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Things Caregivers Wish Their Parents Knew – The Caring Generation®
From:
Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Denver, CO
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

 

The Caring Generation® – Episode 97 August 4, 2021. On this caregiving program, caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson shares things adult children caregivers wish their parents knew. Find advice for elderly parents and adult children about initiating caregiving conversations that support positive family relationships when duty and responsibility to care for parents is a priority.

An interview with Major Drew Dix, a Medal of Honor recipient, highlights the generational values of family, community, and country that parallel the beliefs of caregivers. Dix also offers information about the Center for American Values.

To listen to the caregiving podcast, click on the round yellow play button below. To download the show so that you can listen anywhere and share it with family, friends, and groups, click on the button (the fourth black button from the left) below that looks like a down arrow. 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 and music apps. 

Things Caregivers Wish Their Parents Knew

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.

Watch More Videos About Caregiving and Aging on Pamela’s YouTube Channel

0:00:37:18 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, speaker, 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’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.

0:01:03:39 Pamela D Wilson: You’re in exactly the right place to share stories, learn about caregiving programs and resources to help you and your loved ones plan for what’s ahead. Invite your aging parents, spouses, family, and friends to listen to the show each week. If you have a question or an idea for a future show, share your idea with me by responding to my social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Linked In.

0:01:30:80 Pamela D Wilson: On this program, I will share things caregivers wish their parents knew and the opposite—things elderly parents wish their adult children knew. In this first segment, we will discuss caregiver responsibility, duty, and values. Plus how adult child-parent caregiving relationships are different from other relationships in our lives. In the second half of the program, we will talk about the work involved in caregiving and how being honest and realistic can result in less frustrating caregiving relationships.

0:02:08:38 Pamela D Wilson: The guest interview for this program follows the idea of values, duty, and integrity. You will meet Drew Dennis Dix, a Medal of Honor Recipient, US military veteran, and retired major in the United States Army. I interviewed him before the opening of The Center for American Values located in Pueblo, Colorado.

0:02:32:69 Pamela D Wilson: The vision statement of the Center is to be a “source for future generations to learn and explore how doing the right thing for family, community, and country will keep America Great.” Caregiving for the elderly is an issue that passes from generation to generation. Change for family caregivers will not happen until consumers make health education and well-being a priority.

0:03:01:59 Pamela D Wilson: The first in the list of elderly advice for things caregivers wish their parents knew is the extent of the commitment and duty of adult children to care for elderly parents. Duty relates to a sense of moral obligation or the belief that caring for parents or family members is the right thing to do. You will hear Major Dix relate duty to his military service for our country. Accepting responsibility means that the caregiver agrees to perform certain activities to care for a parent that requires effort, work, time management, and completing tasks.

0:03:43:96 Pamela D Wilson: Specific to caregiving relationships, accepting care responsibilities and work from a sense of duty or moral code involves trade-offs or sacrifices for the caregiver. In contrast, in balanced and voluntary relationships—like friendships or marriages—reciprocity, the idea of give and take, a sense of equal participation usually exists. For example, because I choose to be in this voluntary relationship with you, I will be flexible and take on more responsibilities or tasks because I know you will do the same when I need your support.

0:04:26:30 Pamela D Wilson: Things caregivers wish their parents knew includes an understanding that the sense of duty and responsibility to act is their intention but cannot be promised because future care needs related to health cannot be predicted. Caregivers who make promises to care for elderly parents in a specific context—like never putting a parent in a nursing home—often find themselves in unsustainable situations.

0:04:55:49 Pamela D Wilson:  Family caregiving relationships result in caregiver stress and burnout because caregivers have little or no idea what they’re getting themselves into when they agree to care for elderly parents. To understand why being a caregiver is so stressful, let’s look at what happens when the involuntary or family child-parent relationship shifts from the position of being a son or daughter to focus primarily on duty, work, and responsibility. Casual relationships rely on collaboration, compromise, communication, and social skills to arrive at positive interactions.

0:05:39:82 Pamela D Wilson: These relationships can grow stronger over time IF the relationships are satisfactory and mutually beneficial. When children become caregivers and task workers for elderly parents, the focus of the relationship changes to work. Things caregivers wish their parents knew is that being a caregiver is work. The adult child caregiver who is the primary caregiver wishes that an elderly parent would ask their other children—the caregiver’s brothers and sisters—for support instead of placing the burden of asking for help on the primary son or daughter caregiver.

