Living With Elderly Parents – The Caring Generation®
The Caring Generation®- Episode 35 April 22, 2020, On this radio program for caregivers and aging adults, Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, shares ten considerations for Living With Elderly Parents. Guest Ruth Lippin shares tips for caregivers of an elderly parent for managing anxiety and stress
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Living With Elderly Parents Radio Show Transcript
00:04 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 Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Follow and like The Caring Generation radio show and caregiving podcasts on your favorite podcast apps. Click the heart button to receive a notice each time a new podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, Stitcher, Spotify, Pandora, Sound Cloud, iHeart Radio, and others. Our topic for this radio show is ten things to think about when you’re looking at the idea of living with elderly parents. Thinking about living with elderly parents— having an elderly parent living in your home or you and your family living in your elderly parent’s house—can bring up comforting thoughts, or it might create worries. Details surrounding the situation determine the complications involved in making this decision or in living with elderly parents.
The Caregiving Trap: Adult Child and Parent Caregiving Relationships
01:51 Pamela D. Wilson: One of the most important determinants—consideration number one is— do you like spending one-on-one time with your elderly parents? For some adult children, living with elderly parents brings up very positive thoughts. You love your elderly parents. Being with them is a pleasure. This means that that initial thought of living with elderly parents is not a bad thing. For other children, though, thinking about the idea of living with elderly parents brings up hesitation and worry. Childhood memories of parental relationships might be negative. That might make the idea of living with elderly parents an impossible thought. Thoughts about childhood relationships, anger, anxiety, and trauma bring me to talk about the guest for this program. Ruth Lippin is an attorney and a licensed clinical social worker who focuses on treatment for anxiety. She provides therapy for adult children and family situations where relationships might be a little bit faulty and where caregiving stress and feeling overwhelmed is common. Ruth will share tips for how to manage stress and anxiety—which are not always bad things.
03:07 Pamela D. Wilson: Anxiety actually can have some very positive aspects. We’ll talk about ideas for how to manage feeling anxious or panicked. Whether it’s at work, at school, in personal relationships, or in caregiving relationships. If you experience any type of anger, anxiety or stress, when you see or talk to an elderly parent—or that thought of living with an elderly parent makes you a little bit nervous—Ruth might be able to help you with some strategies and tips for working through feeling this way. Let’s continue with consideration number one, and the question of whether you like being around your elderly parents and the opposite. Do your elderly parents like being around you, your spouse, your children for more than an occasional lunch or dinner? That question might be a little difficult to answer. If your elderly parent needs your help, there may be that idea of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, of feeling that there may be no other options. Interesting, isn’t it?
04:07 Pamela D. Wilson: How much is an elderly parent willing to put up with things they don’t like—people they may not like to get the care that they need? And how long might that idea of putting up with things last before everything blows up? Before committing to live with an elderly parent, it’s the time to have discussions about sticking points. Things that you like about each other. Things you don’t like, and how you will work through the good and the bad. Where can you be flexible? What are the must-haves? We all have them. Families have them.
04:36 Pamela D. Wilson: Households also have routines. If you have a spouse, or children, or a dog—other people and pets will be affected by living with an elderly parent. There is a lot to consider. Having this conversation now can avoid living with an elderly parent situation that turns out to be miserable. Paying attention to small red flags, today avoids unhappy situations later. If you’re not sure, take a few test drives to see if living with elderly parents is a good thought. Test the idea of living with an elderly parent by inviting your elderly parent to spend the weekend with you, or vice-versa. Keep in mind, though, that you might need a few test drives because everybody might be on their best behavior trying to make that situation of living with an elderly parent work out. We can all be on our best behavior for a limited amount of time. You want to know what happens when that nice feeling wears off. The idea would be to create a normal weekend situation. What activities do you do on the weekend? What’s the routine of your elderly parent?
05:41 Pamela D. Wilson: The second thought about this test drive is to look at the type of help or assistance that an elderly parent needs. Is it a little? A lot? Help that an elderly parent need may differ significantly from the help that you think they need versus the help that they think they need. Is it possible to combine common tasks that your elderly parent can still perform? For example, if your elderly parent can still do laundry, can they help? Is it effective? Is it a good idea to wash their clothes with family clothing? Who takes over the laundry responsibilities? Is it you, your parent, your children? While this may seem like a small thing, it crosses the boundaries of these everyday things that really get on our nerves like cleaning the kitchen, making a meal, taking out the trash, grocery shopping, is that toilet seat up? Is it down? Are there dishes left in the sink, or do they go in the dishwasher?
