How to Have Patience With Elderly Parents – The Caring Generation®
The Caring Generation® – Episode 79 March 31, 2021. On this caregiver program, How to Have Patience with Elderly Parents, caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson offers tips for learning how to balance emotions, time, and dealing with aging parent’s concerns and health. Guest Dr. Joan Monin from the Yale School of Public Health shares research about caregiver – care receiver relationships and perceptions about distress and suffering. Caregivers of loved ones with memory loss may participate in the Yale Study FACT-AD research study or the spousal caregiver study at Yale.
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How to Have Patience With Elderly Parents
0:00:04.0 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.
0:00:37:93 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, speaker, elder care consultant, and guardian of The Caring Generation. The Caring Generation focuses on the conversation of caring, giving us permission to talk about aging, the challenges of caregiving, and everything in between. It’s no surprise that needing care or becoming a caregiver changes everything. The Caring Generation is here to guide you along the journey to let you know that you’re not alone.
0:1:05:23 Pamela D Wilson: You’re in exactly the right place to share stories, learn tips and resources to help you and your loved ones plan for what’s ahead. Invite your loved ones, family, and friends to listen to the show each week. This week we’re talking about how to have patience with elderly parents. How many of you feel guilty about becoming impatient with a parent or lack patience in general life situations?
0:01:35:25 Pamela D Wilson: I think we all experience these feelings every now and then. Family caregivers are generally a busy and rushed group of people. You may have a lot going on—juggling work and caregiving, taking time off work to attend medical appointments or treatments with parents, being attentive to your family—a spouse or children, and scheduling other activities into your daily life.
0:02:03:66 Pamela D Wilson: I’ll share tips and insights for how to have patience with elderly parents. Our guest for this program is Dr. Joan Monin, Associate Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Yale School of Public Health, with expertise on emotion and relationships in caregiving. She shares research about caregiver – care receiver relationships and perceptions about distress and suffering that may help you feel less helpless and more able to manage caregiving emotions
0:02:41:35 Pamela D Wilson: around caring for older adults with chronic health conditions, disability, and dementia. Dr. Monin has had continuous funding from the National Institute on Aging for more than ten years, examining how gender, stress, emotion, and support-related processes influence cognitive, psychological, and physical health in the context of older adult family caregiving. Her findings are published in prominent journals like the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, and Health and Psychology.
0:03:20:76 Pamela D Wilson: Let’s start our conversation about how to have patience with elderly parents by evaluating patience levels. Are you a patient or an impatient person—in general? When dealing with aging parents, does your patience level fluctuate depending on the situation? Are you more or less patient at times —and if so, do you know why? One insight that might be helpful to the degree of understanding how to have patience with elderly parents is the quality of your relationship with mom or dad.
0:04:01:59 Pamela D Wilson: Research indicates that family members and friends who have close relationships may be more patient, understanding, and empathetic with each other. If your relationship is not as close—you may have less of these qualities. However, time and situational events can affect patience levels. We will talk more about this when I offer tips and solutions for how to have patience with elderly parents.
0:04:32:82 Pamela D Wilson: When we look at why patience is important or valuable, we can look at the results or the benefits that might be gained from becoming more patient dealing with aging parents—and everyone in our life. By practicing patience as a skill or having patience as a personality trait, we can be feel more relaxed and less stressed. Less stress for caregivers is good. Minimizing time pressures by creating more time for
0:05:05:065 Pamela D Wilson: investigating and decision making can result in more rational versus emotional decisions that we might regret. A researched connection exists between patience and mental well-being. Adapting to new situations—which is ongoing in many caregiving situations—requires patience to think and consider future consequences before making quick decisions. Being patient involves managing a variety of situations.
0:05:36:42 Pamela D Wilson: For example, daily hassles like small irritations—dishes in the sink, toilet seat up or down. Also, interpersonal relationship challenges and lifelong hardships like managing a chronic illness. We can also look at patience from a sense of immediacy and wanting whatever we want now versus balancing a future reward. In the United States versus in other countries throughout the world, we are spoiled by home delivery, whether groceries or items ordered off the Internet.