0:06:20:41 Pamela D Wilson: Siblings often view the primary caregiver unfairly as the single one or the one without children. Siblings assume and are relieved when their brother or sister commits time to caring for an elderly parent. As a parent, my elderly advice is to ask all of your children for support or help in ways that they can contribute or participate. More in the list of things caregivers wish their parents knew—is a desire for participation plus appreciation from elderly parents.

0:07:07:59 Pamela D Wilson: Adult children caregivers become frustrated with obligatory parental relationships in part because they fail to initiate discussions about balancing expectations. What will the caregiver do, and what are elderly parents expected to do? In many families, culture dictates that family duty translates to accepting responsibility for caring for aging parents. As a result, caregivers experience ongoing emotional distress that they are afraid to mention to parents—whether they are currently living in the parental home or they moved out of the home years ago.

0:07:50:40 Pamela D Wilson: When children grow up and move out of the parental home, changes occur in habits, beliefs, lifestyles, and values. New-found values may conflict with the expectations of elderly parents about the care expected from adult children. This is another reason why siblings may not help with the care of elderly parents. Another topic in the list of things caregivers wish their parents knew is that care responsibilities are associated to a greater degree with costs than rewards

0:08:25:85 Pamela D Wilson: In equal or satisfying relationships, the costs and rewards are balanced. In caregiving relationships, the emotional, physical, financial, and relational costs for adult children frequently outweigh the rewards when the caregiver accepts sole responsibility for care. Eventually, the caregiving relationship becomes unbalanced and dissatisfying. In addition, the health and well-being of the caregiver suffer.

0:08:57:86 Pamela D Wilson: However, on the positive side, many caregivers cite feeling good about caring for elderly parents or a spouse and cite closer relationships as some of the benefits. Caregivers citing positive experiences are usually those in less care-intensive relationships with elderly parents. On the other hand, when caregiving turns into constant and relentless work, adult children experience high costs or investment gaps—for example, giving up or delaying a career, income, and personal independence to become a live-in caregiver for a parent.

0:09:37:01 Pamela D Wilson: Adult children make these life-affecting choices without considering the short or long-term effects of the decision. Children do not initiate discussions with parents, and as a result, become resentful about trade-offs and compromises. Things caregivers wish their parents knew is the importance of asking if they will be the caregiver and to discuss the consequences that may be difficult to predict when help is first needed.

0:10:08:17 Pamela D Wilson: This is when talking to an eldercare consultant, like myself, is beneficial for the family. For adult children caregivers and parents, investigating the outcomes specific to health diagnosis is essential. All adults can fall into the trap of believing that a health condition is minor. Physicians prescribe medicines to make the condition better and send patients on their way. Rather than investigating the source of the disease or the potential long-term consequences,

0:10:40:94 Pamela D Wilson:  most adults and their caregivers ignore health conditions until they advance, then significantly affects the daily life of the diagnosed individual and requires more time and effort from the caregiver. I will share more insights about things caregivers wish their parents knew in the second half of the program. Next is a discussion with Major Drew Dix about duty, responsibility, and caring for people who need help.

0:11:10:03 Pamela D Wilson:  The Caring Generation is not limited by time zone or location—caregivers worldwide can listen any time of day. The show and the transcript that you can read to find links to research and caregiver support tips mentioned during the program are on my website at pameladwilson.com. Click on the Media Tab and then The Caring Generation to find the show transcript. This is Pamela Wilson, caregiving expert, author, and speaker on The Caring Generation. Stay with me; I’ll be right back.

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things caregivers wish their parents knew

0:12:12:99 Pamela D Wilson:  This is Pamela D Wilson, caregiving expert and eldercare consultant on The Caring Generation. We’re back with an interview that follows the theme of this program, duty, and responsibility to care for others. There are living heroes and role models among us. Men who serve day to day in our military in the United States and overseas. You’re about to meet Major Drew Dix, who grew up in Pueblo, Colorado.

0:12:39:70 Pamela D Wilson: He was the first enlisted man in special forces to receive the Medal of Honor. If you don’t know the significance of this award, let me share a little background. The medal of honor was created during the American Civil War. It’s the highest military decoration presented by the United States Government to a member of our Armed Forces. For those of you who are John Wayne fans, we’re going to take a trip back to 1968.

0:13:03:00 Pamela D Wilson: There was a movie called the Green Berets, and you may remember this song. [music begins] Silver wings upon their chest. These are men, America’s best. One hundred men will test today. But only three win the Green Beret. [music ends]  A Medal of Honor recipient must have risked their own life above and beyond the call of duty and action against an enemy of the United States.

