the goal with our parents is not to get them to admit to anything, because that’s not going to happen. If that is your goal, then the issue is more about you being right and your elderly parent being wrong. That’s a losing battle. Start by gathering the facts and talking about information to make sure that what you are seeing is denial and not a lack of knowledge. Because it could be a lack of knowledge, find articles, share information.
33:31 Pamela D. Wilson: While your parents still may not be interested, you are gathering information, you’re becoming more informed. This is positive. Maybe the doctor never talked to your parent about the progression of heart disease, that it could result in surgery, other complications. Without having all of that knowledge, it might be difficult to change a habit, or there might not be any motivation to change a habit. It’s kind of along the same line of thinking about physical activity and health. At some point with our aging parents, changes in activities of daily living happen. And activities of daily living is this “medical speak term” that you are going to hear. It’s ADLs or ADLs plural. You’ll hear it by doctors and nurses and people who work in healthcare. You’ll notice these changes in activities of daily living when a loved one begins to need help with things like bathing, getting dressed, eating, sitting, standing, transferring, and walking, mobility issues.
34:41 Pamela D. Wilson: Changes in activities of daily living happen as chronic diseases advance. Arthritis gets worse, diabetes progresses, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease advances, and it takes more time and physical attention to do things. Depending on how often you see your loved ones, you might not notice these changes in activities of daily living, because they may be so very slight. If you live out of town and then you come home to visit, you actually might be shocked by the change that you see in your aging parents that your brothers or sisters may not see to the same extent. By noticing these physical changes in our aging parents, we can get a sense that we have to pay ongoing attention to our health. In talking about aging and getting older, there is this realization that people eventually that we love will die. That everyone dies. As a society, we don’t talk about death and we rarely talk about caregiving. How many of you are in that situation?
35:46 Pamela D. Wilson: You might be a caregiver, and you’re watching your parents’ health fail and get worse, and you’re asking yourself, “Oh my gosh, what on earth are we going to do when this gets worse?” You’re worried that you might be asked to commit more time. You might feel guilty that you can’t do more than what you’re already doing. You might work full time. You have a family. You’re helping mom or dad. You’re trying to balance everything, and you’re stressed out. You are exhausted. As we talked earlier, beliefs that our aging parents have about their health, do make a difference in these caregiving relationships. And if we look at ourselves, we as caregivers have beliefs about our own health issues. The time to prevent these further physical declines and the issues with the ADLs is when you first notice the issues, not months down the road.
36:43 Pamela D. Wilson: Although, honestly, taking action at any point is a good thing. Another item on the caregiving checklist is to encourage conversations about the things that we avoid. You can ask your parents, “what do you think will happen if you continue to become physically weak? How will you get around the house?” I’m not sure that I can help you if you need to be lifted or if you fall. What is our plan then? It’s easy for all of us to minimize or not want to look at reality. We all have the ability to choose. And I do say choose, because it’s a choice to be positive about our abilities, it’s a choice to be realistic.
37:24 Pamela D. Wilson: A family caregiving situation is so similar to work, and in work we have co-workers. In our families, we have family members. We both have to have conversations that aren’t easy to have about how to make these situations so much more easier. Little thought is given to what happens if this gets worse. What happens if a caregiver gets sick or dies? We have to have a backup plan. And for caregivers taking care of yourself is so important. So is having a backup plan. It’s part of the caring for aging parents checklist. We’ll continue to talk about items on the checklist of caring for aging parents more after this break.
This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation Radio program for caregivers and aging adults coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Please share The Caring Generation with your family, your friends, your co-workers, the companies where you work, your social groups, church and everywhere. One in four people you know are caregivers looking for hope, help, and support that is here every Wednesday night. Stay with me. We’ll be right back after the break.
40:56 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I am your host, you’re listening to The Caring Generation Radio program for caregivers, and aging adults, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Helpful information for caregivers and aging adults is on my website at pameladwilson.com. We’re back talking about a caring for aging parents checklist. This checklist includes identifying what I call gaps or problems before they become so serious that a caregiving catastrophe happens. Can you think of anything right now that’s not working in a caregiving situation with an elderly parent or a spouse? Something you’d love to change, but that you might be ignoring or even worse, waiting for the situation to get so bad that you have to do something. If you’re in the situation, welcome to the group. Many caregiving situations rise to this level of an impasse. Both sides might be in disagreement and nothing is moving that situation forward. This is a caregiving gap. What in your caregiving feels frustrating or difficult? That frustrating or difficult thing is your gap. Don’t be embarrassed. We all have gaps, we all have struggles that we can’t figure out ways to solve them.
