Why Family Care isn't Always the Best Option
When an elderly parent requires care and attention, one of the most obvious solutions is to have a child of that parent care for them. With so many years spent raising a child, caring for them, and guiding them along it just seems natural that children return the favor.
These scenarios may conjure up endearing scenes of a multi-generational household, where maybe grandparents help with the childcare and schooling while the parents are out at work. Everyone gathers around the table for a set dinner time and maybe even a board game or two before bed. While some variation of these scenarios are possible, the realities of our modern lives hardly make them the standard for all families. The truth is every family is different and have their own way of doing things that fits their respective lifestyles and schedules.
Complications of Family Care
Many of us live at some distance from our parents and the ability to just stop by and regularly say hi isn’t quite the same as it once was, especially in Houston. If aging in place at home isn’t an option for an aging parent, there has to be a decision made as to whether to relocate them or ourselves. Either option yields some issues for different parties.
To move an aging parent from their home can mean a great deal of stress and there may be a long period of push back from a parent. Moreover, relocating an aging parent doesn’t just move them from their place of comfort and security, but it also removes them from any social networks they rely on for friendship and a sense of community. On the other hand, there is the decision to uproot ourselves in order to be closer to them. This could mean longer commutes to and from work and removing ourselves from our social networks and communities. This option can lead to burnout as one takes on the additional job of being a caretaker, while removing themselves from their usual environment and routine that is necessary for relieving stress and maintaining mental health.
Family relationships and dynamics can sometimes be as turbulent and disorderly as any other interpersonal relationship, if not more. And unfortunately for the caregiver and recipient relationship, this can be at a serious detriment to providing and receiving good care. It’s disingenuous to believe that the dynamics of a parent caring for a child is the same as a child caring for a parent. That simply isn’t the reality. As adults, this kind of caregiving relationship requires agreeing to a different kind of relationship that will inevitably place stress on their connection. This strain is something to keep in mind when considering caring for an aging loved one.
Better Social Care
While many, many families do provide care for aging parents, it’s not something that comes easily or by any means free. The stressors to their relationship noted above, as well as the difficulties in the logistics of commutes, doctor visits, and medications will inevitably wear on a caregiver. Especially when they have their own life and work demands to fulfill.
Moreover, the truth is, not every household has the space or availability to care for an aging parent. The complexities of an aging person can become such that it simply doesn’t make sense to have them cared for in their children’s family home. They might be too frail to be around the family pets, or even younger children. They might require walk-in showers, accessible bedrooms, or chair lifts for navigating the stairs.
This is where aging-in-place services like those that we offer here at Christian Companions can help fill the gap. By offering services like having a professional caregiver provide personalized and attentive care for an aging parent, you can focus on your relationship and keep your bond strong. Please reach out to us today if you’re interested in learning more about aging-in-place services in the Houston area.