Caregiver Myths: Mindsets when Called into Action

8 Common Mindsets of Caregivers when Crisis Strikes

Cindy (my wife and business partner) and I have been around caregivers and families dealing with health crises for many years. (I could tell you how long, but I don’t want to date us!) Not only have we worked with many caregivers, but we have both acted as caregivers for our mothers personally. Although the crises faced my differ, the responses are usually quite similar. Today, we want to talk about some of the responses, or Caregiver Myths, that we have observed as Loved Ones face crises.

Caught Offguard

It can happen suddenly. Mom or Dad have taken care of themselves for years. As a matter of fact, we never gave it a second thought. We’ve been busy with our own lives, our own families, our own jobs and businesses and have had little time to think about how Mom or Dad are really doing physically or cognitively.

Now all of a sudden it’s happened. Maybe Mom fell and broke her hip or her Alzheimer’s is suddenly worse. She needs help and you are “it”. Maybe you are it because you’re the local sibling, or at lease the one who lives closest. Maybe you are it because you’re the only one who will actually help. Or maybe you are it because you are the one that Mom chose to help her if she ever became incapacitated.

For whatever reason, you suddenly have much more to do then you can handle. Given the sudden state of overwhelm that’s been thrust upon you, it is understandable to buy into some of the caregiver myths that we have seen over the years. Since you really don’t have time to provide care or assistance, you really want to believe some of these myths. But in the end, they are what they are – just myths. You have probably heard some of these, but here are the top 8 caregiver myths that we’ve heard over the years.

8 Caregiver Myths

  1. It’ll all blow over in a few weeks – she’ll be all right.
  2. Mom says she’s all right. She either won’t accept or does it need any help.
  3. Oh, I’m just overreacting!
  4. Dad will take care of it.
  5. My siblings will take care of it.
  6. (Or flipside) I have to do everything on my own.
  7. I don’t have time.
  8. All of the information is out there on the internet somewhere.

Caregiver Myths Explained

It’ll all blow over in a few weeks – She’ll be okay!

You may really want to believe this since Mom has always been okay, and you really hope that she recovers and becomes “okay” again. You love Mom but really don’t have the time to provide personal care. However at the bottom of your gut, you may know that Mom is in fact not okay and that she needs additional help. You may just not know what to do or how to provide it.

Mom says she’s all right.
Either she won’t accept help or claims she doesn’t need any

Many times the push-back comes from Mom. Mom has been independent all of these years and wants to remain firmly in control of her life.  For that reason, she may insist that everything is fine when you and she knows that this is not the case. The question is, how do you help her when she doesn’t want help?

I’m just overreacting!

You may or may not be overreacting. Mom may, in fact, need help now. With a little help, she may be able to regain some degree of independence OR she may need increasing amounts of help for the rest of her life. The question is, how do you know?

Dad will take care of it

Maybe Mom is declining physically or cognitively and Dad is the primary caregiver. The only problem is that Dad’s health is not so great, so you’re worried that something may happen to Dad first. How do you get Dad to accept some help when he has flatly refused?

My siblings will take care of it

They may take care if it – at least for a while. But if you’re fortunate enough to have helpful siblings just know that things work much better for much longer where there is a team effort with everyone pulling together and each doing specific tasks. Even if you live remotely there are still many things that you can do to help.

I have to do everything on my own

In some cases this is true. We’ve seen instances where other family members don’t want to help, or are legitimately too busy or sick to provide any meaningful assistance. If this is the case then the family needs to craft a plan to be able to provide the appropriate level of care for the declining parent.

I don’t have time

Again, this may be true. However, there are often many options available that allow family members to provide necessary assistance. Many times family members don’t know what options are available and how all of it can be pieced together so as to provide adequate care for the declining parent. They love their parent but just don’t know how to help.

All of the information is out there on the “internet somewhere”

Yes, it is all out there somewhere in millions of fragmented pieces. The key is to be able to quickly pull together the information that is relevant and useful so as to empower you to provide the best quality care for you declining parent now.

