How Caring for Aging Parents Can Affect Your Life

How Caring for Aging Parents Can Affect Your Life? You and your parents can live together, or maybe you live almost a thousand miles apart; whatever be the situation, you may soon find yourself hugely responsible for their daily care and well-being.

How Caring for Aging Parents Can Affect Your Life article cover image

Recent studies have proved that caring for aging parents can have many effects on the quality of life, including financial and emotional impact.

How Caring for Aging Parents Can Affect Your Life

A time will come when you need to reflect on your role as a caregiver and how it affects your life, in general. 

How Caring for Aging Parents affects your children

Caring for aging parents when you are married with children can have both positive and negative results. There is no doubt that the children imbibe a deeper meaning of family’s importance by making sacrifices. They may also feel proud of making as much contribution as possible to bring about a positive difference. All these can lead to a growth in moral character. 

However, there are some harmful effects too which cannot be ignored at all. For example, the children will miss the nuances of childhood, and they might start missing their parents more as the latter would not be able to give them as much as before.

In the worst-case scenario, a child may feel abandoned. These are kids who are at a considerable risk of contracting anxiety disorders and depression. It becomes a standard feature when the person receiving the care lives in the same house with them. 

How Caring for Aging Parents affects your marriage

Caring for aging parents is a real tough challenge. A marriage may suffer heavily as caring for aging parents is very demanding, and one needs to give continued attention. However, good communication between the partners and proper planning can help you avoid a marriage crisis. 

When a couple decides to care for an aging parent, the one with the biological connection has the most significant sense of responsibility and an emotional attachment that goes deep. There is also another factor that should be considered.

If an adult offspring has been unable to live up to his parents’ expectations, living together can only make things worse for him. In these cases, honest and transparent communication can help settle things between a parent and a child. 

A husband or the wife may brood over the loss of couple time as one of the partners will be squeezed between an aging parent who needs constant care and a spouse who is probably a bit disgruntled.

So, to save a marriage, it is essential that a couple speaks to each other often and somehow squeezes out their own time from the busy and demanding schedule. 

How Caring for Aging Parents affects your job

Caring for your aging parents is an appreciable endeavor, but some caregivers stretch this a bit too far by deciding to quit the job altogether. The benefits of quitting a job to look after a parent are straightforward and do not require any explanation, but the actual effects are very complex. 

The loss in the monthly income will have a telling effect on your life’s quality unless you are somehow related to a billionaire! The job quitting scenario may seem to be a temporary one initially, but caregiving’s responsibility can continue for months and sometimes even years.

So, it is crucial to think about the long-term implications of quitting a job and how it might affect your financial future. 

Stepping in to help your aging parents is indeed a good deed. If they have substantial assets and do not outlive their savings, then you will recover some of your losses by inheriting those when they die. But the best advice would be never to depend on such an outcome and leave your job.

How Caring for Aging Parents affects your mental health

The psychological and emotional effects of caring for an aging parent can be profound and heart-wrenching. The caregivers are usually very stressed out, and their feelings of depression and isolation scale new heights almost every week.

The pressure of looking after your aged parents can leave the signs of wear and tear on the caregiver’s physical health. There can be occasional outbursts of anger or impatience, but all these emotions are mainly due to looking after an aging parent in these difficult times.

The experience can be overwhelming, and there is no doubt that the stress levels will only increase with each passing day. Thankfully, many counselors are experienced in dealing with caregiver issues and will guide you accordingly to lead and relax and carefree life despite looking after your aged parents. 

I know that is all a lot to think about – but when you know what you are dealing with, it helps to give yourself “recovery” options as a caregiver.

You got this.

Other articles you may find helpful:

How To Lighten The Load For Incredible CareGivers

Over 29 percent of Americans provide care for someone who is ill. Many of these incredible caregivers are adult children.

How do you encourage a caregiver?

The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that 48.9 million Americans care for an adult, relative, or friend.

How To Lighten The Load For Incredible CareGivers

The rewards of seeing an elderly parent recover from a health crisis, overcome depression, or return to health after a fall often outweigh the pressures that caregiving can bring.

Easing the Caregiving Process

Yet, the role of the caregiver is not light, and as Americans live longer, the number of adult children who find themselves caring for an aging parent might continue to increase. To make the caregiving process easier, adult children can:

  • Inspect their home for safety hazards (e.g., extension cords the aging parent could trip on, dim lights). The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has a home safety checklist adult children can review free of charge.
  • Install safety bars in bathrooms, hallways, and other areas where the elderly parent needs support when they stand.
  • Get information on the illness or condition (e.g., Alzheimer’s, depression) the aging parent has. Getting information will help alleviate surprises and reduce stress and worry as the adult child learns what to expect (e.g., their parent experiencing nausea due to side effects caused by taking certain medicines) as they continue to care for their parent.
  • Solicit the support of other relatives (like aunts, uncles, cousins). Ask family members if they will help with specific tasks like taking the parent to doctors’ appointments, preparing meals, doing the laundry, going grocery shopping, etc.
  • Meet the aging parent’s physicians. Talk to them about the progress the parent is making, changes that should be made to the elderly parent’s diet, exercise regimen, or daily routine.
  • Keep a record of physician telephone numbers, addresses, prescriptions, and the amounts of medicine the parent has been taking.