42:19 Pamela D. Wilson: These gaps can identify problems and help you find out what steps to take. This also though, can be avoidance. When you think of a problem, instead of avoiding that problem can you think the opposite? Can you think of a way that you normally would not respond or how you might see somebody else respond in the opposite? If your habit is to avoid these things and you think about responding in the opposite way, you might then feel less avoidance. Or you might be afraid to respond in a different manner because you don’t know what might happen. Or maybe your brain can’t even go there. If you find a way to think in an opposite matter and just sit there and think about it, the longer you think about it, the less you’ll be afraid. The less you might avoid whatever situation it is that you are avoiding. I will say though that you have to be open-minded for this to work. If our mind continues to respond in the negative, our first thought will be something like, “Ahh, that’s not going to work. I’ve already tried it.” If that is our thought pattern, it’s going to be very difficult to break these patterns, and you want to add this item to your aging parents’ checklist.
43:41 Pamela D. Wilson: It’s the item that says find solutions. Don’t dwell on problems. Because the way that our mind responds to people, conversation, and events, it shows how we think and if we’re thinking negative, we want to go to the positive. We want to think, “Wow, that is a suggestion that I would normally not do. But it’s an interesting idea. Maybe I can make that work.” If you find yourself in a daily battle with your mind and your negative thoughts, start writing down examples, so that for every negative you can find a positive. Because we can train our mind to be more positive and open-minded, but we have to send that negative away. We have to close our mental gaps. We also — and this applies to everybody – have to stop living in the past. How many of us relive our mistakes, our hurts, our past arguments? Add to your caregiving checklist the idea of forgiving. We have to forgive ourselves and everybody around us, so that we can have positive caregiving experiences and positive family relationships. Being bitter destroys us. Being against ourselves or angry at ourselves is not going to help anything. We all have problems that we can’t solve. We all can find ways to solve these problems if we become open-minded. Recognizing these gaps is part of admitting that we don’t know everything. Today I have so many caregivers that say to me, “Oh, I don’t know what I don’t know, including what questions to ask, which is why I’m struggling.”
45:18 Pamela D. Wilson: Honestly, that’s a great position to be in. Because you recognize that. Another item on the caring for aging parents checklist is to be inquisitive, to ask questions, to be that life-long learner. We can all think that we know it all, but honestly, it’s not possible to know everything. You can gain confidence and find solutions by participating in caregiving support groups and courses. The problem is that we as caregivers, we get burned out. We get exhausted. The brain shuts down and then we have this attitude of, “Ah, I’m so tired, I’m here, but I can’t exert one more effort to do anything, I really don’t care.” That’s another item for the caring for aging parents’ checklist. Long before you get exhausted, long before you get burned out, that is the time to get help. The day-to-day grind of being a caregiver, it can beat us down; it can make us lose our confidence, lose our self-esteem. Sometimes we feel like giving up. We lose hope. We have to step out of our routine to change those thoughts and start spending some time with positive people, even other caregivers who think positive.
46:35 Pamela D. Wilson: All of these caregiving situations can have solutions, if we’re willing to have an open mind and if we believe that we can change. We have those ruby red slippers, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. We have the power to go home. We have the power to choose to change our daily habits, to counteract the effects of frustration, illness, physical declines. Think about what choices that you’re making today. Honestly, there are days when I drag myself to the gym after I’ve gone through every single excuse about why I don’t have time to go. But I’ll tell you after I go, I feel so much better. We talked earlier about activities of daily living, and after this break, we’ll talk about the risk of falls, which are a factor for the ability of our aging parents to stay at home or being forced to move to a care community or a nursing home, which they do not want to do. Nobody wants to do that.
