When Adult Children Take Care of Aging Parents
Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents Face Role Reversal
(ARA) - The catch phrase says it
all. Adult children who are caring for their parents while also raising their own family are known as “the sandwich
generation.” These caregivers find themselves pulled in many directions -- caring for
a parent, raising their children, keeping their marriage healthy and often holding down a job as well.
On top of all this, adult caregivers are thrust into the awkward and often unwanted position of feeling like
they’re parenting their own parents. “It can be unsettling to find yourself in this role,” says Richard Bitner of
Visiting Angels, a national network of franchised non-medical senior homecare agencies. He points out that this
reversal in the parenting role can give rise to stress for both parents and caregivers.
A recent survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
found that an estimated 22.4 million U.S. households -- nearly one in four -- are providing care to someone age 50
or older or have provided care during the previous 12 months.
As these caregivers have discovered, it takes a lot of time, energy and patience to care for an aging loved one,
and often it can seem like all of these attributes are in short supply. It’s not surprising, then, that guilt
coupled with resentment are prevalent emotions among caregivers.
“Caregivers’ lives have been turned upside down,” says Bitner. “Despite the fact that they love their parents,
caring for a parent is a big responsibility that affects the whole family.” Plans for the immediate future go out
the window. Schedules that were already jam-packed and complicated need to be reworked. Children may resent the new
demands on their parents’ time and attention.
Dealing with Aging Parents
Conflict resolution and aging parents can be very stressful. Handling aging
parents requires both respecting them and making wise decisions too.
There are support groups caregivers aging parents that may be able to assist you in
what could be a very stressful time for both you and your parents.
Aging parents and feeling disconnected during final years can be a cause of
increasing discomfort. If your parents are abusive, dealing with abusive aging
parents requires even more wisdom.
There are numerous challenges faced caring for aging parents. The effect of aging
parents on families needs to be carefully considered in order to respect your
parents. Some people deal with anger and aging parents.
There is also the issue of coping with aging parents moving and caring
responsibility for aging parents. You'll probably also need to be coping with aging
parents health issues, especially with parents of aging mentally retarded. So
taking care of aging parents may require lots of time, but they cared for you when
you were young and now it's your turn to help them.
Work and aging parents is another issue that needs to be worked out to the benefit
of all concerned.
Some children abandon their aging parents when the parents need their children.
There's also the issue of coping with changing attitudes of aging parents.
If you are an adult child of aging parents you need to find ways to take care of
With all these added stressors, experts emphasize the importance of caretakers looking after their own physical
and emotional health. “You can’t take care of someone else without taking care of yourself first,” agrees Bitner.
This involves getting help from others, whether it be from siblings, a support group or a health care service.
The staff at Visiting Angels understands this need. The company provides non-medical caregivers who go into
clients’ homes to offer companionship, do light housekeeping, run errands, prepare meals or do shopping -- all
services that can provide a respite for families dealing with the care of a loved one.
“You can be confident that your caregiver is qualified and has excellent references,” says Bitner. The company
hires only experienced caregivers who pass a rigorous screening process. They also look for intangible traits such
as a caring personality. Many of the company’s caregivers are former hospital staffers looking for the opportunity
to do one-on-one personal care.
“We work with each family to develop an individualized program to manage the daily needs of the client and then
match those needs to the best possible caregiver,” explains Bitner. Caregivers are then introduced to the family,
who has the final say in the selection process.
Once the caregiver has been placed in the home, Visiting Angels continues its personalized contact through
telephone check-ins and home visits to make sure the match is a good one.
Visiting Angels has senior homecare agencies in most states. For more information on the office nearest you, visit
their Web site at http://www.visitingangels.com or call (800)
Courtesy of ARA Content
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