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"Caregiving TV supports family conversations about care for elderly parents and spouses. Wilson shares authentic stories and provides practical tips.
Hands-on care and medical tasks previously performed by hospital and nursing staff are the responsibility of caregivers. Family caregivers voice concerns of being unprepared for this role.”— Pamela D. Wilson
Family Members Don’t Realize They Are Caregivers
Because caregiving is mostly a family responsibility, sons, daughters, spouses fail to realize they are in the role of a caregiver. Feelings of fear, anxiety, and frustration result from becoming an unexpected caregiver.
The need for care happens overnight. One day an adult child is working, going to school, or caring for a family. The next day, the child becomes a caregiver for an elderly parent. A change in health or the experience of an accident for an elderly parent necessitates ongoing care that averages twenty or more hours a week. Family members who don’t self-identify as caregivers try to manage all of the tasks themselves.
Support for caregivers is rarely discussed and is not well-publicized. Caregiving and the effects of aging are not popular subjects in a society that values youth, beauty, and vitality.
Workplaces are behind in recognizing the effect that caring for elderly parents has on employee productivity. Caregivers hesitate to mention being a family caregiver to a supervisor for fear of discrimination. The reality is that working caregivers will come in late, leave early, and take time off to care for elderly parents.
Caregivers Fear Making Mistakes
Being unprepared for the stages of caregiving is a common concern voiced by family caregivers, including spousal caregivers. Some caregivers are less likely to seek out formal caregiver support because of the belief that “family takes care of the family.” This desire to do it all can result in caregivers becoming emotionally and physically exhausted. High levels of exhaustion result in poor care for elderly parents.
By talking about caregiving frustrations in the videos on Caregiving TV, Wilson hopes that caregivers will realize that seeking help is a positive step. Caregivers who access knowledge and support are better able to care for elderly parents and spouses. Viewing caregiving advice as a positive step—instead of being seen as a weakness or an inability to manage care—is a path to confidence and helping elderly parents remain independent.
Mistrust of the Healthcare System
Many cultures are less likely to seek out formal caregiving information because of a lack of trust or difficulty communicating with the healthcare system.
According to Wilson,
"I understand and empathize with family caregivers who feel intimidated by healthcare providers who are rushed. Because of a lack of experience, caregivers don’t know what questions to ask. Intimidation and inexperience mean not getting the care they want for loved ones and greater mistrust of the healthcare system."
For over twenty years, Wilson was a direct care provider for the elderly and disabled, also supporting family caregivers. As a court-appointed guardian and power of attorney for clients, she managed healthcare and living situations in addition to overseeing financial aspects of care.
Losing both parents, a sister, and a brother more than twenty years ago places Wilson in a position to empathize with the situations family caregivers experience. Wilson was a daughter who didn’t self-identify as a caregiver. At the time her parents needed care, no one talked about caregiving. Today Wilson speaks and educates about the realities of being a caregiver.
Caregiving Videos Offer Practical Tips and Humor
Wilson believes that caregiving and humor go together. Her down to earth approach in the videos on Caregiving TV speaks directly to caregivers in the trenches of caring for elderly parents and managing disagreements with family members.
Being a caregiver is one of the most rewarding roles in life and one of the most frustrating. Family members disagree about care for elderly parents. Adult children disagree with parents about care for a sick mom or dad. Siblings show up to help or refuse to become involved in caring for parents.
Support for the Caregiver is Essential
Wilson shares stories of caregivers who waited too long to seek help, often waiting six months or a year beyond the time that help should have been accessed. Families arrived at her office for meetings saying, “It wasn’t that bad until now. Now it’s horrible.”
Caregivers who want to do it all must be open to finding a work-life caregiving balance and most importantly asking for help. Wilson reports that exhausted caregivers become apathetic and hopeless because being that primary caregiver can feel like a daily uphill battle.
Joining with other caregivers in groups and programs offers hope, camaraderie, and laughter by sharing experiences with caregivers in similar situations. Only another caregiver understands the ongoing daily demands of being a caregiver.
Families Aren't Perfect
Few families are perfect. Caregiving is an unexpected journey that benefits from becoming more informed about the health and care needs of elderly parents. Learning to navigate the healthcare system is necessary. Speaking up and becoming an advocate for elderly parents and spouses is essential to get the care that family members desire for loved ones.
No one dreams of being old and sick. Parents don’t want to burden their children. Adult children feel a responsibility to provide care.
The path forward is caregiver education and support. Caregivers must realize that being a caregiver takes a toll on health and well-being. Seeking help supports the health of the caregiver. By engaging in support and self-care activities, caregivers provide better care for elderly parents and spouses.
Caregiving TV on Roku
Caregiving TV on Roku offers caregiving tips and helps begin care conversations within the family. Too often, discussions about care don’t happen until after elderly parents need care. Being proactive supports caregiving discussions across all generations in the family.
Roku viewers can add Caregiving TV to their feed by searching for Caregiving TV or adding Private Roku Channel Code ZQMCZZP.