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Archive for September, 2009

Are You Playing The Parent Role For Your Own Parents?

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Many baby boomers have parents and elderly loved ones who are aging quickly and who are now in demand of help and regular care.  Boomers are finding themselves caring for their mothers and fathers as they simultaneously attend full time jobs and hold a responsibility to care for their own children.

Parenting, whether for your parents or your offspring, is exhausting and time consuming.  Boomers who take on the role of parent to their elderly mother or father find themselves shopping, driving to appointments, acting as a regular companion, cooking, cleaning, and fixing items around the house.

  Studies show that many family caregivers are married women who work full time.  The stresses of such a role don’t stop with the caregiving tasks themselves, because for most, caring for an elderly parent is also extremely taxing on their emotions.

Many family caregivers deal with resistance, anger and frustration from their parents when they try to help.  In the eyes of your parents, you’ll always be their child, and for many boomers’ elderly parents, this is a life phenomenon they didn’t experience firsthand – making it that much more difficult for them to understand what you’re going through.

You Can’t Do It All

Don’t be afraid to come to the realization that you can’t do everything on your own.  It is important for you to accept this so that you don’t find your life run by elderly loved ones who are unaware of the implications of the situation.  Consider hiring help wherever you can.  A house cleaning service, yard work professional, or grocery delivery service could take some of the workload off your shoulders.

Talk to Your Siblings

Discuss the circumstances with your siblings.  If you find you are accepting responsibility for too much of the burden, address the situation with others in the family.  Find out how they can help.  Even the smallest of gestures can make a difference.


The more you set the stage for open communication, the more comfortable your parents will feel talking to you about the changes they are experiencing.  Unfortunately, many seniors keep quiet about the help they need because they are embarrassed, scared, or don’t want to be a burden on you.  

By keeping the lines of communication open at all times, you will encourage open and honest conversation so that you can understand the troubles they face on a day-to-day basis.

Keeping Your Parents’ Home Safe

One of the biggest concerns among baby boomer caregivers is the safety of their parents in their own homes.  Elderly parents become forgetful, absentminded and disoriented.  They want to do everything they can to stay in their homes, but yet they will not take proactive measures to ensure their own safety.  This is up to you.  Look into assistive devices, safety electronics and elderly emergency systems on the market to help your parents stay safe in their homes.

Plan for the Future

Have a plan in place for future living arrangements your parents may need.  Sometimes the rate of deterioration can be fast, so when you begin to see physical or mental weakening in your elderly loved ones, it is important that you are prepared for the day when adjustments need to be made quickly.

If you are the person your elderly parents rely on for help, it is important that you are also prepared for any unexpected emergencies.  Will you be able to help them whenever they call?  Will it be possible for you to take time off work?  In the case of an emergency, will you be available on a moment’s notice?

Take Care of Yourself Too!

Do everything you can not to forget about yourself.  Eat well, exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of sleep.  The healthier you are and the better you feel, the more you’ll be able to help the loved ones who need you.

  Don’t hesitate to seek support.  There are many resources available to help you cope with the stresses of caring for your elderly parents.  Research your community to find support groups, respite services and other useful information that may be of great value to you.

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