Whether by choice or by default you will find yourself the designated caregiver, you will have signed on for the most challenging role of your life. It is an honorable position - never lose sight of that. If you are patient and kind to yourself, both you and your parent will benefit.
Do you occasionally think about long-term care but feel your parent is "doing just fine" most of the time? Denial can leave you ill prepared for future events. For the majority of us, denial will be the first hurdle we deal with as we step in as caregivers. As adult children, we don't always look too closely at our parents' developing needs because it's easier not to confront them.
When placing a family member in long-term care, feelings emerge that can be confusing and overwheling. Each family brings its own dynamic to the situation. Those with no options often feel trapped and angry. Anger in adult children can also act as a holding patten against sadness and grief.
Adult children often feel sad and anxious about the future. Adult children fear the burden of caregiving. If you can recognize that you and your parents are going through a similar process, the shared fear and uncertainty can build a stonger bond between you as you help one another answer questions together.
No matter how old we are, parents give us a sense of place in the social order. Even if you no longer go to them for advice, it is a secure feeling knowing that you have parents.
As we become caregivers to our aging parents, we will always experience some guilt. Falling, incontinance, and confusion at night are all signs that your parent needs more care. At this point in your life, are you able to provide your parents with all the care they need? As caregivers, we find ourselves attemping to solve all of our children's problems and our parents' problems as well. Most of us can't do it. But we can be our parents' advocate, finding a quality long-term-care facility when it's needed, and we can continue to be actively involved in their healthcare. Guilt, or fear of guilt, can cloud one's ability to make responsible decisions.