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The challenges of caring for elderly parents

Julie Lord

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It’s a situation that many of us would prefer not to think about but as our parents get older there is a good chance that the will need more help. For many people this can mean taking a look at the various options that are available when it comes to caring for elderly parents, residential care, caring for them yourself or homecare services. For those children who have their own commitments, either to their own families, a career or both, the emotional strain of doing what many consider to be the “right thing” and caring for their parents themselves can cause considerable challenges. Caring for your parents can be a life changing experience, one that for many people can be rewarding but for others can be not so easy.

Emotional impact

It is a huge undertaking to be the full-time career for another human being and when that care giving involves the role reversal of child caring for parent it can be especially difficult. No parent really wants their child to be put in that position and for the child the role reversal can signal the end of the existing relationship. Gone is the person who looked to for support and guidance, instead you are that person; such a role can be especially difficult to adapt to for many people who find themselves in this position. They are not alone, this is a normal response and the reversal of roles can also be especially difficult for the parent as well.

Medical implications

As well as the emotional impact it can be very daunting when faced with the medical side of things. When people get older they can suffer with chronic or severe medical conditions that require a greater level of care. The majority of children who find themselves caring for an aging parent will probably not have the level of understanding of the condition, or the medications required to be comfortable looking after their parents.

In these instances, it is often better to find someone who can take on the role of carer who does have the required level of knowledge to assist with any medical requirements such as someone unconnected with the family. Looking for assistance in this way should never be considered to be failing the parent but rather making sure that their best interests are taken care of. Live in care can be a very viable alternative for those families who would prefer their parents to remain in familiar surrounding rather than moving into some form of residential care facility.

Physical implications

It is also worth thinking about the physical implications of caring for an elderly parent. Someone who is unable to move without assistance will require a level of physical assistance to get around. This can be physically draining for the carer but may also mean that the level of care needed will be greater, putting a strain on relationships within the carers own family. Those performing live in care jobs can certainly take the strain off the family and this is something well worth looking at.


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