What to Do When Work And Caregiving Collide – Sept 18, 2019
The Caring Generation® – Episode 9 September 18, 2019 On this caregiving radio program, Pamela D. Wilson caregiving expert talks about What to Do When Work and Caregiving Collide. Special guest Daniel Collins joins Pamela to answer the question, “What is Probate?”
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What to Do When Work and Caregiving Collide Radio Show Transcript
00:05 Announcer: Caregiving can sometimes feel like an impossible struggle. Caregivers may be torn between taking care of loved ones and trying to maintain balance in life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The Caring Generation with host Pamela D. Wilson is here to focus on the conversation of caring. You’re not alone in fact you’re in exactly the right place to share stories and learn tips and resources to help you and your loved ones. So now, please welcome the host of The Caring Generation, Pamela D. Wilson.
00:39 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson caregiving expert. I’m your host. I am so excited and blessed to be here with you today. 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 the conversation of caring, giving us permission to talk and laugh — we must laugh — about aging, the challenges of caregiving health, well-being, work, life, family balance and everything in between. All very important things that we should know about life. Please invite your family, your friends, your co-workers, and others to join us each week on The Caring Generation. Because being a caregiver, needing care, or losing your memory can turn our world upside down.
01:28 Pamela D. Wilson: Helpful information and solutions about health, well-being, and caregiving are on my website at PamelaDWilson.com, along with my caregiving library, online support groups, and online courses. This week, we’ll be talking about what happens when work and caregiving collide. Caregivers are taking care of their aging parents, working, taking care of husbands, and wives, and children. But the question to ask is – who is taking care of the caregiver? I also want to include, and recognize the 24/7 caregivers who work full-time taking care of an elderly parent, or a spouse. The world could not exist without them. And this group of 24/7 caregivers, is so often forgotten many times like even women who are raising young children who believe it or not, can feel a little bit forgotten, because both of these groups of caregivers. They work in the home. They’re excluded from the traditional description of working women and these days. Some men are actually staying home to take care of children, raise children, and take care of elderly parents. All of these caregivers do so much more than anyone can imagine. I’m sure, many of these caregivers — men and women who are at home all day –wish they could go to work outside of the home to get away from caregiving. Statistics show that is true.
03:01 Pamela D. Wilson: Does anyone listening out there agree? Does anyone, but another 24/7 caregiver know what it’s like to be on call 24/7 and rarely get any kind of a break? In the second segment of this hour, we will visit with special guest Daniel Collins, who serves as a court-appointed receiver for the Superior Court in California. He supports attorneys, professional fiduciaries, and family members who serve as personal representatives, executors, and trustees to settle probate and trust estates. He’s the author of the book, Probate & Trust Administration Tips & Tricks. I have a copy here with me tonight. If you are a working caregiver, how many of you have rearranged your work schedule, changed your working hours, or taken unpaid time off? How many of you are considering opting out of the workforce entirely to become a full-time 24/7 caregiver? While this may seem like a dream if you are working in a job that you don’t like, you might want to talk to somebody who is a 24/7 caregiver so that you have a dose of reality. How many times in life do we think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence? Many caregivers who are taking care of loved ones, report coming to work late leaving early, or having to take time off, to take elderly parents or spouses to doctor or other appointments. These caregivers fear job discrimination; they take demotions, turn down promotions, or cut hours to hold onto their jobs and be caregivers.
04:40 Pamela D. Wilson: If you have an empathetic boss, you are very fortunate. Much of the workplace job discrimination against caregivers comes from managers or supervisors who have no caregiving experience. And I always say that until becoming a caregiver or needing care happens to you; it’s nearly impossible to understand what somebody else goes through. All the roles and the responsibilities of being a caregiver, one has to know what it’s like to understand what being a caregiver is like day in and day out, and night in and night out. Because you know that when you become a 24/7 caregiver, you can lose control of your day, especially if you care for someone who has what I call high-needs. A high-need person is a spouse or an aging parent with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, a brain injury, a person with quadriplegia, or a person with severe disabilities. All of these diagnoses and the health concerns make being a 24/7 caregiver, a tireless and worrisome job. Full-time caregivers are swept into constant worry, isolation, depression. Imagine what your week would be like if the only contact you had was with an aging parent for whom you care.
