What happens when you can't take care of an elderly parent?

Being the primary caregiver for an aging loved one can lead to burnout. Talking to family members is the first step in making a change. Everyone is required to care for their elderly parents. Yes, you can refuse to care for your elderly parents.

However, filial liability laws require children to provide their parents with clothing, food, housing, and medical care. In the United States, each state has its own laws that require children to care for their aging parents. As we age and experience more health and mobility problems, we tend to avoid seeing our friends and participating in the activities we enjoy. Encourage your elderly mother or father to call their friends and meet with them. Ask them if they are pursuing any hobbies or if they attend church or local events.

If you find that they withdraw and stay home more often, find out why. It could be a mental block or a more serious health problem that they haven't yet shared with you. This type of care encourages independence, happiness, and a sense of familiarity by recognizing older people's desire to age in the comfort of their homes. It may seem impossible, but it's hard to be a good caregiver when your own wellness tank is empty.

Fortunately, there are ways to care for an aging parent and alleviate the feeling of guilt about being away from him and, at the same time, ensure that he gets the level of care he needs as he ages. Once you've accepted that your parents need care, the next step is to figure out how to tell them the news. Even if you can care for your elderly father or mother or have them live with you, their needs can become so demanding that you'll need help. It's normal to feel guilty when you decide to stop caring for a loved one, but there are other ways to see this change. In 30 states, an adult is responsible for caring for their older parents when they can't care for themselves.

In addition to the legal implications of not being able to care for someone, there are other resources to consider. Support the primary caregiver with words of encouragement, listening closely and supporting them financially, if possible. The local agency on aging may recommend a geriatric care manager, elder mediator, or family therapist to facilitate your conversation. Whoever you meet, make sure they have referrals and can also provide you with supportive care if they're sick or need to go out of town. Once you've talked about your desire to change caregivers, you may, as a family, decide that your aging loved one needs more help than you or your siblings can provide.

Caring for an aging parent may seem like a lonely job, but there are others who are in the same situation and are willing to lend a hand or listen. To avoid potential legal ramifications, it's critical to have a plan of care for your parents in advance. Life is complex and you shouldn't feel guilty if you can't or don't want to take care of your aging parent.

Steve Leinen
Steve Leinen

Typical bacon evangelist. Evil web advocate. Hipster-friendly thinker. Wannabe pop culture buff. Typical travel guru. Proud food specialist.

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