06:36 Pamela D. Wilson: There’s now another person in your household. Do you give your elderly parent responsibilities like you would your children? Does living with an elderly parent mean that you absorb all of mom or dad’s care so that they don’t have to do anything? One suggestion is to create a list of help that you think your parent needs and then have your parent do the same. Compare them. Are you underestimating—are you overestimating the amount of help that’s needed? Then look at all the regular household tasks and who does them. Are there areas like meal preparation where an elderly parent can contribute? The goal of the list exercise and the test drive for living with an elderly parent is to figure out how much extra work is involved and if accomplishing that much is even possible.
07:25 Pamela D. Wilson: We’ve all been in situations where we made a plan, and then we realized later how much we underestimated the amount of work. How do you incorporate living with an elderly parent into your regular routine? And another way to think about this is consideration number three: How does living with an elderly parent affect family relationships with husbands, wives, your friends, your children, and do these individuals play a role in caring for an elderly parent? Have you discussed this list and the test drive in detail with your spouse or children, and what do they think?
08:02 Pamela D. Wilson: We will continue this conversation about living with elderly parents in the second half of the show. Up next, Ruth Lippin, an attorney and licensed clinical social worker who will share tips to manage caregiver stress, anxiety, for all of us who might have relationship challenges. We may be caring for elderly parents, trying to balance work, going to school, and everything else associated with life. Check out The Caring Generation radio shows and all of the show transcripts. They are on my website at www.PamelaDWilson.com. Go to the “Media” tab and then scroll down to The Caring Generation radio show. It’s the fourth tab down. All the shows are there. If you click on “Learn More,” it will take you to each show. You can listen, like, download, share and read. Helpful information for caregivers and aging adults is in my caregiving library and my Caring for Aging Parents Blog on my website. This is Pamela D. Wilson on The Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
11:25 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. With us is Ruth Lippin. Ruth. Let’s start talking about anxiety and panic and worry. Being a caregiver can result in a lot of worry and stress. Some caregivers can worry and just let it go. Other people hold on to it. What does normal worry look like, versus generalized anxiety worry?
11:55 Ruth Lippin: Okay, so hi, everybody. A pleasure being here. So first, let me start off on a positive note. Lots of people think anxiety is a bad thing. But I’m here to tell you that anxiety is a great part of what we have. Anxiety is a protective mechanism, and when it works properly, it saves our lives. So how many of you have been driving in a car and all of a sudden, you see red lights in front of you, and you’ve been going 60 miles an hour? Well, before you realize it, you’ve put on your brakes. You swerved, and you’ve saved your life, right? And we would not be here if our ancestors didn’t have a sufficient amount of anxiety to know not to do truly dangerous things. The problem with anxiety is sometimes. It runs amok. And particularly with generalized anxiety, everybody has a worry. But I’d like you to think about it as a net, catch fishing. Most people will have a worry thought like, “What if I don’t get my work done today?” And then those who let it just flow through that fishing net. But somebody with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can’t do that, and they will continue to worry and worry about the same thing over and over again throughout their day.
13:31 Pamela D. Wilson: And so if I do that, if I’m that fish that gets stuck in the net, how do I manage this? What do I do?
13:39 Ruth Lippin: Right. So the first thing is you want to ask yourself, “Is this a productive worry or an unproductive worry?” So, again, if you have a thought like, “What if I don’t train enough to run this marathon that I want to run?” And that leads you to create a training schedule. That’s great—that’s the sort of worry that we want. But once there’s nothing that you can do about it, that’s when we sort of have to let it go. So what can we do to let it go? Well, there’s a number of things. First of all, I like to teach people to notice their thoughts. Notice—is this an anxious thought that’s not helpful, and label it. So are you fortune-telling? Are you over-generalizing? Are you catastrophizing? People with GAD love to catastrophize. So, once you’ve identified it as an unhelpful thought. Write it down. Label it, and then replace it with a more accurate thought.