0:06:12:90 Pamela D Wilson: We may be used to same-day or next-day delivery. We may not know this, but we are also spoiled by choices. You go to the grocery store, and there are 5 or 10 different brands of cereal, peanut butter, yogurt, laundry detergent, and other items. How many of you have been to Europe? Store sizes in many countries are the size of convenience stores in the U.S., which means you may have 1 or 2 brands—
0:06:43:10 Pamela D Wilson: and that’s it. Choices have pluses and minuses. How many of you have taken an elderly parent to the store, and mom or dad has difficulty choosing between one brand or the other. You’re in a rush, and you’d like to pull an item off the shelf and put it in a basket, but you focus on how to have patience with elderly parents and wait impatiently or patiently. We can extend this to taking a parent to a medical
0:07:13:62 Pamela D Wilson: appointment—which, as many of you know—can turn into an all-day event when a parent wants to add “tasks” to the beginning of the end of an appointment. You thought you were going to a doctor’s appointment. But now you are making a stop at the grocery store, pharmacy, and running other errands. You viewed this trip as a single appointment while mom or dad who may not drive—see this event as an opportunity to get
0:07:44:99 Pamela D Wilson: out of the house and accomplish everything on the list that they created while they were anticipating this appointment with you. Those extra errands—when you are pressed for time—may deplete your patience. Part of how to have patience with elderly parents is to be very clear about expectations. You may find yourself in any of these situations of not having enough patience. Let’s look at patience-building activities.
0:08:13:22 Pamela D Wilson: Warning: if you lack patience, you may not like any of these ideas. They require patience and focus. The first is reading a long book like Sironia Texas by Madison Cooper, 1.1 million words and 1731 pages. The second, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, 645,000 words How about War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, 587,287 words, 1296 pages. And then there are the novels by Stephen King—It, The Stand, and Under the Dome all over 1,000 words.
0:09:04:91 Pamela D Wilson: Don’t like reading? Try putting together a 1,000 or more-piece jigsaw puzzle. Or make a meal entirely from scratch – no boxes, canned, jarred, or other pre-packaged items. How might these patience bending exercises be helpful? Any activity that takes time—more than a few hours, a day, or a week, or a month teaches the idea of process and progress. Which is a lot like the caregiving journey. If you are a new caregiver, maybe you have been
0:09:40:08 Pamela D Wilson: helping aging parents for a few months or a couple of years. You may be surprised or shocked to learn that this journey can last for years, 5, 10, 20, or more. Caregiving is a journey of patience. Although it’s easy to wonder how to have patience with elderly parents when the experience seems to keep going and going and going. Does the thought of being a caregiver for 5, 10, 20, or more years offer insight into why
0:10:13:59 Pamela D Wilson: gaining patience can be a valuable skill and a personality trait. Patience is the ability to accept or tolerate delays, unexpected situations, time constraints, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. In the daily experience, there are many patience benders that we can’t change. Like getting stuck in traffic, waiting in a long line, rushing out of the house, and forgetting something that it would take too long to go back to get. We become impatient with ourselves and with others.
0:10:48:99 Pamela D Wilson: Realizing that some things take time—and can’t be rushed is part of learning patience. There are also times related to how to have patience with elderly parents when thinking about an action for more than one day. Investigating information, asking questions, or evaluating alternatives—instead of rushing to make a decision—can be wise. More on the topic of how to have patience with elderly parents after this break.
0:11:18:73 Pamela D Wilson: Helpful tips, articles, my Caring for Aging Parents Blog, videos, and online elder care courses are on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. The place to help you and your family start thinking, talking, and planning for health, aging, caregiving, and everything in between. I’m Pamela D Wilson on the Caring Generation. Stay with me; I’ll be right back.
0:12:18:43 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson on The Caring Generation, the only program of its kind caring to make your life easier by tackling uncomfortable and intimidating discussions about aging, caregiving, and everything in between. If you want to avoid unintended consequences and unexpected caregiving issues—if you’re not sure what to do—maybe things aren’t working out as you expected— my online caregiver education courses offer solutions for caring for aging parents.
0:12:39:00 Pamela D Wilson: Pamela D Wilson: The A to Z of caregiving is in my online caregiver course called Stay at Home: Taking Care of Elderly Parents at Home and Beyond and managing daily care and the legal aspects of decision making for parents with cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia is in my course called How to Get Guardianship of a Parent on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. Let’s continue how to have patience with elderly parents. Before the break, we were talking about daily hassles that turn into patience benders. What are some of these situations?
0:13:18:45 Pamela D Wilson: Actions or responses that may seem simple or routine—can be seen as unimportant or insignificant. An example is considering and understanding the short- and long-term effects of a medical diagnosis or a treatment. This applies not only to dealing with aging parents but dealing with ourselves. How many of you have health concerns and don’t go to the doctor? Have health issues and ignore the problem until it gets really bad and necessitates an emergency room trip? Or have a health diagnosis and don’t see it as important?
