Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gracefully Aging, Day 21: Our Aging Parents

With my dad in 2003, about a year and a half before his death

I'm an orphan.

I never thought I would be able to categorize myself that way, but there it is.  My dad passed away in 2004 after a fairly long battle with cancer, and  my mom died unexpectedly almost a  year ago.

I'm going to talk more in my next post about dealing with grief over the loss of my parents.  But I wanted to address something that many people my age are experiencing now: caring for aging parents.

Switching roles

Sometimes middle-aged adults find themselves switching roles with their parents...as they age, the parents being more like children while the children assume a more parental role. This can be  extremely stressful, especially if siblings aren't willing to pitch in and share responsibilities.

My husband's father is approaching 90.  Thankfully he's in good health and still lives fairly independently, but he needs help with many things that he didn't need before.  He doesn't drive anymore, and at least some of his meals need to be provided.  My husband and his five brothers share responsibilities.

But what about those of you who find yourselves being caregivers to aging parents? How do you deal with it?

USA Today recently featured a list of tips for caring for aging parents.  They include making a caregiving budget; exploring free or low-cost public benefits, and considering professional help, among several other practical suggestions.

My mom with my dad, just a few months before he died

As it turned out, I had very little to do with caring for my dad is his final years.  I lived in Illinois, while he lived in Texas.  My mom did most of the caring for him, along with my sister and her family who lived nearby.

Do you care for an aging parent?

Or have you notice the your role as your parents' child changing? I'd love to get your thoughts in  my comments.  I'd also love to know if there have been any resources that have helped you in this journey.

I'm participating in "31 Days: A Writing Challenge,"  in which I 'll be blogging on the subject of Gracefully Aging every day during the month of October.  Click the button below for more information and links to each post as they become available!


Jodi said...

I've had no experience in this area as my Mom passed away young and my Dad was able to take care of himself for the most part as he was near his end. Dad living about 4-6 hours away wasn't good as I wasn't able to see him nearly as often as I'd like to had.

Lauren said...

I am seeing this with my Mom right now. My Grandmother passed away in January and my grandfather has had some health issues, so my Mom has been caring for him. She has some sisters who help, but she is retired so she is usually the one to do the running. It is emotionally exhausting. Definitely something for us to be planning for! Thanks for sharing!

denisse warshak said...

I do not care for my aging parents, but I have cared for my husband when he became disabled suddenly. I've learned how selfless and exhausting it can be to take care of someone else full time. Thanks for sharing!

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