Caregiving and Stress
Contributor
Written by
Doreen McGettigan
January 2015
Contributor
Written by
Doreen McGettigan
January 2015

 Nearly ten-million adult children over the age of fifty are caring for their aging parents. With ten-thousand people turning 65 every day and with the trend expected to continue through the year 2020 the numbers are expected to skyrocket and so will the stress.

More and more women are willing to take a financial hit to care for their aging parents. I left my job for eighteen-months to care for my mother-in- law and most recently have been caring for my father long distance. Leaving my job and family in Philadelphia and traveling to Florida to help my mother care for my father is stressful, it takes a lot of planning and I couldn’t do it without a lot of help and good information.

“I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.”

Midlife Blvd badge

My friends at Midlife Boulevard have been an online lifeline, full of inspiration as well as valuable information throughout my father’s illness.

It is important to build a network when you are caring for a family member, especially long distance. Enlist neighbors, church members and friends. They may be willing to pick up groceries, do home repairs or provide meals. Ask friends and family members that are not in the area to make scheduled calls, send cards and handwritten notes and care packages. Many people want to help and if you are like me, when someone offers it is so hard to say yes and then tell them what you need. You need to accept whatever help, is offered.

If you are considering hiring outside help, ask everyone in your network online and in real life for recommendations. Even if you can only hire someone for a few hours a week, those few hours will give you peace of mind.

 

Another way to alleviate stress before it happens is to create a list of where things are in the house in case of an emergency. You want to list the location of the electric panel, the water shut- off valve, have an emergency contact list that includes family to be called (in order) doctors, plumber, electrician, preferred hospital,  medications, location of extra keys, pets names and schedules etc… It is a lot of work but in an emergency this information will be priceless.

The most important thing you can do for your loved one as their caregiver is to take care of yourself. Accept or ask for help so you can rest, get out for a walk or just to get out and have lunch with a friend.

My Parents in Florida

While caregiving it is easy to get lost in the business. Remember to sit with your loved one and just be. Watch an old movie, listen to their favorite music with them and reminisce.  These are the memories that will matter most to you.

Another valuable resource for me has been the community of caregivers and experts put together by AARP aarp.org/caregiving.

 

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