0:13:59:06 Pamela D Wilson: Medication that was prescribed is not taken, and doctor’s recommendations may be ignored. What happens? Not having the patience to investigate any of these concerns can result in more health problems in the future. While being rushed is a reason for not being patient, thorough, or focused—a lack of patience can result in unintended consequences. How to have patience with elderly parents
0:14:29:48 Pamela D Wilson: benefits from the idea of gaining perspective about why patience may be lacking. We talked about situations or events that are process-related or may take time. These include unexpected situations that we can’t control and situations that benefit from time spent to make sure the best decision is made. Are you ever placed in a situation where something—a decision or an action—that you might make today has
0:15:00:15 Pamela D Wilson: consequences months or years from today? How to have patience with elderly parents can involve considering the big picture. How many of you have moved in to care for elderly parents or moved elderly parents in with you to live so that you can care for mom or dad? Families moving in together or living together to provide care is a common situation. Living with elderly parents is a top concern for
0:15:30:56 Pamela D Wilson: how to have patience with elderly parents when this decision—made deliberately with patience or made in a rush—turns into a situation that isn’t working out. Fixing this may take a lot of time. How does this how to have patience with elderly parents living situation happen? Many times—in haste or hurry. Caregivers are rushed for time and feeling overwhelmed. Moving in with an elderly parent at
0:16:03:96 Pamela D Wilson: first appears to be a time-saver. Imagine this. Coming home every day after work to an elderly parent in your home instead driving over to mom or dad’s house and then driving home. Waking up with elderly parents every morning and having them in your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week – forever. There may be other perceived benefits like child care if you work and your parents can help take care of the kids.
0:16:38:75 Pamela D Wilson: This decision in the short term may look great. Time-saving, convenient. But—in the long term, when you miss your privacy when you want time away from caregiving or aging parents who are totally dependent on you—this rushed decision to live together may not look so good. How to have patience with elderly parents means having patience with yourself and the decisions you make about caregiving. Including setting boundaries and time limits. How many of you remember times that passed so quickly—in the blink of an eye.
0:15:00:00 Pamela D Wilson: And other times, events like COVID, waiting to get your first driver’s license, moving out of the house, or finishing college that seemed to take an eternity to come to fruition. Managing time, learning patience, being patient—it’s all a mind game and a thinking game. Every 24-hour period that we live is exactly the same amount of time as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Why do we view time differently?
0:17:58:12 Pamela D Wilson: We do this because physical time doesn’t match the clock in our minds. The way that I look at time is different from the way you look at time. The way that I look at how to have patience with elderly parents is different from the way that you look at how to have patience with elderly parents. Caregivers and elderly parents perceive time differently. When caregivers or care receivers are tired,
0:18:28:64 Pamela D Wilson: exhausted, worn-out—response time changes. Bodies become mentally and physically slower. This means that others may be less patient with caregivers, and caregivers lose patience with others. The way that time is approached for self-care, planning, and other activities can alter the perception of time and how to have patience with elderly parents. Let’s talk about feelings of caregiver overwhelm and relate these to patience.
0:19:05:03 Pamela D Wilson: When caregivers have a lot to accomplish, patience can be stretched because of not feeling that time exists for waiting or any type of delays. In these situations, frustration results from how to have patience with elderly parents. Looking at why you are impatient can be helpful. Are you an overscheduled caregiver trying to accomplish too much? As a result, are you are impatient with elderly parents?
0:19:36:03 Pamela D Wilson: Do you verbally snap, snap, snap at mom or dad? Rush parents to make a decision or even worse—start making decisions for mom or dad without asking them. Why? Because asking requires patience, and it takes too much time! There’s no time in the day for mom or dad to dilly dally in decision-making. Have you set unrealistic expectations for what you have to accomplish? Not scheduling enough time? Do you keep adding “one more thing” to that list that is already impossible?
0:20:15:88 Pamela D Wilson: One or all of these actions leads to a lack in the how to have patience with elderly parents department. Dealing with aging parents can also result in parents having unrealistic expectations of their caregiving children. If you find yourself in repetitive situations where you are at a loss for how to have patience with elderly parents, start a daily log of the situations. Daily notes.
0:20:45:05 Pamela D Wilson: Until we can be clear on the “triggers or problems” that result in impatience, we can’t solve the how to have patience with elderly parents dilemma. When you look at these situations, you might realize that some of them are minor irritants that have piled up because you didn’t have the patience or time to address them before they grew to significance. I call this caregiving creep.
