Parenting Vivian | 31 Dec 2010 11:39 am

Caring for Children and Parents at the Same Time

As our population’s life expectancy increases, more and more of us are burdened with the task of caring for our aging parents. This task can be especially difficult if you are an only child, or have your own children at home to take care of.

Being responsible for both your kids and your parents at the same time can be a daunting task, but the following tips can help make it easier.

One rule of thumb is to relax. Don’t panic, or get overly stressed about the situation. If your home is conducive to having your parents stay with you, do so. If they are in good health, having them in your home could be an advantage. Older parents can make great baby-sitters.

Moving your parents into your home is not a decision you should make lightly, or on your own. Make sure that you discuss the possibility with your spouse and children. Having your spouse comfortable with your parents under the same roof is vital to keeping the situation positive. Your children should also realize that they may need to make sacrifices of space to accommodate the new house members as well.

Your parents may, however, be of the mindset that they do not wish to leave their house or apartment. This will require an alternate plan. What this plan entails will depend in part on the age of your children. If your children are small, you may not have the time to devote to caring for your parents outside of your home. In this case, you can contact Meals-On-Wheels, or another social service in order to ensure your parents are cared for properly.

With teenagers, or grown children, they can help share the burden, by making frequent visits to ensure that your parents are eating properly, and have everything they need to remain healthy and independent.

In certain cultures, it is usual for parents to live in their children’s home through the end of their life. Unfortunately, in Western cultures it is more typical to remand aging parents to senior citizens or nursing homes. It can be difficult to make this choice, but for some, there are few options. If your parents are unable to remain in their own home, and their children do not have the space to accommodate them, an institution may be the only option. You can do your part by thoroughly investigating the opportunities available, and making a wise and confident choice.

It is possible to care for both your kids and your parents at the same time, with preparation, discussion and planning. Having siblings that can participate in the decisions can be a great help, but this is often not possible, either because of distance, or disinterest.

Whatever your situation, you can be assured that there are many resources available to help you find the best care for your parents, no matter their health or status.

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