Stay at Home Care for Elderly Parents
The Caring Generation® – Episode 39 May 20, 2020. On this caregiving radio program, caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson shares tips for Stay at Home Care for Elderly Parents at Home. Dr. Christopher Johnson from Texas State University talks about Dementia Care.
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Stay at Home Care for Elderly Parents
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 are 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 am 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. The Caring Generation focuses on conversations about health, well-being, caring for ourselves and loved ones, all tied together with humor and laughter, which are essential to being a caregiver. The topic for this show is Stay at Home care, caring for elderly parents at home, and increasing awareness about the challenges faced by caregivers. We’ll talk about ten reasons why stay-at-home care for elderly parents can feel overwhelming. And we’ll talk about the differences between male and female caregivers. Caring for elderly parents at home results in many challenges faced by caregivers. How many of us ever thought we would be caring for elderly parents—to start with—in their homes or providing any type of assistance to help them stay at home? Being a caregiver often starts from an unexpected surprise, and it can be a shock for many caregivers.
02:00 Pamela D. Wilson: We’ll talk about why. Our guest for this program is Dr. Christopher Johnson. He is a Clinical Professor of Sociology at Texas State University, where he launched a Master’s degree program in dementia and aging studies. Before this, he was the director of Gerontology for the University of Louisiana Institute of Gerontology for 27 years. Dr. Johnson also spent a year and a half teaching Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland. He will share information with us about creating a dementia-friendly home for those of you who have elderly parents and loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Whether your loved one still lives at home or resides in a care community. He’ll share tips for creating a positive dementia home environment.
02:49 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number one for stay at home care, and the challenges faced by caregivers, is that caregivers have to do tasks that we never imagined. What happens when caregivers have to change their Depends, clean a catheter bag, or bathe an elderly parent, and you’ve never done this before? You have absolutely no experience. How many sons would ever dream of talking to mom about being incontinent or hygiene to avoid urinary tract infections? These are conversations that happen. Research, though, confirms that women—this is no surprise—are more comfortable caring for elderly parents at home and providing hands-on personal care. When this type of stay at home care is needed by a wife or a mother, some husbands and sons are more comfortable hiring outside help to come into the home to help with personal care tasks.
03:47 Pamela D. Wilson: This brings us to a discussion about the differences between male and female caregivers and the different challenges for each. Caregiving daughters may be more comfortable with personal care and nurturing-type tasks. Which may be more difficult for caregiving sons who provide stay at home care. But yet, on the other hand, caregiving daughters may be less comfortable in situations that may be confrontational. Where a caregiving son may have no difficulty standing up—well we’ll use the word advocating—but advocating with staff in a doctor’s office or with an insurance company. Dealing with conflict may be one of the challenges that female caregivers are much less comfortable doing. The idea of conflict takes us to tip number two for stay at home care and the challenges faced by caregivers. The idea of conflict and the concept of not creating adversarial relationships. Managing conflict in a positive manner is a subject that I reinforced with my staff many for many years about caring for elderly parents at home, and also our elderly clients living in care communities.
05:00 Pamela D. Wilson: The idea was no adversarial relationships. Everything on the positive. In caregiving relationships, where the goal is stay at home care, as a family caregiver, you will find yourself in situations of conflict when caring for elderly parents. An example is interacting with your brothers and sisters where there may be conflict or disagreement about how to help mom and dad, and what stay at home care means for each person. You’ll be amazed to learn that each of your brothers and sisters has a very different idea about how to provide stay at home care for parents, and they have a lot of different ideas and viewpoints about all of the challenges faced by caregivers. Family caregivers are also in contact with and communicate with providers in the health care system. This is another area where conflict can arise. Providers mean hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living, and memory care communities, in-home care providers, pharmacists, insurance companies. It is a very long list.
06:04 Pamela D. Wilson: But each of these interactions presents an opportunity for conflict when you, as the caregiver, have a different expectation or a different idea of what the health care provider is to do for you or an elderly parent. How many times do providers follow through or forget to follow through? When I had my care management company, a significant part of the time with my staff was spent in following up to make sure that providers who said they were going to do something, did that something. Simple tasks like sending a prescription to the pharmacy, sending an order for blood work to a lab testing center, sending medical records to another doctor, working out insurance reimbursement issues. Many times, they went wrong. If you’re a caregiver, you know that these tasks are time-consuming and can easily take up several hours in a day. Sometimes while you’re at work.