0:21:11:38 Pamela D Wilson: Situations that we ignore because we don’t have the patience to manage cause more problems later. That low tire that becomes flat on the day you have to take mom or dad to a doctor’s appointment. UGH. It’s exasperating. How to have patience with elderly parents can be as much about how we manage time and expectations as it is how we respond to the behaviors and actions of elderly parents.
0:21:41:63 Pamela D Wilson: If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that we talk about how our response to situations results in the response we receive from others—for better or worse. You become upset—the other person becomes upset. You lose patience—the person you are speaking to responds in kind. The more you talk about being upset about a subject, the more riled up your emotions and the emotions of others listening to you become.
0:22:14:59 Pamela D Wilson: One reaction sets off another and another. How to have patience with elderly parents flies out the window and results in a pile of guilt, frustration, and feeling bad about an interaction. So—what do we do about all this? Let’s look at a proven example of what I call time “bending.” It’s called Parkinson’s Law. British naval historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson wrote an essay in 1955 that is still discussed today as Parkinson’s Law. What does this mean?
0:22:52:99 Pamela D Wilson: The definition is that: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Think about this for a moment. We all see highly productive people who seem to run circles around other people and others who always seem to be running behind and may be prone to impatience. What side do you fall on? Were you the person who got your schoolwork done early? Or were you that student who was up until one o’clock in the morning finishing your term paper? We will talk about more patience tips in the last segments of the program.
0:23:34:30 Pamela D Wilson: Coming up next, Dr. Joan Monin, Associate Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Yale School of Public Health. She will share research about caregiver – care receiver relationships and perceptions about distress and suffering that may help you feel less helpless and more able to manage caregiving emotions. Visit my website, PamelaDWilson.com, where you will find information about keynotes, webinars, online courses about elderly care, and all of The Caring Generation podcast episodes and transcripts. Stay with me; I’ll be right back.
0:24:44:79 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, speaker, and elder care consultant on The Caring Generation. The only program of its kind caring to make your life easier by tackling uncomfortable and intimidating discussions about aging, caregiving, and everything in between. Join me every Wednesday for The Caring Generation. The show is not limited by time zone or location—caregivers worldwide listen.
0:25:10:04 Pamela D Wilson: Share and visit my website PamelaDWilson.com with others you know. One in 4 people are caregivers looking for hope, help, and support and don’t know where to turn or who to trust. You’re about to meet Dr. Joan Monin, Associate Professor in the social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Yale School of Public Health.
0:25:32:63 Pamela D Wilson: Dr. Monin, welcome to the show thank you for joining me.
0:25:34:20 Dr. Joan Monin: Thanks so much for having me, Pamela.
0:25:36:65 Pamela D Wilson: So let’s get into a few questions. Research and life experience indicate that caregivers experience distress from thinking that their care recipient is distressed, and I found a research paper called the “Distress of the Care Recipient” and it talked about suffering. Will you share the components of suffering so that listeners can relate?
0:26:01:34 Dr. Joan Monin: Sure. So a while back, I was working with another researcher named Richard Schulze at the University of Pittsburgh, who is a world-renowned caregiving expert, and he was really involved with all of these interventions related to caregiving stress. And one thing that seemed to be missing from the interventions was this intuition that caregivers were distressed because their partners were suffering or they thought their partners were suffering. And the idea of suffering has really been studied outside of social science and health sciences. And so, he really wanted to get this understanding of what suffering is in the context of caregiving.
0:26:56:19 Dr. Joan Monin: So together, I joined his team, and we worked with anthropologists, historians, physicians to kind of come together to understand what suffering meant in the context of caregiving and how that might have a unique impact on caregiving stress. And so, we came up with the kind of multi-component definition of suffering as being physical symptoms that are bothering the person with dementia or the care recipient. You know things like fatigue, pain, nausea, and how much the caregiver thought those things bothered the care recipient.
0:27:47:30 Dr. Joan Monin: And then psychological aspects of suffering so things like depression, anxiety, frustration, hopelessness, and then also spiritual and kind of existential aspects like losing meaning and purpose in life. So, really this idea that perceiving that a loved one is suffering has a big impact on caregiver’s distress. Beyond, this you know the severity of the disease or the functional disability that that person has.
0:28:23:61 Pamela D Wilson: And so how does the care recipient’s experience of suffering—how does it connect to that distress? How does that happen?
0:28:32:24 Dr. Joan Monin: Yes, so there could be, you know, conscious ways that’s happening like cognitive empathy. Is what we call putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. You know—how would I feel if I was—you know—sitting there day to day and not having meaning and purpose in life and kind of ruminating on that idea. And then you could also think about kind of less conscious processes like being faced with negative emotions all day.