14:53 Ruth Lippin: Another thing that you can do is create what I like to call, what people in the field actually call, worry time. So you designate two times a day for 10 minutes a day that’s just worry time. And during those time periods, all you do is worry you don’t try to solve your worries; you just let yourself worry. If you start to have a worry thought at any other point in the day, just say, “You know what, it’s not worry time.” Write it down, put it aside, and wait till worry time.
15:30 Pamela D. Wilson: I love that idea. [chuckle]
15:33 Ruth Lippin: Right. [chuckle]
15:33 Pamela D. Wilson: That is awesome.
15:34 Ruth Lippin: It’s a great idea, and it works very well. Because I’m not telling the person they can’t worry. We’re delaying the worry. And what they find is when it’s worry time, they don’t even have 10 minutes of things to worry about.
15:46 Pamela D. Wilson: That is an awesome recommendation. So a lot of people will confuse anxiety and panic attacks. So what does a panic attack look like? How is it different from, “I’m the fish that gets stuck in the net, and I worry all day?”
16:00 Ruth Lippin: Right. Okay, so the generalized anxiety, what we were discussing, is called the worry disease. And you may have sort of uncomfortable, anxious feeling, but a panic attack is a very discrete, what’s the word? A very discrete episode in which you have feelings, and sensations that rise to the level of what you’d like to talk about as a level of 10. So, we talk about anxiety as level one to 10 in a way to neutralize it. And a panic attack is at 10. I like to call it the woosh. It’s when you say to yourself, “Oh my God, now I’m in trouble. I’m either going to die, or I’m going to go crazy.” And it’s a very distinct situation that only 8% to 10% of the population are actually genetically disposed to and can actually have a panic attack. Most people will go through their lives, never having a panic attack.
17:15 Pamela D. Wilson: How do you manage them? What do you do?
17:19 Ruth Lippin: So what do you do? So first of all, we do a lot of psychoeducation. We want to explain to people what’s going on. There’s a part of your brain called the amygdala, and that’s your danger control center. And when that gets activated by your thoughts, it releases a flood of chemicals that cause this physiological sensation of rapid heartbeat, the sensation of not being able to breathe properly. And then it’s combined by scary thoughts that sort of spiral into that woosh. So if you can start to notice the process early on, you can halt it. Again by noticing your thoughts and noticing the sensations early on.
18:17 Pamela D. Wilson: And doing maybe a little deep breathing or [chuckle] just…
18:20 Ruth Lippin: Yeah, yeah. So, look, taking a deep breath, trying to calm yourself, those are all fine things. But really, what I want to teach people to do is to tolerate their anxiety, and then it’s not scary. And then a panic attack will last one to three minutes, and then it will go away. What happens to people that develop panic disorder is that they become afraid of the next panic attack. So the only way not to be afraid of it is to learn how to tolerate it. So really…
18:51 Pamela D. Wilson: Perfect. Ruth, we have to get out to a break, so we can continue this conversation after the break on how to manage panic attacks. This is Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You’re listening live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We will continue this conversation with Ruth Lippin right after this break.
21:27 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 Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. We’re back to continue our conversation with Ruth Lippin. Ruth, so I have a caregiver who always described her experiences to me as PTSD. She was hypersensitive. She would jump when the phone rang, jump when her mom called her. She thought everything was just a disaster. Is that really PTSD, or is it something else?
22:00 Ruth Lippin: Yeah, so the word PTSD is really an overused word in our culture. Everybody has PTSD. You have PTSD if you consistently not been able to get a hamburger for two weeks. But really, PTSD is a very specific disorder that is defined by either you or somebody that you’re close to being in imminent danger. So somebody that has been in war will have PTSD. Somebody that has been in a near-fatal car crash or has had a close loved one in a near-fatal car crash can have PTSD. What I think the person that you’re talking about is really having is a hypersensitivity. And they probably have an underlying general life anxiety disorder where they are constantly in a state of worry about something else happening to their parent. So this is what we would call unproductive worry because let’s say they’ve taken all the steps they can take. They live out of town. They have a caregiver in their parents’ home. They order FreshDirect for their parents. They speak to the parents’ doctor. That’s where you have to actually let go of your worry. But common, they can’t let go of worry is that person who every time the phone rings, they’re going to think it’s a disaster. And that’s somebody that really has catastrophic thinking. So we would want to work with that person on the way they are thinking and to learn to tolerate uncertainty.
