How to Be a Good Caregiver as an Only Child

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Only Child Caregiver

If you’re part of a large family, sharing the burden of care can be much easier than if you’re an only child taking care of elderly parents. However, even big families will need to reach out for professional care at some point as their aging loved ones begin to require more assistance.

Are you an only child taking care of elderly parents?

Do you feel obligated to be a family caregiver?

Then this blog is for you.

Whether you’ve been a family caregiver for a while or you’re new to caregiving, we have some caregiver tips to share. In this article, we explain family caregiving and offer some advice for caregivers who are only children.

What is Family Caregiving?

Family caregiving is when one family member assumes the responsibilities of caring for an elderly or disabled family member. They shoulder the burdens of physical, emotional, and mental needs, in some cases, indefinitely.

Which family member provides care can look different depending on ever-changing family dynamics. In general, studies have shown that daughters care for aging parents more often than sons. A son caring for elderly mothers and fathers can certainly be the case, which may be your experience; it’s simply not as common. 

Either way, if you’re an only child taking care of elderly parents, you don’t have the option to lean on a brother or sister. The duties and time required from family caregivers are vast, which is why in-home caregivers can be a real gift to only children.

If you’re an only child providing care to an aging loved one, we’re offering some advice for caregivers like you.

Tips on Being a Caregiver as an Only Child

Learning how to be a good caregiver in itself can be a full-time job, especially if you’ve never stepped into a similar role before. Here are some helpful caregiver tips for an only child taking care of elderly parents.

Ask for Help

As the only child taking care of elderly parents, you may feel inclined to bear the weight of family caregiving alone. However, you may be unable to care for aging parents for several reasons, which is perfectly understandable. It’s okay to ask for help while you figure out the extent of your parent’s needs, your personal circumstances, and what to do next.

Most times, the care your elderly parent requires will exceed the abilities of yourself, family members, and friends. Consider reaching out for professional help at an in-home care company to explore your parent’s short- and long-term care options.

Bottom line: You don’t have to care alone. Reach out to your community for emotional support and practical services like meals. Then, contact a home care company to ask questions about the nuances of in-home care, such as personal care services and insurance.

Get Respite Care

The weight of caring can feel much heavier for an only child taking care of elderly parents. 

You don’t have siblings to process with or help you make big life decisions. The person you would typically rely on for wisdom and direction is now the one you’re making decisions for, which can feel overwhelming on multiple levels.

Additionally, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself when all of your energy is spent caring for another. Caregiving is tiresome and stressful. You serve all day and sometimes all night, supporting the most intimate needs of a loved one. 

Allow yourself to step away and reset, so you can avoid burnout and return to your caregiver duties feeling refreshed. Respite care provides a break for full-time family caregivers, so they can rest, run errands, and simply take time to organize their personal life. 

Plan Ahead

Unfortunately, 1 in 4 elderly adults 65 years and older fall each year. Nothing feels worse than being caught off guard. If you’re an only child taking care of elderly parents, the realization that they need full-time care may come as a surprise. 

Life is not static, and things may change in your life suddenly as well. Be proactive and search for in-home care to retain your place as a child to your parents instead of a caregiver. 

If you feel lost, wading through new terminology to find the right level of care for aging parents, we can help.

Professional Caregiving Help and Advice

When a situation is near and dear to our hearts, it can be difficult to reach out for help.

No one wants to be vulnerable about their inabilities, time restraints, financial situation, or family dynamics. Most times, adult children don’t even know what they need because caregiving was never in their vernacular before their elderly parents needed 24-hour care.

Thankfully, you don’t have to know what your parents need before you call.

Stowell care managers can work directly with a child taking care of elderly parents to create tailored elder care solutions for their loved ones. Contact our Care Team to learn more about in-home care services for seniors in Milwaukee, Racine, Waukesha, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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