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Care for Elderly Parent Online Family Caregiver Support
Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiving Expert, Advocate & Speaker Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiving Expert, Advocate & Speaker
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Denver, CO
Wednesday, May 8, 2024


Care for Elderly Parent Online Family Caregiver Support

Elderly parent online family caregiver support helps manage stress and anxiety. Navigating care for aging parents can seem daunting, filled with uncertainties, challenges, and unanticipated risks. It can be comforting to have access to a caregiving expert by telephone or virtual call who can answer your questions and provide suggestions that offer peace of mind.
Family caregiver support from caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson equips you with the tools to navigate care, identify costs, create a care plan, make thoughtful decisions, and advocate for your loved ones. Working with Pamela empowers you to take charge of your caregiving journey.
  • Her extensive and unique experience in medical care, nursing homes and care communities, home health, community care, health insurance, financial services, and estate planning offers insight not available from other sources.
  • In addition to managing client care, she has served as a professional fiduciary in the roles of court-appointed guardian and conservator, medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, trustee, and personal representative of the estate. She is also an expert witness in-home care, care management, and guardianship.
Learn why expert advice is critical to managing complicated family elder care situations.

Family Caregiving for Elderly Parents Requires Advocacy

In addition to family relationships, navigating care for aging parents with care systems can require exceptional organizational skills, technical skills, persistence, decision-making, and strong advocacy. Whether loved ones live nearby or at a distance, navigating care can be a full-time project of managing tasks and details.
Elderly parent online family caregiver support helps caregivers and patients manage complicated health issues that can be impacted by insurance, physician, or provider relationships. Learn tips to work across fragmented health providers and manage how risks related to making health care decisions can negatively affect care and well-being.

Managing Health Conditions

According to research by Ansah and Chi-Tsun Chiu (1), the number of people 50 years and older in the United States with more than one chronic disease will increase by 91% between 2020 and 2050. This means that primary care physicians must educate patients and their caregivers about preventing and managing chronic diseases.
The following chronic conditions are common in older persons:
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis and musculoskeletal pain
  • Depressive symptoms and dementia
Education about these conditions, including their causes and how diseases progress over time, is essential to ensuring good care for loved ones or oneself. Elderly parent online family caregiver support can help caregivers and patients gain a better understanding of how multiple conditions affect the ability of parents to remain living at home or to recover from illnesses or surgery.
It has been confirmed that family caregiver concerns exist about the ability of primary care physicians to treat health conditions individually versus looking at them in their entirety. For this reason, seeing specialists to treat disease categories can offer better results for patients and their caregivers.
As the number of healthcare providers increases from primary care to specialists and from essential services like pharmacy to home care workers or physical therapists, support and advice from individual consultants or navigators becomes more valuable.
Caregivers or patients who feel unsure about decision-making have difficulty evaluating options and making choices when navigating care options. Those with low organizational skills have more difficulty navigating and receiving care. (2)
Caregivers can create a detailed medical care plan to minimize risks and support navigating care for aging parents. Pamela’s online program, Caring for Aging Parents, offers a care plan template and additional information on caring for loved ones.

Working Across Fragmented Health Providers

When multiple conditions exist, seeing multiple physicians necessitates a higher level of organization and coordination. Documentation and organizational systems, such as notebooks or online files, can simplify healthcare recordkeeping.
Elderly parent online family caregiver support consultations help individuals gain an understanding of how to organize and track information related to health conditions, treatment decisions, and medical appointments.
The ability to share these files between the patient and the caregiver and to provide records to physicians outside or shared electronic health record systems (EHRS) is beneficial for self-advocacy and care coordination. It is common for records to become separated from a patient’s file.
When caregivers and patients ensure that all physicians have the necessary records, the likelihood of medical errors or misdiagnoses is reduced.

Familiarity with Technology and Access to the Internet Eases Care Coordination for Elderly Parents

To organize a loved one’s healthcare records and ongoing care, familiarity with technology and access to the Internet is required. Some older adults have the skills to manage this independently, while others seek the support of family members.
According to Pew Research, the number of tech users 65 and older has grown in the past decade from 2012 to 2021. Sixty-four percent of persons 65 and older have broadband internet connections. Tablet and smartphone ownership is also increasing. (3)
While having access to the internet and a computer is increasing, the ability of adults over age 65 to access healthcare portals to schedule appointments, obtain medical records, review lab reports, and attend virtual appointments can still be challenging.
Adult child caregivers typically support aging parents who lack technology skills in file sharing, access to online portals, and attending virtual medical appointments. This type of assistance becomes more common when adult children live at a distance and provide support in navigating care for aging parents.
An elderly parent online family caregiver support consultation with Pamela D. Wilson provides resources for those seeking additional resources about Medicare, Medicaid, local or national support services, care management, and other information.

