Caring for Aging Parents: When Life Gets In The Way And Promises Go Unfulfilled
Life rarely goes exactly the way we want it to.
Especially as we move into our elder years. It is not at all uncommon for those people we have referred to as our parents to become frail, vulnerable and actually die. And, the tough part is that both parents don’t always pass on at the same time or even close to the same time. Very often, one spouse gets left behind and we find ourselves caring for aging parents.
Whether both parents slip into old age together or not, whether one departs earlier than the other or not, children are often expected to become caregivers for their aging parents. It isn’t always a welcome task.
Many times in the past, people would have children with the express intent of having someone to care for them when they got old.
I imagine some people still do have this in mind when they start their families. Often the adult children think they will be able to step in to help their parents during this end of life stage. Caring for their aging parents is absolutely something they want and plan to do.
But, as I said in the beginning, life rarely goes the way we’d like it to…
Children promise they will come to visit weekly when one of their parents dies. But, then, life happens. The kids get sick, the job is demanding, the spouse has to go on a business trip, ad infinitum. And the aging parent rarely sees the children or the grandchildren.
Caring for aging parents isn’t always easy or convenient. And this isn’t your “fault.”
If the adult children can’t bring the parent to live in their home, they begin to start conversations about moving the parent into an assisted living facility or nursing home. This creates anxiety and stress in the aging parent.
This scenario can be much easier to handle if parents and their adult children have the tough conversations about aging and decline before the fact. If everyone knows the wishes of the parents and there is a written legal plan – an estate plan that covers all of these things – in place, both parents and adult children can navigate this vulnerable time as gracefully as possible.