Families all over the world are juggling children, jobs and aging parents in an effort to "take care of their own." There can come a point, though, when the demands created by caring for an aging parent outweigh the logistical, financial or emotional resources available.
It's not uncommon for people to feel they're abandoning a family member or "getting rid" of the problem. Sometimes, these feelings are exacerbated by an older person's shared belief that he or she is being put out of sight and out of mind.
The reality is that a point may come in an elder's care needs when professionals can provide a much safer and healthier environment than a family can. Family members must take leave from jobs, drive great distances daily to help out, and take on the costs of the elder's mortgage, utilities and other bills. Then, there's the cost of home-care nurses, trips to the hospital, ambulance rides and other health-related expenses. Also, when a relative cares for an elder who has sizable needs, not only is the care usually less than that provided by a professional, but the relative has traded one full-time paying job for one full-time non-paying job.
The burden of providing care without outside help can deplete your family's resources and emotion well-being. Before this becomes the case, you should explore the option of placing a disabled relative in a long-term care facility.
For more articles on elder care and aging, please see the links on the next page.