Researching Medical Conditions and Caregiver Support Options

Caregivers and patients increasingly seek health information or research medical conditions online. (5)
Searching the Internet for health information can be a practical step before attending a medical appointment to prepare and ask questions or to seek additional resources after physician visits. However, using articles citing research or studies or reviewing articles by sources with proven expertise offers more accurate information.
Even more interesting is the use of YouTube among those 65 and older. Usage increased from 38 to 49% between 2011 and 2021. (3) Social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, in addition to health websites, research articles, and podcasts, serve as other sources of healthcare information.
Internet searches also offer options for caregiver support and navigating care for aging parents through disease-specific organizations and individual providers.
Caregiving expert Pamela D. Wilson is a trusted source of information for older adults, family caregivers, and patients. She offers telephone and virtual eldercare consultations worldwide to help individuals evaluate decisions, learn advocacy skills, and create medical, legal, and financial care plans.

Caregivers and Patients Lack Trust in the Healthcare System

As caregiver and patient interactions with health systems and providers increase, intimidation or feeling uncomfortable about asking questions becomes more common. Healthcare providers often speak in complicated terms that are not easily understood.
This lack of trust or feeling intimidated negatively affects caregiver-patient-doctor relationships. How are these relationships affected when physicians do not listen to patients or their caregivers, make different decisions, or withhold information?

The Meaning and Complication of Self-Determination

The concept of self-determination often arises in healthcare ethics and legal discussions about capacity. While healthcare capacity differs from legal capacity, it is important to understand the concept.
Self-determination is the ability of a patient to receive information from a physician or other healthcare provider and to make a treatment decision based on having decision-making capacity. Persons with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other memory impairments may lack the ability to evaluate information and make decisions.
In the case of aging parents and loved ones, family caregivers often provide decision-making support. This support can be provided through physician discussions, with the patient’s permission or legal authority. Family caregivers can review the pros, cons, and consequences of treatment.

Understanding the Consequences of Treatment Decisions

Family caregivers or individual patients face a challenge in supporting self-determination because they may lack experience in knowing what questions to ask or how to evaluate information. Others feel intimidated by healthcare professionals or lack trust.
Let’s say an aging parent needs surgery. For caregivers, the non-emotional evaluation of comparing an aging parent’s current physical and mental function before surgery to their physical and mental ability to recover post-surgery is critical for decision-making.
While surgery may seem like an automatic option, for some older adults, the effects of the surgery may be debilitating and life-ending. Depending on the seriousness of the health condition, declining surgery and opting for palliative or hospice care may be the least intrusive and painful option.

Dealing With Conflict Between Medical and Legal Capacity

Caregivers advocating for loved ones may face additional challenges in defending their loved ones’ wishes, which may conflict with medical professionals’ advice. In these cases, strong advocacy and fact-based advocacy are necessary.
Related to medical capacity, the physician must determine whether the patient cognitively understands the consequences of the choice. Here is one example of a conflict between medical and legal capacity when helping elderly parents make decisions or acting as an agent to make medical decisions.
  • Concerning legal capacity, an individual deemed statutorily incompetent after a medical evaluation does not have the decision-making ability to agree to take medication or schedule treatment. Instead, this person’s legal advocate has decision-making power.
  • In a medical setting, the same statutorily incompetent person who agrees when asked by a physician about changing medication may be deemed to have a patient’s right to choose.
The way consequences are presented in healthcare settings can influence decisions. Instead of a rational explanation, information may be presented to evoke an emotional response of fear to encourage patients to agree with a health provider’s recommendation.
If caregivers and patients are unfamiliar with the right questions to ask, they may make unintentionally harmful decisions to accept medication recommendations or treatment.
For example, decisions about medications can be critical for the elderly. Many medications suitable for younger adults have serious side effects that cause delirium in older adults. 

