Home > NewsRelease > Caregiving in Times of Crises
Caregiving in Times of Crises
Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Denver, CO
Wednesday, December 13, 2023


Caregiving in Times of Crises

The Caring Generation® – Episode 182, December 13, 2022. Are you caregiving in times of crises? Have you become the emergency responder for a loved one in your family? Constantly responding to care needs can place caregivers in an ongoing state of crises management and emotional distress. Learn stories and tips to re-create a sense of calm and balance in your life. 

What to Do Today to Have a Good Tomorrow? (When One Crises After Another Keeps Happening)

Have a question?  Follow and connect with Pamela on her social media channels of Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or complete the caregiver survey on her website.
Click on the round yellow play button below to listen to the caregiving podcast. To download the show so you can listen anywhere and share it with family, friends, and groups, click on the button below (the fourth black button from the left) that looks like a down arrow. Then, click the heart to go to Pamela’s Spreaker podcast page to like and follow the show. You can also add the podcast app to your cellphone on Apple, Google, and other favorite podcast sites.
Welcome to this week’s episode of The Caring Generation podcast, episode 182, Caregiving in Times of Crises. This week, I’m changing the format of this podcast. Today and in the coming weeks, you’ll see a shift to what I’m calling “take 15.” We’re all busy. Attention spans are short. Deadlines are tight. Hope, inspiration, and motivation may be hard to find when busy. You may be pulled in many directions.
In this new format, I will answer caregivers’ questions, share a situation, and offer a practical solution you can implement. You can listen to the podcast while getting dressed in the morning, eating breakfast, taking a quick walk, commuting to work, or taking a short break while getting the answers you want.

Caregiving in Times of Crises

Today’s topic is how to get through caregiving in times of crises. Let’s look at a few scenarios to create context around this idea. If you are a caregiver, you may experience ongoing emergencies or urgent or time-sensitive events that have turned you into an emergency responder to the needs of others. You may have also accepted commitments that no longer work for you.
This can be an exhausting place to be mentally and physically. There is a saying —urgency is the enemy of the future.
When caregivers are in constant motion, making plans that you keep can be impossible. Some caregivers find themselves in situations imposed by others. For example:
  • Your significant other has a sibling who needs 24/7 care. Because you live in the same home, you are expected to give up your life, job, ability to make income, and your dreams to care for this sibling.
  • Maybe you are a spouse who has been in a marriage where you have done everything for a spouse who needs total care for more than 20 years. You are drained. Your health is starting to fail, but you feel guilty when you think of placing your spouse, aging parent, or another person in a care home.
  • Or maybe you have been a caregiver for your parents for 5 or 10 years and are in a similar situation of putting your needs last while the health of your parents continually worsens and requires more of your time and even your money.
Left unmanaged, ongoing crises situations will eventually translate to forced decisions with limited options. While managing problem-situations can be a challenge, being proactive maintains options and choices for the individual who needs care.

Competing Demands Result in an Unbalanced Life

What is it about caregiving in times of crises that pulls caregivers deeper and deeper into responsibilities that are not theirs? It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life with competing demands from family, the workplace, the person you care for, and the dreams you want to accomplish.
So, how can caregivers stop responding to one crises after another or constant requests for help from other people? With a shift in your thinking, you can stop caregiving in crises from becoming a permanent life situation or struggle.
So, let’s talk about three things you can do to end caregiving in crises.

1 Put your life on paper

List all of your commitments in the left column. A commitment is something that you say, “I have to do.”
For example, I have to care for my elderly parents, my spouse, or my sibling. Additionally, I have to work to support myself and care for my children. I have to cook dinner every night and do whatever else is on my list.
One of these commitments by itself may not be overwhelming. But when you continue to add commitments on top of commitment, these things you feel you have to do can be overwhelming, physically, or mentally draining.
So there comes a point where for you to have a good life, you will either choose to continue caregiving in times of crises, or you will choose to eliminate things you believe you. have to do that take away from your personal, physical, or mental good.
So, on this list, you have the things you “have to do,” and then, on the right, answer these questions:
  • Does doing this make me happy?
  • Am I doing this for myself, another person, or my family, and why?
  • Does the time I devote have an equal or greater outcome or result that contributes positively to my life?
Know that you will need to define the degree of what positivity means.

2 Where in your life are their diminishing returns?

As a caregiver, continuing to add work to your life eventually has a diminishing return, which is next on the list to stop caregiving in times of crises. If you don’t understand the concept of a diminishing return, think of this as balance.
You put effort in and get an equal amount of effort or result back. So, for example, in a caregiving situation, you help your aging parent exercise to retain their strength after an operation. To do this, you initiate an honest discussion about the practicalities and steps necessary for their level of participation and the support you can provide.  
  • A physical therapist comes to the home to show your mom or dad exercises to regain their strength, mobility, and balance.
  • You create a spreadsheet for them that they can check off daily and note the number of times they do the exercise.
  • Your parent appreciates the spreadsheet, completes it daily, is motivated, and is getting stronger.
What this means for you is that by your parent regaining their physical strength, you no longer have to do their laundry because they are strong enough to carry the laundry basket and walk up and down the stairs to the washer and dryer. They can take the sheets off their bed, wash them, and replace them.
So, your efforts had an equal effect on the outcome. Now, let’s look at the opposite in a similar situation.
Mom or dad came home from the hospital, and while a physical therapist came to the home, and you created the spreadsheet, even with huge amounts of encouragement and motivation, mom or dad refused to do the exercises.
So, instead of you doing less for them because they are regaining strength, they are becoming physically weaker and doing less.
Your parents expect you to do more and more. You were doing the laundry; now you’re making their bed.
They used to have the strength to stand in the kitchen and make their meals. Now, they expect you to make their meals, create the grocery list, go grocery shopping, and clean out their refrigerator.

