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Coming to Terms That You Can No Longer Care For An Aging Parent

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    By: Kathyrn Parks

    If you are a caregiver for your parent, chances are you are a dedicated individual who loves your parents very much. Caregiving is a huge commitment, and often has an impact on you physically, emotionally, and even financially.

    Sometimes however, there comes a point when caregiving is no longer a valid option. It may be that your parents need to be lifted in and out of the bed now, and you do not have the strength to do so. It may be caring for them has become overwhelming, or that your life has changed, and you simply can’t anymore.

    This realization can be heartbreaking, but also understandable. Here is what you can do to handle the situation once you realize you can no longer be a caregiver for your parent.

    Speak with the family

    It is likely that there will be some pushback from your family when you announce you can no longer care for your parents. It is likely that your siblings and other family members will be angry at your decision and worry that they’ll have to do more since you need to do less.

    Do not allow your family to guilt you into staying the family caregiver if you cannot do it. It will only reduce the quality of care for yourself, and your parents.

    Instead, Sara Honn Qualls, Director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, recommends asking yourself and your siblings the following question: “What is most important to you about your mother’s life from today until the day she dies?”

    The aim of this question is to reframe the focus on what is best for your parents, and not who is and is not doing enough to help with caregiving.

    Do not opt out entirely

    If you are feeling the pressure of being a sole caregiver, especially if you have lots of siblings who are not helping, it’s easy to feel resentful. You may want to wash your hands of your parents entirely, even if you love them and have shown it through your care for so long.

    Instead, we recommend making the changes that you need—shifting the responsibility away from yourself, but still be open to helping when needed.

    Consider hiring a caregiver

    There is probably a practical reason why you were given the duty of elder care. It may be you have the time or financial freedom to do so. It may be that you lived closest to your parents. Whatever the reason, it is possible that you may not be able to get the help you need from your family.

    A caregiver can be a good solution here. It will allow your parents the freedom to continue living their life in their own home, while also giving them the support they need to stay safe.

    It may also improve your relationship with your parents, because then you can go back to the role of being a son or daughter, and visiting because you love them, rather than because you must.

    What ever your choice is in who helps take care of your parents, remember that your feelings matter too. It is important to take care of your mental health as well as your parents, and achieve the balance needed for everyone.

    For more information on professional caregiving services throughout Ellicott City and Annapolis, Maryland, contact our compassionate caregivers at Homewatch CareGivers of Ellicott City today.

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