07:00 Pamela D. Wilson: So, all of this conflict. How do men and women resolve it differently? What do you think? One of the ideas around the challenges faced by caregivers that makes stay at home care for elderly parents a challenge and conflict is the idea of teamwork. So, men play sports. They’re used to playing on teams. Those teams compete. And then after that game, what happens? You see men shaking hands and patting each other on the back and sometimes hugging each other. If you watch television, you see this in the football games where they have a lot on the line. But a lot of these players, it’s amazing, they will fight like cats and dogs to win, and then all of a sudden, the game is over, and they’re friends. Many of these highly competitive male athletes are friends.
07:48 Pamela D. Wilson: The research shows that men are more likely to make peace with their competitors after the competition. Although men may compete more aggressively, they get along better. Women, on the other hand, research shows that they don’t make peace quite as easily in highly competitive or high-conflict situations. And we’ll continue to talk more about the differences between men and women and conflict in the second half of this show when we continue to talk about tips for stay at home care, and all of the challenges faced by caregivers caring for elderly parents in the home.
08:24 Pamela D. Wilson: Up next, we have Dr. Christopher Johnson, Clinical Professor of Sociology at Texas State University. He is going to join us to talk about dementia care at home and in care communities, things that you should know. So the question is, how do we make sure that our loved ones with memory loss receive good care at home and in care communities? Help for caregivers and aging adults is on my website, www.PamelaDWilson.com, and in my Caring for Aging Parents caregiving blog on my website. This is Pamela D. Wilson on the Caring Generation, you’re with me live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me, we’ll be right back after this break.
11:27 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to the Caring Generation Radio Show for caregivers, live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. With us is Dr. Christopher Johnson, an expert in dementia and aging studies from Texas State University. Dr. Johnson, welcome, and thank you for joining us.
11:47 Dr. Christopher Johnson: My pleasure.
11:49 Pamela D. Wilson: So I want to talk about dementia in care communities. I read some statistics that the percentage of people in nursing homes with dementia is about 75% and assisted living communities is 50%. Are there any national or state requirements for staff training about dementia?
12:09 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Well, of course, the administrators take 40-hour classes, eight hours of dementia training. But in Colorado, but around the nation, you can get pretty good. . . the states all vary in their requirements. It’s terrible overall. And there’s a website actually called Justice in Aging. An attorney, directing attorney of Justice in Aging is Georgia Burke, and Gwen Orlowski, I believe is how I pronounce his name. A staff attorney from New Jersey Legal Services. But they have a website that lists what’s going on around America. The upshot that they come up with is, they show by states what each state requires. But the upshot of it, the summary of it is, the scope is of the covered entities. Most dementia training requirements focus on facilities, serving people with dementia at very, very minimum standards.
13:25 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Woefully inadequate. And Alzheimer’s training requirements for staff and assisted living, including ones with special care, memory care units are nearly universal. But fewer than half the states require some Alzheimer’s-related training for nursing home staff, and the majority of those only require training for those working with Alzheimer’s special care units. When they’re out on the floor, they’re not in those units as well. What brings a person to a nursing home? Basically, dementia. And so they may not be back in the memory care, but they’re still going to have early, they’re going to have mild cognitive impairment at least. And so the training is needed, and it’s also needed in Adult Day Services. Which used to be called Adult Daycare. It’s all types of long-term care are needing training, according to their findings and mine as well. Professional licensure is weak in this area. In terms of certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, practically nothing in Gerontology or dementia, and that’s the clients they’re working with, the patients they’re working with.
14:49 Dr. Christopher Johnson: And training for nurse aides is horrific. I used a quote from my wife who did a three-country study of nurse aides in Canada, Scotland, and the US, and she found only in America they were the working poor. And in Canada, they have to have a year of training. It depends on what province, but it’s usually around that. And in America, she used the example that, to be a barber requires 1,500 hours of training and a test. To be a dog-groomer 400 hours of training and a test. To be a nurse aide, 75 to 100 hours of training and a test. So we value our hair and dogs more than we do our elders in long-term care.
15:35 Pamela D. Wilson: Ugh, that doesn’t surprise us. Doesn’t surprise me at all.
