Aging and the Caregivers

The “Golden Years” are idealized as our reward for a lifetime contributing to society through work and family. But for the aging, the transition from independence to dependence is often debilitating, heartbreaking. Our increasing dependence on caregivers for such simple tasks as getting in and out of bed, of constantly risking a fall, can be very frustrating and depressing.

But it is not just the parent struggling with reducing physical ability that is dealing with the impact of the change. For the grown child now responsible for caring for the aging parent who may also find the transition, the role-reversal, stressful and depressing. The more dependent the parent, the greater the burden on the caretakers own life. And the stress involved may also stress the caregiver’s marriage and family.

As aging and the loss of ability for self-care increases places increasing responsibility on the child-caregiver acceptance that the parent would better benefit from services available from  an assisted living facility or nursing home may itself increase feelings of guilt, further increase guilt in the caregiving child, impact on spouse and family relationships.

 

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