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Posts Tagged ‘elderly sanwhich generation’

Walk with others

Walk with others

“The police called; they have Mom.  It’s the third time this month that Mom got mixed up and was found in the neighbor’s house.  Mom is getting more and more confused.  She doesn’t prepare healthy meals and often forgets to turn the oven off when she cooks.  She misses doses of her medicine because she forgets.  I feel like she needs daily assistance, but I have to work…  What can I do?”

Does this scenario sound familiar?  It is difficult to think about the possibility that someday one or both of our parents won’t be self-sufficient and will develop an increased dependency in meeting his/her daily needs.  Situations such as these are becoming much more familiar to many working adults.  The percentage of the U.S. population over the age of 65 continues to increase, so does the number of adult workers who are involved in caregiving.  In addition, there has been an increase in persons providing care to disabled children and veterans.

The month of November is National Caregiver’s Month which gives us an even stronger reason to reflect on the stresses and strains associated with the responsibility of providing care for a loved one.   These strains can be particularly difficult for mid-lifers juggling work, marriage duties, caring for their aging parents and the needs of their own children.  Along with the physical demands, it is also difficult to see the loss of independence of our parents.  However, many Americans see the time spent caring for their aging parents as only a small sacrifice.  During this process, caring for an elderly parent can be satisfying and enjoyable often resulting in an improved relationship for both parties. Most children help their parents willingly when needed and feel a sense of satisfaction by doing so.

Some ways to reduce the stress and increase the satisfying aspect of caregiving are some simple ideas that can make the experience more enjoyable.

  1. Set realistic goals and expectations and know your limitations.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Reach out to other family members and friends who can reduce the load of responsibilities.
  3. Remember to take care of yourself.  Losing yourself during the process or not seeing to your own health demands, nor maintaining your own health will only be harmful to both you and your family.  And lastly, involve other people by holding a family conference, seeking professional assistance, and using community resources.

Many communities have resources available to assist in those facing caregiving issues. Contact your local Center for Aging or Board of Disability Services to find more information.

Writer:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region

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