Identifying the Financial Interests of Healthcare Organizations

Separately, there can be the appearance of financial motivation if the physician accepts agreement from a legally incapacitated person for surgery that is unlikely to change a documented health outcome.
One example of this is an individual diagnosed with heart failure who is diagnosed with dementia and who agrees to the placement of a pacemaker. In prior medical records from this patient’s cardiologist, the specialists confirmed that a pacemaker would not improve the patient’s overall condition, so a pacemaker was not recommended.
In this case, the hospital surgeon placed the pacemaker against the medical power of attorney’s direction after receiving a copy of the cardiologist’s treatment plan, confirming a pacemaker would not extend the patient’s life.
The result? The surgery delivered revenue to the hospital. The he patient died two weeks later.
For individuals facing decisions about medical care, treatment, or surgery, elderly parent online family caregiver support consultations with Pamela D. Wilson support the ability to review options and consider the consequences of making these choices.

Physician Timing of Support for Patient-Determination

Taking this thought one step further, Lindberg et al. question timing and respect for patient self-determination. (6) Research confirms that physicians intentionally delay providing information to patients for various reasons.
For example, an oncologist may delay patient appointments to discuss cancer treatment options for a minimum of four weeks after a surgery diagnosis. The reason? The belief is that the patient will be too mentally distracted to make an informed choice.
Physicians believe that information delays are purposeful in improving the patient’s review of the pros and cons of treatment. However, more often, the patient and family’s perspective is that delaying the appointment will result in being consumed by worry about the unknown and the treatment options.
There is a marked difference between patients who are self-determined and want to manage their health versus patients who may not want bad news and are not proactive. In some cases, physicians may delay information to determine the effects of sequential treatments on potential outcomes.

The Potential Impact of Physician Control of Information

Bias exists in providing healthcare when physicians assume that all patients with a specific diagnosis of a certain age, sex, or race are similar. This bias can result in physician-patient distrust by vulnerable caregivers and patients when full disclosure of information is not provided.
So, questions remain:
  • Should physicians have the right to determine under what conditions the delay of information to a patient can have a positive or negative effect?
  • Should information be withheld from patients as soon as it becomes available? One specific example is lab work, MRI, or CT scan reports made available immediately to patients through healthcare portals before a discussion with a physician.
  • Is withholding information okay by physicians if this action allows time for review and decision-making, given that the time frame for making the decision will not affect the outcome?

The Benefits of Elderly Parent Online Caregiver Support

As caregiving responsibilities grow and the impact of decisions becomes more critical, spouses and family caregivers can benefit from elderly online caregiver support consultations. Caregivers want to do the best they can, but many lack extensive experience managing available support and medical services.

To learn more or to schedule a 1:1 elderly parent online caregiver support consultation, complete Pamela D Wilson’s contact form.

1 Ansah JP and Chiu C-T (2023) Projecting the chronic disease burden among the adult population in the United States using a multi-state population model. Front. Public Health 10:1082183. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1082183
2 Vos J, Gerling K, Linehan C, Siriwardena AN, Windle K. Understanding care navigation by older adults with multimorbidity: missed-methods study using social network and framework analyses. JRIR Aging 2018: 1(2): e 11054 doi: 10.2196/11054 PMID
3 Faverio, Michelle (2022) Share of those 65 and older who are past tech users has grown in the past decade. Pew Research Center. January 13, 2022. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/01/13/share-of-those-65-and-older-who-are-tech-users-has-grown-in-the-past-decade/
4 Rosseau J, Gibbs L, Garcia-Cabrera C, et al. A pioneering EMR-embedded digital health literacy tool reveals healthcare disparities for diverse older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2024:1-8. Doi:10.1111/jgs.18935.
5 Fox, Susannah, and Maeve Duggan. Health Online 2013. Pew Research, January 15, 2023. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2013/01/15/health-online-2013/
6 Lindberg J, Johansson M, Broström L. Temporising and respect for patient self-determination J Med Ethics 2019;45:161–167.
The post Care for Elderly Parent Online Family Caregiver Support appeared first on Pamela D Wilson | The Caring Generation.

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Pamela D. Wilson, MS, BS/BA, CG, CSA, is an international caregiver subject matter expert, advocate, speaker, and consultant. With more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, professional fiduciary, and care manager in the fields of caregiving, health, and aging, she delivers one-of-a-kind support for family caregivers, adults, and persons managing health conditions.

Pamela may be reached at +1 303-810-1816 or through her website.

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Name: Pamela Wilson
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Group: Pamela D. Wilson, Inc.
Dateline: Golden, CO United States
Direct Phone: 303-810-1816
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