Medical advances have increased the life expectancy for many Americans, which is a wonderful thing. However, this does create a problem for many families about what to do with their aging parents. As the eldest generation of the family advances in years, their health will deteriorate, and they will eventually require assistance with day-to-day tasks. When this moment hits, families are often left questioning whether it’s time to find a care facility, hire a home health aide, or assume the role a family caregiver.
When you’re questioning if you should become the primary caregiver for your parent, here are a few things to consider.
Their Medical Condition
The first question you should ask yourself is, “how bad is their medical condition?” This will let you know if being there caregiver is even an option. Often, even though adult children are willing to assume this role, their parent’s condition requires a level of medical care they cannot provide themselves. Think about their symptoms, medication, treatment, and cognitive condition, and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Their Living Situation
If you decide to become the caregiver, will that require your parent to move in with you? It’s very common for a parent to move in with their kids when the parent’s health begins to fade. Think about what that will logistically look like. Do you have an extra room for them, or will you need to add some square footage to the house?
Being a caregiver will involve a variety of physically demanding tasks, and you need to be prepared for the toll that it will take on your body. Help in and out of chairs, bathing, dressing, feeding, and bathroom trips are all in the job description of a caregiver.
Seeing your parent in an ailing state every day can be hard for a lot of people. Caregiving is also incredibly time consuming, which can often cause a great deal of stress. Combined, these two factors make for a very emotionally trying job.
There’s no doubt about it, caregiving is an incredibly difficult job, but, for many, it’s all worth it. Before you decide to be the primary caregiver for your parent, just make sure it’s the right decision for your parent and for you.