0:13:40:15 Pamela D Wilson: Due to the nature of this medal it’s usually presented after the person being honored has died. Today we have the honor of hearing from a Medal of Honor winner who is still among us. Major Dix, are you with us?

0:13:51:83 Drew Dix: Pam, I’m with you, and thanks for playing that song. It brought back some memories.

0:13:57:39 Pamela D Wilson: You are welcome. My dad used to sing it. My dad, who is no longer with us, had a great voice, and he used to sing that song, and I remembered it, and I actually found it.

0:14:05:64 Major Drew Dix: Oh great.

0:14:06:64 Pamela D Wilson: You are welcome. You joined the Army at the age of seventeen. What events in your youth, led you to choose that as a career?

0:14:13:84 Major Drew Dix:  Well, you know I had great respect for my father, and my father was a, was in during World War II. And I don’t know, I just, the people that he knew and I was associated with I just as a young boy I had great respect for them and I just wanted to follow in their footsteps.

0:14:35:56 Pamela D Wilson: And in your bio, at 21, you joined the Special Forces, and I did a little bit of research on what Special Forces do, and they have six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism. This is the stuff that we read about in espionage novels, and we see it on the big screen. How do you train for something so extreme as this?

0:15:02:76 Major Drew Dix: Well, you know to do all of those things. One thing is you just train, and you train, and you train, and you receive training from those that have done it.  And you have to be committed to being, um, just wanting to be something different. Wanting to be special. And the selection process kind of weeds those out that really don’t want to do it because it’s pretty grueling. Not to say that other people can’t do other things. It’s just that it takes a certain person to do that kind of work. To be isolated. To work on your own. And in my day when you had to be twenty-one, I know that doesn’t seem very old now, but you could join the Army at seventeen. They wanted you to have a little more maturity. And so that was the age requirement in those days.

0:15:55:80 Pamela D Wilson: The Special Forces are really more than just routine military duty like you said. How do you prepare mentally and physically for what you’re likely to face?

0:16:05:29 Major Drew Dix: Well, you know as a young person, we get, and you’re in the military, and you think well you’re going to go in and you wear your uniform and you maybe face the enemy and attack. But there’s a little more to it. We’re a little more worldly. We know about what—how political interventions are overseas. What it takes. What motivations are for people? And one thing that wasn’t mentioned and that’s the role of unconventional warfare were forced multipliers. In other words, we go into another country and help them do what they need to do. So, in a nutshell, we just kind of reduce the number of American soldiers that may be needed to do the job. So we help other countries do what they need to do.

0:16:58:61 Pamela D Wilson: And I want to read kind of, just the summary of how you won this medal of honor. It says Staff Sergent Dix’s personal heroic actions resulted in fourteen Viet Cong killed in action, possibly twenty-five or more. The capture of twenty prisoners and fifteen weapons and the rescue of fourteen United States and free world civilians. I’m sure that this doesn’t even compare to what really happened and you wrote a book called The Rescue of River City. When this happened, why risk your death to save all of these other people’s lives?

0:17:34:98 Major Drew Dix: Well, I guess that you have to put yourself in the situation, and I don’t know that I can think back on it all that clearly. But at the time, things were very bad. There were civilians that needed help and didn’t have the training to survive it or even to get out of it. And from the training that we had and the training I had, I just felt that I had the confidence to go in and do it and by golly they needed help and that’s what we do in America. We do what’s right for our fellow citizens.

0:18:13:57 Pamela D Wilson: When that event happened in the midst of all that chaos, how did you focus on, you know, what you had to do to survive? What you had to do to save these people? What was that like?

0:18:23:40 Major Drew Dix: {chuckle] Well over fifty-some hours and we were very much outnumbered. There was, I started off with just a few and then ended up with as many as twenty. But with over 6-700 VC in this small town. Someone asked me how we did it, and I just said, “well, we had more to shoot at than they did.”

0:18:47:51 Pamela D Wilson: Hmmm

0:18:48:51 Major Drew Dix: But you know. You know, some days you have some good luck and some days you have bad luck. And in that day I had a lot of good luck, and the enemy maybe not so good luck that day. And it just turned out and I’m really proud to have been able to have done that and over the years. And even as recently as just like last year, I receive a call in the middle of the night from one of those civilians that I didn’t’ even know their names. Knew some of them, but I didn’t know all of them, and they said thank you for letting me have another chance at life.

