Five Things to Consider Before Caregiving for Your Parent
1) Do you know their wishes about pain management, daily hygiene, food preferences?
No matter how much we may love our parents, sometimes we really aren’t the right people to care for them on a daily basis. When people say they want to take care of their loved one at home, do they really know what they’re taking on? It’s a 24-hour-a-day commitment, unless you also hire outside help.
2) Even if you have a daytime caregiver, what happens if they get sick and you have a client meeting that day?
Do you have a fall-back plan – someone who can fill in for you in an emergency?
3) Are you prepared to forego your own desires to travel, go out for dinner, enjoy “me time”?
Taking care of a loved one and not building in down time away from caregiving duties is a very common mistake. Everyone needs time off to recharge. The problem is scheduling that time and then actually spending some guilt-free time away.
4) Does your family member want you to take care of them?
Caregiving can be a very intimate experience and can involve a huge loss of privacy. Your loved one may actually feel more comfortable with a paid professional. In addition, many older people hate the thought of being a burden to their children.
5) Are you prepared to watch your parent decline on a day-to-day basis?
Or would it be better to let others take care of their daily needs so you can enjoy quality time with them. I’ve seen too many parent/child, not to mention sibling, relationships deteriorate as a result of caregiving.
Down the road, I don’t want my children to take care of me. I want them to remember me from our years of family vacations, holidays, celebrations, funny experiences and thoughtful conversations.