06:01 Pamela D. Wilson: No friends, no telephone calls, no social outings. Some caregivers tell me that they feel like they are living in prison. The house where they live is the prison. Many of these caregivers are women, about 60%, with the remaining 40% being men — and men I have a special show coming up for you in a few weeks. All about male caregivers. For women, being a caregiver has greater personal and financial costs. The costs are to health and well-being. Many caregivers become more sick than the persons for whom they care because caregivers neglect their own care. There’s also a financial cost that we can’t forget. The financial costs both for men and women relate to these career opportunities, to saving money, lost wages, lost Social Security benefits. While some women have working husbands to provide financial support and vice-versa, many do not.
07:01 Pamela D. Wilson: There are many single women and men, never married, divorced, who become caregivers. Working women caregivers have become a very well-studied subject. There is evidence suggesting that becoming a caregiver if you are a woman has huge financial risks. There’s a recent Merrill Lynch study that may or may not surprise you. I’ll share some details because I have seen a vast difference in the ability of my older clients to care for themselves or to get care when older. I’m extremely sensitive and supportive of working women and men caregivers who need to continue to work.
07:41 Pamela D. Wilson: Many of these caregivers wouldn’t change it for the world. We have to raise the role of caregiving with employers so that they can be more sensitive to the needs of caregivers. Caregiving involves trade-offs and making life-changing decisions. We are about to change subjects, and we’re going to talk about what happens when you are no longer a caregiver. Can you imagine that? What happens when an elderly parent passes away? How does one manage the estate? Daniel Collins is going to join us. He supports attorneys, professional fiduciaries, and family members who serve as personal representatives, executors, and trustees to settle probate and estate trusts.
08:25 Pamela D. Wilson: He’s the author of the book, Probate & Trust Administration, Tips & Tricks. We’ll talk about your responsibilities if you are the one who is appointed a personal representative or a trustee of a family estate. You are listening to the Caring Generation live on the BBM Global Network on Channel 100. For a weekly reminder about the show you can visit my Facebook page, it’s PamelaDWilson.page. On there, you’ll find an events section for the radio show every week. If you sign up, believe it or not, Facebook will send you an event reminder. Technology can be a wonderful thing for us. Stay with me. We will be right back after this break.
11:32 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 on Channel 100 and TuneIn radio. We are back to talk about probate. If you are appointed the personal representative or the trustee of a family estate, do you know what your responsibilities are and what surprises might arise? Daniel Collins joins us. Daniel welcome to the show.
12:00 Daniel Collins: Good evening, Pam, thank you for having me.
12:02 Pamela D. Wilson: My pleasure. Let’s start out by answering the question: What is probate? And if you can also give a background on how you help families settle estates and what that word probate means.
12:15 Daniel Collins: Sure. Probate is something we Americans adopted from English common law. It is the judicial process whereby a will is proved in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased. When there is no will, the estate is handled by the court as an intestate estate that means there was no will. Each state has a well-ordered intestate successional bill. Typically, children inherit from the parents, then siblings, etcetera. Now I help people administer probate and trust estates. I wrote a book on the subject Probate and Trust Estate Administration Tips and Tricks which is available on Amazon. It turns out I’m good at practical estate administration, and areas attorneys do not typically help their clients perform in estate administration. And I became involved in this by consulting for attorneys in probate and trust estate litigation challenges because I’ve been a licensed real estate broker for 35 years and real property is one of the most common and most valuable assets inherited in a probate estate.
13:25 Pamela D. Wilson: So, what steps should an adult child take, if like you mentioned, an aging parent dies without a will? How do they start that process?
13:35 Daniel Collins: Well, I’ll speak about California because that’s where I live, and here will require to petition to open probate within 30 days of a person’s death. Now, that timeline oftentimes is not kept, but still, it’s the law. When there is no will, you are petitioning to open probate for an intestate estate, and these are the steps. You need to list the deceased assets because the court is most concerned about the value of the estate and they want an itemized list of all property and assets that will be distributed through the estate. Two, you need to determine which county you’ll petition to open probate and generally that’s the county in the state where the person lived or where they owned a home. Three, and you got to remember this. You need to bring a certified copy of the death certificate when you go to the court to petition to open probate. Four, you need to complete and file the form requesting that you be named as the personal representative by the court. You should also provide the court with the names and addresses of all living relatives and heirs to the deceased. And five, this is important, you’re required to let everybody know your petition for probate. You’ll actually need to publish in a local newspaper to inform people that a notice petition to administer estate has been filed with the court.