15:39 Dr. Christopher Johnson: There’s very little dementia training there as well. And they come up with some suggestions as well, to require training in all settings where there is dementia likely to be encountered. It’s really a shame that there are no dementia course requirements for administrators. And some administrators, I found them to be something like a used car dealer with a college degree in general studies. But spent six months going through an internship, passed his test, and now he’s an administrator of a home with 75% dementia. The gerontology master’s program is available, and it’s online in every state, and it ought to be required. And the master’s programs themselves need more dementia courses as we have done at Texas State. Where there are seventeen dementia studies Programs in Europe, and we are the first in America. So it’s meeting the needs for this type of training that’s been so woefully absent.
16:53 Pamela D. Wilson: What are the effects on the residents that you’re seeing when the staff isn’t trained. What happens?
17:00 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Well, in terms of the residents themselves, you have distress on the part of the residents when people are poorly trained in communication, learning both verbal and non-verbal communication with persons who have dementia, that are living with dementia. And what has happened is the misuse of psychotropic drugs to control their behavior. And what we advocate is drugs being used to de-medicalize dementia care, and we don’t even call it caregiving, we call it care partnering. Because we benefit from the love and the giving that we do to others as well. So it’s a partnership. But dementia has many symptoms that are misunderstood by the people that care for them. And this lack of education, both in the family for non-professional caregivers and for professional care partners, is going to cause distress for people who have dementia. Because of all of the things that Naomi Feil talks about, all the things that you hear, the lack of validation, the misunderstanding of sundowning, and their different behaviors. They’re basically under distress because the environment around them is stressful.
18:49 Pamela D. Wilson: And Dr. Johnson, we have to cut out to a break. So, listeners, we are going to continue our conversation with Dr. Johnson after this break, this is Pamela D. Wilson, your host for The Caring Generation. You’re with us live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
21:24 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, your host for The Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. We’re back to talk to Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Johnson, let’s continue our earlier conversation about the causes of distress for persons with dementia.
21:41 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Yes, whether it be in the home, or whether it be in long-term care, they have biological causes which can be—they’re aging as well many of them—social causes, lack of contact, boredom, loneliness. Different staff not liking them or trusting them. Various other types of issues. Psychological issues, misperception of their rights being removed, or a caregiver’s intentions, frustrations with tasks with the environment that they’re in. This is why home modifications need to happen. And so, we like to look at different social, biological, and psychological areas that cause distress. What’s behind the behavior? And then, a model that my wife and I came up with in 2000, and again, in an article that was in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s, and then again, in Behavioral Science in 2017 is our model of Alzheimer’s diseases time travel, and it’s a non-linear model. It shows how they time travel back to earlier ages in their life, but it’s not neatly in stages. It’s back and forth through time.
23:00 Dr. Christopher Johnson: So, it helps families to understand why, when they time travel back to age 40 and the 80-year-old man comes in and says, “I’m your husband,” that they don’t recognize them or when they time travel back to age 20 in their head and they look at a mirror and say, “Who is that person?” Because they see an 80-year-old face, time travel explains why that happens. So, families that understand the trip back in time, and understand the time travel model that we used, and the British used it as well in their Alzheimer’s Society, an electronic newsletter. It was very helpful for families to understand time travel because then they could join them in their trip back in time. And so, when people are in distress, we have to see the cause of their distress and look at outside factors and people’s behaviors that may have triggered their behavior, or whether they have unmet needs. And more often than not, I find they have a lot of unmet needs.
24:12 Pamela D. Wilson: And how do family members… How do family members king of cause some of these unmet needs or some of these behaviors?
24:20 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Well, because they don’t know how to communicate with them in joining them in their trip back in time. When they time travel back to early childhood. Then they go through aphasia, in which they lose their ability to talk and they mumble, or they talk in shorter words. Family members should use more hand signals and less talk, and when they’re reaching that point, they have to learn the type of communication to match up with their time travel, and that’s what the Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations are trying to do in their training, is to teach that. And then, keep them occupied with, we want to see their strengths. We’re interested in maintaining what we call dementia citizenship. That’s full human rights and empowerment based on what they can do, not what they can’t do. And so, much of the work that they did in their life, much of the activities and the various activities of daily living that they typically did, are very important to know in order to deliver person-centered care.
