Trapped Caring for Elderly Parent or Spouse – The Caring Generation®
The Caring Generation® – Episode 77 March 17, 2021. On this program, Trapped Caring for Elderly Parent or a Spouse, caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson shares tips to take back your life and manage caregiver resentment or guilt. Dr. Anthony Caterine from the Riverside Healthcare System shares the benefits of telepsychiatry for persons experiencing mental health concerns in hospitals and nursing homes.
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Trapped Caring for Elderly Parent or Spouse
0:00:04.0 Announcer: Caregiving can sometimes feel like an impossible struggle. Caregivers may be torn between taking care of loved ones and trying to maintain balance in life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The Caring Generation, with host Pamela D. Wilson. Is here to focus on the conversation of caring. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in exactly the right place to share stories and learn tips and resources to help you and your loved ones. So now, please welcome the host of The Caring Generation, Pamela D. Wilson.
0:00:37:36 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, speaker, elder care consultant, and guardian of The Caring Generation. The Caring Generation focuses on the conversation of caring, giving us permission to talk about aging, the challenges of caregiving, and everything in between. It seems that when the time comes when we need care, or we become a caregiver, our world is turned upside down – there is little dignity, little clarity, and certainly no stability.
0:1:09:14 Pamela D Wilson: Let’s be honest, most of us prefer a life without change. It’s no surprise that needing care or becoming a caregiver changes everything. The Caring Generation is here to guide you along the journey to let you know that you’re not alone. You’re in exactly the right place to share stories, learn tips, and resources to help you and your loved ones to plan for what’s ahead. We’re here creating The Caring Generation. Please invite your loved ones, family, and friends to listen to the show each week.
0:1:44:26 Pamela D Wilson: Today, the topic is trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or trapped needing care. Realize that the person you care for may also feel trapped. We’ll talk about tips to help you, and your loved one take back your lives. Our guest for this program is Dr. Anthony Caterine from the Riverside Health System in Newport News, Virginia. He joins us to discuss the benefits of telepsychiatry for patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Dr. Caterine is Board-certified in Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology and specializes in treating dual diagnosis patients with acute physical and psychiatric problems.
0:21:35:61 Pamela D Wilson: He is also a Forensic Psychiatrist who has provided expert testimony in court. His work in the Riverside Health System most recently has focused on providing telemedicine consultations to patients. He supervises consultations in nursing homes and consults with patients at hospitals in the Riverside Health System. His education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Medical Doctor Degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, and Residency in Psychiatry from the University of Florida and Shand’s Teaching Hospital in Gainesville.
0:3:18:29 Pamela D Wilson: Dr. Caterine has received numerous honors and awards and regularly presents on subjects related to psychiatry and medicine. He joins us in the third segment of this program. Let’s return to the idea of feeling trapped caring for an elderly parent or a spouse or trapped needing care. While many caregivers feel this way and care receivers feel this way—great discomfort exists about actually saying the word trapped for fear of being seen as disrespectful of the role and responsibility of being a caregiver for aging parents or a spouse.
0:4:05:73 Pamela D Wilson: During the 20 plus years that I worked 1:1 with the elderly and disabled and supported their families, I frequently heard the word “trapped.” Not only from the caregivers but from older adults who said they felt trapped in aging bodies. Trapped taking too many medications and trapped in their homes because of physical difficulties or no longer being able to drive. Caregivers also feel trapped between providing care and the things they want to do or planned to do in life that are run off track by caregiving.
0:4:47:59 Pamela D Wilson: When I wrote my caregiving book, I struggled with the title that became the name—The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes. If you are feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse, you are in good company with The Caring Generation. My mother passed away 26 years ago this month. My father several years later. I’ve helped thousands of caregiving families navigate care issues, and the caregivers in my groups understand the feeling of trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse.
0:5:26:16 Pamela D Wilson: Knowing that we are in this together, what can caregivers and older adults who feel trapped in situations and aging bodies do to get unstuck? I’m about to share eight ideas. Start with the tip you like the best and then make your way through the others. Let’s start by adding perspective to the idea of feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse by talking about the subject of time. Time spent caregiving passes in the blink of an eye.