14:57 Daniel Collins: You’ll need to mail the notice that probate has been filed to all family members at their home address. And this publication serves as notice to all creditors who are owed money to file their claims against the estate. And creditors usually have four months to file their claims. And the sixth step is your petition is granted unless another more suitable representative comes forward or is appointed by the court. Now, one thing to remember is bonding is sometimes required by the court, and it is not uncommon that a court-appointed family member cannot serve as the PR if they cannot qualify to obtain a bond.
15:37 Pamela D. Wilson: Have you ever seen a situation where let’s say a child went and did this process and another family member objected? What happens then?
15:49 Daniel Collins: Well, the court usually will appoint a third party in California. Typically, it’s a licensed professional fiduciary. Most states have people who serve as fiduciaries, they may be called different things, and some states require licensing, and some states don’t, but typically, if there’s an argument, the court’s going to put a person in there who does not, who is not a family member and is a mutual party.
16:16 Pamela D. Wilson: Okay. And then what happens when there is a will but let’s say the person appointed the personal representative, they’re dead, what happens then?
16:25 Daniel Collins: Well, then basically you’re going to go through the same process of appointing a PR as though the person that died without a will.
16:35 Pamela D. Wilson: And so are you looking — let’s say there’s no family either — then does the court try to find somebody or what happens?
16:45 Daniel Collins: Yes. The court will usually nominate a – or actually, the attorney, if an attorney is hired, will have available, a nomination for a professional fiduciary to serve as the personal representative. And the court will usually accept them if they’re familiar with that professional fiduciary. Many courts like to have people that live in the same county appointed to do the administration.
17:13 Pamela D. Wilson: And then I know we’re going to be taking a break but in California, do you have county attorneys who serve in this role? Think about this for after the break. Here in Colorado, let’s say that somebody dies, and there’s no will, and there’s no person, and there’s no money to pay anybody. We have county attorneys, they have a special title, but they step in then, and they will serve in this role. So think about that question. We will continue our conversation with Daniel Collins after this break. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, your host. Podcast replays of The Caring Generation are available on my website and all of your favorite sites, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Spreaker, Stitcher, Google podcasts, my YouTube channel, meaning me Pamela, TuneIn Radio, Castbox, Sound Cloud and more. My goal is to make The Caring Generation available to you wherever you are. Please make sure that you share details about The Caring Generation radio program live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio with all of your family, your friends, your co-workers, and your social groups, your churches, everybody that you know because we are all going to be a caregiver or need care sooner or later.
18:29 Pamela D. Wilson: I want to talk about this as we go out to this break if you are interested in Daniel Collins’s book, it is called Probate & Trust Estate Administration Tips & Tricks: Estates with Homes and Real Estate Investments. He said that a copy of the book is available on Amazon.com, and before he goes off the show, we will be giving his telephone number and his website. In case you want to go check that out. We are going to be back talking more about probate. What happens if you are the personal representative, and we’re going to talk about how to find assets that you may not know about after death — that nobody knew about before. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
21:29 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. Let’s continue our conversation with Daniel Collins about the subject of probate. Daniel, if you would, will you give your phone number and your website in case anyone listening has questions?
21:52 Daniel Collins: Sure. I will give you my cell phone number, which is area code 916-215-2042. People are welcome to send me a text message if they have questions and you can visit my website at www.collinsfiduciarybroker.com.
22:13 Pamela D. Wilson: Perfect, so let’s go back to answering the question. There’s, somebody dies; there’s no personal representative, there’s no family member, there’s no money. What happens in California?
22:24 Daniel Collins: Well, to be truthful, I don’t usually get involved in those situations because I’m typically hired by a personal representative, pro bono fiduciary, or an attorney. But in those instances, I would imagine that an attorney may be nominated to serve perhaps even on a pro bono basis to help administer the estate to the degree that the court can adjudicate as to whether or not creditors are going to get paid any money at all and who’s going to get paid and how?
22:54 Pamela D. Wilson: Okay, perfect. So, let’s say that a child is the PR. They haven’t been in touch with their parents for years. There are assets. How do they find bank accounts, and credit cards, and property?
23:08 Daniel Collins: Well, this is a very important question, Pam. When a person dies, if they’ve never had anyone helping them with their daily lives and with their financial situation, it truly becomes an investigation to identify assets of a decedent. And in my book, Probate & Trust Administration Tips & Tricks which is available on Amazon, I have a chapter entitled buying the will and why you probably need to hire a private investigator. Because PIs have good skill sets and knowledge of where and how to search for records that will identify assets like insurance policies, life insurance policies, grant deeds, stocks and investments, etcetera, that need to be listed in the inventory and appraisal filing with the probate court.
