Are You Really the Right Person to Be a Caregiver for Your Elder?
Most peoples’ elder journeys began unexpectedly. Few of us (adult children or their parents) plan for the future in real detail, especially when that future revolves around a time when we might not be capable of taking care or ourselves. So, we pretend those days are never coming until the tough conversations become unavoidable – usually after an accident or a scary medical diagnosis.
As a consequence, we are left making last-minute decisions based on incomplete information or unrealistic assumptions. For example, many aging parents simply assume they will move in with their adult children once they can no longer care for themselves. The children – unprepared and struggling to take care of their own families and careers – often accept that burden of daily caregiving out of a sense of duty.
I’ve heard similar stories from dozens of people who found themselves in these circumstances. What I want them (and you) to understand is that it isn’t only all right to pass up on caregiving duties… it might actually be better for everyone involved. Regardless of whether you want to be the caregiver for an aging person or not, there is a good chance you aren’t the right person for the job.
To help you understand why, ask yourself a few questions.
Do You Have the Time to Be a Round-the-Clock Caregiver?
It sounds great to say you will look after your aging parent, but doing so can be a full-time job. Can you set aside your career to take on that task, along with the responsibilities you already have to other family members? Are you ready to give up your hobbies and social life completely? That’s not a trade-off most people can afford to make from a financial or emotional perspective.
Do You Have the Training and Expertise Needed for the Job?
Care providers are highly skilled professionals. They can lift seniors from sitting or lying positions, administer medications as well as emergency treatments, and know how to handle situations where an elder might become violent or disoriented. Unless you have the same kind of background, trying to handle things yourself can become frustrating or dangerous. You can assist in other ways without putting yourself or your loved one at risk.
Are You Doing It for the Right Reasons?
You might feel guilty about giving up the role of primary caregiver for your aging parent, especially when you consider all that they have done for you in your life. However, you don’t have to administer injections or change adult diapers to show your love and appreciation. In fact, the other steps you take – and the time you spend – can be more meaningful when the day-to-day caregiving duties are given to someone else.
There Is a Better Way to Care for Your Aging Loved One
In the process of looking after my parents, I realized there is a better way: you can organize care for your senior without being their primary caregiver. That change in roles makes all the difference and removes a great deal of stress from the process.
To learn more about your role as a care organizer, follow my Facebook page so you’ll be notified about my follow-up article on the topic. Or even better, ORDER the book today!
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