25:37 Dr. Christopher Johnson: And that’s a word that’s been loosely used in long-term care. When you’re running a 100% to 400% turnover and when you have such poor training, it’s pretty hard to deliver person-centered care, where you get to really know the person, spend time with the person to have a relationship, and then know about time travel in order to match up with their trip back in time and validate them properly, as validation therapy points out. So, we support their family roles and friendships. We match up with their language and their non-verbal communication using a combination of the trip back in time and Barry Riesberg’s Seven Stage Fast. Which shows markers for each stage, and we support their emotional needs. And actually, with time travel, they get more in touch with their emotions. As they time travel back to their earliest years. They get more and more in touch with their emotions, and so it’s more important to attach to them our emotional level. And I did that with my mother, who had vascular dementia.
27:00 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Which is little stair steps instead of a downward spiral like the trip back in time is. It works in the same way except you have these little short strokes that occur. And so, we would match up with activities creating. My wife helped us develop a family album of my mom’s farm and her sisters and her mother. There were no pictures of her boys or her husband because she was in a different timeframe. And you see that. You have to lose your ego when you do that because they’re not—when they’re not in your timeframe, don’t impose it on them. You have to join them in their timeframe. So, when she was back. Had moved back to her early years on the farm with her sisters and dad, those pictures she could relate to. Not to the five boys that she raised because she was in a different timeframe. So, it’s important for family members…
28:00 Pamela D. Wilson: She probably wouldn’t think she had five boys.
28:02 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Yeah. So, it’s important for me not to impose my timeframe on her and have my feelings hurt because she doesn’t recognize me. It’s a disability. It’s a cognitive disability. So, we will do anything for a child with a cognitive disability. But what do we do for elders with it? We empower them, and we join them in their trip back in time.
28:31 Pamela D. Wilson: Well, and that is so important because, to your point, I know so many family members who are upset because they go see mom. They expect mom to come to their reality, and their timeframe, and the family caregivers just can’t seem to get back there. And then we’ve got all these behaviors showing up. So, can you give really quick before we go out to the break, the website for your information for your dementia and aging studies program?
28:55 Dr. Christopher Johnson: Yes, we’re at Texas State University in San Marcos in the Sociology Department, and it’s an online program called the Master’s in Dementia and Aging Studies. It’s thirty-three hours online. And it has three tracks in it. And you can go to the website at the MSDA, look under Google, MSDA at Texas State and you’ll find, it’ll take you right to it.
29:29 Pamela D. Wilson: Perfect. I will put that link on our website. Dr. Johnson, thank you so much for joining us. This is Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You’re listening to the Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. We’ll be right back after this break.
31:00 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 talking about stay at home care and the challenges faced by caregivers around the idea of how men and women handle conflict. We talked about men’s sports and competition, and men continuing to be friends with competitors after winning or losing a game. Research talks about the fact that sports teams translate to male relationships outside of the family and in the workplace. Men cultivate networks where they can compete but where they also want to be able to call a competitor or call an adversary for help in the future.
31:53 Pamela D. Wilson: Women, on the other hand, are more focused on family, relationships, and close friends. Less on team sports not to say that there are not women who play sports because there are. But generally, women are more family-oriented, and they rely less on large networks and outside resources. So, what does this mean for challenges faced by caregivers for stay at home care for elderly parents? This idea leads us to tip number three. Family disagreements happen over who will be the primary caregiver, and this is when relationships between brothers and sisters can become heated. A daughter is usually the second caregiver after the healthy spouse caregiver, so after mom or dad. And rather than setting up a family team that includes brothers and sisters helping out, what do we see happens? What usually happens is the primary caregiver; the wife or the daughter usually does all the work by herself. That self-sacrifice happens for a couple of reasons.
32:54 Pamela D. Wilson: Sometimes it’s the idea of wanting control over the situation. But a lot of times, it happens because the wife or the daughter hasn’t had a lot of exposure to working on teams or coordinating teams. Or if there was exposure, maybe it just didn’t work out, and they don’t want to try it again. So that factor of not managing teams leaves a lot of women caregivers as that sole caregiver for a spouse or caring for an elderly parent at home, and it transfers into the workplace where men work together with internal and external groups. Men will openly disagree, but they continue to work with each other. According to research, women are more likely not to do that. They might hold a grudge. It’s something to think about for women caregivers who feel that you have to do it alone, and who might hold some grudges against your brothers and sisters who are not helping care for elderly parents at home. The idea that I talked about before of no adversarial relationships is a good plan for the challenges faced by caregivers who are trying to help elderly parents stay at home.