0:6:00:36 Pamela D Wilson: One day, you are a new caregiver, and the next day you look back, and you’ve been caregiving for five or ten years. How many of you can relate? Where does the time go? How many years has it been since you got that wake-up call to become a caregiver? How many of you are experiencing health issues that were diagnosed years ago? The key to remember is that the passing of time does not change us as much as what we do with our time which includes changing our beliefs and habits.
0:6:35:91 Pamela D Wilson: Feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse is not as much as what’s happening to us in life but more about how we respond. As if COVID hasn’t thrown our world upside down. Add caregiving to the mix of life experiences, and the impact on life is significant. By becoming more aware of our feelings, reactions, and thoughts rather than giving control to our minds, everyone can learn how to take back your life. Caregiver burnout, stress, and feelings of exhaustion are common.
0:7:16:19 Pamela D Wilson: Elderly parents can feel like a burden or as if their lives no longer matter—parents may say they have no purpose or reason to get up and get going each morning. If you are feeling off track, you can train your mind to notice when you might be feeling more vulnerable, stressed, or in a negative mood. You can notice when you are too tired to make good decisions or need a delay before you respond to an upsetting person or situation.
0:7:48:02 Pamela D Wilson: Being mindful will help you notice when your mind is going off track down a rabbit hole—when instead you should be focusing on another project. How many of you become angry or frustrated and then stay in that mood for hours because of feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped by thoughts of needing care. What if we stopped and noticed our feelings and said to ourselves—I know. I’m angry and frustrated right now, but I also know that I have the power to change these thoughts and feelings in this moment instead of moping, sulking, or stewing.
0:8:34:62 Pamela D Wilson: Just say no – say to yourself, “my mind does not have permission to take my emotions to a place that is not helpful. I refuse to think of worst-case scenarios and get angry. I prefer to think positively and focus on solutions.” By recognizing that the duties and responsibilities of caregiving can be endless and that worry about aging and health can result in feeling that all is lost— we can stop ourselves from doing or saying things that have negative consequences and affect our relationships.
0:9:13:55 Pamela D Wilson: If you get into a state of feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped by needing care and you find yourself about to do or say something you know will have a bad outcome – stop yourself. Get out of your mind. Take a walk, ask for a time out – take a break and give yourself permission to get your mind in the right place to respond constructively and positively to solve the issue at hand. We will continue with tips for how to take back your life when you feel trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped by needing care after this break.
0:9:57:63 Pamela D Wilson: I’m Pamela D Wilson on the Caring Generation. I help family caregivers and organizations talk about caregiving to understand the decisions related to caring for elderly parents or loved ones, to navigate the healthcare system, discuss financial and legal plans for care and apply all of this learning to our own lives. So we are not passing caregiving worries and responsibilities down to the next generation without giving this some thought and planning. Visit my website, PamelaDWilson.com, where you will find information about keynotes, webinars, online courses about elderly care, and all of The Caring Generation podcast episodes. Stay with me; I’ll be right back.
0:11:16:65 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson on The Caring Generation, the only program of its kind caring to make your life easier by tackling uncomfortable and intimidating discussions about aging, caregiving, and everything in between. If you want to avoid unexpected caregiving issues, not sure what to do, maybe things aren’t working out as you expected— becoming more educated is one solution. The A to Z of caregiving is in my online caregiver course called Stay at Home: Taking Care of Elderly Parents at Home and Beyond on my website at PamelaDWilson.com.
0:11:56:83 Pamela D Wilson: In the first part of this program, we talked about gaining perspective about feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse and how to take back your life. Now let’s start with eight tips—pick your favorite, choose one or all—and start today. Number one for how to take back your life is to improve your physical strength and shape. Find a different way to think positively about the idea of exercise. Was there ever a time in your life when you felt physically strong and healthy?
0:12:32:37 Pamela D Wilson: For many of us, this might take us back to memories of our youth—that’s okay. It’s never too late to start. If you are an aging adult or a caregiver for aging parents, assess your strength. Can you stand for 20 to 30 minutes without tiring? Can you sit in a chair without a back and arms and sit perfectly upright for 15 minutes. That takes core strength—do you have that? Can you stand and balance on one leg without tipping over. How many push-ups can you do?
