Growing up, our parents are our idols. We admire them for the sacrifices they made to take care of us, and all that they went through to make sure that we were fed, bathed, clothed and had a shelter over our heads. As we left childhood behind, and planned our futures, we no doubt thought about the people we wanted to become, the careers we wanted to enjoy, even about the type of parents we would like to be. However, it isn’t often that we include the possibility of taking care of our own parents, it is not until something happens to them, that the possibility even crosses our minds.
Parents are our invincible, indestructible super heroes. When something tragic happens – a fall, an illness, a disease – it is then the realization hits us, our aging parents are no longer indestructible, as a matter of fact, they now need our help, in ways we did not imagine. This realization could cause us to become overwhelmed, even frustrated sometimes. How can a child take care of their parent, as well as they once did for us? And if that isn’t overwhelming enough, how can we take care of our current responsibilities, and care for our parents as well?
In the Healthcare field we hear a lot of amazing stories that tug at our heartstrings. Most of us have stories of our own as well, this week we were called by a son to help him care for his very ill, elderly father. The father had not been washed, changed or left his bed in over a month. The son, loved his Dad very much and wanted to care for him, but unfortunately he was mentally impaired and caring for Dad was more than he could handle.
Then there are the stories of the strong, independent parents’, who refuses to believe that they are not as strong as they once were, that they now need help with daily activities they previously were able to handle without a thought. These elderly parents often refuse outside help, placing the responsibility of ensuring their safety and well-being, on their adult children. This scenario often leads to the children experiencing what is often referred to as “Caregiver Burn-out.” All parties experiences guilt in this situation.
Don’t wait until it is too late to ask for help. When you see signs that help is needed, start your research before something happens. There are many resources that families can utilize; the internet, the newspaper, and even your local physician. An excellent resource is your local Senior Centers.
A+ Senior Care offers a wide range of services that helps seniors live at home, as their needs increase. Simple home helper services once a week is a great way to start to get used to receiving help. It’s reasonably priced and help with laundry, light housekeeping or meal preparation, is often exactly what the senior person needs.
Another great resource is your local Meals on Wheels services, or Veteran options. Veteran services can be offered to any individual or spouse of someone who served at least 90 days in the service during wartime (this does not mean that they had to be in combat).
Remember that the loving relationship between you and the ones you care about is most important and there are many resources available to help ensure those relations continue, as our parents age.
Professionals: Share your stories of family relationships improving, when help is provided.
Families: What are some of your own stories?
Please take a look below at links to some of the information mentioned in today’s entry:
(Meals on Wheels)
(Willingboro Senior Center)
(Collingswood Senior Community Center)
(West Windsor Senior Center)
(Hamilton Township Senior Center)
(Princeton Senior Resource Center)