34:00 Pamela D. Wilson: If you can wrap your head around the emotions and the idea that asking for help is okay and teamwork is okay. This moves us ahead to tip number four of the challenges faced by caregivers, which is isolation, loneliness, and depression. Faced both by the caregiver and the elderly parent who stays at home. Physical social cognitive activities they’re beneficial for all of us, especially in caregiving situations. Physical activity, we know what that means, it’s exercise. Rather than sitting all day at work or having an elderly parent sit all day home alone, get out and do something. Research connects a lack of physical exercise, walking, weight-bearing exercises—not doing that—with being diagnosed with a chronic disease and if you’re providing stay at home care for an elderly parent, it’s very likely that your elderly parent has one or more chronic diseases. Heart disease, COPD, diabetes, even, believe it or not, dementia is considered a chronic disease. A lot of those diseases, they started 10, 20, or 30 years ago, but they didn’t become problematic until many years later.
35:08 Pamela D. Wilson: If you’re a caregiver, are you exercising? Today is your opportunity to get physically active to prevent needing care when you are older from your children. You can avoid a diagnosis of chronic disease. Make time to exercise, rather than always being that primary caregiver who gives up your social life, your friends, your job, to provide that stay at home care for an elderly parent. Elderly parents also benefit from physical activity. The less physically active they are, the more they need help from you with activities of daily living. With that hands-on care. That is one of the many challenges faced by caregivers. Bathing, dressing, managing incontinence, feeding, mobility, just that simple act of walking around the house can be difficult. Social and cognitive activities are also important. Watching television right now, especially with all the crazy news, only creates more stress and anxiety for elderly parents and for you, the caregiver. For your parents, find or create positive activities to keep their brains working and to connect them to their friends or to other older adults.
36:15 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number five of the challenges faced by caregivers in providing stay at home care for elderly parents, is learning to become that advocate in a healthcare system that doesn’t always speak the same language. In simple terms, advocacy means standing up for your needs or the care needs of elderly parents. Stay at home care—you know this. It takes persistence. A lot of time. A lot of effort. More importantly, being open to learning information, embracing new habits, and being flexible. None of us are born caregivers, nor are we born advocates for stay at home care for elderly parents. Learning advocacy skills. It’s another one of the challenges faced by caregivers. It takes confidence. A skill that a lot of caregivers tell me they lack when it comes to knowing how to create stay at home care. It’s all because the health care system and health care providers, they speak a different language. The responsibility lies with that primary caregiver to ask questions about all these acronyms. How many of you hear things like ADLs, TIAs, UTIs, SNF? It’s just that to learn about all these healthcare conditions can be crazy, and all of that is involved in managing stay at home care for elderly parents.
37:37 Pamela D. Wilson: As a caregiver, it’s important to learn about health so that you can advocate for the care of your elderly parents. When that healthcare system doesn’t provide the care that you expect, or when providers tell you, “We can’t do that, we can’t do that for your elderly parent.” Or they tell you that your parent is just old. Not true, that is not the way it should be. Not the way it has to be. Advocacy means that you are standing up. You are being persistent, and you are fighting for the care of an elderly parent when everybody else is telling you, that won’t work. Be open to learning, to gain the confidence you need to provide stay at home care for an elderly parent. We’re going to continue to talk about more tips for stay at home care after this break. You can follow me on social media, on Facebook my page is PamelaDWilson.page. I also have a group there for caregivers, and that group is called the Caregiving Trap. You can click on the link there and request to join. On Twitter, I am CaregivingSpeak, on Instagram, I amWilsonPamelaD. And on LinkedIn O I am PamelaDWilsonCaregiverExpert.