0:13:10:80 Pamela D Wilson: Being physically strong is a component of good health. When our bodies become weak, we are more susceptible to physical injuries, disability, and sickness. If you are the person who needs care—or your parent needs care, what physical issues are you noticing? What things can’t you do today that you did six months ago? We make the choice to allow our bodies to become physically weak by doing nothing.
0:13:42:35 Pamela D Wilson: Perspective. Time does not change our bodies—what we do or don’t do with our bodies—changes our bodies that can become weaker, and more frail without use. Being physically strong and healthy poses positive benefits for our minds. Take back your life. Feel less trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped by poor health by improving your physical strength and shape. Number two make self-care a priority.
0:14:18:33 Pamela D Wilson: For all adults of any age—regular medical care, daily time for yourself to get out of your mind and be mindful of what is happening in your life that is affecting your mood positively or negatively is essential. Self-care means doing things that are good for you. Not only meditation, reading, exercise, prayer, getting a massage but doing things for you. You may be a young caregiver who is thinking about putting education on the back burner to care for grandparents or parents.
0:14:54:71 Pamela D Wilson: Self-care means attending college or continuing whatever course of education you started. You deserve time for you and time to work on your goals. Many caregivers give up education or a career and then feel trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse. Perspective. Giving up the things you like and enjoy will not make you a happier person. Resentment may enter into your life and make you a less attentive caregiver, with the result being—unintended harm to a loved one because you feel trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse—that only makes you feel more guilty.
0:15:37:37 Pamela D Wilson: All those things you wanted to do in retirement? Figure out what’s holding you back and grab onto that one thing that brings joy into your life. Number three, this combines with the idea of self-care. It is strengthening relationships with the loved ones you value. This could be the elderly parent or spouse for whom you provide care or your caregiver, daughter, son, husband, or wife. I know you’re thinking, I feel trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped needing care.
0:16:12:73 Pamela D Wilson: I’d rather spend less time than more time with them. You can improve or strengthen a relationship in little bits of time. I say little bits because the strengthening I am talking about is having realistic heart-felt and difficult conversations about needing care, caregiving, costs of care, and time trade-offs. This relationship strengthening and honest conversations are EXACTLY what most caregivers, spouses, and elderly parents avoid that has everyone feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped needing care. Ask permission and agree that there are no subjects too difficult to discuss.
0:17:02:25 Pamela D Wilson: This doesn’t mean that you and a parent or a spouse or daughter will agree on everything. But at a minimum, you both have the opportunity to say how you are feeling and what you are willing to do or not willing to do. For example, “mom or dad, I can do this for you. Give you this much time. Help you this much financially, but beyond this, I have to take care of myself and my family. We want to look at other options to get you the help you need that does not include me. “
0:17:39:65 Pamela D Wilson: On the other hand, you as the person who needs care may say, “I know I have health issues. Doing anything about this problem (whatever it is) seems to be more work and effort than I want to contribute. I don’t care —I’m feeling hopeless and don’t have the energy to do anything right now.” Acknowledge the feeling and take responsibility. Then make a doctor appointment to see if there are underlying physical or mental health concerns. As the person needing care, you have a duty and a responsibility to take care of yourself.
0:18:19:23 Pamela D Wilson: When you strengthen a relationship with a parent, spouse, or your caregiver to the degree that you feel comfortable—instead of scared to death about bringing up uncomfortable subjects—you will gain confidence to manage situations instead of feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or a spouse or trapped needing care. If you have tried to begin conversations before and they didn’t turn out the way you expected, a little training in how to phrase situations may be helpful.
0:18:54:53 Pamela D Wilson: Being like a bull in a china shop and being blunt in conversations may not t turn out as well as being sensitive to the way you approach a situation and asking or knowing how to present concerns or information to a parent, spouse or caregiver. The easiest way to learn about this is to ask—don’t guess. Perspective. Think about how you prefer to receive feedback or concerns at work from a boss and put yourself in the place of the receiver of the information. How do you prefer to be approached or to receive feedback?
0:19:33:96 Pamela D Wilson: How might your parent, spouse, or caregiver appreciate being approached? No doubt, these are difficult conversations in tough times. Learning how to have uncomfortable conversations can help you take back your life and feel less trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or needing care. For more uncomfortable conversations, listen to other podcasts from The Caring Generation like Caring For My Elderly Mother is Killing Me and I Don’t Want to Take Care of My Spouse Anymore.
