Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Book Review: The Caregiving Trap

Pamela Wilson

The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes

Parental Relationships, Sibling Rivalry, and Fear of Asking for Help 

 I was sent this book for review. I found the title terribly negative. Not all caregivers are 'trapped.' Author Pamela Wilson provides advice and examples of being trapped. As with the professionals, they often only get involved when things go terribly wrong. Her book begins by citing the example of Sarah, whose life choices leads to alienation from her family. As is usually the case a dysfunctional family doesn't get any more functional when dementia conflicts the saga. Wilson ended up being appointed advocate for the client.

It's not exactly a great holiday read, released this October, 2015. We do not hear about the families who do well, when adult parents are unable to cope and adult children step up, and life goes on smoothly. I've had client families where they are coping beautifully. We need to learn from their stories, as well as from those who fall into the trap.

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@Barrie Summy
 I understand that you need to provide examples of dysfunctional families, for we can learn from their lessons, but this presumes that the caregivers, primarily adult children, are always right and our aging parents should be controlled an manipulated. In many ways, by the time you recognize yourself in a narrative, it's too late to get out of the mire.

Wilson does touch on some excellent themes, one we are dealing with in my Canadian : Quality of life vs. treatment side effects. For this, I recommend to my clients

Another issue I have with this book is that one of the big problems with aging parents are those who refuse to give up their car keys. This is not addressed very well or concretely in the book. I know it would vary across states, but there are ways to help with this, e.g., Drivers with dementia - how do you take the car keys?

There are good exercises in the book, but if you haven't the discipline to tell your adult parents that enough is enough, I'm not sure you can put your foot down and get back control.

Pamela D. Wilson, MS, BS/BA, CG, CSA, Certified Senior Advisor specializes in working with family and professional caregivers to navigate healthcare and aging concerns. Wilson, an expert in the field of caregiving, has personally helped thousands of family and professional caregivers since 2000 in her career as an advocate, a care navigator, and an educator. Through her company, The Care Navigator, she is an advocate and service provider in the roles of guardian, power of attorney, care manager, and transition specialist. She was producer and host of The Caring Generation®, from 2009 to 2011, an educational radio program for caregivers on 630 KHOW-AM.  In addition to her work at the Care Navigator, Pamela gives back to the community by serving as chairperson of the Community Ethics Committee in Denver, Colorado.

Her new book, , is available through all major bookstores as well as on  You can find her on YouTube, FacebookTwitter, and Linked In


William Kendall said...

Some very difficult questions, Jennifer.

Nancy J said...

I agree with you Jennifer, the title is so negative. For many, it might be a trap,( for others, a purpose and huge fulfillment) and when I was struggling with caring, I was given some counselling sessions free . A total waste of time and government money, I felt I did more listening than the counsellor. The one thing I learnt,
the ABC, i.e. A.. activation of an event or happening, B, belief why it happened, C Consequence and how to deal with it. 2 sessions out of 6, I didn't go to the other 4!!! Hang in there, dear friend, book reviews as you do are so important, and maybe even the author will learn something. This is one aspect that needs real life experience to be able to write about it in any proper way at all. Almost a frost here this morning, 4 Celsius.

Barrie said...

I think you make a good point about learning from situations that work as well as from those that have gone awry. Learning from the positive is a theme in the book I reviewed this month (30 Lessons for Living). Thanks for reviewing, Jenn!

Red said...

Interesting comment on disfunctional families. We had them in school and they don't get any better.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Fair points; on the whole I find that such matters do not translate all that well to 'self help'... YAM xx

Sarah Laurence said...

I appreciate how your work experience informs this review. My parents and in laws are all near to or past 80 but luckily are all aging well.

troutbirder said...

I also favor a positive and helpful approach. Its hard though and having a mother who had Alzheimers and now a wife. Its not about being trapped its about knowing what to do....