23:55 Pamela D. Wilson: And then let’s say, so here’s another situation, and maybe you can explain how to manage both of these. But let’s say that there’s a child who lives close to mom, another one lives away. The child who lives close is not in such a good relationship with mom. But she feels like she has to do it—but that causes a lot of worry and anxiety. So how do both of these caregivers manage?
24:15 Ruth Lippin: Yeah. So this is one of the most difficult situations. And I’ve actually worked with a number of adult siblings on this very issue. Because the truth is, two children can grow up in the same household and have the most vastly different experiences. And I really encourage the person who lives close to the mom and is having that bad relationship with them to be true to themselves and really manage and limit what they’re going to do. And I also work with the long-distance caregiver. The other sibling, and really learning, try to be compassionate and understanding to that other sibling, even if their experience was very different and answer as much of the care as you can.
25:12 Pamela D. Wilson: So, let me talk about that. You made me think of something. So let’s say that there’s a caregiver and mom or dad constantly criticizes. Everything they do is wrong. And this poor caregiver they can’t leave because they have to provide care, but they don’t know how to manage through it. Is it counseling, is it self-care? What can these caregivers do to manage through situations where they just feel judged or criticized all the time?
25:34 Ruth Lippin: Right. So you’re talking about a family caregiver, I take it, right?
25:36 Pamela D. Wilson: Yes, yes. Well, yes. A son, daughter…
25:39 Ruth Lippin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. Really, it’s a huge, huge problem, and I personally believe that nobody, whether you’re the adult child or a close friend or other relative, really deserves to be abused. And if that parent is really abusing you verbally, then you may need to set very strict limits. And I advise people, if your parent starts to be verbally abusive, you can hang up that phone and say, “Mom, I can’t talk to you when you’re talking to me this way.” Or if they’re visiting, “Mom, this isn’t okay,” and walk out. They can still do the basics. They can grocery shop for their parents. They can make sure their parent has medication. But I really believe that these relationships did not happen overnight, and if that parent has been acting towards them that way when they need their adult child, this has been going on for years. And just as you need to put on your mask before you put on the mask for your child in an airplane that’s going down, you also need to do that in these situations.
27:00 Pamela D. Wilson: And can you talk briefly about how people can find people like you to talk to or find counselors to talk through these situations?
27:08 Ruth Lippin: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m actually a founding fellow of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, Anxiety Disorder, actually, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. I stand corrected, we just changed our name a few years ago. [chuckle] So, and it is a wonderful organization that gives you lots of information about anxiety disorders and also how to find your therapist piece too on the website. And there, you will find people specifically trained in anxiety disorders. You can also go to the Aging Life Care Association, which is a national association of care managers that can help you with the practical issues around caregiving.
28:07 Pamela D. Wilson: Wonderful. Ruth, I…
28:08 Ruth Lippin: So, I think those are two really good places to start.
28:10 Pamela D. Wilson: Thank you so much for joining us. Up next, we are going to have more on the idea of family relationships and living with elderly parents. I am Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You’re listening to the Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Help for caregivers is on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
30:50 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, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. The Caring Generation is the place for tips about health, well-being, and caregiving. Let’s return to our conversation about living with elderly parents. We were talking about the question: How does living with an elderly parent affect family relationships with husbands, wives, children, and your friends? Living with an elderly parent can change the relationship time that you spend with your family. Has the family agreed that they like spending time with an elderly parent, and do they think this is a good idea? The decision of living with an elderly parent affects all relationships. How do you and your husband or wife spend time together? How will this time together change when living with an elderly parent? Do you go out to dinner, travel, and have an active social life? If your parent needs supervision for reasons of memory loss or physical safety, how do you feel about being tied to the home or will you think about this in the opposite way and take your elderly parents with you out to dinner and social occasions? Would your elderly parents want to be included in these activities? Or will providing care for an elderly parent eliminate these outings?
32:14 Pamela D. Wilson: Is this time that you’re willing to give up? What might the effect be on your marriage? Extend the idea of living with an elderly parent to the relationship with your children. How will your children be affected by having grandma or grandpa in the house? Will your husband have to take a greater role—or your wife—attending after-school activities? Does the reality of living with an elderly parent stretch everyone in the household by adding additional work, because you are taking on additional responsibilities, meaning that your husband and your children will complete tasks that you can no longer do? Will your spouse or children feel like they are competing for your attention? If an expectation exists that a spouse or children will take on additional house care tasks for elderly parents, how are you going to minimize any resentment that might bubble up?