0:19:24:55 Pamela D Wilson: Oh.

0:19:26:06 Major Drew Dix: And then I got a call from a daughter of one of the guys that I was able to get out, and she just said, “well thank you, and here’s my father. ” And I sensed he wasn’t well. But that was in the middle of the night, and it just kind of makes you feel good. And that’s what you do in life is do the best you can for people. And they’re going to do it for you if that’s what you think, and that’s what makes this country so great. And we thank you for what you’re doing for the veterans that come home.

0:19:58:66 Pamela D Wilson: How did living through an event like the, and if I’m pronouncing it wrong correct me, but the TeT Chinese New Offensive.

0:20:07:29 Major Drew Dix: TeT Chinese New Offensive (of 1968), that’s right.

0:20:08:30 Pamela D Wilson: How did that change your life?

0:22:08:91 Major Drew Dix: Oh, gosh, you know. Me, like most veterans that have been in combat or other people that have experienced something very real and powerful. You can’t explain what it’s like unless someone has possibly seen the same thing. Um, so it does affect your life. The good fortune that I look back on is having received the Medal of Honor and receiving it as opposed to winning it. Receiving it gave me the opportunity to be a spokesperson. Spokesman for other veterans that don’t have the chance to say thank you or express how they feel.

0:20:54:19 Major Drew Dix: So it has changed my life. It gives me an opportunity, just like today, talking with you and others. I’m able to explain what I think about, and others just don’t have that opportunity. So I never go by without saying that’s what I am is a spokesman for others. In truth, there are probably others that have done more than I did. It’s just that someone saw what I did. That’s the nature of the Medal of Honor. You have to live witnesses, and we know that some people have performed where there are no witnesses.

0:21:32:01 Pamela D Wilson: After leaving the Army, you served as Alaska’s Director for Homeland Security and Deputy Commissioner of the Military Department of Veteran Affairs. What do you think the United States can do to better protect ourselves from all these increasing terrorist attacks and all of the stuff in the news.

0:21:49:49 Major Drew Dix: You know, that’s a tough question. It could take an easy answer, but I think first, we have to we have to realize in this country whether we’re going to protect our borders. It’s a sensitive subject. But I think if we conduct more of an information campaign and that’s not necessarily propaganda. That’s the wrong term. Just let people know that when we’re talking about the borders to the south, we’re really necessarily trying to discourage immigration. What we’re trying to do is to keep the criminals out. The criminal faction of the Mexican and the drug smugglers and all that. Not necessarily Mexicans that are coming just across that border. We have to let people know that that’s our big problem. Especially along the border states.

0:22:49:33 Pamela D Wilson: And you mention that you kind of serve as a spokesperson. You are working on something called the Center for American Values. Can you talk about that?

0:22:56:52 Major Drew Dix: I sure can. We’re very proud of it, and we’re proud that it started in Colorado. It’s starting in Pueblo, Colorado, my hometown. We’ve got some very good backing from the family of Rudy Padula, Brad Padula, and the family. They’ve been very generous in getting it started, and we recognize that values when you talk about it. It’s not a laundry list of values that everybody ought to live by. It’s very simple. It’s do what’s right, work hard, and the elements are family, community, and when you have that, it benefits the country. But we’re recognizing all walks of life, whether they were a fireman, a schoolteacher, a policeman. Just in business, doing good things for people and you understand what that means in what you do.

0:23:54:19 Up next, more on why does caring for elderly parents takes a lot of effort and emotional work.  If you are looking for help with decision-making about care for elderly parents or making a care plan for yourself, I can help. Visit my website PamelaDWilson.com to schedule an eldercare consultation. Click on How I Help, then Family Caregivers, and Eldercare Consultation. This is Pamela D Wilson on The Caring Generation. Stay with me. I’ll be right back.

Care of elderly parents

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0:24:56:62 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson, caregiving expert, eldercare consultant, and speaker on The Caring Generation.  Helpful information for caregivers and aging adults is in my book: The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes, available on my website www.PamelaDWilson.com where you can also check out my caregiver course online, Taking Care of Elderly Parents: Stay at Home and Beyond,

0:25:20:68 Pamela D Wilson: with 30 hours of webinars and other information featuring practical steps for how to take care of elderly parents and make a plan for aging and health. It’s never too early to make a plan to live the best life possible today and in your later years.

