Are you a family caregiver who’s been thinking, “I can’t care for my elderly parents?”
Maybe for geographic, financial, or other reasons you’re physically unable to care for your elderly parents. Or, perhaps you’ve already been looking after your parents for some time, but you’re thinking, “I’m tired of taking care of my parents.” Regardless, being the primary carer for an elderly parent isn’t always easy and can come with a lot of sacrifices. This can be especially true when you have your own family (spouse, kids, etc.) and personal responsibilities.
In addition, you may feel guilty or judged by other family members for being in an “I don’t want to care for my elderly mother or father anymore” mindset. But be assured, this is a position that many caregivers find themselves in, and there are ways to alleviate the stress and provide your aging loved one with quality care.
So, what do you do when you can no longer care for your elderly parents? How do you overcome any guilt for stepping away from caregiving?
In the article, the Care Management experts at Stowell Associates will share advice on what to do when you can no longer care for an elderly parent. You’ll receive tips for relieving yourself of caregiving responsibilities while ensuring your loved one still receives quality care.
I Can’t Care for My Elderly Parents, What Do I Do?
For those wondering “Should I continue to take care of my mom at home?” or thinking “I can’t take care of my elderly mother and father”, it can be challenging to know what to do.
On the one hand, you may feel responsible for your parents, and the guilt of stepping away could keep you from finding a new solution. On the other hand, it may not be healthy for you or your loved one if you keep providing ongoing care yourself.
So, what do you do when you’re unable to care for an elderly parent?
Here are four ways to move forward when you reach the point of saying, “I’m tired of taking care of my parents. What can I do?”
1. Recognize That Your Feelings Are Valid
The first step to take in the process is to recognize that your feelings and emotions are valid.
If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, or guilty about any part of the caregiving process that’s okay. Many family members who provide care to an elderly loved one experience these emotions at some point.
Reaching the point of thinking, “I don’t want to be a caregiver anymore to my elderly parents” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can often be a great time to start rethinking your parents’ care and looking for alternatives. It may be that you and your aging loved one can experience a better quality of life with a different form of care.
When you realize that you don’t want to be the primary carer for an elderly parent, simply accept your feelings and use them as motivation to find a better care solution for your loved one.
2. Talk to Your Loved One and Other Family Members
Once you’ve recognized and accepted that your feelings are valid, you can move on to step two: having conversations with your loved one and other involved family members (often siblings).
To help the conversations bear fruit, it’s important to:
- Clearly communicate your thoughts and feelings
- Listen and try to understand others’ emotions and desires (and hopefully your family will do the same for you)
- Be willing to step away from heated arguments and return at a later time
As you approach your family with the topic of who should look after the elderly loved ones in your lives, there may be some conflict and a resolution may not come about immediately. Staying patient and keeping the conversation going can help lead to breakthroughs.
You may eventually need to make decisions on your own. But hopefully, your family will support your decision to stop caring for your parents and you can move on to step three together.
3. Brainstorm and Consider Other Care Possibilities
Whether your family responds favorably to your desire to stop being your parent’s primary carer or not, you’ll want to start brainstorming and looking into alternative care options for your loved one.
Some elder care options include:
- Having siblings or other family members help provide care
- Moving a loved one into an elder care facility
- Hiring in-home caregivers to look after your loved one
However, you may not be sure about the pros and cons of each of these options or which would be best for your loved one. You can always reach out to an elder care expert to get their advice.
4. Connect with a Professional Geriatric Care Manager
Talking with a geriatric care manager is a great way to get professional insight into your caregiving situation. You can talk with them and ask them questions, like:
- Should I care for my mom or dad at home?
- Who should look after the elderly loved ones in my family?
- What should I do when I can’t take care of my mom or dad anymore?
- How do I handle caregiver guilt?
As you ask a care manager questions and share your feelings/thoughts with them, they come alongside you to:
- Provide you with valuable care resources
- Identify the best options for your individual situation
- Support you through decision-making processes
- Aid with family conflict if it arises
The care manager’s goal is to help relieve your caregiver burden and improve your aging loved one’s quality of life.
Connect with a Care Manager Today
When it comes to looking after an elderly parent, there can be many challenges. Even if you live near or with your aging parents, you may not be able to look after them.
So, what do you do when you can no longer care for an elderly parent?
For anyone looking after an aging loved one who’s thinking “I can’t take care of my elderly parent anymore”, you can take these four steps:
- Recognize that your feelings and desires are valid
- Talk to your aging loved one and other family members
- Brainstorm and consider care alternatives
- Connect with a geriatric care manager
Here at Stowell Associates, we have a team of expert Care Managers ready to talk you through your caregiving experience. Whether you’ve been looking after a loved one for a while and have recently thought “I don’t want to be a caregiver anymore” or are just starting to care for your aging loved one, our care managers have the resources and experience to assist you.
Stowell Care Managers can also connect you to professional in-home caregivers at our partner company, TheKey.
Contact us today to talk with a Care Manager and learn more about how they can benefit you and your elderly loved one.