Transitioning from child to caregiver

For the children of aging parents there is perhaps no greater challenge than that of becoming the daily caregiver and decision-maker.

The process becomes even more difficult in situations where the relationship was difficult to start with due to years of dysfunction or disagreement. It can become even more complex if there are disagreements among siblings.

The first thing to realize is that there is a very definite role reversal in all aspects of the relationship. It can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally whether the parent is living at home or in a skilled nursing facility. The key is for caregivers to maintain their health.

The following are several of the new challenges you can expect during these times:

  • Accept the role reversal and the fact that aging parents are losing their independence, the ability to make decisions, etc.
  • You must set boundaries and not internalize every problem your parents are facing. Try to deal with them in an objective way so as to minimize stress.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you can’t visit them every day. Find others to help, whether it’s an elderly daycare center, a residential skilled nursing home, or a friend or relative to give you a break.
  • Expect to take over the management of finances. It’s also important to secure Power of Attorney and a Living Will.

At first, these appear to be daunting tasks, but just take one step at a time. At Valley Grande Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center we have professionals who can help you with these transitional steps.