Being a caregiver to aging parents is a tough job no matter how you look at it, but being an only child makes it that much more difficult. When you’re the only one your parent(s) can call on, it makes it that much easier for you to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and to neglect your own needs. It’s a recipe for disaster for everyone involved, so we have some tips on how you can take care of yourself and maintain a sense of balance in your life as an only child caregiver.
- Talk to Your Employer
If you’re the only one available to take care of your parents (whether because you have no siblings or because they all moved away), it can feel like the only option is to quit your job entirely in order to take care of your parents, but that’s not always the best move. In many cases, our parents need the most help when we’re in our 40s or 50s and at the height of our career, which makes taking a break from our career very damaging. Some people even end up taking money out of their own retirement account so they can cover their financial needs while they take care of their parents, but that puts their own retirement and long-term care needs at risk.
Instead, talk to your employer to see if they offer any Employee Assistance Programs to help pay for you to hire a care manager to help you make decisions about things like in-home care vs. assisted living for your parents.
There’s also the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is a federal law that requires employers to hold jobs for workers who are taking care of sick or injured family members for a defined amount of time.
Respite care is another option. This is where you arrange for a friend, neighbor, family member, or in-home caregiver to take a shift while you take a day, or even just a few hours off to go take care of yourself. Whether that means doing chores around your own house, going to see a movie, or spending time with friends, it’s important to do whatever will give you energy to face your next shift as caregiver.
- Have a Support Network
You might not even be aware of all the resources for support you have around you. Friends, family members and neighbors are all willing to jump in and help out at a moment’s notice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it because the response just might surprise you.
- Use Volunteers
Not enough people know about all the volunteer organizations that are available to help out. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is one such volunteer organization that provides senior companion resources and other volunteer-based services designed to help caregivers with aging family members.
- Consider Assisted Living
Despite the stigma that still exists around assisted living, it’s often the best option for seniors who are no longer fully capable of taking care of themselves. No matter how hard you try, there may come a time where you can’t do everything yourself, and that’s when it’s time to consider the benefits of assisted living. Not only do we help care for your loved one, we also provide a community of peers for them and resources for you to help you through the process. Call now to speak to one of our representatives about whether Stillwater Senior Living is right for your loved one.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.