As we age, there is a natural progression when a child and parent switch roles. In many families, adult children have become the caretaker for their aging parent. This transition or role-reversal can be emotionally challenging for both parents and their adult children. It is important for caregivers to remember that they are not alone. Millions of adult children are currently caring for an elderly parent or loved one.
Caring Hands Matter is a trusted provider of home care in Fairfax, VA, in addition to the wider Northern Virginia/D.C. Metro area. We understand that this transition in roles may be difficult for all parties involved which is why we have provided some useful ways to manage this time in your lives. Keep reading for some useful advice on how to manage parent-child role reversal.
Boundaries Are Important
Becoming the primary caregiver for an aging parent comes with some trial and error. It is often useful to determine how much involvement is “too much.” This may require you to decide how often visits are in order, when it is acceptable to take control of finances, when to move elderly parents from their home and how to properly manage the expectations of your aging parent. This will require a careful balance of communication and assertiveness as some parents may wish to maintain more independence than others.
Respect Their Wishes
Although it is important to establish boundaries between yourself and your aging parent, it is equally as important to determine what habits/behaviors they are willing and/or unwilling to break. Their wishes touch upon a variety of aspects of their lives. Making decisions regarding nutrition, medical treatment and finances may result in some butting of heads, but they will pay off down the road should they become less able to weigh in.
Communicate With Others
The parent-child role transition will be unfamiliar. Adult children may not be accustomed to seeing their parent as vulnerable/being in need of care. Many describe this role reversal as “becoming the parent of your parent.” Psychologically, this may be more difficult to fathom than one might think. In some cases, it may be painful to watch as our parents age and deteriorate but it is important to remember that it is a natural part of life. Talking about how you are feeling with a professional and reaching out to your own support networks can be vital tools in managing this adjustment.
Organize Your Family
In many families, one sibling may be designated as the primary caregiver and will take on the effort of supporting their aging parent(s). If there are other family members close to you that are willing and able to help, caregivers should consider actively communicating important items to them. This may include how to handle a crisis situation or even how to properly manage a parent’s finances and estate. The key to successfully navigating future hardships is having prior conversations.
Every aging parent will have specific needs. Some issues will be more difficult to address than others. During emotionally charged conversations regarding health or finances, it helps to maintain a realistic perspective on the situation. Parent-child role reversal is two sided. This means that you and your aging parent are going through this transition together and should work to cooperate as best able.
We Are Ready To Help!
Parent-child role reversal may be a difficult transition, but it does not have to be done alone. Many adult children caregivers decide to enlist the help from a home care professional. Professional caregivers who provide senior care can reduce the stress experienced by elderly parents and their adult children caregivers be assisting with Activities for Daily Living (ADLs). This additional assistance can allow you to focus your attention on other aspects of your aging parent’s care. To learn more about our home care services, call us directly or contact us online today.