0:25:38:03 Pamela D Wilson: Let’s return to insights for things caregivers wish their parents knew. Many adult children caregivers find it difficult to talk about care issues or share their feelings because they don’t want to make parents feel bad. Feeling bad about sharing feelings with others is an issue that crosses family caregiving into many other areas of life. Few people intentionally desire to be rude or mean or hurt another person’s feelings.

0:26:09:96 Pamela D Wilson: When we have a relationship with a parent, a friend, or a spouse, we can become more sensitive to topics that are likely to cause disagreement or an emotional reaction. When we are aware of information that upsets a loved one, we may avoid talking about the subject unless absolutely necessary. The problem is that because the act of caring for another person involves many tasks that result in trade-offs or the caregiver giving up preferable activities—emotions build up.

0:26:45:17 Pamela D Wilson:. For example, a caregiver may commit to going to mom and dad’s house on Saturday instead of taking children to the zoo or spending time with friends. Elderly parents never ask what else their adult child might have done, and adult children would feel guilty saying, “I’m here, and I want you to know what I gave up to be here taking care of you.”

0:27:08:15 Pamela D Wilson: Things caregivers wish their parents knew is to say is, “Thank you, I know you are here helping me. There are probably other things you’d rather be doing.” WOW, wouldn’t it be amazing to hear an elderly parent say that instead of complaining about their health or all of the things that the caregiver might be doing wrong. Parents, if you’re listening, expressing appreciation has multiple benefits.

0:27:37:19 Pamela D Wilson:. Your caregiver feels appreciated. Plus, daily appreciation raises the mood and releases negative emotions. Let’s take the idea of being afraid to talk about sensitive subjects one step further so that we can relate this to setting boundaries which can be a difficult skill to learn—especially for adult children caregivers who feel that they have to do it all and can’t express their feelings. Let’s look at the example of a child giving up weekend time with their family to care for a parent.

0:28:12:62 Pamela D Wilson: Doing this every weekend for extended periods of time can result in caregiver anger and resentment. Instead of saying yes every week or every weekend, what if the caregiver said, “Mom or Dad, I will come over two Saturdays each month to help. On the other Saturdays, my brothers and sisters or someone else in the family have to help. We have to hire help or find friends or volunteers. I love you, but I can’t be the only one helping out.

0:28:48:98 Pamela D Wilson: I have a job, a marriage, children, friends, and a life.” Caregivers, if you could say this to an elderly parent, would you breathe a sigh of relief? The bigger question is how would mom or dad react? Mom or dad, if you are listening, this is one of those things caregivers wish their parents knew. That your children have a life of their own, and while they want to be helpful, it’s important to have conversations about realistic expectations so that your relationships don’t become stress-filled and full of resentment.

0:29:30:77 Pamela D Wilson: Caregivers, learn from this today. In my conversations with caregivers, many express concerns about being the only caregiver with brothers and sisters who could help but don’t. Many caregivers express hope that the government will create solutions. My opinion is that consumers and caregivers have to take responsibility for health and well-being and that health is one the most significant predictors of needing care and a caregiver in addition to simply getting older.

0:30:09:39 Pamela D Wilson Whether you realize it or not, the healthcare industry is an industry of special interests that prevent change to protect their own financial interests. I’ve talked about special interests on other podcasts and in articles on the caregiver blog on my website, including last week’s program. Why Does Caring for Elderly Parents Make Me Mean that has examples of hospital billing rates for surgeries versus the amount that Medicare and other insurance companies reimburse.

0:30:43:00 Pamela D Wilson The only way, in my opinion, for consumers and caregivers to win is to take health into your own hands and become as educated as possible about disease prevention, health, and well-being. It’s also important to ask about “conflicts of interest.” What financial stake do the politicians that you vote for have in drug companies, vaccine companies, and other healthcare organizations that they support? What financial stake does your doctor have in the x-ray center or the lab where he or she sends you?

0:31:22:23 Pamela D Wilson:  While businesses need to make money to operate and be profitable, you will be surprised—and not in a pleasant way—when you begin to look into conflicts of interest or start asking medical providers and politicians to disclose any conflicts of interest they may have. Back to more things caregivers wish their parents knew. Adult children caregivers need help. Whether it’s from siblings or paid caregivers. The stress levels of adult children rise when elderly parents refuse care from paid caregivers or are rude to caregivers coming into the home.