Soliciting Incredible Caregivers Support From Others

Because caring for an elderly parent can be taxing on an adult child’s finances, emotional and psychological states, and social life, it is essential that adult children who are caring for one or more aging parents set aside time to relax and enjoy themselves.

They should go to the movies, out to dinner, attend an entertainment event or visit a friend, and do so without feeling guilty for not being with their aging parent.

How can we reduce caregiver burden?

Adult children should also avoid feeling like they are solely responsible for caring for their aging parents. By reducing the need to think that they “owe” their parent every free second they have and by steering clear of the need to “do more” for their parent than other siblings, friends, or loved ones, adult children can reduce their stress levels.

As adult children seek support from relatives and friends and let go of the need to prove they love the aging parent most, a circle of support can be created.

Circle of Support for Adult Children

Adult children can then work with the circle of support (relatives, friends, church members) as a team. This alliance can help to reduce the desire to “protect” the parent from the outside world, a world the aging parent once thrived in and still needs to feel connected to others.

Caring for aging parents can cause adult children to experience stress and worry. These emotions are reduced when adult children solicit the support of other relatives and friends.

Keeping telephone numbers of the parent’s physicians and doctor’s appointments nearby can also help to reduce pressures adult children feel. With a strong circle of support, adult children who are caring for an aging parent can continue to enjoy their own lives.

Other posts you may find helpful:

Secrets to Caring for the Elderly Family Member

Knowing what is involved when trying to caring for the elderly family member is essential in meeting the considerable challenges it presents.

Will Medicare pay for a family member to be a caregiver?

As people age, they usually reach a point where they need assistance with the tasks of daily living. This can often be difficult for the older person in terms of adjustment and also equally difficult for any person who has the responsibility of providing the care or arranging for it to be provided by others.

Caring for the Elderly Family Member

When an elderly parent reaches the point of requiring assistance, the critical time usually occurs if they are left alone, having been widowed through the loss of a partner.

Identifying the Need for Elderly Care

Gradually things begin to happen that indicate the need for greater care and support than they can provide for themselves. No doubt, many families will have stories to tell about the unfortunate events that occur.

The list I have heard covers such gems as putting the tea towels in the gas oven to dry, leaving the garden hose running for days at a time, not cooking proper meals, forgetting to dress appropriately, and falling and breaking bones.

Other family members must monitor the situation regularly. If the aging person is relatively close to them, this is usually not too difficult. However, this desirable scenario is not the norm, and frequently families may be a long way from the person concerned, and so they are reliant on infrequent visits.

In these cases, it becomes necessary to utilize the help of the aged person’s friends and neighbors to provide regular updates on how they are coping.

The Available Choices in Providing Care for the Elderly

Once the situation reaches a point where the elderly person requires assistance, then there are many options to consider and choices to be made. Identifying the exact nature of the care that is needed is an essential first step. It is useful to think in terms of two broad groupings – medical care and non-medical care.

In the case of medical care, the following services may be pertinent:

  • home health care
  • personal care such as bathing, grooming, and toileting
  • physical therapy
  • house calls or visiting a local doctor
  • meal provision
  • administering medicines

In the case of non-medical care, then the relevant factors may include:

  • home care maintenance
  • financial planning
  • transport for shopping or other purposes
  • emergency transport
  • house cleaning

It is at this point that the family carers need to consult with a variety of community services to ascertain which services are best suited to meeting the identified needs. Usually, it is possible to obtain a professional evaluation of the needs of the person.

For example, an assessment of daily functioning skills by an occupational therapist along with an evaluation and recommendations concerning in-house modifications.

Who is responsible for taking care of elderly parents?

It is essential to realize that both of these types of care can be provided in the elderly person’s residence. This is usually the best option, if at all possible, as the elder will feel relatively comfortable with support in familiar surroundings.

Often the care programs that are put in place necessitate a mix of professional services and the support of family and friends. This mix of support services requires constant evaluation as the demands of the family and friends may become too arduous.

When this happens, there may be unfortunate consequences for those involved, such as health issues and problems with family dynamics.

If the elderly person cannot have their needs met within their own home, then a transfer to a supported living environment may be required. There is an enormous variety of such services to choose from, ranging from independent living units, supported living units to full-time nursing care.

The options available will vary from community to community, city to city, country to country. The sobering fact is that the demand usually exceeds the supply.

What is role of family member in care of elderly?

Planning ahead is, therefore, an essential element in Caring for the Elderly, and this needs to be accompanied by excellent communication between family members and the elderly person.

Elders often have useful insights into what their needs are and may have strong preferences that need to be taken into account.

Other posts you may find helpful: