The caregiver and patient relationship is as unique as the individuals existing in each role. The relationship between parents and children evolve from the beginning stages of childrearing to empty nesting, and then on to retirement and end-of-life decisions. At each stage, the individuals shift responsibilities and adapt to the circumstances at hand. Role reversal can happen very quickly when an adult child finds themselves taking over the parental role in the relationship with their elderly parents. It’s common for parents to want their children to take care of them in their old age because they feel comfort and calm with them compared to new caretakers. Family members who assume the role of primary caregiver for their loved ones can start to feel overwhelmed and miss the old family structure that was always there while growing up. It can become a full-time job for many which can easily cause a strain in their relationship. There are several different ways to handle these changes between you and your elderly loved ones and it first starts with honesty and meaningful communication on both sides.
It is very beneficial to speak honestly about any concerns that you have about your senior loved one’s health. Your role as the adult child does not always have to be a caregiver role, but instead, to help your aging parent effectively understand the possible changes that can arise. There are a few signs to look out for if you are starting to feel overwhelmed and no longer in a healthy “child role” with an aging parent according to WebMD:
You start to feel guilty if you are not doing what your parent wants you to do
You feel incapable of saying “no” to requests
You feel controlled
You are not taking responsibility for your own finances or responsibilites
If you have established a healthy role with your aging parent, you can adapt to the changes that are destined to come sooner or later. All relationships change over time, and it is best to acknowledge them and proactively figure out the best solution. You can first start with making new routines and traditions! Some of your fondest childhood memories were spent helping your parents cook dinner and sitting down to eat as a family. As the adult child, mealtime may look a little different from the “head chef” role, but maintaining this positive communal time is an excellent way to bridge the gap of your changing roles.
Elizabeth Hudson, the Editor in Chief of Our State magazine, is currently learning how to handle the switch in roles between herself and her mom as circumstances shift and her mother needs more care. “It’s a strange role reversal; all my life, it was she who fed me,” said Hudson after going to the grocery store to buy foods with the correct nutrients for her mother. Even though things look a little different now for Elizabeth and her mom, she says she is grateful for their meals together and the company of family.
At Harmony Senior Services, we provide the care and necessary support that can often create burdens on loved ones serving as the primary caregiver. Families can enjoy peace of mind knowing their loved ones are receiving professional care from a dedicated team in our Harmony family. The decision to involve a senior living community as a partner in caring for a loved one presents an array of questions. Will this be like the nursing home our grandparents lived in? What if my loved one feels lonely? Is senior living the right kind of elder care for our situation? Harmony is here to help answer these and any other questions your family has. Our communities offer a supportive care environment with a luxury senior living lifestyle you will not find anywhere else. Your loved one will have delicious chef-prepared meals, laundry services, and a full calendar of engaging activities and events. Our passionate team of caregivers works with you and your loved one to ensure that the appropriate level of care is consistently provided at Harmony. We want you to have the freedom to be the kid again and enjoy the precious moments spent with the people you love. At Harmony, your time together can be filled with new traditions, forever memories, and quality time, without feeling overwhelmed or worried by the burdens of care. Contact us today to find the best path for you and your loved one!
Our State Celebrating North Carolina – November 2022. Pg. 8