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Caring for Aging Parents: You’re Not Alone

Caring for Aging Parents- You're Not AloneTransitioning an aging parent can be difficult, but know that you are not alone. The number of available options such as in-home caregiving and senior care facilities continue to expand as our nation becomes increasingly aware of the rising number of seniors in need of assistance. As you are noticing physical and cognitive changes in your loved one, you may also be noticing his or her environment needing a change as well. Starting the transition may feel overwhelming, but finding the resources that are right for you and your family will help get the process started.“You don’t have to climb the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Support Groups

Attending a caregivers support group in your area can be a great place to start. You will have the opportunity to share your feelings, concerns and needs with a professional and others who have had the same experience. Support groups can offer a safe place for caregivers, family, friends and even your parent to join in as they offer practical information and options in order to make informed decisions. You will have the opportunity to talk through challenges, find ways of coping and learn about other available resources in your community.

Find an organization that will fit your needs. Many elderly care facilities provide weekly and monthly support group meetings held by senior care professionals. There are online support groups available if you can’t attend in person. Some health care providers host caregiver support groups as well so check in with your doctor or health insurance provider to see if you are covered under your plan.

Lines of Communication

For some, talking to parents about future scenarios is uncomfortable to even think about. Communicating about future care options now and using words like “caregiver, in-home care, assisted living, nursing and rehabilitation” can help take the sting out of hearing these ideas for the first time should a crisis arise. Just like most things in life, it takes time to get used to something new, especially new ideas that we are not sure about or sound unappealing. Of course, many of us would like to stay in the comfort of our own home for as long as possible but when extra care is needed, our way of thinking must shift for our loved one’s safety and well being. Don’t wait for something big to happen for you to open up those lines of communication, your loved one will benefit from it in the end.

Sharing is Caring

Share your ideas and concerns with your loved one and remember to talk withyour parent, not atthem. Show that you genuinely want the very best for their future and that you are their biggest advocate. Avoid words like “you have to” and let them know you are in this together as a team. “Together Mom, we will find the best solution to your needs.”

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – John Kabat-Zin

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