Caring for Your Aging Parents

Caring for an aging parent is a responsibility few people ever expect or want to envision.

It’s human nature to avoid thinking about our parents falling ill or growing weak. We don’t feel equipped to handle the welfare of those who raised us. Confusion, sadness, helplessness can jar us during this unsettling transition.

As baby boomers live longer, healthier lives, any assistance that is required typically becomes the children’s responsibility. For many families, the discussion about who will take care of Mom and Dad comes as the result of a crisis. Because of this, most families find themselves unprepared to handle their parents’ increased dependency.

Still, with the increase in number of older adults comes the increase of adult children caring for their parents. More than 20 million in the U.S. provide care for an aging parent or in-law. What’s more, families rather than institutions provide 80 percent of long-term care.

So how can adult children deal with the inevitable challenges that accompany this life transition?

Begin by openly discussing each person’s role and responsibilities within the family structure. While care-giving can be extremely stressful, sharing duties is a guaranteed way to ease the tension. Whatever distance family members live from one another, devise a care plan so everyone can be involved.

Addressing the sensitive topic of finances is also a must, as is compiling important personal and financial documents. Finally, take the time to evaluate how to build unity among siblings-in spite of the high possibility of tension.

With early planning, solid support and communication, caring for an aging parent can bring a renewed sense of love, compassion and tenderness into any family.

Warm Regards,
Keith