It’s about Love AND Efficiency

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If you didn’t love your parent, you wouldn’t be reading this now. You see they are declining and that they need help. Maybe they don’t want your assistance now, or maybe you don’t know what to do to help. If and when you’re called into service, you need to be informed and empowered so you can quickly move into action! Change can happen in an instant. Therefore it’s important to get up to speed quickly so that when you need to act, you can act quickly rather than wasting precious time trying to figure out what to do.

A Professional Opinion of Caregiver Myths

Our friend Kathy, who is a professional caregiver, weighed in with her input on some of these Caregiver Myths.

Wow! So much information – There is so much to consider…

Kathy, Professional Caregiver

8 Caregiver Myths (refresher)

  1. It’ll all blow over in a few weeks – she’ll be all right.
  2. Mom says she’s all right. She either won’t accept or does it need any help.
  3. Oh, I’m just overreacting!
  4. Dad will take care of it.
  5. My siblings will take care of it.
  6. (Or flipside) I have to do everything on my own.
  7. I don’t have time.
  8. All of the information is out there on the internet somewhere.

It will all blow over, she’ll be all right

I hear this so often and more times than not, it is something serious. When I find trying to get them to bring everything out in the open for discussion, it can be difficult. This lets me know there is something that needs looked at closer. Being in denial for anything can be serious. Be open, upfront, honest but with respect and gentleness – this can be what is needed to change the whole situation.

Mom says she’s all right.
Either she won’t accept help or claims she doesn’t need any

As much as I respect a healthy determination to remain independent, we cannot look the other way even when the smallest of issues arise. One day of missed meds (or accidental doses) could be a hospital stay. A drive to the store without a driver’s license isn’t a good idea, Mom thinks that she can drive just fine. Don’t hesitate to bring up concerns, and take her to the Dr.

Oh, I’m just overreacting

I have been told I overreacted when I suggested Lifeline to a friend. She refused saying $30 a month is too much money to waste. She later fell and crawled to the phone for help. Please do not delay in putting safety precautions in place – this ensures the ability of your parents to stay home longer and not be controlled.

Dad or Siblings will take care of it

I truly admire the families that step up and help their loved ones – please do so and as often as possible. The reality is not everyone can or will jump into that role. Not everyone is cut out to provide care. By realizing this, family members are not neglecting their part at all. It is always best to find another caregiver who can come in and relieve the pressure and stresses that will always be there. Talk to the Doctor first. Our health department has a list of names to offer and our Senior Center does as well. Check around – there is help out there.

I have to do everything on my own

This will come with those who have lost their spouses or have no children and may have been independent for many years. Care can be offered without having to move from home. I offer friendship as well as working with them – not coming in as someone over them telling them what to do. Include others in the mix of regular visitors such as pastors, friends and remote family members. These loved ones often bloom knowing they are cared for.

I don’t have time

We are all so busy these days, but I would like to suggest to make time for Mom and to reevaluate priorities. It’s tough yes, but she is needing you now more than ever. You will never regret the time you have given up, plus setting a huge example for everyone around. You will be Blessed. Hang in there. It is a new year with new goals, friends, and family. Be healthy and safe.

Thanks Kathy for weighing in on these Caregiver Myths!

We are very grateful to Kathy for sharing her experience and wisdom today concerning Caregiver Myths! Hopefully you (the reader) can adopt some of these caregiver tips in your Loved One’s Elder Care Journey!

Don’t wait…

You don’t need to wait for our next blog to receive caregiver wisdom and assistance. We have created a newsletter especially for caregivers called Caregiver Connection. In it you will receive tips, tricks, professional advice and so much more. At the time of this writing, we are preparing to launch Stability Without Stress, our first LIVE caregiver training. We have talked about it on social media and other places, but members of Caregiver Connection heard about it first and received bonus content relating to the course. Don’t wait – SIGN UP TODAY!

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