It’s tough taking care of kids while also balancing the needs of older parents. Parents today are doing it with less time and money than their parents had, earning them the nickname “Generation Squeeze,” as they’re in a position where they’re raising children and looking after their own parents.
Without a family plan, it can also be an untenable position to maintain. Becoming a caregiver to a parent who needs extra assistance can lead to burnout and cause resentment among family members. That’s why it’s so important to have a family plan that you talk about with parents, siblings, and everyone involved.
Not all seniors need much assistance. You may want to weight out the pros and cons of helping your parents age at home. Many people live independently into their 80s and 90s, but there may still be times when they need help. It may be that they need assistance getting around after a trip to the hospital, or they no longer feel comfortable driving. Whatever happens, your whole family should be prepared.
When you have the talk, take all of these factors into consideration.
#1 Senior Housing Options
Senior housing can be a huge relief for both parents and children. With the variety of independent or assisted living options available, senior housing today focuses on residents’ independence and quality of life.
Senior housing offers care and assistance as needed. For many seniors, downsizing from an older house with lots of stairs to an accessible apartment is a huge improvement on its own. Not having to worry about cooking every single meal and grocery shopping can also relieve a significant burden and make independent living that much easier.
Assisted living provides a greater level of care, but all in the service of enabling an independent lifestyle.
#2 Who’s Going to Help?
Going to senior housing might be a big step right away, although it can be a move that makes everyone feel better.
An important part of the discussion should be who’s going to help when seniors begin to need assistance. Typically, close family are the first to step in when an older family member needs help. However, putting all of the responsibility on one sibling or family member can quickly lead to feelings of resentment and burnout.
Even if there is a “primary” caregiver, there should be a plan to support the person who takes on the majority of those responsibilities so that they have time to rest and recharge themselves.
#3 When Do You Accept Change?
One of the toughest parts of eldercare is accepting that a change needs to be made. Older parents can be reluctant to accept help that they genuinely need. It can help if you talk to them to discuss when a change needs to be made and when your plan should be put into action.
It may be when they no longer feel comfortable driving or when they notice themselves not going out as much due to mobility. If you can, try to agree on a sign that it’s time to consider changing things.