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Are You A Caregiver?

Many children of adult parents don’t even realize that they are caregivers. Using our checklist below, answer each question to determine if you are a caregiver:

Do you do any of the following on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?

  • Take your parent to doctor’s appointments
  • Help your parent with household chores
  • Call to check in on your parent
  • Monitor whether your parent is taking their medications
  • Prepare meals for your parent or monitor the meals they are preparing
  • Run errands for your parent
  • Help your parent bathe, dress, or use the bathroom
  • Monitor your parent’s finances

If you’ve answered yes to two or more of the above questions, then you are a caregiver. As your parents age, caregiving responsibilities will only increase. As children you expect your parents to always look after your needs and many times it just doesn’t seem right to watch as your parents descend into old age and illness. Many people prefer to live in denial rather than face the unavoidable fact that their parents will someday die. No matter how old you become, your parent is still your parent and the parent/child dynamic will always dominate your thought processes.

It can be very hard to accept when the time comes that your parents are no longer independent. As hard as it is for you to face, your aging parents feel as much or more despair, depression, and anger over their own declining abilities and loss of independence as you do. Ultimately, your parents can feel completely vulnerable and at the mercy of everyone around them. Many times they are worried about what will happen to them and where will they live. I frequently hear from seniors that their #1 concern is being left alone in a nursing home. The #2 concern is being a burden on their children.

So, when you add it all up, the result is two and sometimes three generations of unresolved hurt, fear, and often angry and resentful feelings in one household. And while stress is to be expected, the situation doesn’t have to become overwhelming. There are many things that you can do now to prevent a crisis from occurring once your parents are unable to care for themselves:

  • Decide who will be the principal caregiver for your parents
  • Determine what responsibilities can be shared with other family members
  • Have an open and honest communication with your parents about the situation
  • Share feelings and information with other family members and caregivers
  • Make sure your parent’s financial and legal documents are up to date
  • Make sure your parent has regular checkups at the doctor and has a geriatric assessment so a health crisis can be avoided

By addressing these issues before your parents are unable to help you make decisions, a lot of the stress that goes along with being a caregiver as and adult child can be prevented. When you have an honest dialogue with your parents and other family members about these sensitive issues from the start, the resentment and hurt that often occurs can be eliminated and your parents will receive better care as they age.

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