33:03 Pamela D. Wilson: Time considerations are significant. Because the time needed to care for elderly parents will only increase. Care needs of elderly parents lead to consideration number four, which is money for increased household expenses. When living with elderly parents, there’s usually some type of an agreement that an elderly parent will continue to pay for their personal items, like medication, supplies, clothing, any special foods that they like. The question is, does an elderly parent begin to pay household expenses, for example, a portion of groceries and utilities?
33:39 Pamela D. Wilson: One consideration that truly becomes a sticking point, and I laugh about this, but it’s the temperature inside the house. Older adults are typically cold. Whether the temperature outside is 32 degrees or 90 degrees. What happens when the home temperature is kept at 65 in the winter because it’s expensive to heat the house and 72 during the summer because it’s expensive to cool the house? Do home temperature, and the family budget become a sticking point for that thermostat? Creating a family household budget by trying to project the additional costs of living with elderly parents is a very practical idea.
34:23 Pamela D. Wilson: What then, though, happens when the income of an elderly parent isn’t enough to contribute to household and other expenses? Are you as a family willing to absorb both time for caregiving and financial costs indefinitely, one year, three years, five years, ten years? And what are the longer-term effects on family income and savings? Will saving for children to attend college and paying for home repairs be set aside? Will those be replaced by the financial cost to care for elderly parents? As you can see, the more considerations we add, the more complicated deciding to live with elderly parents, or to have elderly parents living with you becomes. And we haven’t even yet talked about the emotional aspects. We will get to those.
35:13 Pamela D. Wilson: Let’s take one step back and assume an elderly parent has sufficient money to help pay for some expenses but not enough money to live in their own home with care. An elderly parent doesn’t have enough money to pay for the monthly cost of a care community. So it’s these financial limitations that are why thinking about living with elderly parents, or having them live with you, becomes a discussion. If money is a limitation, it’s time to think about the longer-term concern of maybe needing to plan for Medicaid. Medicaid is consideration number five. When care needs increase, money can run out, and the family may be stretched to provide care. Medicaid pays for in-home services, HCBS, it pays for care in some assisted living and memory care communities, and in nursing homes. An essential component of Medicaid planning is budgeting, and there is a look-back period that many of you may have heard of to make sure that expenses were valid.
36:13 Pamela D. Wilson: When an elderly parent lives with family, it’s best to outline the parameters of money and payments in a formal, written, and a notarized agreement. Here’s why. Medicaid has concerns about money given to family members for things they call “care and consideration.” Funds paid to family members—unless specified in a written agreement that’s notarized before the payments—might be looked upon negatively by Medicaid as money given away to qualify for Medicaid. So a quick example, I worked with a client, her brother paid his sister’s moving expenses (and was reimbursed by his sister for the expense). At the time we applied for Medicaid, Medicaid said, “Oh, no, no, no, no. He can’t do that. He has to repay her for those expenses because that was done out of love and consideration for the sister.” So we did get her to qualify for Medicaid. The brother paid back that money. He had to write back a check. Medicaid looks through everything. They look through expenses. What they were paid for, who they were paid for. You don’t want to hide things when you do these applications because it will create problems later on.
37:22 Pamela D. Wilson: So talking about Medicaid planning leads us back to that consideration of time. What if you want to hire a paid caregiver, and your parents may object to that? We will talk more about that after the break. I don’t know how many of you remember that old saying; your parents would say, “Well, as long as you’re living in my house, you will live by my rules.” Does that apply to elderly parents who live in the home of their children? One in four people that you know are caregivers looking for hope, help, and support that is here on The Caring Generation every Wednesday and on my website at pameladwilson.com. Check out my website, check out the radio show every week on The Caring Generation page. This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me; we’ll be right back.