38:46 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, advocate, and speaker on the Caring Generation, live from the BBM Global Network, channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
41:18 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. Helpful information for caregivers and aging adults are on my website at www.PamelaDWilson.com, where you’ll also find information about my book, “The Caregiving Trap, Solutions For Life’s Unexpected Changes.” More on the subject of stay at home care, caring for elderly parents at home, and the challenges faced by caregivers. Caregivers will say to me, “Oh, being a caregiver, it’s the hardest job you’ll ever have. There’s not much help out there. It is very sad.” That is a true statement. Being a caregiver is hard. Managing emotions, responding to unexpected situations, and watching the health of an elderly parent or a spouse decline, it can make caregivers feel hopeless and helpless.
42:11 Pamela D. Wilson: So how do we rise above these feelings without destroying our physical and emotional health? That brings up tip number six of the challenges faced by caregivers in providing stay at home care for elderly parents, which is increasing awareness to have an open mind, to find some inspiration, and some hope. Finding support for caregivers and the time to participate in self-care are two of the challenges that caregivers face that can be difficult because of time. If we let caregiving take priority over everything else in our lives as caregivers, we don’t take care of ourselves. A lot of family beliefs exist about caregiving and that sense of duty and responsibility that we all willingly accept. But there are downsides to that. Challenges faced by caregivers are especially heavy on those who are working caregivers. Concerns about juggling, work, and caregiving, about taking care of elderly parents and trying to keep that job, especially with this coronavirus, are difficult.
43:15 Pamela D. Wilson: A lot of caregivers are taking care of elderly parents at home because they’re now working from home. Which is causing a lot of stress, as you might imagine. And then the caregivers who are working, they may be devoting another 20 to 40 hours a week outside of work, like having a part-time job, to care for an elderly parent. So if you were in the early stages of caregiving, and you’re not committing a lot of time, do you realize that the time you’re committing today to provide that stay at home care, it’s going to increase? It is going to grow. And that’s why we have to have conversations about what happens when elderly parents need more care, and money is an issue. So you might be surprised, but Medicare and Social Security, rarely are enough to pay for care when your elderly parents want to stay in their home. So the question is, “When your elderly parents run out of money, who pays for their care?” Is it you and your family? Do your mom and dad have enough money? What happens, unexpectedly, if the healthy spouse passes away first and leaves all of the caregiving responsibility on you, that child? One of your parent’s incomes may not be enough money to pay those hospital bills and buy groceries and pay for prescriptions. It’s stressful.
44:34 Pamela D. Wilson: These are all the aspects of caregiving that we want to gain awareness about so that we can be prepared for what happens when all of us age. It’s not a popular topic. The subject scares us. Fear—about thinking or talking about it—can make us not want to have these discussions within our families. But stay at home care, it’s something that we all want, and something that we all hope for. Caregiver support, help for caregivers, it’s all within reach. It’s here on these weekly radio programs and podcasts, it’s also on my website, in my Caring Generation library, and the Caring For Aging Parents blog. Also, make sure you’re talking to your corporations. Corporations have programs for adults raising children. They should have programs for adults taking care of elderly parents. These caregiving programs, in my opinion, are the missing link for many corporations that could be supporting their employees.
45:34 Pamela D. Wilson: If your company doesn’t have a caregiving program, start asking why. Start advocating for your needs in the workplace as a working caregiver for that elderly parent who wants to stay at home. Caregivers, you can’t be silent if you want to get the help that you need from the healthcare system, from doctors, from the workplace. We have to be able to rise above these challenges faced by caregivers. Tip number seven of the challenges faced by caregivers is that balance between providing stay at home care that your elderly parents need, versus making them more dependent on you, because it might be easier. While you can do things more time-efficiently, quicker, faster, you taking on more projects that your elderly parents can still do for themselves, it only makes them more dependent on you.
46:25 Pamela D. Wilson: So, the challenges faced by caregivers include helping your parents remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. Let your parents do the things that they can do. Even if ever so slowly, as long as they’re safe. Tip number eight for stay at home care for elderly parents is to accept that you don’t know everything about caring for elderly parents at home. That idea helps you become comfortable with asking questions. Even silly questions. Did anyone ever tell you that having children would drastically change your life? Did you ask or think about that before you had children? [chuckle] I laugh because people don’t. But what about those of you who also have had your tonsils out, and you really believe that tall tale that you can eat all the ice cream that you want? If you haven’t had your tonsils out, I won’t spoil that surprise for you. I had mine out when I was twenty-four. Everything they tell you, is not true. Start asking about all aspects of stay at home care for your elderly parents. That way, you will experience fewer surprises.
