Becoming Parents to Parents: Family Caregiver Actions Plans
As young children, it’s common to look at parents as the ones to provide guidance, teach what is right from wrong, provide protection, and make all the decision. However, when entering into adulthood, the roles slowly begin shifting and becoming different. Children still turn to their parents, however it is more as supportive and guiding roles. The thought of parenting parents may not have entered into their minds immediately.
However, geriatric social workers commonly receive phone calls from children of aging parents because they are worried about them living alone. These worries stem from their frequent falls, their need for meal preparation, and more. Often times, though, seniors balk at the idea of their children taking on the role of the family caregiver and say they don’t need any help.
What Steps Should be Taken?
As areas of concerns begin cropping up, inventory each and every one of them:
- Decision making and judgements
- Falls and the need for assisted devices
- Hygiene issues
- Managing finances
- Maintaining contact with others and social engagement
- Meal preparation, nutrition, and issues with appetite
- Memory issues (immediate, short-term, and long-term)
- Problems with orientation (day, time, year, location, etc.)
- Safety issues including leaving the stove on, not hearing smoke alarms, etc.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A power of attorney (POA) should be written up as a means of protecting personal affairs. Family caregivers should locate these documents and, if they are not drafted, encourage parents to complete them immediately. It may be necessary to consult with a financial advisor, notary, or attorney to complete this process.
There may be community services available for aging parents within their area while they are receiving in-home care. By simply contacting the agency on aging within the area they live, they could be able to provide services based upon the inventory completed by the family caregiver.
For those parents who are veterans, it’s also important for children to contact the Veteran’s Affairs Office. There, information will be provided with regards to what services and benefits are available.
Family caregivers taking on the role as “parent” need a lot of support, especially if their parent decides to age in place with an elder care provider. While home care is becoming more and more popular, supportive services are also becoming more necessary to help families guide their parents down these new paths. This is especially true for families who have parents who have been diagnosed with specific conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Seeking out supportive services and groups help assist with the in-home care transition period is imperative. Social workers can also help with this process, as well.
The Bottom Line:
Transitioning from child to parent is not an easy step for anyone, especially when neither the parent nor the child is ready. However, this is an important milestone when concerns can no longer be dismissed and an elder care provider must be brought on board. When the child becomes the family caregiver and must begin making the decisions in place of the parent, while difficult, it does become easier when done consistently.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in the Northern Colorado Area, please call and speak to the caring staff at Talem Home Care. Call today at (970) 299-9797.