23:55 Pamela D. Wilson: And then tell me — a lot of family members worry about debts, like bills that have to be paid. What is the responsibility of that personal representative to manage the debt and what happens if the debt is more than the amount of money in the bank accounts?
24:10 Daniel Collins: Well, again, this is a very good question and one that the three most important areas the probate court is concerned about. When a person dies, their debt obligations do not die with them. They survive and become obligations of the estate. The same applies for litigation. When that person dies, if they were involved in a lawsuit, that legal action becomes the burden of the estate. This can be very burdensome to the person serving as the personal representative of the estate. If the estate doesn’t have enough assets to pay all the debts and obligations of the estate, it will be up to the court to make a decision as to who gets paid and how much they get paid. And typically in each state, and each county, there are rules of the court that may specify the priority of who gets paid.
24:58 Pamela D. Wilson: And so that would happen because the person gives an inventory and then does that person ask the judge and say, “What do I pay first?”
25:07 Daniel Collins: Well, yes, they provide an inventory of the assets, and they also have to provide a detailed accounting as to the debt obligations that creditors are owed. And when the balance sheet ends up in the negative, then yes, it’s going to become a discretionary matter for the court.
25:25 Pamela D. Wilson: Okay, let’s say that I am a child and somebody else is administering an estate, and there’s an inheritance coming, and I want my money, and I don’t want to wait for it. Does that PR have to give me my money now, or do I have to wait?
25:44 Daniel Collins: Well, this is where the difference of probate estate versus trust estates differ. Trust estates allow immediate distribution. Probate does not. In probate, distributions are not allowed until the entire estate has satisfied the court that all debts have been paid, all assets identified, all heirs have been identified and found. If the decedent was supporting a family member who is a beneficial heir, the personal representative can petition the court to allow an allowance be paid to that beneficiary. If the decedent was not financially assisting an heir, chances are that person will not be allowed an early distribution and they must wait until the court signs an order accepting the final accounting and distribution to heirs. In California, large estates valued over 150,000 will often take 14 or more months to be fully administered to a point where distributions could be made.
26:46 Pamela D. Wilson: What steps do you recommend for a family member? Let’s say they’re appointed the personal rep and they have absolutely no idea what they’re supposed to do. What would your recommendation be?
26:58 Daniel Collins: Well, Pam, this is my favorite question to answer in any conversation about estate administration. And the answer is this, hire good legal counsel that specializes in estates administration. Additionally, hire competent consultants and use estate funds to employ those professionals. It is the personal representative’s duty to spend estate money by administering the estate using qualified experts. Now, heirs, they may complain about the cost, but that doesn’t alleviate the fiduciary obligation to hire qualified experts to assist in matters and in areas where the personal representative lacks experience or knowledge. And one of the areas I’m most often asked to assist personal representatives with is to fund estates. And I wrote a second book, a short one entitled, Estate Or Trust With No Cash? Options For When you need immediate cash to fund an Estate, and it too is available in Amazon.
28:00 Pamela D. Wilson: And then… So how do people find people like you?
28:03 Daniel Collins: Well, that’s a great question. I actually put together a panel discussion at a law firm recently, and one of the attorneys asked the same question.
28:11 Daniel Collins: There really… [chuckle] I’ll be truthful. I don’t know many people who do what I do. But what I do is I really help people with the administration tasks that attorneys don’t help you with which is really 90% of the work. It’s just a job, and it’s amazing that we have a system today where people step in and they are saddled with this burden, and they really don’t even know where to start. It’s just a mystery to me. But anyway, if you’re lucky enough to be listening to this radio show right now, you can find me.
28:50 Pamela D. Wilson: Perfect. I thank you so much for joining us tonight. Listeners, we are going to be returning after this break. We’re going to be talking about working women caregivers and male caregivers and who are 24/7 caregivers working full-time. We’ll also talk about the financial effects of being a caregiver on women. It’s more significant than you might realize. This is Pamela D Wilson, your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation radio show live on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We will be right back after this break.