0:29:06:82 Dr. Joan Monin: So having someone look at you with pain all the time and having that feedback where you’re actually mimicking those painful expressions which translate to the stress within your body. And then also thinking about how one’s history of how you’ve reacted to distress in your relationships in early childhood can really affect how you respond to people suffering. So, if you were treated as a child when you expressed distress to your parents, and they got angry at you. You might do the same thing.
0:29:49:74 Dr. Joan Monin: You might also feel really anxious and kind of not able to separate yourself from that person’s distress which really kind of makes things get out of control. And then another way is that you were responded to as a child in a sensitive way when you expressed distress and so you have feelings of care and love and response to that distress. But those are all kind of individual differences that people might have in reaction to witnessing someone’s suffering.
0:30:26:27 Pamela D Wilson: Well, and thank you for sharing that because I actually had a caregiver tell me this morning that when she would get upset, her mother would get upset—that she was upset. So talking about this I think is very helpful. Are there times in the caregiving journey that are more stressful? So, maybe a health diagnosis or having to place a loved one in a care community?
0:30:47:10 Dr. Joan Monin: So we know anecdotally that the diagnosis of things like dementia or life-threatening or deterioration of a person’s health is really stressful for people. But there’s actually not so much research about distress within that kind of healthcare interaction, and really this is kind of at the forefront of where we need to go with research is to really understand what happens during that diagnosis situation and how the clinician is delivering that information. Is it in a sensitive way?
0:31:29:61 Dr. Joan Monin: Is it opening up opportunities for questions from the caregiver for the person with dementia—who in some cases are still able to talk about their own experiences but may be stigmatized in that situation. So there’s a lot more work to be done to look at emotions surrounding those kind of encounters and that time at diagnosis. For placement in long-term care facilities, we actually see that caregiving stress tends to be pretty stable. So a lot of the times, you know, caregivers will feel really burned out, and that’s why they’ll place their loved one in a long-term care facility, and then they’ll think that their distress will go away.
0:32:19:61 Dr. Joan Monin: But actually, it’s just a transition to another type of caregiving role where people have to manage new challenges. Like talking to staff about the quality of the care that’s being provided. Having disagreements about that. So you know where some of the stress is alleviated from the day to day from certain activities, new stresses are introduced like not thinking that their loved one is being cared for in the way that they would want to. Or feelings of guilt about not being there.
0:32:51:46 Pamela D Wilson. That is such a good point. Thank you for mentioning that. Are there differences in the experience and perception of suffering depending on whether the caregiver is a man or a woman, or the relationship with a spousal caregiver or a child caregiver, or even age?
0:33:07:77 Dr. Joan Monin: Yes, there’s actually a lot of research on this. So it tends to be the case that female caregivers say they’re a lot more distressed than male caregivers. Um, we also find that spousal caregivers are more distressed than adult children caregivers. And that younger caregivers are more distressed than older caregivers. And there are some really great meta-analyses and reviews looking across studies to show that each of these aspects really do make a difference in people’s experiences as caregivers.
0:33:49:28 Pamela D Wilson: And so do caregivers who feel helpless—so maybe caregivers who can’t see how their efforts are helping someone. Do they feel more distressed?
0:33:59:28 Dr. Joan Monin: Definitely. There’s a large component of self-efficacy and being able to alleviate the suffering of a partner that really decreases stress. And when that’s not happening, then the caregiver’s distress kind of stays stable. I find a lot in my research that the more that the care recipient expresses kind of gratitude and kind of expressions of happiness or letting the caregiver know that what they’re doing is actually making them feel better and that they really appreciate it—is very protective for caregiver’s distress.
0:34:45:18 Dr. Joan Monin: So, in the early stages of dementia, for instance, the more that we can kind of encourage care recipients to really tell the caregiver what their care means to them. That will probably give them some peace of mind for the future when they may not be able to see that as much over time. So, those interactions of mutual care in the relationship are really protective.
0:35:17:97 Pamela D Wilson: How good are caregivers at actually understanding how much their parent or care recipient is suffering?
0:35:25:80 Dr. Joan Monin: So, it seems to be a really pervasive finding that caregivers overestimate the suffering of their care recipients because it’s really hard to know how someone is feeling. So, I think people really want to be careful to not underestimate the suffering, but that means that they’re often overestimating the suffering. So, we find that if you ask people how much they’re suffering. So, you ask the care recipient, and then you ask the caregiver how much you think that care recipient is suffering. That really, the caregiver’s reports are much higher than the person who is talking about their own experience.
