The increase in life expectancy means more adult children are caring for their parents. The challenges are often complex, but the rewards can be surprisingly great.
Managing your loved one's health (including frequent doctor visits, Medicare, insurance and all the associated paperwork), as well as their financial and emotional well-being, can amount to a full-time job. Considering the high likelihood that one child will bear the bulk of these responsibilities, it's no wonder caregiver burnout is a relatively common phenomenon.
WebMD provides several tips from experts to help caregivers not only provide the best care for their loved ones, but take care of themselves, as well:
Talk to your family. Make sure you make the important decisions regarding your parents' care before the situation is dire. It is important that you have these conversations when your parents are still in good physical and mental health.
Spread out the responsibilities. While one person can act as the primary caregiver, others should provide support for various responsibilities, such as paperwork or managing finances.
Get help with the finances. There are many things to consider—both in terms of your finances, as well as your parents'. It’s in your best interest to enlist help from a financial advisor.
Be upfront if you do not receive the help you need. This help can come from family members or from community programs.
While the responsibilities of being a caregiver can be trying, the emotional benefits can make all the effort worth it. Intensified bonding and personal growth can benefit both the parent and the child. Perhaps most importantly, receiving care from his or her own child can improve a parent’s emotional health.
Source: “Role Reversal: Caring for Aging Parents,” Webmd.com
Do you—or will you—care for an aging parent? How do you balance the responsibility with your own life?