Should YOU Be Your Parent’s Caregiver?
There’s certainly no easy answer to this question. Home care for the elderly comes with a lot of challenges and very few can handle the demanding job that caregivers do each and every day. So before you make a decision, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I ready emotionally, physically, mentally and financially?
To prepare yourself for the role of a caregiver for your elderly loved one, you need to take several factors into consideration. In-home care could entail a lot of things depending on the needs of your aging parent. If they are still able to handle most of their day to day activities, then you may not need to devote all of your time to them. For example, if they only need help with buying the groceries, accompanying them on doctor appointments, or perhaps managing their medications, then you don’t have to give up your job to care for your parent.
However, in some cases, you may have to. For example, if your parent is bed-ridden or if they’re suffering from mental ailments like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease then that means you have to spend as much time with them as possible because they certainly won’t be able to do things on their own without supervision or assistance. This can take a toll on you physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. If you have young kids, you may need to make a lot of sacrifices to be able to care for both your children and your parent. If you have a job, you may have to give it up because you certainly can’t go to work while caring for your parent full time.
You’ll essentially be juggling different roles – as a mother/father, wife/husband, worker, and caregiver. You’ll need to adequately prepare yourself for the big changes in your life. So ask yourself – is this something you can really do, or would it be more practical to employ home health aides to take care of your aging parent when you’re not around?
2. Am I equipped to do this job?
A lot of people may think that caring for an elderly parent is not so hard. How difficult could it be, right? But unlike caring for babies and young kids, seniors will pose a different set of challenges. That is why professional caregivers undergo training and evaluations before they are allowed to work in this particular field. They are taught how to feed, bathe and dress seniors. They know how to encourage patients who feel depressed because of their condition. They make sure the patient is taking their medications on schedule and also monitor their condition. They can even prepare nutritious meals and report any possible problems the patient may have while in their care.
3. Will I still be able to set aside enough time for my own family and myself?
Being a parent’s caregiver can potentially strain relationships especially if the senior requires a lot of help. Your spouse may start complaining that you’re no longer around for them. Your kids may complain that you are missing school events and not helping with their homework. And most importantly, you may start neglecting yourself. You’ll become stressed, unhappy and eventually depression will set in. Don’t let this happen to you. If you think your aging loved one will require a lot of assistance, it may be more beneficial for you and your parent to hire a qualified caregiver to care for them instead.
In a Nutshell
Millions of adults deal with this question every day: should I be the sole caregiver of my mom/dad? Naturally, we want to take care of them just as they have taken care of us when we were young. No one wants to put their parents in a nursing home, and no parent wants to live in a nursing home either.
Many seniors want to age in a place where they can continue being self-sufficient, retain their dignity and enjoy their twilight years. But if their health declines, they’ll need elderly care.
If you are facing the critical decision of whether to provide care for your parent, you have to consider the demands of being a family caregiver. There’s no right or wrong answer really. If you believe you can provide senior care for your parent, then go for it. But if you have other responsibilities such as being a parent yourself or if you have to provide for your family financially, then it may be best to get a caregiver for your aging loved one. By choosing the right home health care provider, you are still doing your part in taking care of your aging parent.
Find out how Home Helpers caregivers can help provide the best possible quality of life at home for your loved one – contact us to schedule your free in-home consultation today.
Home Helpers of St. Louis is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in St. Louis, Manchester, Ballwin, Clayton, Maryland Heights, Kirkwood, St. Louis Hills, Richmond Heights, Ladue, Crestwood, Concord Village, Webster Groves, Town and Country, Creve Coeur, University City, Maplewood, Sunset Hills, Brentwood, Olivette, and Clifton Heights.