August 13, 2014

Adjusting to Caring for Your Parents

The majority of the adult children caregivers are women taking on yet another aspect of the traditional role of caring. One major difference is that the kind of resources and support you find when caring for children is harder to find when caring for your parents. Many adult children muddle through the day-to-day realities putting band aids on where they can and handling crises as they arise. We are living in a different time, with people living longer than ever before, yet with more health ailments. While going through these actions can seem daunting, the worst part is that many of our parents do not want our help nor do they want to be a bother to us. Their need for independence is vital, because never did they think they would be leaning on their children for support.

It becomes important to first come to terms with the idea of role reversal, as you become the parents to your parents. The psychological impact is not to be taken lightly. For many of us, we have never seen our parents so vulnerable. The pain of watching them deteriorate is real. In many instances, old wounds begin to re-emerge. Sibling rivalries flare up. But instead of seeing this as an extra burden, this can be a wonderful time to heal those wounds and deepen the relationship with your parents and siblings. Take time to speak with a friend or therapist if you need help coping with the feelings that arise. Join a support group for adult children caring for their parents. Have family meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page.

For more resources and tips on adjusting to caring for your parents, visit our caregiver support page.