47:25 Pamela D. Wilson: You’ll become that information seeker. You will learn to verify the information to make sure that all the recommendations and the information that you receive is accurate. Many times, it’s not the questions that we ask, but it’s the questions that we haven’t learned to ask or that we don’t ask, that make a significant difference in good stay at home care for elderly parents, and minimize all the challenges that we face as caregivers. After this break coming up, I’ll share tips number nine and 10 for stay at home care for elderly parents, and all of the challenges that caregivers face.
48:02 Pamela D. Wilson: Next week, we’ll be talking more about the challenges faced by working caregivers and more about helping caregivers learn skills to advocate and plan for the care of elderly parents. Share The Caring Generation with your family, friends, co-workers, and the companies where you work, your social groups, at church, and everywhere. One in four people you know are caregivers looking for hope, help, and support that is on this Caring Generation radio show every Wednesday and on my website 24/7 at www.PamelaDWilson.com. This is Pamela D. Wilson, your host. This is The Caring Generation live from the BBM Global Network channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
51:11 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 for challenges faced by caregivers in providing stay at home care for elderly parents. Tip number nine is to realize that—this will surprise you—but elderly parents may not be cooperative. I know it’s a big surprise. You might already be running into this. Parents are refusing care. How many of you remember our discussion about teamwork, conflict, and no adversarial relationships? What comes around, goes around. The best stay at home care situations for elderly parents arise from talking about caregiving as a team effort. If you can gain support from your brothers and sisters, you can gain a little bit of leverage when talking to elderly parents about the idea of participating in helping themselves and engaging in self-care. The same types of self-care that you the caregiver should be engaging in to keep yourself healthy.
52:20 Pamela D. Wilson: Caregiving is not a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do game. By modeling behaviors, you set an example for elderly parents and for your children who might become your caregivers. Tip number 10 to avoid judgment and holding grudges is another caregiving challenge. Family relationships, they are so not perfect. A lot of bumps in the road, disagreements. Think about how you can set aside differences of opinion or work within the family for the benefit of your elderly parents. Sure, there might be a caregiver who wants control over the situation. If that caregiver is you, how can you be more flexible and learn to work as a team so that you can get the help you need and have time to take care of yourself? If you have that teamwork skill in the workplace, transfer it over to your personal life. If you don’t, learn to work as a team within your family to provide stay at home care for elderly parents, and transfer that teamwork skill to your work life.
53:19 Pamela D. Wilson: They go back and forth. There are so many skills that transfer from the workplace to the roles and responsibilities of being a caregiver, and vice versa. Succeeding through the challenges faced by caregivers, it takes time management skills. How do you manage that never-ending to-do list for yourself and for your elderly parents? Stay at home care for elderly parents requires establishing routines for providing the daily care and assistance that your elderly parents need. If you think about this, the skill of coordination. It’s necessary to work with family members who might be helping and the healthcare system, doctor appointments, picking up prescriptions. Add to that advocacy. You’re learning about health diagnosis, managing medications, providing hands-on care, financial budgeting for the costs of care, making legal decisions as a medical or financial power of attorney.
54:19 Pamela D. Wilson: You might be arranging or supervising paid services. Knowing all of this is the benefit of gaining awareness about the roles and responsibilities of caregiving, so that you have a smooth journey through all of the inevitable challenges faced by caregivers. Help, hope, and support for caregivers are on my website, at www.PamelaDWilson.com and in my caregiving programs for working caregivers called Taking Care of Elderly Parents: Stay- at Home and Beyond. It’s never too early to have these conversations within your families or with your elderly parents about aging changes in health caregiving. If you are afraid to have that conversation, let me do the talking for you. Download a podcast app to the cellphone of your aging parent or bookmark this radio show and the website on their computer so that they can listen and read the show, each week if they want.
55:14 Pamela D. Wilson: I 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. I thank you so much for all of the work that you do in care communities and in caring for your elderly parents. It is so important, and believe me they do appreciate it, even though they may not thank you, all the time. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, advocate, and speaker. Join me on The Caring Generation next Wednesday evening. Invite your friends and family to join us. God bless you all, sleep well tonight. Have a fabulous day tomorrow and a great week until we are together again.
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