31:40 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 work, money and financial management for women. In our first segment, we talked about the effect of caregiving on retirement for women and men which can be serious. Ladies, how many of you are managing your own finances? How many of you take an active role in planning for retirement? If you fall within the statistics from a Merrill Lynch report — and this report is on my website on the radio page — the report is called Women and Financial Wellness. It states that only about half of women are confident managing investments and most feel ignored by the media and financial planners. Financial planning, and my apologies to the men listening has been viewed by the financial services industry as a man’s job, as a man’s responsibility. Most women wish there was more talk about managing financial matters, more education for women about money, saving money and investing.
32:58 Pamela D. Wilson: The issue is that most women will outlive men. Meaning that women should have some type of a financial plan for retirement and paying for cost of care. How many of you have talked to your elderly parents about their money, how much money do they have for their care? I will share that in my own family. For my parents, they didn’t have a lot of money. They had enough to get by though. And one thing I remember my mother saying all the time was that, if dad died first, she wouldn’t have enough money to live. I heard my mom say this so many times to us as children and back then it didn’t make any sense to me. Until today when I’m a caregiving advocate, and I see what happens to both women and men when the spouses die, and all of that money is spent on care for the husband or the wife. And sometimes there are women who didn’t save for retirement because they left the workforce to be a caregiver. My mother worked during her life. It was raising us, six kids, my dad was the earner. Mom went back to work when I went into grade school.
34:02 Pamela D. Wilson: Our family could only afford to have one car that my dad used to drive to work. Many of your parents were probably like this. I can’t remember how many years, my mom worked. I think that the company she worked for was eventually sold and then she had health issues. Here are some more statistics from the Merrill Lynch study that might interest you. Shocking. The average woman spends 44% of her adult life out of the workforce, compared to 28% for a man. That time out usually relates — no surprise — to caring for children, parents, and spouses. The study asked women, what do you wish you had done differently to feel more financially secure today? How would you answer this for yourself today? For women in the study, the answers were that: 41% say they wish they would have invested more of their money, 35% said they wish they would have chosen a career with better pay, 34% say they wish they wouldn’t have taken on as much credit card debt, and 32% say they wish they would have lived within their means and not accumulated so much debt. I don’t know where you are in your life or if you have anything in common with the women in the study, but wherever you are male or female, it’s never too late to be more proactive about saving money and investing.
35:24 Pamela D. Wilson: And there are plenty of financial advisors out there that you can go to and ask questions of. Help exists. You just have to go find someone that you trust. Part of the problem in saving money is that we are this society that we want everything now. All the advertising tells us we need that new cell phone, a new car, we have to go to Starbucks every day and spend $5 on a cup of coffee. We want the latest clothes. That spending isn’t the way that we save money or plan for our retirement. That spending is a choice. Let’s talk about how being a caregiver affects work and career opportunities for women and for men because it does affect financial well-being in retirement and in our later years when all of us are pretty likely to need care. None of us want to be like my mother. We don’t want to worry about how or if we can financially survive if a spouse dies first. Let’s talk about what to do when work and caregiving collide. This applies to working women and caregivers in the home who are 24/7. Because being a caregiver regardless of where you are, it’s work; working caregivers on the average spend 20-40 hours outside of their jobs being a caregiver for an aging parent, and most of those people are not paid. The 24/7 caregivers are not paid.
36:56 Pamela D. Wilson: For the people who work, being a caregiver is like having a second job. No wonder caregivers are so exhausted. They go back and forth to paid work during the day. And then after that, they work on the evenings and on the weekends. There is so much stress and emotional burnout that results from being a caregiver. We’ll talk about the effects of the stress and how the burn out results in us being inattentive at work, not being able to focus on the job because — why do you think? Because we have this super long to-do list and we can’t figure out what to do. We’re worried about all these deadlines for elderly parents. We are experiencing challenges. Our co-workers are wondering why we’re not getting our jobs done, and we’re afraid to talk about this because we don’t want to be discriminated by our bosses or lose our jobs. But on the other hand, if we don’t talk about it and we miss days of work, we come in late, or we leave early we might lose our job anyway. There is a Harvard Business Study out there also, it’s on my website, it’s called The Caring Company. Because employers do know that being a caregiver is detrimental to our career advancement, they just don’t talk about it.
