Caring for your parents and your family at the same time is an exhausting endeavor. You can go from meeting with a care manager at the nursing home to discuss DNR procedures in the morning to a parent-teacher conference at night, all the while trying to keep the information straight and making sure everyone's needs are met.
Even though you are caring for your family, they are still your built-in support system for when you deal with the stresses of caring for your elderly parents. It doesn't matter if you have young children, teenagers, or college-age kids: each can do their part to help ease your burden and allow you to concentrate on the truly important aspects of care.
For instance, if you have a son with a driver's license and a car, you can ask him to take his grandparent to a doctor's appointment if you are unable to make it. You can also drop off your teenager to sit and visit with her grandparents at the assisted living or nursing home.
Knowing you have someone there just spending time with your parents can help put your mind at ease if you can't spend time there yourself.
Even your younger children can help out. Something as simple as making a card to bring the next time you visit, or if your parents live with you, let your children help them with small tasks like getting a glass of water or figuring out how to use the TV (it's amazing what 5- year olds know!).
Most importantly though, make sure your children are aware of what's going on with their grandparents; by having some understanding of what their grandparents are going through, there is a better chance they will have less anxiety and fear than if they were kept in the dark.
Of course, you should keep the information you share age-appropriate. Your high schoolers may understand what it means if you tell them their grandparents have dementia or are suffering from a terminal disease, but your younger children will not. Consult with a pediatrician or school counselor to determine the best course of action, but understand that your children know more than you think they do—so it's always best to be ahead of the curve.
Being a caregiver is not always easy, but by turning to help and support when you need it, you can create a network of resources that can help easy the burden.
Another burden that can be lifted is knowing your parents' wishes, knowing you have a plan in place to pay for their care, and knowing your family will not have to struggle through crisis after crisis.
In addition, your parents will be at ease knowing they won't be a burden to their family and they will be able to leave a legacy behind to their beneficiaries. This peace of mind starts with sitting down with an elder care attorney to review your parents' situation and their future outlook, as well as discussing all of their options for preserving independence, protecting assets, and making it easier for their adult children to manage their affairs.
Remember, time won't always be on your side when dealing with long-term care planning, so we urge you not to wait to make that initial call to an elder care attorney. The team at Grunden Law Office is ready to help lead you through these conversations and decisions so you can have every advantage when it comes to providing your family with the greatest protection and security during your parents' senior years.
Give us a call at 260-969-1177 or visit www.grundenlaw.com