0:36:13:40 Pamela D. Wilson: And are there any recommendations for how caregivers might reframe or respond to the suffering of the care recipient?
0:36:23:68 Dr. Joan Monin: Well, I think one thing is to just keep communication open to really understand how your relationship partner is feeling. And have those conversations with each other and not just assume that the care recipient is not doing well. And really kind of talk about each other’s feelings so that you have an accurate understanding. I think another thing you can do is use strategies like mindfulness to try to decrease rumination because sometimes you can feel like your partner is suffering and really just kind of stay on that in your mind. When you’re not able to let go of that, it just makes it spiral out of control.
0:37:16:44 Pamela D Wilson: Dr. Monin, I thank you so much, and I thank you so much for all the research that you do on this topic. It is so important and so needed for all of the caregivers out there.
0:37:16:44 Dr. Joan Monin: Thank you so much for having me, Pamela.
0:37:28:60 Pamela D Wilson: It’s time for a break. Up next, continuing our conversation about how to have patience with elderly parents by balancing expectations and time. (pause) Check out all of The Caring Generation podcasts and the show transcripts on my website at PamelaDWilson.com and all of your favorite podcast apps: Apple, Google, Spreaker, Podcast Addict, Pandora, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Spotify, I Heart Radio, Podchaser, Jio Saavn, Vurbl, and More.
0:38:03:42 Pamela D Wilson: Add the podcast app for the Caring Generation show to the cellphone of elderly parents, in-laws, family members, and friends. Helpful information about caregiving and aging is on my website and in my book The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes, on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. I’m Pamela D Wilson on The Caring Generation Stay with me. I’ll be right back.
0:38:57:32 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson. You’re with me on The Caring Generation, the only program of its kind bringing caregivers and aging adults worldwide to talk about aging, caregiving, and everything in between. More information and support for caregivers, corporations, and groups is on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. There you’ll find information about keynote events, webinars, online courses, and more. Let me know how I can help you, your group, or your organization by visiting the Contact Me page on my website and sending me an email.
0:39:32:36 Pamela D Wilson Dilemmas, dilemmas. How to have patience with elderly parents, ourselves, and manage time and expectations? Earlier in the show, we talked about Parkinson’s Law. A simple example of this is a project that you have to complete at home. I like to use laundry as an example because it’s a chore that most of us are familiar with. Let’s say it’s Saturday, and you are home doing other things and combine laundry with your list of to-dos
0:40:04:69 Pamela D Wilson: Some people start the wash, time it, put clothes in the dryer, or hang them out to dry if the weather is nice and keep going until the task is finished. Other people might start a load of wash. Leave to do other things and if you’re like me, forget that the laundry is in the wash until the next morning. Parkinson’s Law is the idea that time expands to the deadline we give ourselves for a project.
0:40:35:01 Pamela D Wilson: How does Parkinson’s Law relate to caregiving and how to have patience with elderly parents? If you are short on patience when you are with your parents, spending the least amount of time with them as possible might be a good strategy. Limiting time communicating with your parents on the phone might also be a good idea for how to have patience with elderly parents. Time bending with Parkinson’s Law is all about giving yourself deadlines and time limits.
0:41:07:17 Pamela D Wilson: Which initially may have you feeling more pressured. However, when you put effort into being realistic about the time it takes to accomplish projects, this Law can work magic for you, and you may find extra time. Wouldn’t that be a dream? Time for you. Time to do something you want to do instead of constantly feeling like you’re running behind. Let’s talk about a few other tips to be more efficient that can help with patience.
0:41:40:86 Pamela D Wilson: During how much of your daily time do you have “wait time?” That could be wait time driving to work or commuting on public transportation. Wait time on the telephone. Wait time before a meeting. Any wait time is an opportunity to be efficient with that list of things you have to do or to do an enjoyable activity for a few minutes. For example, I love to read and learn.
0:42:13:57 Pamela D Wilson: My interest in learning is all about filling gaps to master skills or gain knowledge that relate to health, well-being, aging, caregiving, healthcare, and medical issues because this is my career, and it’s also part of creating this show for you. My learning includes talking to people like the guests I interview for this program, reading the news, researching information on the Internet, reading books, or taking a class. My “waiting” time turns into learning time.
0:42:48:77 Pamela D Wilson: If I’m driving somewhere, I may be listening to the news or a book on tape. If I have to wait somewhere, like in an office, I always have a book, magazine, or other reading material that I leave in my car and take in with me to the appointment. How to have patience with elderly parents when you are doing tasks that involve allowing them to do work, move, or think at their own pace involves managing that wait time or downtime. What are ways that you can do this by distracting yourself with a project that interests you?