47:37 Pamela D. Wilson: Serious falls result in serious injuries and accidents and our elderly parents having to move from their homes. We’re heading into our last break where we’ll finish talking about the caring for aging parents checklist related to the risk of falling and the consequences of moving to a nursing home. I’ll also share information about next week’s show. You can follow me on social media. On Facebook, you can watch my daily videos at PamelaDWilsoncaregivingexpert. On Twitter, I am caregivingspeak, on Instagram, I’m Wilsonpamelad, and on LinkedIn, I am PamelaDWilsonaregiverexpert. This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation Radio program for caregivers and aging adults live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back after this break.
50:50 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host, you’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults. Coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. Next week, our special guest will be talking about, what is probate? What happens when you are appointed the personal representative of your parents estate, and they die? Do you know what your responsibilities are? I’ve served as personal representative for my clients, and depending on the estate, the responsibilities can be simple or very complicated. Join me next week for what will be a very interesting conversation. Let’s get back to the caring for aging parents checklist discussion about falling and the consequences of moving to a nursing home. This is another important conversation to have earlier instead of when it may be too late. Falls result from poor gait. Which is the ability to put one foot in front of the other and walk. Falls result from poor balance. How many of you can stand on one leg with your other knee bent and not tip over? How many of you can walk a flight of steps without becoming out of breath? Can you walk around one block, two blocks without tiring? That lack of physical activity as we progress through life has serious consequences.
52:19 Pamela D. Wilson: Hip fractures for older adults are sneaky. It doesn’t take much for an aging adult who might have osteoporosis — which is also called brittle bones — to turn, fall, and fracture. I’ve had clients who fell out of bed onto the floor and broke a hip. Clients who stood, turned, and fell. Unless our parents are in good physical condition before that fall, it’s very unlikely that they will be in good physical condition after that fall, unless they put a lot of work into physical rehabilitation. The statistics on hip fractures, frightening. 13% of older adults living at home who have a hip fracture die within a year. 23% for older adults living in retirement communities, and a 30% death rate for older adults living in nursing homes, or those who have dementia. I had a 95-year-old client who walked two miles a day every day. She broke a hip. She went into the hospital. Had surgery. Went to rehab for a couple of days, and she was back walking like brand new. Just the opposite, I had a client with dementia who fell and fractured a hip. Surgery was very difficult because of the dementia, and not being able to walk right away. She forgot how to walk.
53:45 Pamela D. Wilson: And she unfortunately remained in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. If you didn’t know this, healthcare bias exists against treating older adults who have dementia. Working with the healthcare system in that situation, it takes special advocacy skills. Your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they deserve as much care and treatment as anybody else, but the healthcare system, they don’t always see it that way. More information about that subject is on my website in the family caregiving library in the memory loss section. Next week I’ll be talking about what to do when work and caregiving collide. How many of you hesitate to let a supervisor know that you are a family caregiver because you’re afraid of job discrimination? There are 40.4 million caregivers in the United States, and all of these caregivers face stress and sometimes difficult choices when our elderly parents need care, and it’s a workday. What do you choose? Helping your aging parent or going to work so that you can keep your job? That can be an emotionally difficult choice.
54:55 Pamela D. Wilson: Listeners, if no one has told you that you are amazing this week or hasn’t thanked you for everything that you do as a caregiver, or in helping others? Let me say thank you. Caregivers are so under-appreciated in my opinion. Together we can work through the changes that caregiving and needing care brings to our lives. Information is on this show every week. Sometimes caregiving or aging can feel like a struggle or be difficult to manage, Help, hope and love are on my website at pameladwilson.com. This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. Thank you for joining me on The Caring Generation Radio program for caregivers and aging adults coming to you live from the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio. I look forward to being with you again next Wednesday evening. Please invite your family and your friends to join us, God bless you all, sleep well tonight and get up and have a fabulous day tomorrow.
55:56 Announcer: Tune in each week for The Caring Generation with host Pamela D. Wilson. Come join the conversation and see how Pamela can provide solutions and peace of mind for everyone, here on Pamela D. Wilson’s, The Caring Generation.
Looking For More Help With a Caring For Aging Parents Checklist? You’ll Find What You’re Looking For In The Caring Generation Library in the Section Called Planning & Prevention
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