When Parents Become the Child

It’s very difficult being an adult with a family and then having to care for an elderly parent. It’s even harder if the parent has dementia.

This story from the Washington Post tells the reality of that life.

Caregiver burnout can occur in these situations. So if you haven’t read my previous column, take a look now for some tips on how to avoid it!

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When you want to bring Mom or Dad home to live with you: What you need to know.

ImageMillions of adult children each year are faced with having to choose whether to care for a parent at home or send them to a facility for care. Whether you are an only child or have siblings, the solution is never an easy one. Being educated before that time comes can make that decision easier during a time of crisis.

The first thing you need to know is your parent’s ability to care for themselves at home alone. Here are some questions you need to answer right away:

  1. Can they safely get in and out of the house alone?
  2. If there are stairs, can they safely negotiate alone or do they need help?
  3. Can they walk to the bathroom alone safely and clean themselves?
  4. Can they change their clothes safely by themselves?
  5. Can they safely drive a car?
  6. Are they alert and oriented all the time?
  7. Can they prepare their own meals? If they cannot, can they reheat or prepare simple microwave meals or sandwiches?
  8. Can they feed themselves?

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, then your parent will need some sort of assistance after their facility discharge. You may have always promised Mom or Dad that you would never put them in a nursing home, but are you ready for the financial, time, and emotional investment associated with caring for a parent at home? Continue reading