Caring for your aging parent

Posted on February 18, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Are the roles reversing in your family? It can be really difficult to become the caregiver for your aging mother or father, become the decision maker and step in to assist when you already have full-time commitments with a full-time job, a full-time family and your own health to consider. Statistics show that the majority of family caregivers are women, and they are likely to be married and working full-time. It’s hard to “parent your parents” with no training, often no support and interesting family dynamics. Whether your mom and dad are at home or a care facility, caregiving can still be quite a burden on you. Here are some resources to help you and your loved ones navigate this territory.

 

  • Set limits. Set boundaries. Figure out what you can contribute, both physically and financially and stick to it. Advocate for your own needs. It will often feel like there is more to be done. You must take care of yourself and concern yourself with your own needs as much as the needs of those who depend on you. Don’t give and give and give until you suffer burn-out.
  • Hire help. Figure out who you can bring on board to assist with some of the tasks you don’t have the time or energy for…..maybe hiring someone for yard maintenance if mom and dad are at home or hiring a part-time caregiver for mom and dad. Housekeeper? Grocery delivery? Decide what will work for you and your situation.
  • Involve your siblings. Share the responsibility as much as you can. If you are the primary caregiver for mom and dad, communicate with your siblings what’s going on. Ask the siblings to help with caregiving if they are able, or ask them to contribute financially as needed. Try to come to an agreement with your siblings, and put it in writing.
  • Plan ahead. Have a conversation with mom, dad and the family regarding the long term plan. What are mom and dad’s wishes regarding staying home or moving into a retirement community? Discuss finances as it relates to paying for care, home modifications or to support a move to a retirement home. Is the estate plan comprehensive and up-to-date? Where are mom and dad’s vital documents located and do the appropriate people have copies? Always better to plan ahead and have a game-plan so everyone is on the same page.
  • Find support. Take care of yourself. You sacrifice a great deal for your family, and taking care of yourself is vital. Eat well, exercise and get enough rest so you can be there and be present for your loved ones. Find an ally, a friend, a neighbor, perhaps someone that is experiencing a similar situation. Consider a support group. It helps to talk about what you are going through during this difficult time.

 

For more information on Crescent Geriatric Care Management, Inc. visit www.crescentgcm.com, www.facebook.com/CRESCENTgcm, www.twitter.com/CRESCENTgcm or www.linkedin.com/in/CRESCENTgcm.

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