You probably think of your parents being the caregivers. They are the ones that raised, fed, and clothed you throughout your childhood. But eventually your parents age and join the ranks of the elderly. Then one day your parents need you to care for them. This is called role reversal. With the baby boomer population reaching that age, it is extremely common for children to have to care for their aging parents.
Caregiving for the elderly is like a full time job, or in some cases a second full time job. The patient’s healthcare and finances must be managed. You also have to consider frequent visits and activities to keep them happy. You may need to pay rent, pay other caregivers, take them to the doctor frequently, and deal with Medicaid or Medicare insurance issues. It’s a lot of work and Lift Caregiving can help.
Too many times I have seen situations where the elderly person has approximately 3 children. Most of the time one of the children will step up and take responsibility. At first things go well but as the parent ages and more problems occur, the child may become overwhelmed and stressed. At this point they may begin to resent their brothers or sisters and even their parents. They may feel that the other siblings should help chip in.
If this situation occurs, and ideally before it does, get the group of siblings together and discuss the situation. It is even better to get together with your parents when they are younger to discuss their wishes. Make a family meeting out of it if it is necessary. See if each party can contribute in some way so that the responsibility doesn’t fall on the one sibling. One could handle finances, another can deal with in-person care, and yet another can handle any paperwork. It is ok to let the other siblings know in a nice way that you feel they should each contribute something. This is especially important if everyone lives nearby. Having this conversation can help prevent a family feud.
So who usually gets the job as the caregiver? A lot of times it is the woman, and also the oldest sibling. However, it should be based on who is the most capable of handling this role. How well each of you gets along with your parents is also something to consider. Whoever lives nearby or has the finances to cover it is often considered the most fit for the job. Age and gender really shouldn’t matter in this decision. You may even consider rotation among the siblings if it is feasible.
Where can you turn with questions or advice? Lift Caregiving is a forum where people can find information and speak to others about issues they are facing. There is a wide variety of information available. The site can offer advice on how to communicate with family members before something happens. You can reach out to others even if the crisis has already happened.