How Caring for Your Elderly Parent Impacts Your Health

As children to our parents, there is an unspoken responsibility that we have to take care of them when we grow older. However, there are certain effects on our own physical and mental health that can be sabotaged by our love for our parents.

Financial Effects

Caring for aging parents often means extra costs related to home health care, a medical expense not covered by insurance, and extra insurance premiums but some families explore options for financial support that can make family life more enjoyable because there is no shame in utilizing what support is out there because this can help ease financial stress and increase the productivity of each working individual in the family.

The cost of taking care of your parents is incomparable to the love, care, and support they have given you through the years. It is a good idea to invest in the right methods such as homecare facilities to balance out your needs and financial capability.

Structural Effects

When living with your aging parents or assume a high amount of daily care for them, you experience a change in your family roles. The shift in the family structure and hierarchy related to matriarch or patriarch no longer being their role thus someone new to take their place and responsibility along with it.

This effect also comes with the dynamic of having more open communication with each family member to what they can do to help in caring for their parent or grandparent and how can they do it, this can promote stronger bonds with each family member and promote better communication with everyone.

Physical Effects

Prioritizing parents’ care can ease their pain and worry but might impact your health. The time and effort of keeping up with parents’ care mean you may visit your doctor less, time pressure might result in caregivers and their children skipping exercise and eating more convenience foods, which contributes to poor fitness and weight gain.

But as you manage your time wisely and effectively you can care for yourself, your family, and your parents at the same time.

Positive Effects

When you care for aging parents, you might feel as if you are in a rut. This in turn affects your family life, creating an environment of bitterness and resulting in more criticism and complaining. However, some families have the opposite experience by creating what is described as a positive “wiring” in their brains to produce more potentially positive outcomes.

These people reflect on what makes them feel good for caring for their aging parents. They consider what moments in their days make them smile. They revel in the moments with loved ones that increase their sense of self-worth and they end up creating closer bonds with both the older and younger generations.

Conclusion

Caring for your aging parents prompts a range of impulses and emotions. The common responses include “Guilt for not being able to do more for parents; anger for having to set aside your own needs or shift your priorities; and fear and anxiety.”

Positive emotional effects of caring for aging parents are “enrichment that comes with relationships between grandparents and grandchildren; increased opportunity to pass on stories and knowledge to younger generations; and [the] younger generations having a sense of being able to give back to parents and grandparents for the love, and care that they received.”

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