38:10 Pamela D. Wilson: After this break, we’ll talk more about what to do when work and caregiving collide. I’ll share more information from the Harvard Business Study. And if you enjoy the program, you can find all the podcasts, of past shows and the show transcripts on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. Please share The Caring Generation with everyone you know so that we can make caregiving something that everyone talks about. You can also follow me on social media on Facebook. My page is PamelaDWilson page. There are hundreds of videos there for you, and I do a live video every day. On Twitter, I am Caregivingspeak. On Instagram, I am WilsonPamelaD, and on LinkedIn, I am Pameladwilsoncaregiverexpert. 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.
41:22 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host, and you’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program coming to you live from the BBM Global Network channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. We’re back talking about what to do when work and caregiving collide. Here’s another statistic from the Harvard Business Study called the Caring Company. There’s a link to it on my website. Caregiving considerations, being a caregiver cause a large number of workers to quit their jobs. How many of you have quit a job because of caregiving responsibilities? In the 20 years that I had employees, I had this happen in many ways. Some employees felt responsible and knew that they couldn’t work full-time anymore and take care of an aging parent. Some employees moved across the country to be near family who needed care. The workplace sees this issue, but they haven’t yet made it something that we talk about.
42:17 Pamela D. Wilson: Caregiving and work issues, they’re still the elephant in the room. It’s a subject that employers don’t want to talk about, and employees are afraid to talk about. If you get into one of these situations, my suggestion is that before you decide to quit your job, have a discussion with your supervisor to see if anything can be done. Can the schedule or the shift that you work be changed? Is there any flexibility to work on the weekend instead of during the week? If you are a valued employee, there may be something that your employer is willing to do. It’s not easy to find good employees these days.
42:52 Pamela D. Wilson: On the other hand, both the employer and the employee have to be realistic about the effect of changing schedules. Being late to work, unplanned absences, turning down work-related projects, adjusting schedules, all of those do affect wages, salary, and being able to advance in your job. If because of being a caregiver, you become less reliable, less dependable, and less able to meet deadlines, there are consequences, and these consequences are recognized by employees in the area of commitment. In a Harvard study 59% of employees agreed that caregivers are perceived to be less committed to their careers than non-caregivers. How do you feel about that? It’s a difficult perception to fight. It’s not that all caregivers are less committed to their careers; it is that caregivers have a competing job, being a caregiver. How does a caregiver choose between helping an elderly parent who can’t get out of bed in the morning, or do they go to work and leave the parent to fend for him or herself? That choice poses feelings of guilt. What do you do? Let’s relate this situation to the life of a 24/7 caregiver.
44:12 Pamela D. Wilson: People looking outside in on a 24/7 caregiving situation have so much difficulty understanding what can happen in a 24-hour day. When I managed 24-hour in-home care for my clients, we usually made up a daily and a weekly schedule. There were laundry days, bathing days, shopping days. So much of a schedule like in a paid job. There was a routine and a list of projects to be accomplished. Now, one might think this is silly, that a 24/7 care situation should be leisurely with a, “whatever happens, happens” attitude. That’s a nice idea. But it doesn’t work that way. The person who needs care, as does the caregiver, benefits from a schedule and knowing what happens, at what time and on what day. There’s also the need to manage to a regular clock meaning day and night. If you are a 24/7 caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you know that your goal is to keep them awake all day so that they sleep at night, and so that you can sleep at night. Another aspect of being a 24/7 caregiver, is that persons who are not, can’t imagine the time it takes to complete tasks.
45:25 Pamela D. Wilson: If you are a caregiver listening, who works in an assisted living community or a nursing home, you know what I’m talking about. A simple bath or a shower, for us five minutes, maybe 10, if you like to soak or stand in a shower. A bath or a shower for an elderly parent, a spouse, or a resident is an event. As a caregiver, you have to get everything ready for the shower or bath. Then you have to actually convince the person that it’s bath or shower day. This convincing alone, and I laugh about this. It can be emotionally draining if a loved one or a resident refuses. It happens all the time. There are days when bathing can feel like a battle. The caregiver often becomes more exhausted after helping with a bath or shower than the person who receives the shower.
46:18 Pamela D. Wilson: Years ago, I had a client who hated to shower. The caregiver for this person, so amazing. The client said one day to my caregiver, “Well, if you want me to take a shower, then you get in with me.” Obviously, the caregiver didn’t get into the shower that day with the client, but she called me. So, mentioned again on day two, “If you want me to take a shower, you get in with me.” On day two, the caregiver brought her bathing suit, and in the shower, she went with the client to make sure that the client bathed. This was a client who lived at home with her adult children and hired my company to come in and take care of her mother. Our goal was to relieve the adult children of the stress of taking care of their mother, and our job was to do, honestly, whatever it took.