0:32:04:13 Pamela D Wilson: While it’s understandable that having strangers in the home may be scary or that parents would prefer to only have help from their children. These concerns don’t make it okay for parents to be rude or send paid caregivers home. Parents – your children are exhausted and need a break. Be nice to anyone who tries to help you, even if it is a paid caregiver or a paid companion. Let’s add to this, things caregivers wish their parents knew is that being difficult and refusing care makes

0:32:41:02 Pamela D Wilson: everything more challenging. Parents, if you refuse help, then find a way to take care of yourselves and let your children continue their lives. Adult children caregivers try to be helpful from a sense of duty and responsibility. They would rather be doing something else. Be kind, be nice and be appreciative. Don’t make life more challenging for your children who are trying to work and juggle their own lives.

0:33:11:68 Pamela D Wilson:. Parents, find ways to speak up and set your own boundaries about what you want help with and what you will do for yourself. The more you do for yourself, the less your children will have to do for you. More on this after the break. This is Pamela D Wilson, caregiving expert, caregiving speaker, and eldercare consultant with you on The Caring Generation. Please share this week’s podcast all of our shows with your family, friends, and colleagues.

0:33:41:38 Pamela D Wilson: You can find the Caring Generation on all of your favorite podcast and music apps, including Apple, Google, I Heart Radio, JioSaavn, Spreaker, Amazon Music, Breaker, Deezer, Listen Notes, Pandora, Player FM, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Stitcher, Spotify, Tune In, and Vurbl. This is Pamela D Wilson. Stay with me; I’ll be right back.

the caring generation podcasts

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0:34:28:99 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D Wilson, caregiving speaker, expert, and advocate on The Caring Generation program for caregivers and aging adults. Whether you are twenty or 100 years old, you’re in exactly the right place to learn about caregiver support programs to help you and your loved ones plan for what’s ahead. If you’re not sure how to talk to your children about caregiving issues or if you’ve tried to talk to your aging parents. Let me start the conversation for you. If you are looking for information and tips about caregiving, visit my Caring for Aging Parents blog on my website pameladwilson.com

0:35:06:88 Pamela D Wilson: Things caregivers wish their parents knew. I don’t understand why parents don’t listen to doctors or follow medical advice to take care of their health. In other words, why are elderly parents so stubborn? Things caregivers wish their parents knew is that adult children are helping, but they are time-pressured with work and other tasks in their lives.

0:35:31:41 Pamela D Wilson: This time pressure results in adult children appearing to take over parts of their parent’s lives. Adult children caregivers fail to realize that doing things faster and more efficiently to complete tasks makes parents more dependent on the caregiver. Parents, my advice is to pick and choose things that you need help with so that you retain more control over your lives and don’t feel like your children are telling you what to do or taking over projects that you can do but may take you hours.

0:36:05:83 Pamela D Wilson: Children, your parents are retired. They have all day to do a load of laundry. They can spend all day cleaning the house. If your parents aren’t socially active, they need to do something. They need a reason to get out of bed every day. Work around the house is physical exercise. Let parents do what they can still do. Things caregivers wish their parents knew. Calling me ten times a day at work is disruptive and may get me fired.

0:36:40:92 Pamela D Wilson: To my earlier point, elderly parents that are not socially active have all the time in the world to think about things they need from children. Elderly parents may be bored with their lives. My advice to parents. Find something to do—exercise, pick up an old hobby, do something helpful for the children who care for you. Make new friends. Join a social group. Take a class. Stop relying on your children to be your social network and your full-time caregivers.

0:37:15:24 Pamela D Wilson: Let’s now turn this around to things caregivers wish their parents knew. Elderly parents, especially those who cared for their parents, do not want to be a burden to their children. Unfortunately, many elderly parents didn’t learn from the experience of caregiving. Parents didn’t take care of their health or save money for retirement. This lack of learning is why caregiving continues to pass down from generation after generation after generation.

0:37:46:43 Pamela D Wilson: Somewhere along the way, adult children caregivers have to break the pattern and learn from the experience of caring for aging parents. If you are an exhausted caregiver, your parents didn’t learn from their parents to teach you differently or plan for their own care. What type of behaviors are you modeling for your children? Do you involve your children in the care of your parents so that they can see what it’s like to get old and sick?

0:38:18:71 Pamela D Wilson: Caregiving offers many life lessons. If you are the caregiver, what are you doing today so that you don’t end up in your parent’s situation? Things caregivers wish their parents knew and the opposite. Parents wish that their children would stop telling them to do things that even their children won’t do, like—exercise, eat better, or follow doctors’ recommendations. The health and well-being of the caregiver is often worse than the care receiver.

