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Caregiving As An Only Child

It's very common for adults to be caring for their own children and their parents as well, something that can cause angst and stress.

Caregiver stress is a very real thing and we’ve shared many ideas on how to eliminate or reduce stress. One of the techniques is to involve your siblings in the process and designate duties for every member of the family. But what if you’re an only child? How do you relieve the day to day stress without anyone to help?

On one side of the equation, you have no one to argue with about the decisions you need to make. You never had to fight with siblings as you were growing up but at this stage of life, you may wish for family members with a shared history to discuss all the options with.

Caregivers need a support network and those who go it alone need to realize there are many resources to help navigate the process. You can turn to friends and other relatives for help but you’ll also find there are many organizations to turn to for help:

  • Ask for assistance from yours or your parent’s church. A night away or a weekend break will do wonders for your attitude.
  • Contact social workers in your area. They can help you secure home-delivered meals, transportation and other services to make day-to-day care much easier.
  • Seek the advice of an attorney. Having a Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will helps reduce stress when emergency care becomes necessary.
  • Consider a medical alert system. These systems provide you with the peace of mind knowing you needn’t be with them 24/7.
  • Read-find blogs, books, and articles about your parents’ condition or situation. Knowledge can be valuable.
  • Use technology: Sync your calendar and that of your parents so you always know their schedule. Consider reminder services that let your parents know when it’s time to take their medications.
  • Support Groups can offer suggestions and ideas on how to go it alone and give you a forum to vent.

These and other resources can make your "only child” care-giving duties a little less daunting.

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