0:20:10:05 Pamela D Wilson: You’re in the right place to become comfortable talking about the life experiences of caregivers and aging adults who need care. Up next, a discussion with Dr. Anthony Caterine from the Riverside Health System in Newport News, Virginia. He joins us to discuss his work in telepsychiatry for patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Virtual mental health appointments for persons of all ages have become easier thanks to COVID and health insurance paying for virtual visits.
0:20:43:64 Pamela D Wilson: If you’re one of the few who hasn’t yet attended a virtual medical appointment, virtual appointments make getting the medical care you need easier and more time-efficient. All you need is a cellphone or a computer or tablet with a webcam and speakers. Join me every Wednesday for The Caring Generation. The show is not limited by time zone or location—caregivers worldwide are invited to listen.
0:21:11:97 Pamela D Wilson: The podcasts and the show transcripts are on my website at PamelaDWilson.com and all of your favorite podcast apps: Apple, Google, Spreaker, Podcast Addict, Pandora, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Spotify, I Heart Radio, Podchaser, Jio Saavn, Vurbl, and More. Add the podcast app for the Caring Generation show on the cellphone of elderly parents, in-laws, family members, and friends. I’m Pamela D Wilson on The Caring Generation. Stay with me; I’ll be right back.
0:22:15:77 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, caregiving speaker, and elder care consultant on The Caring Generation. The only program of its kind caring to make your life easier by tackling uncomfortable and intimidating discussions about aging, caregiving, and everything in between. Share and visit my website PamelaDWilson.com with others you know. One in 4 people are caregivers looking for hope, help, and support and don’t know where to turn or who to trust.
0:22:46:43 Pamela D Wilson: You’re about to meet Dr. Anthony Caterine, board-certified in Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology. He specializes in treating dual diagnosis patients with acute physical and psychiatric problems. His work in the Riverside Health system most recently focuses on supervising telemedicine consultations to patients in nursing homes and providing mental health consultations for patients in the emergency room and hospitals within the Riverside Health System.
0:23:17:67 Pamela D Wilson: Dr. Caterine, thank you so much for joining me.
0:23:22:98 Dr. Anthony Caterine: Thank you.
0:23:23:002 Pamela D Wilson: You are a consultation, psychiatric—psychiatrist that has seen patients in nursing homes, and now you see them in hospital emergency rooms. How does being a consultation psychiatrist differ from an office psychiatrist?
0:23:38:17 Dr. Anthony Caterine: I’ve done office psychiatry also, and with office psychiatry, it’s more like your family doctor where you see patients on kind of a regular basis. You know, maybe weekly if things are going wrong. Or if things are going well every several months. Then you continue to see that person as long as they need help. In consultation psychiatry, you only see people when doctors ask you to. And maybe doctors in the nursing homes or doctors at the hospital. You see the patients for much shorter periods of time. In my case, I see them on a daily basis until they’re better. In some cases, a more traditional consultation. They just do one consult, and then they wait, and if the doctor needs them to be consulted again, then they are.
0:24:36:89 Pamela D Wilson: One of the other benefits, I think you mentioned—and this has happened because of COVID. You see patients in person, but you also see them through telepsychiatry. What are the benefits to patients who can see you virtually and have those type of visits?
0:24:52:66 Dr. Anthony Caterine: One of the big benefits is my hospital system has five hospitals, and they—some of those hospitals are hours away from where I am. Those hose patients would not have the benefit of psychiatric consultations except for telepsychiatry. I make appointments virtually and will see them at these outlying hospitals. During COVID, when things were really bad, I could actually see people from home and see them virtually. So the biggest benefit is that it improves access to people that wouldn’t normally get a consultation. The other benefit is with COVID; I have to wear a mask when I see somebody personally. But when I see them virtually, I can not have the mask on, and it’s more personal in that respect.
0:25:48:16 Pamela D Wilson. I know a lot of listeners may not know this but being able to see a psychiatrist in the hospital emergency room is pretty rare. So that’s why your practice is unique, and then you also continue to see people when they’re in that emergency room or until they’re released to a psychiatric hospital, or they’re released home. How does that make a difference for these people who normally would not normally be even able to see a psychiatrist in the emergency room.
