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The Caregiving Epidemic: Why Caregivers and Aging Adults Don’t Ask for Help
Pamela D. Wilson -- Caregiving Expert, Advocate & Speaker Pamela D. Wilson -- Caregiving Expert, Advocate & Speaker
Golden , CO
Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Caregiving Epidemic
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CONTACT: Pamela D. Wilson 888-393-7754

Email:   Inquiry_For_Pamela@pameladwilson.com

Golden, Colorado – May 8, 2019

The Caregiving Epidemic: Why Caregivers and Aging Adults Don't Ask For Help

The population is aging. There are not enough geriatricians, doctors who specialize in medical care for the aged, to go around. Nursing shortages and shortages of good caregivers in hospitals and care communities exist.

Caregiving responsibilities fall on family caregivers. Family caregivers work, have their own families, and struggle when the responsibility of caring for aging parents or loved ones is added to the daily to-do list. Caregiving arises suddenly and without warning.

There is little pre-training for becoming a caregiver. Aging parents don't talk to adult children about needing care. An assumed acceptance of the role exists by aging parents. Rarely are there family conversations about the role of caregiving in family life.

Aging parents don't want to be a burden. They know how their lives were affected by caregiving for their parents and grandparents. Why is caregiving rarely discussed? Does perpetual hope exist that caregiving may never be needed?

It's Time to Take Off the Rose Colored Glasses

The United States is not a society that likes to talk about aging, illness, and death. Yet this is exactly what we should be talking about from a planning perspective of "what happens if" or "what happens when". Caregiving and needed care are unavoidable based on population statistics of persons age 65 and older.

Families disagreements result because of aging loved ones who need care. One family member usually bears the burden of responsibility while other family members look in from the outside. Probably thinking, "thank heavens I don't have to be the caregiver."

Being the sole caregiver can be a very lonely and isolating job when significant time and hands-on care is devoted to caregiving activities. The aging adult feels similar isolation because of multiple chronic health diagnosis, declining health, and loss of the ability to do everything they once did. 

Why Caregivers and Aging Adults Don't Ask for Help

No one wants to be seen as being incapable of fulfilling a family responsibility. Yet love only goes so far. Just because the family loves aging parents and others, does not mean that the family knows how to care for aging loved ones.

Caregivers worry about making mistakes yet are hesitant to seek help. What is wrong with this picture. So many caregivers say, "if only this would change the situation would be better"—not realizing that it is the caregiver who must change in approach and knowledge. And in some situations, the aging adult must become more motivated to perform positive actions related to self-care.

Caregiving takes work. And caregiving situations, as long as possible should be equal in participation levels between the caregiver and the aging adult. Frustration, anxiety, worry, and stress are common. 

Aging adults experience similar frustrations wanting change but not knowing how to make change happen. There are no easy answers or surprise solutions to make caregiving easier.

For caregiving situations to succeed and improve, hard work is needed. Knowledge, acquired by asking questions and learning new information can make caregiving easier. The problem is that caregivers don't know the questions to ask. They are in a world of oblivion until the next caregiving catastrophe strikes and they react instead of considering the actions that should really be taken to improve the situation. And when situations get worse caregivers and aging adults still are unaware of what can and should be done. 

The Questions Not Asked Cause the Most Significant Problems

Pamela D. Wilson, a 20+ year caregiving expert has witnessed the struggle of caregivers who hope situations will improve. She has worked with caregivers and aging adults who refuse to accept help. The basis for not asking questions and not asking for help is, in part, fear.

Caregivers and aging adults become stuck in comfortable patterns where the risk of standing still and doing nothing is more comfortable than taking a step to ask for help. The thought is, I'm already miserable how much worse can it get," rather than, "being proactive to avoid more unexpected situations is a better choice."

Not asking questions of the healthcare system is another problem. Medical professionals use "medical speak" which is their own internal language that caregivers and aging adults do not understand. Not wanting to appear stupid, caregivers and aging adults do not ask questions. As a result, there is little motivation to follow through with health care recommendations, tests, and taking prescription medication when there appears to be  "reason to do so."

Caregiving Stress Results in Poor Decision Making

Caregivers feel that they don't have time to add one more thing like caregiving support into their lives and busy scheduled. This means that many fail to join a caregiving support group or a take a caregiving course that can save time, frustration, and build confidence. Aging adults may be hesitant because they've been taken advantage of by programs making promises that are never delivered. 

The old saying, "if one fails to plan, one plans to fail" is even truer in caregiving. Reality shows that caregiving will not become easier. Aging will not become easier. That is, until those involved embrace a proactive mindset that helps avoid unexpected emergencies and that makes managing the day to day better.

Online courses and programs for caregivers and adult adults are available through Pamela D. Wilson's website. As a caregiving expert, Pamela knows what can and will happen in caregiving situations, unless the choice to be proactive occurs first.

For many caregivers and aging adults, by the time multiple catastrophes happen, choices may be lost and options very limited. Caregivers must change the mindset about caregiving from a "caregiving is a struggle and nothing can make it better,"  to "let's get help early to learn how to be proactive in managing caregiving situations so that caregiving is easier."

As a caregiver or aging adult, ask yourself this question. Where will you be in one week, one month, two months, six months, or a year if you keep doing the same thing? Will the situation be better or worse? No one else can make the choice to make caregiving situations better but you. What choice will you make? 


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Pamela D. Wilson, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA, a National Certified Guardian and Certified Senior Advisor, is a caregiving thought leader, elder care expert, advocate, and speaker. Pamela offers family caregivers programming and support to navigate the challenges of providing, navigating, and planning for care. She guides professionals practicing in estate planning, elder and probate law, and financial planning to create plans to address unexpected concerns identified in her past role as a professional fiduciary. Healthcare professionals are supported by Pamela’s expertise to increase responsiveness and sensitivity to the extensive range of care challenges faced by care recipients and caregivers. Contact Pamela HERE

Pamela D. Wilson, Inc.
Golden, CO