47:06 Pamela D. Wilson: I was so fortunate to have this amazing employee working for me who was willing to go above and beyond to do whatever it took to take care of clients who were challenging. Caregivers like this who truly care — are a blessing to the communities where they work and the families who they serve. The same applies to family caregivers who are not always appreciated. Aging parents, spouses, brothers and sisters, expect that the caregiver will just keep going that they won’t wear out. This doesn’t always happen. Caregivers get sick too. The best possible situation for what to do when work and caregiving collide, is to have an understanding manager boss, or employer and a job that has flexibility. We also have to be realistic about care needs for our aging parents and talking about the needs for care. This is something that we cannot ignore. Caregivers I have known, they have worked evening shifts, weekend shifts, graveyard shifts, to make caregiving work. Being open-minded helps us find ways to be flexible and to balance work-life challenges and to be prepared for a plan when work and caregiving collide.
48:20 Pamela D. Wilson: In the next segment, we’ll talk more about tips for dealing with caregiving stress. Stress can be anything from stress at work, stress from your family, stress from your health declining. So many caregivers become sicker than the persons for whom they care. In caregiving, we have to take care of ourselves. We have to make sure that we’re also taking care of our loved ones. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot possibly take care of our aging parents and our spouses and then all of a sudden caregiving becomes more of a nightmare. I’m Pamela D Wilson, your host. You are listening to The Caring Generation live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Visit my website, pameladwilson.com for more helpful tips, information, and my caregiving courses. Stay with me. We will be right back after this break.
51:28 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. Helpful information is on my website at pameladwilson.com. Let’s talk more about tips to respond to caregiving stress or any stress that we experience in life. Because stress comes at us from all directions. How many of you had or have children who have a tantrum or a meltdown? What do you do? You have them take a time out. Caregivers benefit from a time-out. Remove yourself from the situation that is causing stress. Excuse yourself for a few minutes. Go find a quiet place to sit even if it is out in your car or believe it or not, in the bathroom. The bathroom is the only place that some 24/7 caregivers can ever get away. Go outside, take a walk, change the scenery. Accept your feelings about the situation. None of us is perfect. We all have good days and bad days. When you’re feeling angry, frustrated, or negative, we have to find an outlet or a routine that we can follow to bring ourselves back to that happy positive place.
52:54 Pamela D. Wilson: Carry an inspirational book with you, listen to music, do something that brightens your mood. Call a friend just for a few minutes or call mom or dad. The other very important stress reducer for caregivers, that very few caregivers take advantage of, is joining a caregiving support group or taking a caregiving course. When we take a step forward, when we take action to resolve a concern or stress, we feel better. Taking action gives us a sense of control over our life and our caregiving situation. In support groups and courses caregivers learn new skills, gain confidence, join with other people who understand. On some days just having somebody to listen and empathize; it’s what we as caregivers need. My other suggestion and I know that caregivers don’t like this one; ask for help. Caregivers, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s important for other people to know that you might be wearing out so that if something happens to you, you have a back-up plan.
54:04 Pamela D. Wilson: What if you can’t leave your job because you have bills to pay? How then does an aging parent or a spouse receive care? Earlier, we talked about the fact that many caregivers leave their jobs to become a caregiver. That scenario is not always possible. There are times when work and caregiving collide, and work has to be the winner because of the practicalities of life. Not everybody can survive without income. Not everybody can be a 24/7 caregiver. Devoting your life full time to the care of an elderly parent or a spouse, that is a life-changing decision. It’s a life-changing commitment, especially if you opt-out of your job. Our subject next week is going to follow up on this idea of caregivers doing more. We’ll talk about a study from AARP called Home Alone. Caregivers, my friends, if no one has told you that you are amazing or hasn’t thanked you this week for everything that you do as a caregiver or in helping others, let me say thank you. Here’s a quote that I found about appreciation. On days when you are feeling stressed, take a moment, walk outside, look up to the sky and realize that it is pretty amazing.
55:23 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. Thank you for joining me on the Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults, coming to you live from the BBM global network Channel 100 and tune in radio. Visit my website, pameladwilson.com for helpful information. I look forward to being with you again next Wednesday evening. God bless you all, sleep well tonight, and have a fabulous day tomorrow until next week.
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