The most common caregiver relationship is that of an adult child and an elderly parent. In fact statistically, AARP studies indicate that family members provide nearly 82% of the necessary care for an older family member. If you are thinking of taking on this role, there are several steps you might consider taking:
Discussions: How the discussion concerning care is initiated is important. It is best to sit down with your parents while they are still relatively healthy and independent, and begin to consider different scenarios with them. Talk to them face to face with no other activities going on. Find out their thoughts about care; their desires and wishes. Write down the plan discussed and edit the plan as new thoughts emerge. Relationship: Is your relationship with the parent or parents open and trusting or distant and strained? The role you will take depends on your relationship. If the relationship is good and you are able emotionally and financially and relatively free of other commitments, you may consider either living with your parent(s) or having them live with you. This can be very rewarding if you plan ahead for help from other family members or hiring some outside professional help. If your relationship is strained, you may consider continuing care facilities, assisted living or a nursing facility (if your parent’s health warrants it). Status of Health: What is your parent’s status of mental and functional health? In so many instances the initial discussion is when your parent or parents are need of immediate care due to an emergency situation or a rapid health decline. In this case the best thing to do is get a thorough geriatric evaluation from all the doctors involved. Check out all of your options; evaluate the best plan for you and your parent and then act. Caregiving for a parent can be very rewarding for both you and your parent if you plan ahead.