Elder care is an issue many of us now face. Changing your lifestyle so you can care for your aging parents is difficult. People who have just become empty nesters and are enjoying the freedom have a hard time being thrown back into a parenting position. The difference is that now you are parenting a “child” who is elderly and probably 80 plus years of age.
Single adults don’t want to be tied down. They’ve been free all their lives to go and travel and do what they please. Now they’re becoming “parents” for the first time, and need a crash course on how to be a parent- to an 80 or 90-year old.
Adult children cast into the caregiver role express multiple concerns. They do not have a clear understanding what their elder really wants. They can’t get past the elder’s repeated denial that they need help. They have no idea what their loved one can afford. They can’t get Mom or Dad to discuss the situation. They have no idea whether any of the legal documents e.g. health care power of attorney, financial power of attorney, advanced medical directives have been signed, who has been designated or where they are. They feel guilty that they cannot do more but they have their own lives and may not live nearby. They are very frustrated and looking for help and advice.
If you currently care for an elderly loved one what is the biggest challenge you face? We’d like to hear from you.
Nancy Carey, RN