Earlier this week we shared information on techniques that can be used to ease the strain of caring for an elder loved one. We discussed the importance of enlisting close friends and family members as well as taking time for yourself. In other instances, different options may be considered, for example:
1. Seek professional assistance with things that are beyond your abilities
Not all things require a loving caregiver. If you are concerned about your parent’s ability to pay for medical care, a nursing home, or other such financial matters, do not hesitate to contact an elder law attorney for advice regarding estate planning, end of life decisions or selecting appropriate care. There are also private and public options for obtaining assistance with daily care giving, depending on your eligibility and ability to pay. Care giving can be a full time job, so treat it as such. Seek out qualified professionals for advice and suggestions.
2. Dedicate time for your children
One of the most difficult scenarios is serving as a caregiver while simultaneously raising children. Research shows that the majority of adult children providing care to older adults are women. The average age is about 46. This means they may also have children of their own living with them. These multi-generational living environments can be very beneficial; however, they come with the added stress of maintaining a functional household, watching out for teenagers and young adults, planning for college expenses, and so forth. In addition to these existing stressors, the caregiver must also worry about her own parent or disabled family member.
No matter what, remember that while you love the person for whom you are caring, your children are still a priority. Do not forget to say you love them, ask about their day, and take a few minutes each day to be involved in their lives. If you are lucky, your children may even assist with care giving duties. This can be a unique experience for young adults and lead to a lifetime of respect and compassion for older adults. Just remember, you must take care of yourself to be of any use to others.