40:35 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. This is The Caring Generation, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Let’s talk about time frames for living with elderly parents. Many caregivers I talked to thought that caring for elderly parents was a short-term situation. Others never thought that elderly parents would ever refuse help from paid caregivers so that they could have a break. What happens, though, when adult children can no longer provide care or don’t want to provide care for any reason? Elderly parents can become financially-reliant and personally-reliant on adult children when they live in your home. Rarely will an elderly parent take any steps to end that living arrangement. But not wanting to live together anymore leads to consideration number six, the idea of having house rules to support daily harmony.
41:31 Pamela D. Wilson: We talked about the idea of whether adult children, their children, and elderly parents can spend long periods of time together. Money for household expenses is linked to long-term financial planning and Medicaid like we talked about. And I want to mention one more fact about Medicaid planning. Planning ahead is critical for two reasons. One is that Medicaid applications take time to process. Depending on where you live, an application can be processed in a couple of months, or it can take a year, sometimes even longer. The second reason to plan in advance with Medicaid applications is finding a provider. Some agencies, some care communities, have very long waitlists for in-home caregivers and for available rooms. Some communities don’t accept Medicaid, so they’re not even an option. Avoid waiting until the last minute so that you and your elderly parent aren’t caught up in a lengthy waitlist for the Medicaid application to be approved or for accessing services.
42:29 Pamela D. Wilson: So back to the idea of household relationships and rules. The best way to support harmony is to discuss what is working in the household and how to continue to focus on the positives when you’re living with an elderly parent, and there are negatives. House rules might involve talking about the use of space. If a family has an extra bedroom and a bathroom for an elderly parent, that is a perfect solution. Space may not be an issue. But if a bathroom must be shared, a house rule might be that between the hours of 6 and 7 AM, people who go to work and school have priority to use that bathroom. Mom or dad don’t get to shower or use the bathroom during those hours because everybody else is on a schedule. Mom or dad can shower later. Other rules may be that grooming activities like drying hair and putting on make-up are done in a bedroom instead of the bathroom to conserve space for items that are only used in the bathroom, like toothbrushes and toothpaste. I know all of this may sound so silly, but some households really are limited for space.
43:29 Pamela D. Wilson: Other considerations might include television time. What shows to watch when the family has competing desires. Some families I know create a television calendar if there is a particular must-watch program. Otherwise, they may rotate competing programs from week to week. And in situations where families come together, flexibility is this magic ingredient that we all need for everybody to get along. What happens when arguments or disagreements repeat over living with elderly parents? The rule should be that adults take these discussions into a private room. There shouldn’t really be any disagreements between elderly parents and adult children in front of children or grandchildren. That type of visible family argument can make young children feel very uncomfortable, and they can set up situations where your elderly parents may talk negatively to your children about you. Talking negatively in this type of family situation is just inappropriate, it’s disrespectful. We also want to avoid criticism or negative comments in front of our children about our parents. Instead, we want to focus on solutions.
44:45 Pamela D. Wilson: Consideration number seven is framing tradeoffs—meaning that everybody cannot always have their way. It’s the idea of consensus building and trading one activity for another. This means that as adult children caregivers, we may be talking to our children more about money and setting good examples. For example, your young children may receive a weekly allowance that they spend on anything they want. Junk food, music downloads, toys, electronic items. You don’t want to end the allowance, but you have to reduce or stop other cost-related activities because of the increasing costs of living with elderly parents. Money is definitely an area where guilt by adult children caregivers come into the picture when you have children. You might feel like you’re taking away activities because of the cost of living with elderly parents. But there might not be any other alternatives to maintain that balanced budget.
45:41 Pamela D. Wilson: You may eliminate eating out at restaurants in favor of cooking at home, which honestly, is probably healthier for most of us. But that activity teaches young children tradeoffs about money and budgeting and making good choices. Financial studies about family caregiving confirm that talking to young children about money is a very positive activity, especially when costs for living with elderly parents are involved. That activity makes everybody in the family think more about, “What do we spend money on?” And saving money for costs of care when we’re all older. There is always a silver lining in every challenge. Sometimes, though, we can’t see it when we’re trying to work through these situations of living with elderly parents.
46:26 Pamela D. Wilson: Consideration number eight is looking at home safety modifications. Do you need grab bars in the bathroom for the safety of an elderly parent? Is there a need for the hand-held showerhead? Back to the idea of tradeoffs. If you need safety equipment, can it be put in a single bathroom used by elderly parents so the main bathroom can remain without visual reminders? What about that “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up button?” Is this needed for times when elderly parents are home alone? And the question, who pays for the equipment? Do your elderly parents pay for the equipment and the installation if they have money? Do you pitch in to do this because you’re more worried about their safety than they are? Those discussions happen all of the time. When we return, we will continue to talk about considerations nine and ten.
