Monica had been caring for her aging father for more than three years. She had never anticipated doing this in her late 40’s or early 50’s, but there she was, spending more and more time and energy looking after him rather than her own growing children, her job, her marriage, and anything else she wants felt was important in her life, too.
As a caregiver, Monica began feeling isolated, separated, cut off from the things that mattered in her life. This happened because she spent more and more time and energy focused on her father rather than her other responsibilities, obligations, and desires of her personal life.
Monica never saw herself as a caregiver, at least at first.
Because her mother had passed away several years ago and her father was moving through his 70’s and dealing with certain health issues, she felt it was her responsibility to take care of him. Her brother lived thousands of miles away and was barely in contact with either of them the last several years.
She couldn’t count on him for help.
She viewed this as her responsibility because her and her father still lived in the same town or general vicinity. Yet, it is no adult child’s responsibility to take care of their aging parent, except within certain cultural expectations and boundaries. But still, just because somebody may have grown up in a certain culture where this expectation is still prevalent, that doesn’t mean they are legally or even morally obligated to sacrifice their own life in their 40s, 50s, or even their 60s to take care of an aging parent.
What could Monica do to make a difference?
The most important thing she could have done was look into home care. Many seniors and their family members don’t even consider this option because they either don’t know much about it, or worry it would give the wrong impression, such as they don’t really care or love this aging senior in their life, or they have misconceptions about it.
It’s easy to get the wrong idea about home care if you have only heard about it through certain stories or news footage. In reality, home care is an incredibly valuable asset that protects aging seniors, supports them in the comfort of their home, and provides a relief point for family members who have been or might have been primary caregivers.
Experience makes a world of difference and Monica could have learned that earlier had she known about home care first.