0:38:50:86 Pamela D Wilson: This takes us back to managing caregiver stress and burnout. Caregivers, as you ask your parents to take care of themselves, take care of yourself. This opens the door to self-care. Whether that means one day off from caregiving each week, or doing activities that don’t cost a thing like walking outside, listening to music, calling a friend, having a cup of coffee all to yourself. Think of self-care as time for you, not in caregiving activities.

0:39:27:07 Pamela D Wilson: When you suggest that a parent exercises or eats better—do the same thing for yourself. Stop feeling guilty for taking time for yourself. Make time for yourself before you become the person who needs care. Caregiving involves doing a lot of things you don’t like. Caregivers are already used to self-sacrifice. Turn the self-sacrifice into doing things for yourself in addition to aging parents.

0:39:56:22 Pamela D Wilson: Things caregivers wish their parents knew and the opposite. Elderly parents can place their children on a guilt trip by saying, “you never call enough, or you never have time for me.” Parents, what do you want from your children? Do you want time to visit, do you want adult children to listen to you complain or to care for you? Rather than criticizing your children, be specific in your requests and stop nagging.

0:40:27:62 Pamela D Wilson: The more you complain, the less time your children want to spend with you. Parents, if you have a list of needs, organize the list and ask your children when might be a good time for them to help rather than scheduling appointments and then telling your children what to do or calling them at work all day. Parents, remember you have all the time in the world. Your children work and work off a different schedule.

0:40:58:27 Pamela D Wilson: Parents, when you are with your children, be positive. Leave your complaints behind, or if you have a complaint, tell your children how you will solve the problem and ask them for feedback. Find ways to make the relationship go both ways instead of being the person who needs more and more help and gives nothing in return. Things caregivers wish their parents knew and common wisdom for adult children caregivers and their elderly parents who say, “it’s no good to get old.”

0:41:31:60 Pamela D Wilson: As the body ages, it’s natural for things to start to break down. A few aches and pains here. If one has not been attentive to health, then one health diagnosis leads to another. It’s never too early or too late to pay attention to your health. Rather than being the person to whom all of this happens, why not be the person who says, “Wow, I will learn from this by researching how I can help myself or improve my health, and if I’m the parent, I can share this wisdom with my children and my grandchildren.”

0:42:10:75 Pamela D Wilson: Why not be the elderly parent who learns from the experience and looks at the duty you have to help your children and grandchildren to avoid similar issues when they age. This is part of the path to break the generational duty of caregiving. Parents, just as you taught your children when they were young, look at aging as an opportunity to teach your adult children and grandchildren how to age well. More on this after the break.

0:42:42:63 Pamela D Wilson: Caregivers seek information about caregiving programs and support in meaningful ways. If you’re here listening—podcasts may be your go-to source for information. For others, videos, reading articles or blog posts, giving opinions by participating in caregiver surveys like the one on my website, reading a book, watching a webinar, taking an online caregiver course, or joining an online support group. No caregiving situation is the same. In whatever way you prefer to receive information—you’ll find a variety of options on my website at pameladwilson.com. This is Pamela D Wilson on the Caring Generation. Stay with me. I’ll be right back.

caregiver support and education

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0:43:52:41 Pamela D Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, speaker, and eldercare consultant on The Caring Generation. If you are an aging adult or a caregiver not sure what to do or how to plan for care, my website PamelaDWilson.com offers resources for caregivers. Check out my caregiving library, my Caring for Aging Parents blog, listen to all of The Caring Generation podcasts, read the show transcripts, watch Pamela D Wilson: videos, and check out caregiver courses online. Plus introduce your parents, siblings, friends, and family to my YouTube Channel, featuring hundreds of caregiver videos. There’s something for everyone at PamelaDWilson.com.

0:44:34:07 Pamela D Wilson: More things caregivers wish their parents knew. Save for retirement and healthcare needs. Stay healthy and engaged in life.  How to talk about care needs without making children feel guilty. How to accept that children have lives and don’t want to become a 24/7 caregiver for a parent. This means finding other support for care even if you have to ask all of your children or hire outside caregivers.

0:45:05:44 Pamela D Wilson: Things parents wish their children knew. Getting older is scary because of fears about health and becoming dependent on others. Self-sufficiency and independence are abilities that we all want. Both could be difficult if there was not enough planning to be financially independent to pay for housing, utilities, groceries, prescriptions, and other needs.