47:19 Pamela D. Wilson: Up next week will be talking about raising children with special needs who become special needs adults. Dr. Temple Grandin joins us with advice for parents caring for disabled adult children who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and believe it or not, their 60s. Helpful information for caregivers is on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. You can also find all of the past radio shows there on my radio show page. Go to the Media tab, click down four, go to The Caring Generation Radio Show. All the shows are there for you to listen, download, like, follow, and share with others. Also on my website is my Caring For Aging Parents blog and a lot of caregiving videos. Videos are also on my Facebook page PamelaDWilson.page. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation live from the BBM Global Network channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me, we’ll be right back.
51:33 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. This is The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers, and aging adults live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. We’re back with consideration number nine for living with elderly parents. Caregiving is a 50-50 proposition. Adult children could put in the effort, but if your elderly parents don’t work toward remaining independent, all of your efforts will fail. The exception to this is memory loss. There will be a point where elderly parents with memory loss will need total care, and they really can’t participate. If memory loss is a consideration, that idea of planning for a care community may become necessary. But let’s say there’s no memory loss. Participation by elderly parents helps them remain independent. Your goal is so that they don’t become more dependent on you, which is the parameter of why or when living with elderly parents no longer becomes practical.
52:32 Pamela D. Wilson: From day one thinking about every day that living with elderly parents doesn’t work out anymore should really be discussed and placed in writing. That situation may become more impractical for adult children than for the elderly parent because you have so much going on in life. At what point, financial point, is the expense of contributing to the care of elderly parents too much for you and your family? Are you okay not saving for education for your children? Are you okay with giving up other family activities to pay for the care of elderly parents, and have you considered how the time to care for elderly parents will affect you emotionally and physically? Research proves that caregiving is stressful. How will caring for elderly parents affect your health, your ability to work, to financially support the family, and care for yourself? What happens when your young children might be negatively affected by grandma or grandpa who doesn’t have the patience for them anymore or their friends or the family pets.
52:36 Pamela D. Wilson: Are you willing to give up the family dog for grandma or grandpa? I know these may sound like things that never would happen, but they do. When elderly parents need oxygen, for example, having cats or dogs can be a challenge. Keeping an oxygen concentrator in an elderly parent’s room can make all of this noise that keeps everybody up at night. Then you’ve got pets and people tripping over the oxygen tubing. Not to mention that dogs really like to chew on that tubing. What happens when your elderly parents need help bathing? Have you thought about hands-on care and having to physically help your elderly parent get into the bathtub or the shower? How comfortable will you or your husband be doing that activity? Then what happens when a loved one becomes incontinent, and you are changing Depends? Will you be comfortable with that activity?
54:26 Pamela D. Wilson: And if you tie to incontinence, the use of protective mattress covers, sheet covers, having to wash and change bed sheets every day. Maybe because of incontinence, you’re having to give your parents showers every day after you come home from a very long day at work. If you’re thinking about living with elderly parents, the list of considerations is very long. Think through every one of them and make sure that it’s going to work out. Listeners, I thank you so much for being proactive and interested in caregiving, aging, health, and well-being. Do share The Caring Generation with your family, your friends, your social groups, and your workplace so that we can make caregiving something we talk about. Like and follow The Caring Generation podcasts on my website at PamelaDWilson.com and all of your favorite podcast apps, Apple, Google, Spreaker, Spotify, and others.
55:18 Pamela D. Wilson: Click that heart button to follow the show, and every week when a new podcast shows up, you will be notified. Thank you so much for joining me on The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Helpful information for caregivers is on my website. I am Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, advocate, and speaker. Join me on The Caring Generation next Wednesday evening. Invite your friends and your family to join us. God bless you all. Sleep well tonight. Have a fabulous day tomorrow. Take care of yourselves and have a great week until we are together again.
55:55 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 Managing Care for Yourself or Elderly Parents? You’ll Find What You Are Looking For in this Article Called “Overbearing or Caring Caregiver.”