Simple decisions may not be simple

It’s as if the operation had a negative and physical effect on your parent. Taking a step back, what is not often considered is the effect of an operation, whether it’s for an accident like a hip fracture or something else.
The decision of whether or not to have surgery may not be as simple as one thinks. For example, the better one’s physical condition and strength before the operation, the quicker one recovers.
However, suppose an aging parent is in poor physical condition and considers an operation. In that case, they may likely not be physically better or stronger after the operation unless they are physically and mentally motivated to commit to tough work to get physically better.
So the decision to have surgery may relate to the law of diminishing returns. One more treatment may not improve the quality of life but worsen it.

Consider the before and the after-effects

An operation, even though it may seem like a straightforward action to deal with a specific condition, may result in your parent’s health becoming worse and not better.
So, having conversations with doctors about recommended treatments and the potential results is important.
  • Is the after-effect of the surgery specific to recovery time and effort something your parent is prepared to deal with?
  • Will the benefits of surgery improve quality of life or extend life to a lower ability to participate in self-care and enjoy life?
  • What will the after-effect of the surgery be on you as the caregiver, specific to increasing responsibilities? Is this something you are willing and able to take on?
While thinking about the law of diminishing return and balance in your life can seem selfish, you control this for yourself just as the person you care for controls it for themselves.
So many times, family members feel they have to follow through with medical treatments, yet they don’t understand the longer-term effects. While doctors can make recommendations, it is really up to the individual and their caregivers to evaluate the long-term effects of the situation.

3 Confront the realities of each situation

Next, stopping caregiving in times of crises means confronting the complex realities of declining health or any situation in life that results in stress.
For example, while one never wants to give up hope, there is a point where a weak and aging body lacks the ability to recover. A recent example of this is an adult child who had been a caregiver for parents for more than 15 years who watched their health decline.
Multiple recent hospitalizations and the recommendation of the primary care physician to consider hospice was accepted as a good idea by the family. However, after agreeing to hospice, the family was having second thoughts about possibly making the wrong decision because they felt that the primary care physician had “disappeared” or did not want to continue to be involved.

Understanding aspects of the healthcare system is complicated

Rather than the primary care physician not wanting to be involved, this is more of a situation of the family not fully understanding the hospice benefit. Under the hospice benefit, the hospice’s medical director accepts responsibility for medical care and decisions.
Additionally, the hospice staff replace the staff at the primary care physician’s office. So, accepting hospice is like transitioning to a new doctor’s office or situation of care.
Hospice care offers many benefits for persons who do not want extensive measures like surgeries to prolong their life. There are also many benefits and support for family caregivers.
The challenge is that the family caregiver may feel that they have failed aging parents or the person who accepts hospice care because of accepting that health will not improve and changing to a different type of care.

Change Can Be Uncomfortable, Yet Positive

The experience of transitioning through change is similar in many areas of life. Let’s say you meet friends every Friday evening for happy hour.
You decide that instead of drinking, you want to focus on exercise. So, instead of meeting friends for happy hour, you join a gym and attend a Friday night exercise class or play racquetball at the club.
This change in routine can make your friends feel like they’re not important when the reality is that you want to feel better, so you choose to focus on your health. You can invite your friends to join you at the gym, but they may not.
To maintain these friendships, you may need to find other ways to spend time together. You may also make new friends at the gym who you spend time with in healthy activities outside of the gym.
Any type of change in life, even though positive, can pose challenges for maintaining relationships.
family caregiver support programsSo when you think of ending caregiving in times of crises, realize that there will be adjustments to your routines, maybe even the time you spend with people, but this doesn’t mean that the end result will not be positive.
So, if you want to stop being the emergency responder to the person you care for and other situations in your life.
Put your life on paper, look at the law of diminishing returns and balance in your life, and confront the hard realities of any situation in your life that is not contributing positively to your life.

Looking For Help Caring for Elderly Parents? Find the Information, Including Step-by-Step Processes, in Pamela’s Online Program

©2023 Pamela D. Wilson All Rights Reserved
The post Caregiving in Times of Crises appeared first on Pamela D Wilson | The Caring Generation.

   Check Out Podcast Replays of The Caring Generation® Radio Program for Caregivers and Aging Adults HERE

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, fiduciary, and care manager in the fields of caregiving, health, and aging, she delivers one-of-a-kind support for family caregivers and aging adults.

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


News Media Interview Contact
Name: Pamela Wilson
Title: Director
Group: Pamela D. Wilson, Inc.
Dateline: Golden, CO United States
Direct Phone: 303-810-1816
Cell Phone: 303-810-1816
Jump To Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert Jump To Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert
Contact Click to Contact