Caring for Aging Parents During the Pandemic: Why Caregivers Are Exhausted

Why Caregivers Are Exhausted

Why Caregivers Are Exhausted

Caring for Aging Parents Blog

Caring for Aging Parents Blog

Pamela D Wilson Eldercare Consultant

Pamela Wilson Eldercare Consultant

Caregiver exhaustion is real. As the pandemic continues, worry by family caregivers about parents receiving care is magnified.

Just when it seemed the world was making progress, escalating COVID cases have caregivers increasingly fearful for the well-being and safety of aging parents and loved ones.”
— Pamela D Wilson

GOLDEN, CO, USA, August 16, 2021 / -- Early concerns about adult children caregivers transmitting the virus to elderly parents have decreased with the availability of the vaccine. Just as families felt safer gathering together, the current uptick of COVID cases has family caregivers and aging parents retreating to the safety of their homes.

Why Caregivers Say, “I’m So Tired of Being a Caregiver”

Back and forth progress against the pandemic has weary caregivers expressing concern that the time spent in caregiving activities will continue to expand. Family caregivers and aging adults who are vaccinated express concern about interactions with the healthcare system, including nursing homes where vaccinations are not mandatory.

While moving a parent into an assisted living community was once a viable option, many caregivers are waiting out the pandemic to make any changes. This delay while aging parents' health continues to decline results in more time devoted to caregiving. Caregivers are seeking support to manage the advancing stages of caregiving for parents.

Stress Levels for Caregivers That Were High Pre-Pandemic are Higher Now

Before the pandemic, family caregivers experienced everyday stress related to where parents would live and how they would receive and pay for care. Family relationships problems between parents and siblings that were ongoing have intensified as the result of COVID restrictions. Wilson's weekly podcast The Caring Generation and her Caring for Aging Parents Blog respond to caregiving concerns and questions voiced by caregiver worldwide.

An inability to make plans for the care of aging parents that may include attending day programs, hiring in-home caregivers, or moving a parent into a care community is on the back burner for many families. In addition, caregivers who continue to work from home because workplaces have not re-opened find themselves in limbo in many parts of their lives.

While work-at-home situations offer scheduling flexibility, caring for an aging parent and children 24/7 can be an emotional journey when caregivers do not receive time away from work. This added stress leads to increasing frustration and guilt for caregivers who feel overburdened and unable to discuss the situation for fear of upsetting parents and family members.

More Caregivers Are Experiencing a Loss of Control

The idea of feeling that life is and continues to be on hold is maddening. Accepting the role and responsibility of caregiving results in a lack of control due to unexpected situations arising with parents that have no projected end date unless a parent is on hospice care.

The ongoing uncertainties of the pandemic seem to keep moving the goal of being able to make decisions further ahead. Some caregivers feel there is little they can do to plan, or if plans are made, they will change due to outside circumstances. Elderly parents find themselves in a similar loss of control situation as their caregivers.

Responding and Adapting to Ongoing Change

The unexpected aspect of caring for aging parents is a consistent factor that the pandemic has intensified. Caregivers seeking information and education by attending online caregiver support groups, taking online caregiver courses, or scheduling telephone or online eldercare consultations may respond better and adapt to change.

The social isolation and self-imposed distancing related to COVID have made it easier for family members not involved in caring for aging parents to continue to refuse to offer in-person support for the primary caregiver. As a result, family caregivers must become more creative and open-minded about asking for help with alternate care solutions to receive support and create time away from overwhelming caregiving responsibilities.

Asking siblings who live far away to schedule regular video calls with aging parents or provide other support types like home-delivered meals or groceries can offer a break for the exhausted primary caregiver. In addition, involving children and grandchildren in the care of aging parents supports generational experience and knowledge about aging and caring for family elders. Finally, using technology, like video cameras, medication reminding machines, and other apps can help primary caregivers oversee the care of aging parents.

The Upside of the Pandemic

The devotion of selfless family caregivers has remained one of the main factors supporting the elderly in their desire to live at home. The role of caregivers and the impacts of chronic disease has received greater attention during the pandemic.

It remains critical for everyone living that learning from this once-in-a-lifetime event not be wasted. While it is likely that similar circumstances destroyed ancient civilizations of the past, individuals today can motivate cultural, societal, and governmental change worldwide.

Healthcare systems around the world must make a greater effort to support preventative health care and education. Working together for the common good to reduce fears about the unknown can result in positive changes for the future of healthcare and family caregiving. Caregivers and all adults can advocate for increased healthcare access, education, and preventative care so that living into old age becomes a positive journey instead of uncertainty and concern about receiving care.

Caregiver Support for Individuals, Corporations, and Groups

Wilson's mission to reach one million caregivers worldwide is fueled by her passion for educating and influencing groups, corporations, and consumers about caregiving, health, and aging. As a caregiving subject matter expert, she supports family caregivers and aging adults through her caregiving library, videos, The Caring Generation podcast, book The Caregiving Trap, online support groups, and 1:1 telephone or online eldercare consultations.

Contact Wilson for more information about caregiver support, resources, and education by emailing or calling +1 303-810-1816.

P Dombrowski-Wilson
Pamela D. Wilson, Inc.
+1 303-810-1816
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Tired of Being A Caregiver