0:26:15:59 Dr. Anthony Caterine: I think the person that even could tell you even better what a difference it would make is the director of our emergency room who has told me many times how helpful it is to have my presence in the emergency room. You know, Emergency room doctors are certainly trained for the immediate emergency if somebody is very agitated and out of control. But they have difficulty knowing when it’s safe for a patient to go home. And that’s where I can be extremely helpful for them. I tend to try to be very pragmatic and specific in terms of what our goals of care are before they can go home. And they really appreciate that.
0:26:59:14 Pamela D Wilson: It sounds like you give people, not only the emergency room staff, some confidence, but also the people who come to the emergency room. They at least can get some type of treatment. Where I’ve had patients who have had dementia or mental health problems, and they’ve been sent to the emergency room. But the emergency room is like, “we can’t do anything for you. We can’t treat you. So you have this unique benefit that you help these people. And then, do they normally go on to receive care from psychiatric hospitals. Is it easy to get someone from the emergency room admitted there?
0:27:31:09 Dr. Anthony Caterine: You know, in particular with dementia, it still is very difficult, and that is why my service can be so helpful. Our hospital has actually has decided with cases where we didn’t think the patient would get admitted or could be stabilized soon enough in the emergency room that we’ve actually admitted them to the medical hospital until they can be properly dispositioned from the hospital and I treat them while they are in the hospital. Unfortunately, that problem of people being stuck in emergency rooms with dementia just seems to be growing with time.
0:28:14:65 Pamela D Wilson: How has COVID affected all of this, mental health, emergency room visits, and psychiatric care.
0:28:20:97 Dr. Anthony Caterine: COVID has been horrible for people with mental illness. And the main reason is because there’s is increased isolation and we’re very social animals. And most mental illnesses will worsen when people are isolated. Even illnesses you wouldn’t think would. For instance, psychosis. It’s well-known that people hallucinate more when they’re isolated. And so we certainly think that depression would worsen and anxiety would worsen when isolated. But even conditions like psychosis will get worse.
0:28:58:03 Pamela D Wilson: What are some of the most unusual, I guess, diagnoses or cases you’ve treated in the emergency room?
0:29:04:67 Dr. Anthony Caterine: Probably one of the most dramatic conditions that we see is catatonia. People don’t talk. Don’t move. They may look like they have some type of neurological problem causing it, and sometimes it is actually caused by a medical problem even though it’s a psychiatric symptom. And these people will often respond dramatically to an anxiety medication like Ativan. And sometimes we have to give it through the IV because they are so debilitated that they can’t take the medicine by mouth. But once they get it, within minutes, they can start talking. Start eating, start interacting. So that can be a very interesting and dramatic treatment. And often, the staff are afraid to give this medicine that usually is sedating to this patient that’s not responding. So it’s kind of an opposite effect than you would expect.
0:30:12:76 Pamela D Wilson: Being admitted to the emergency room or a psychiatric hospital, it can be scary for people with mental illness or with dementia. What should families know about helping their loved ones who are in these types of situations?
0:30:26:17 Dr. Anthony Caterine: You know, I think that having contact by phone, of course, that’s another problem with COVID is that family members can’t visit people who are COVID positive. Making arrangements ahead of time to make sure that you can have contact by phone. Our hospital tries to allow families to Skype patients as well or use Zoom in our case.
0:30:51:39 Pamela D Wilson: You’re in such a unique situation. Let’s say I have listeners all over the United States who are hearing you speak, and they’re like, “how do we get somebody like Dr. Caterine?” Are there programs like yours anywhere else in the United States that you’re aware of—and I know you may not be able to answer this.
0:31:07:21 Dr. Anthony Caterine: Yes, there are. For instance. I know that I interviewed for a job in Charlotte, North Carolina. They see so many patients in their emergency room that they actually have a regular psychiatric service with multiple psychiatrists that rotate. I have family in Austin, Texas, and they have – they seem to have a pretty well-developed psychiatric emergency room system there at some of their hospitals. So hopefully, it’s something that’s growing because it is very helpful.
0:31:41:79 Pamela D Wilson: Is there anything else that you’d like to add that I haven’t mentioned or that I haven’t asked?
0:31:46:21 Dr. Anthony Caterine: I see beautiful stories of families taking care of people with mental illness. Real angels on earth. And so it’s a great privilege to help those type of people with their family.
