When Roles Reverse: Taking Care of Your Aging Parent

Have you felt like you are spending more time taking care of your aging parents? Do you worry about your parents when you aren’t able to check in on them as often as you would like? The point where a child becomes the caregiver for aging parents can be challenging for everyone involved.

Though this role reversal may have been foreseen and is expected more in certain cultures, it can still be emotionally taxing. Parents can struggle with their loss of independence, and their tarnished pride may cause them to appear bitter rather than appreciative. Adult children can become increasingly anxious as they juggle taking care of both the older and younger generations simultaneously, while also trying to manage a career. Finances can also suffer as increased care is needed.

Managing the role reversal from child to caregiver can be stressful, whether it is a slow transition or a sudden change. However, it is instrumental to note that senior parents are still adults and are best given their deserved respect. Remember that a caregiver is there to give care and in no way has legal authority unless given power of attorney or if an aging parent is deemed legally mentally incapable. If you are reading this article, we are confident that you have your parents’ best interests at heart. We have highlighted some key situations to consider with regards to your aging parent and when to seek further assistance.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Life

One of the first considerations for aging parents is deciding on where they should live. This can be an emotional topic to bring up when a parent may already be distressed at their loss of memory or mobility. Ideally, have discussions about their wishes before the issue needs immediate attention, though we know this is not a luxury every family has. Go through the following checklist to highlight specific issues:

Activities of Daily Life

While your aging parents can still handle the instrumental activities of daily life, they may just need some extra assistance with cleaning, shopping, or other errands. However, if your aging parents have difficulties with activities of daily life such as dressing, bathing, hygiene, or functional mobility, it is undeniably time to seek further assistance.

It will not be feasible for you to be with your aging parents every moment. Moreover, if you try, this will inevitably lead to burnout, which does not help anyone. Consider seeking staff to administer senior care. This can start with a few hours a week and build to 24 hour continuous in-home care if required. Your parents’ ability to remain at home, surrounded by their familiar objects and loved ones, may be the best gift you could give them in later life.