Being a ‘boomer’ in today’s world can be hard enough, yet often that generation is also faced with caring for aging parents. The emotions that come along with that can make them feel like they are riding the ultimate roller coaster.
Fear is one of the strongest feelings adult children have. The major question – what will happen to dad/mom if I don’t step in and take appropriate action, they may fall, and severely injure themselves. Yet, on the flip side, if they press their aging parents to move into a senior, or assisted living facility, they, the parents, may resent the child for insisting or even suggesting such a thing.
Right behind fear is guilt. Guilt for even suggesting that mom or dad give up driving, or sell the family home, or move in with them, or, hire someone to come in and help with the daily chores.
In years past, the amount of services and help for aging parents was not that many in number. Now, there are more facilities and services available with more popping up, it seems, daily. With the vast amount of resources, it can become very overwhelming and confusing for the adult children explaining things to their parents, not to mention understanding it all themselves.
Managing their own lives can be stressful enough. Adding into the mix caring for aging parents at the same time can add to their stress level. Without proper self-care, the caregiver can get sick.
It’s easy to understand why the adult child would feel sadness as they watch their parents’ health decline, or even watch them age. The changes that come along with that, selling the family home, getting rid of ‘memories’, or even realizing that mom or dad won’t be with them much longer can bring on sadness and sometimes even grief. This is often the time that families think about in-home services including a medical alert system.
In families where there are multiple siblings, the responsibility of taking care of the parents often falls onto one of the children. It’s a hard job, and the caregiver may feel a sense of resentment towards the siblings who aren’t helping.
These emotions, which are normal, leads to a sense of frustration. Frustrated with not getting clear answers, not knowing exactly the best way to help their parents, employers who just don’t understand the balance, or even having to deal with employees at facilities who may or may not quite understand everything.
The Boomer caregiver may experience all of these emotions as they search for the best options for their parents. The best approach to avoid many of them is to sit and really listen to your loved one, and understand what they want or need. It’s equally as important to understand that, as the caregiver, these emotions are normal, and that there are ways to navigate the waters.