0:32:03:16 Pamela D Wilson: Dr. Caterine – I thank you so much for joining me for this interview.
0:32:06:32 Dr. Anthony Caterine: Thank you very much.
0:32:08:29 Pamela D Wilson: We will return to more tips for how to get your life back when feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or trapped needing care after this break. If you enjoy this weekly program, please share The Caring Generation with others. Our program is not limited by time zone or location. You can listen worldwide. New shows from The Caring Generation are available each week.
0:32:03:72 Pamela D Wilson: If you are an adult child or another family member considering guardianship of a parent or want help knowing how to manage, advocate, and navigate care, check out my two online webinars caring for elderly courses. The first is How to Get Guardianship of a Parent, and the second, Taking Care of Elderly Parents, available through my website PamelaDWilson.com. More helpful information about caregiving and aging is in my book The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes, available on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. I’m Pamela D Wilson on The Caring Generation Stay with me. I’ll be right back.
0:33:42:63 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson. You’re with me on The Caring Generation, the only program of its kind bringing caregivers and aging adults worldwide to talk about aging, caregiving, and everything in between. More information and support for caregivers, corporations, and groups are on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. There you’ll find information about keynote events, webinars, online courses, and more. Let me know how I can help you, your group, or your organization by visiting the Contact Me page on my website and sending me an email.
0:34:18:28 Pamela D Wilson: Let’s return to taking back your life when feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or trapped needing care. Tip number four is to realize your brothers, sisters, and other family members may never help you if you are the primary caregiver. Your elderly parent may deny needing help. If you are the care receiver, your habits, actions, and lack of desire to help yourself can be frustrating for others. Quit trying to fit round pegs into square holes. Accept the situation for what it is and figure out how to make a lemonade out of lemons.
0:35:01:81 Pamela D Wilson: If you need a reality check on this topic, listen to The Caring Generation Podcast: How to Talk About Getting Old. My interview with Barb, a caregiver for her mother, shared her real-life experience of how siblings and other family members had good intentions. But found it impossible or impractical to care for her mother, so it was all up to Barb. In most caregiving situations, there is a single primary caregiver who does most of the work.
0:35:33:20 Pamela D Wilson: If this is you—at some point, you will need help, or you will break—physically or emotionally. You will experience health issues. With this in mind. Make plans today for a back-up plan so that you don’t get to a breaking point and be asking yourself, “what should I do now?” If you are the person who needs care, realize that it’s not practical to expect a daughter, son, or spouse to bear the total responsibility of care alone or forever.
0:36:09:81 Pamela D Wilson: Tip number five is to think about what you really want your life and your caregiving or needing care situation to be like. You might be thinking, sheesh – she’s crazy. I can’t change my life. Well, of course you can’t if that’s what you think. Be realistic. Be positive Stop spending time with naysayers. Make some new friends or join a support group with people who will lift you up. After that, list of what you really want your life and your caregiving or needing care situation to look like. Make another list. All the things that are keeping you from creating the life you want.
0:36:51:72 Pamela D Wilson: In the process of taking your life back, you may have some uncomfortable decisions to make. This may include a conversation with parents about alternate care situations. You may need to stop rescuing or helping brothers or sisters who don’t help you—but who continually ask for your help. You may need to admit that you can’t keep depending on a son or daughter for care. Maybe it’s time to move into a care community.
0:37:21:46 Pamela D Wilson: Tip number six is the concern from caregivers that they are being judged, need help, or want help. Let’s look at this from two perspectives—judgment and help. All humans are biased by personal experiences and family upbringing. How often do you look at someone else, and your brain issues a judgment? That being said, if you are a caregiver feeling judged, it’s up to you to ask yourself why. In the first part of this program, we talked about noticing how we respond to life events and people. If you make being in the moment part of your day, you might notice that you feel judged.
0:38:05:11 Pamela D Wilson: You might be able to figure out why being judged bothers you. Maybe you were the spouse who relied on your spouse for everything, and now you rely on your caregiving children for everything and feel guilty. As a caregiver, if you grow your skills through education about health, prevention, advocacy, and gain caregiving knowledge, you’ll be less likely to be negatively affected by what others say or think about you. The other concern of caregivers is that others think that they need help or want help.
