America is heading for a full-scale aging crisis. By the year 2030, twenty percent of Americans will be of retirement age. This means that more and more of us will have to contend with aging parents living with us if they can no longer live alone.
For those who aren’t prepared, the challenges created by caring for parents can prove insurmountable. This article will illustrate the common pressures and challenges that you should prepare for, should you choose to care for your parents.
Adapting Your Home for Their Needs
Your first major challenge when caring for aging parents will be adapting your home for their needs. Many seniors have mobility issues that will require the use of walkers or wheelchairs. This means that if your house isn’t already wheelchair-accessible, you need to make it so as fast as possible.
Health and Safety Implications
In addition to having to keep track of your parents’ medication, you may also have to help them if they experience incontinence issues. This can mean attending to clean-up after they’ve made a mess. Additionally, you need to be hyper-aware of what bacteria and viruses you’re bringing into your home, as your elderly parents lack the robust immune system of their younger years.
Many families who choose to help their aging parents age in place experience financial strain due to medical bills and home modifications needed to keep everyone safe and healthy. Even if you find a CCRC or other community that can better look after their health and safety needs, you can experience financial strain. Any good care facility will be an expensive investment.
Emotions Running High
Our parents are used to having a certain dynamic with us. They make the rules, they make the demands, and we follow them. However, as they become seniors and less capable of handling their daily tasks of living themselves, we must take on the role of parent.
Many parents resent and resist this process. This can lead to tensions and emotions running hot. This concern only intensifies when memory issues are present, as the aging parent may not even recall that you are a functioning adult. If there is any unresolved parental trauma, it would be best to sort that out before you start caring for them.
Some seniors value independence to their own detriment. This can make broaching the subject of long-term care or cohabiting difficult. While you should make every effort to nurture your parent’s independence, you must also be willing to have a difficult conversation with them when it becomes clear that they cannot take care of themselves anymore.
Need Ways to Cope While Caring for Aging Parents?
Caring for aging parents can prove challenging for even the most patient of souls. However, forewarned is forearmed. Now that you know some of the challenges you may face, you can plan for how to deal with them. If you need some coping strategies, check out our blog for more informational articles like this one.