Author: Lucie Shaw, MBOT Chair & Owner of Nurse Next Door Mississauga
You love and respect your parents’ after all they are the ones who nurtured you from the time you came into the world until you decided to go out and spread your wings. Your love for them is strong and unquestionable and you only want what is best for them.
You aren’t alone if you’ve recently heard a friend declare in a high pitched, distressed voice; “I’m the worst daughter (or son) in the world!” We hear this often from caregiving children who feel like they should be doing more. Caregiving is stressful – managing medical records, preparing meals, providing transportation. Balance these responsibilities while maintaining a career and caring for your own family leaves little room for taking care of personal needs.
Families do not see a clear cut solution so they keep piling on responsibilities and are vulnerable. Family caregivers are usually sons, daughters or close friends who will act as Power of Attorney. Aspects of their lives may suffer including:
- Work (taking days off, lower productivity, higher turnover)
- Family (less time for maintaining other relationships)
- Incredible guilt if their loved one passes away and the last months of their life was stressful and spent caregiving instead of creating happy memories
Family caregivers should consider the following:
- Plan early for future care needs
Do not wait until there’s a medical emergency or a difficult diagnosis to seek out private and public services available in the community.
- Seek professional legal and financial guidance
Encourage mom and dad to seek the advice of a Lawyer for Wills and Power of Attorney and a Financial Planner to fully understand their situation and ensure their wishes are met.
- Focus on being the son or daughter
Focus on doing things that you love to do together. It’s also important to encourage your family members aging at home to remain engaged in their community and spend time with friends.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help
Family caregivers should be aware of how various services in the community can alleviate caregiving responsibilities. Options like home care are flexible and can be a great first step for resistant parents.
It is important to plan ahead for the needs of aging parents because when their health begins to deteriorate, it is so important that time spent together is of high quality. How do you do this? To the best of their ability and together, recall activities from the past they enjoyed and grasp those opportunities to revive excitement and quality time shared. After all, age shouldn’t be simply coped with, it should be celebrated!