0:45:33:52 Pamela D Wilson: Taking a realistic look at life and making choices to give up activities or things that are not truly necessary can be freeing—if possible to wrap the mind around this concept. For older adults on limited budgets, finding different ways to socialize that don’t include going out to dinner or participating in activities with an associated cost can mean talking to friends about other options.

0:46:01:60 Pamela D Wilson: Caregivers face similar challenges when their worlds grow smaller because more time is spent caring for aging parents, and money may have to be shifted to help pay for care costs. Adult children who are parents may postpone taking children on vacation for years or may re-look at college planning for their children. Things caregivers wish parents knew is that talking about money is uncomfortable but essential.

0:46:32:34 Pamela D Wilson: Knowing how much money parents have saved or not saved for care is important. Some parents have money but don’t want to spend it on care. Instead, they want to preserve the funds for an inheritance. While the desire to leave money to children is noble, parents should look at the emotional and physical costs for their children who provide care and look at options to make life for everyone more manageable, even if this means moving into a care community.

0:47:06:25 Pamela D Wilson:. The experience of aging, health issues, and outliving money is a grave concern in the list of things caregivers wish parents knew to talk about earlier As much as adult children may want to help personally or financially, learning about Medicaid programs for the elderly as early as possible is critical so that children do not place themselves in financial distress. Parents can be stubborn about moving out of a home or from one care community that does not accept Medicaid to another that does.

0:47:43:68 Pamela D Wilson: Change is difficult for everyone, especially when feeling powerless about having limited choices. Being realistic to investigate options and talk about the best actions to take can help adult children caregivers and elderly parents feel empowered to create a plan. While there is so much uncertainty about health and what can happen, gaining certainty by making a plan—even if the plan has to change—offers a beginning to be more realistic about what adult children caregivers and elderly parents can do.

0:48:26:35 Pamela D Wilson: Setting more realistic expectations can relieve worry and sleepless nights for everyone involved. Things caregivers wish their parents knew is that adult children would like to help and give their parents everything possible. But due to life circumstances, this isn’t always possible or practical. Life, duty, and responsibility in many areas of life get in the way of doing what we want versus what we have to do.

0:48:59:73 Pamela D Wilson: All that everyone can do is be kind, patient, and respectful because depending on the day, parents, friends, colleagues, and ourselves may be struggling just to get by.  It’s up to us to find the bright spot in every 24 hour day so that we can keep going. To be realistic and hopeful about life. To avoid comparing ourselves to other people that have more or who appear to have an easier life—we never truly know the life experiences of others.

0:49:36:04 Pamela D Wilson: We are all blessed in different ways that make us different. But we all want to feel loved and happy. Keep hatred to yourself. Don’t hurt others for any reason. Never give up on love or hope. As many of my clients tell me, be helpful to others and keep going. This is Pamela D Wilson, caregiving expert, speaker, and eldercare consultant. If you’d like to learn more about the experiences and interests of other caregivers, follow me on social media.

0:50:11:41 Pamela D Wilson: Pamela D Wilson: My posts respond to caregivers who complete the caregiver survey on my website and communicate with me on social media. On Facebook, follow me at @pameladwilsoncaregivingexpert where you can join my online caregiver support group, The Caregiving Trap. Follow me on Twitter @caregivingspeak, Instagram at @wilsonpamelad, and Linked In pameladwilsoncaregiverexpert.

0:50:37:45 Pamela D Wilson:  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, well-being, health, and everything in between. Invite your family, friends, and colleagues at work to listen each week. 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.

0:51:08:10 Announcer: Tune in each week for The Caring Generation with host Pamela D Wilson. Come join the conversation and see how Pamela can provide solutions and peace of mind for everyone here on Pamela D Wilson’s The Caring Generation.

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adult children caregivers

©2021 Pamela D. Wilson All Rights Reserved

About Pamela Wilson

PAMELA D. WILSON, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA helps caregivers and aging adults solve caregiving problems and manage caregiving needs through online programs, live support groups, and an extensive caregiving library that includes articles, podcasts, videos, and webinars.

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, and speaker. More than 20 years of experience as a direct service provider in the roles of a court-appointed guardian, power of attorney, and care manager led to programs supporting family caregivers and aging adults who want to be proactive about health, well-being, and caregiving. Wilson provides online and on-site education and caregiver support for caregivers, consumer groups, and corporations worldwide. She may be reached at +1 303-810-1816 or through her website.

 

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