0:38:45:01 Pamela D Wilson: Research confirms that less than 15% of caregivers join a support group or invest time in a caregiver course or any type of education or learning about health. Yet over 50% of caregivers say they are emotionally stressed, depressed, lonely and isolated and suffer from poor physical health. In my opinion, there is a disconnect between wanting to do it all, running your health and wellbeing into the ground, giving up a job, compromising your family—and then complaining about it.
0:39:24:32 Pamela D Wilson: Complaining and negativity decrease when one takes control of his or her life. And sometimes, change requires outside help or knowledge. Educate yourself and the person for who you care so that you both have all of the information you need to make practical decisions to take back your life. The present situation will last as long as you allow it to allow.
0:39:54:47 Pamela D Wilson: Tip number seven for taking back your life and feeling less feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or trapped needing care is learning how to detach. Detachment. Yes, that word again, learning. If you want success in any area of your life—learning is involved. Becoming emotionally detached means that we observe things, thoughts, other people, and events without judgment. Caregivers who fear judgment may be judgmental of others.
0:40:29:26 Pamela D Wilson: Sometimes we have to turn the mirror on ourselves and look at our behaviors before we can make progress in feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or traped needing care. As caregivers, are we so attached to fixing our parents or working on the problems of their lives that we don’t make time to work on our own lives and what we want to achieve? As the person who needs care, do you rely too much on others to solve your problems?
0:41:03:78 Pamela D Wilson: Detaching means having good boundaries. What will you do? What won’t you do? At what point do you say no—that’s not for me? Have you, as the caregiver or the aging adult, accepted the reality of your situation? Maybe you can’t continue to be the caregiver at the current pace? If you are the person who needs care, have you become too reliant on someone in your family to take care of everything even though you could be doing more yourself?
0:41:36:22 Pamela D Wilson: In either situation—caregiver or the person needing care–do your moods and happiness fluctuate with your ongoing interactions? Are you constantly worrying about what will happen next? Are you neglecting your health or care needs? If so, it’s time to take a step back, be compassionate with yourself, and work on yourself and your needs. Create plans with realistic expectations for yourself, an elderly parent, or a spouse so that you can stop feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or trapped by needing care.
0:42:15:43 Pamela D Wilson: Tip number eight is to avoid resentment and disappointment that can result from a desire to control others. Feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse may happen because you have expectations about how your parent or spouse should act. Expecting someone else to act differently may not be realistic or possible. I spoke to a CNA recently who expressed frustration about how better care for older adults could be—if only this would be done or that would be done, or if only this would happen.
0:42:55:19 Pamela D Wilson: I understand this desire to help others and make life better. I’ve been doing this for twenty years. The challenge is—no one can motivate another person to do something they don’t want to do. Whether this is to learn about health, change actions to avoid future health consequences, admit that help is needed, ask for help, eat better, exercise, and all of the long list of things we all know that we should do or things that might help, but we don’t want to do them. The only way to stop feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse is to get yourself out of the trap and take back your life.
0:43:37:30 Pamela D Wilson: How many of you remember the Serenity prayer? God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Wisdom and support are waiting for all of us. It’s up to us— whether we are the caregiver or the person needing care—to take the next step to change the future of caregiving.
0:44:05:13 Pamela D Wilson: If you are feeling trapped caring for elderly parent or spouse or needing care, not sure what to do or how to plan to for care needs, help is on my website in my online articles, caregiver courses, videos, and most of all in the support that I offer to groups and corporations interested in supporting caregiving conversations. Many caregivers worry about talking to employers about caregiving responsibilities. In addition to this show that can help you talk to elderly parents and family members, and your caregivers—I’ll be happy to speak with leadership in your organizations. Share my website PamelaDWilson.com with your human resources manager or the decision-maker in your company.
0:44:48:38 Pamela D Wilson: And as for caregiver programs. Thank you for joining me on The Caring Generation – the only program of its kind connecting caregivers and aging adults worldwide to talk about caregiving, health, and everything in between. Invite your family and friends to listen each week. I am Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, advocate, and speaker. Thank you all for being caregivers. I look forward to being with you again soon. God bless you all. Sleep well tonight. Have a fabulous day tomorrow and a great week until we are here together again.
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