Christmas is a great time to have a check-in to see how seniors and their children are each managing. This is a conversation that should go in both directions, with consideration of everyones input and feelings.
Adult children can inquire about how their parent(s) are managing in their home or retirement community. Are they eating well and getting regular social contact? Do they need any help taking care of the house, getting to appointments, managing their medications or with personal care such as bathing, dressing, cooking? Is one parent the primary caregiver for the other? If so, how are they managing?
Conversely, seniors can inquire about how their adult children are managing. If the ‘kids’ are helping with any caregiving tasks, are they managing with those tasks? Are they balancing their work, family and other commitments? Do the adult children know who the parents power of attorney and personal directive agent are and where to find the will? Are the adult children comfortable that they know their parents wishes regarding medical intervention or housing choices. Relationships are best preserved by making sure everyone is comfortable in their roles.
It is common for both spousal caregivers and adult children caregivers to under-recognize how challenging being a caregiver can be. Providing regular support with meals, groceries, laundry, transportation to appointments, personal care and financial or household management can start to negatively impact one’s own health and wellness. If the caregiver is feeling overwhelmed then it is important to seek help. It might be time to bring outside support into the home and/or discuss options for care in an alternate location such as a retirement community.
Keeping the lines of communication open helps families to be proactive in making plans for the future and ensuring everyone stays healthy and happy.