Caregivers of Elder Parents at Crossroads
Caring for elderly parents by their adult children is an ever more frequent occurrence as our population ages. And with that frequent care comes frequent stress. I understand this from a personal perspective, having had the experience of moving into my parents’ home to live with them for nearly a year and a half as I helped them to sell their home and move into assisted living.
Even with the welcome help of assisted living, I’ve found that I have swapped one set of responsibilities for another — managing their finances, dealing with Social Security and adjunct insurance, ordering medications, becoming their legal representative, interfacing with staff at their assisted living home, and helping them to have those creature comforts that make life enjoyable.
It is not easy being a child of one’s parents and at the same time having to take on parental responsibilities to provide for their care. One can feel a wide range of emotions that fluctuates greatly — compassion, anger, frustration, satisfaction, love, guilt and resentment, to name a handful.
Difficult decisions are often required of family and care givers related to:
- Living arrangements
- Safety in the home
- Level of daily care required
- Dementia and memory loss
- Medical care
- Financial responsibility
If you are beginning to enter into this role of responsibility for your parent(s), or if you are a seasoned and perhaps weary care giver in need of processing your experience or considering how you may care for yourself so that you can continue to care for others, I welcome the opportunity to meet with you. For now, let me gently remind you that you can only care for others if you preserve your own self. To do that truly is the most loving choice. Choose self-care so that you may care in a way that permits your true self to be present.