0:43:26:82 Pamela D Wilson: I have known caregivers who bring knitting or crochet needles or craft projects with them, books, music, a homework project, or another task that is “portable,” meaning it can go anywhere. The next tip for how to have patience with elderly parents scenario involves learning patience and empathy for people who want to be heard. This means dealing with the concerns of elderly parents.
0:43:55:88 Pamela D Wilson: If your parents are like many older adults, they may repeat stories. Express concern about being stuck about making a decision. May have tendencies to be negative in conversations or complain. I know. Your parents never do that. Dealing with negative elderly parents can try the patience of even the most patient person. For more help with this, I will mention a couple of Caring Generation podcasts on this topic. Have you listened to My Elderly Mother is Never Happy?
0:44:30:39 Pamela D Wilson: What about Caring for an Elderly Parent You Don’t Like or Trapped Caring for an Elderly Parent or Spouse or, better yet, Dealing with Negative Elderly Parents. These and more can all be found on The Caring Generation page on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. I am thankful to all of the caregivers who offered their ideas for shows. If you have show ideas, you can go to my website PamelaDWilson.com and send me an email through the Contact Me page or complete my online caregiver survey, and you can make suggestions there.
0:45:06:10 Pamela D Wilson: When we think about empathy, patience, and wanting to be heard – we can realize that we all want this type of consideration. Think about a time when you were waiting in line for something. Maybe at the bank, picking up clothes at the cleaners, in line at the airport, waiting at the pharmacy—really anywhere. How many times have you had the opportunity to hear the conversation of the person in front of you?
0:45:36:40 Pamela D Wilson: If they were upset about a customer service issue, all they really wanted was to be heard—and helped. You may be waiting in line, and you have a similar issue or concern that you want the clerk to hear. While you may be losing patience at the amount of time, you are standing there if you didn’t bring a book or something else to divert your time. Look at the clerk. Imagine how the clerk feels. He or she is resolving one issue after the other, knowing that the next person is probably going to have another complaint to address.
0:46:15:88 Pamela D Wilson: Thinking about patience and waiting to be heard can increase our empathy and compassion for that clerk who is about to be bombarded with more issues, and it can also help us not to take ourselves so seriously. Managing conflict or resolving situations does not have to be anxiety-filled—unless we make it that way. Why not try a little kindness or humor in your next interaction? This may be easier to do with a stranger
0:46:50:52 Pamela D Wilson: than a parent or spouse who we find difficult, but it’s worth a try to lighten the mood. How to have patience with elderly parents? When we think of empathy, we are usually more empathetic with strangers than people we know, like aging parents, especially if situations are repetitive. This is where everyone has the opportunity to teach or help people who make us impatient be more patient.
0:47:21:24 Pamela D Wilson: This one might be a little more difficult if you are not used to dealing with what might be viewed as challenging situations that many people try to avoid. Think about this situation. How many times does an action “trigger” your patience, but you choose to ignore it? While there are times when this may be a great tactic because speaking up may only result in more issues when the situation repeats. Rather than going along with it – the idea here is to retrain or teach.
0:47:53:77 Pamela D Wilson: Let’s use a couple of examples at work. Let’s say that you work in a fast-food restaurant, and you and another person are responsible for clean up after the restaurant closes. At the end of every shift, you end up doing a task that your co-worker is supposed to do, but you say nothing. The result is that your patience with your co-worker becomes short because you are frustrated that he or she just “doesn’t get it.”
0:48:23:49 Pamela D Wilson: Which may or may not be accurate. Might it be possible that no one ever showed your co-worker how to be thorough or how to do this particular task? What if you took this situation as an opportunity to exercise patience and train your co-worker to do the task? It might sound something like this, “Sally or John – I’ve been going over X because it’s not being done the way I was shown. Has anyone shown you what this task is supposed to look like?
0:49:01:32 Pamela D Wilson: He or she may say yes or no. Go to the extent and say, great, can I review this with you? It would save me time from having to do re-work and get both of us out of here sooner at the end of this shift. By taking this step, you may be able to eliminate the impatience you are feeling about the time pressure to finish the work and the frustration you are experiencing with your teammate.
0:49:27:89 Pamela D Wilson: We’ll continue more with this subject after a quick break. I’m Pamela D Wilson. You’re with me on The Caring Generation, the only program of its kind helping caregivers and aging adults plan and solve for aging, caregiving, healthcare, and other issues in life. Please share this program with others you know. I’ll be right back after this break.
