One of the more difficult transitions we make in life is when the roles reverse between parents and their adult children. It goes from them guiding us through life to our efforts of guiding them through their golden years. It can be difficult transition to seeing them as indestructible forces in our universe to protecting them from countless unfamiliar realities, including dementia or Alzheimer’s. The importance of family in elder care can’t be underestimated.
It’s not uncommon for one sibling to take the lion’s share of dealing with his parents’ day to day lives, including shopping, finances, doctors’ appointments and more. That one sibling might also be the one who ensures Medicaid or Medicare is in place as well as overseeing their social security benefits.
Moving parents into our homes is the obvious solution for many. Some seniors are able to age in place and for others, nursing home care is the best solution. No one wants to place their parents into the care of someone else, though it’s often necessary. Believe it or not, some parents prefer a nursing home for a number of reasons.
Mom might be happier in a setting where there aren’t small children. It could be that she feels safer knowing medical personnel are just down the hall. Sure, she will have to get used to her new surroundings, too, but if you can get past those first days, you might be able to see the advantages. Even if it’s not the best solution, there may be other options, especially if you have siblings nearby and provided they’re willing to help.
If you are feeling as though you’re shouldering it all, prepare yourself for the resentment that’s sure to come; it’s human nature. It’s not unusual for a sibling to think because she sends money each month that the sibling left to care for the parents should feel grateful. As you know, it’s never “just” about the money. You go through the days, convinced that when the time comes, you’ll be the one who can live with no regrets because you did, indeed, spend the vast majority of your time with Dad. But that doesn’t ease the resentment. If you’ve not tried speaking to your siblings, it’s always wise to get past it and have an open talk. They may honestly not know just how overwhelmed you are. When caregiving issues come up, families need to get together early and if Mom can communicate, her voice should be heard as well.
Even if they can’t be there during the day to day events, it might be that you can work, as a group, to find solutions in other areas. For instance, your brother may have a more flexible work schedule and can easily take a few hours off to get your dad to his doctor’s appointment. Your sister may be a paralegal and can go with your father to meet with the estate planning lawyer or she may be able to take the Medicaid paperwork off of your shoulders.
Finally, for some, it just never pans out in the right way: no matter how patient they try to be as they explain to a sibling that they need help, there are those who simply don’t get it – whether it’s because they can’t or they simply don’t. In those cases, it’s better to recognize it for what it is and not spend a lot of energy trying to change that person. It’s exhausting for you and serves no purpose in the long run.
To learn more about elder care, contact The Zimmer Law Firm today.