Too often we underestimate the time obligation of caregiving. Adult children step up to be the primary hands-on caregiver having no idea that they may spend as much time caring for their parents as they spent raising their children.
We tend to think that we can burn the candle at both ends—that we can do it all. We think we can manage kids, career, spouse, house, and parents. If caregiving were sprint, we could probably do it all. Unfortunately, it’s not. Caregiving is a marathon that can last as many years as you spent raising your children. From the time you receive that fateful emergency call, through caregiving and mourning, you could easily spend 15 years focused on the health and well-being of your parents.
Further, this race is no one man show, but rather a relay race. Your team will consist of siblings, an attorney or two, doctors, financial advisors, clergy, neighbors, geriatric specialists, and more. Ask them all for help. Encourage them to notify you if they have concerns. Remember to have the HIPPA compliant releases signed so you can access your parents’ medical records and speak freely to the professionals providing care. Work with your parents to obtain a Power of Attorney (POA) before you think you need one. Engaging the assistance of an attorney who specializes in eldercare will help you assure you have covered all your parents’ needs and concerns.
Caregiving is certainly a marathon, but if you prepare for the race, you will prevail.