0:50:13:71 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson. You’re with me on The Caring Generation, the only program of its kind bringing caregivers and aging adults worldwide to talk about caregiving, aging, and everything in between. More information and support for caregivers, corporations, and groups is on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. Let’s talk more about how to have patience with elderly parents. Your parent may do something that annoys you or causes you to lose patience. Complaining can be one of those things in addition to not being prepared and ready to leave when you arrive for a doctor appointment.
0:50:54:09 Pamela D Wilson: The question to ask is what can you do to help your parent be more considerate or time-efficient that lessens your impatience? Helping others help you as a caregiver can be an exercise in patience, especially when you are working with the healthcare providers, a medical office, or other people that can affect the care you provide to an aging parent. Learning how to have patience with elderly parents benefits from learning how to have patience with everyone in our life. As I mentioned before, there is a direct connection between patience and mental health and well-being.
0:51:36:26 Pamela D Wilson: Patience relates to other personality factors. How many of you relate to any of these? Extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness, anxiety, depression, and high or low life satisfaction. Then we have other factors that can interfere with patience: interpersonal issues, life hardships, and daily hassles. The ability to become more patient has a direct relationship with the type of glitches we face: interpersonal issues, life hardships, or daily hassles.
0:52:18:31 Pamela D Wilson: As many of us know, how to have patience with elderly parents when we have interpersonal or relationship issues can take time and effort to resolve that we may not want to contribute. Other issues like managing life’s hardships that relate to a health diagnosis that may not improve can have us feeling a little down or hopeless. Daily hassles are probably the easiest to overcome if we recognize the triggers and develop a response plan.
0:52:50:83 Pamela D Wilson: Attention shifting is a strategy that can help us maintain a patient demeanor if we are in a situation where delays in achieving a task or a project happen. A simple example may be thinking about something pleasant when stuck in traffic or listening to music and singing along. What we feel in the present moment—frustration, impatience—is where we focus our attention. When we are impatient, it can be easy to be pulled to ruminate or to get stuck on a negative event rather than brushing it off or sending it away.
0:53:31:64 Pamela D Wilson: When we give our attention to impatience, negative thoughts, and worry—it can be nearly impossible for us to see or think anything positive at that moment. When we give our attention to things we don’t want in life, we’re pulled to the negative. This happens in caregiving or needing care situations when we think about an unhappy future and things we don’t want to have happen.
0:54:04:44 Pamela D Wilson: It’s the thinking that mom or dad are going to be late, or this appointment is going to take hours. Oh! Rather than thinking that we might have an on-time departure and an appointment that goes as scheduled. Wouldn’t that be nice? How many times do we consider that our posture, thoughts, appearance, or interactions with others may be causing us problems? More impatience, challenges, or difficulties? It’s possible. Even likely.
0:54:36:78 Pamela D Wilson: When we shift our attention from the negative to the positive, we can make progress. This includes expressing gratitude for the little things that happen every day. If you had a day that happened without glitches—be thankful. If someone did something nice for you, be thankful and return the favor. Here’s a simple example. A friend of mine recently mailed me a card in return for a card I mailed to her. In the card I sent, I mentioned the fact that mailing cards, writing letters. It’s a lost art. We used to do it years ago, and today it’s very rare.
0:55:19:56 Pamela D Wilson: My friend wrote back and agreed, and she thanked me for the card and said, “I’m returning the favor by writing you a note and sending you a card.” As you can see, there are many ways, tips, many actions we can take that can increase our patience level with elderly parents. If you in a caregiving situation where you are not sure what to do, and you want to plan for care needs for aging parents, a spouse, or yourself to avoid the unexpected ups and downs.
0:55:50:35 Pamela D Wilson: Help is on my website. In my online articles that you can read. In taking my online caregiver courses, watching videos, and encouraging your group groups and corporations to begin talking and supporting caregiving conversations. Many caregivers worry about talking to employers about caregiving and work responsibilities. In addition to this show that can help you talk to elderly parents and family members and your caregivers—I’ll be happy to speak with leaders in your organizations and groups.
0:56:22:47 Pamela D Wilson: All you have to do is have the patience and the interest to share my website PamelaDWilson.com with your human resources manager or the decision-maker in your company or your group. I thank you all for joining me on The Caring Generation. I welcome new countries who join us every week to listen to this podcast. It is the only program of its kind connecting caregivers and aging adults worldwide to talk about caregiving, health, and everything in between. Please invite your family and friends to listen each week. I am Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, advocate, and speaker. I look forward to being with you again soon. God bless you all. Sleep well tonight. Have a fabulous day tomorrow and a great week until we are here together again.
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