Caring For an Aging Parent: Part I

Every month, more than a quarter-million Americans turn 65. This means that, at some point, most of these retirees will need assistance. Whether it is from the government, from family and friends or from caregivers. People are living longer and they also want to remain in their own homes. For the family caregiver, which is usually the eldest daughter, this can become stressful because she not only has to ensure that her parent is taken care of, but she also has to ensure that her family is taken care. This means she could possibly be responsible for her mother, father, husband, children and herself. This doesn’t even include the upkeep of both households.

When the son or daughter becomes the caregiver new demands are placed on that individual. They are now given responsibilities that don’t necessarily line up with the demands that are placed on them at home and work. For instance, the aging parent has an expectation that the son or daughter will visit them on a daily basis at 6PM. When this cannot not be accomplished because the kids need to go to dance lessons or band practice, the aging parent may become upset. This can lead to arguments and hurt feelings. Unlike a friendship, the son or daughter cannot cut the parent off to alleviate the stress. They are left to recover from what can become a very emotional and almost draining confrontation. Caring for a parent is honorable but there are times when you need support from someone on the outside.

There are home care services throughout the country that specialize in senior care. They will go out of their way to ensure that you and your loved ones are given the support that is needed. Some home care services even offer respite and vacation care. They will step in when you are at the end of your rope and care for your loved ones while you regroup. There are also blogs and groups that you can join that will allow you to talk with other family caregivers that are in the same situation. Some states have programs that were specifically designed with the senior in mind that are free. Take advantage of what is available to caregivers, as well as, the aging parent. If the parent is unable to leave the home, there are volunteers and services that will come to the home and provide what is needed to allow the parent to age in place. Support is available if and when you need it.