Caring for a parent will forever alter the relationship. When a person takes care of a loved one, often they have to forego the typical parent-child relationship. Most of their interactions will revolve around caregiving, so it causes a role reversal within the relationship. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care, many times on top of holding a full-time job. This number increases to 44.6 hours per week if the parent lives with them. Caring for a parent and holding a full-time job, keeping up a household, and caring for other family members like children can lead to something called caregiver burnout. This increased amount of responsibility and stress leads children to find an alternative means of getting their parent care, like senior living.
As a parent moves into a senior living community, like a Franklin Park Senior Living community, their relationship with their child will again go through a change. This transition back to having a more traditional parent-child relationship can take some adjusting. Here are some tips to help improve this relationship after a parent moves into a community.
Let Go of the Guilt – Family caregivers sometimes experience a sense of guilt. Most guilt revolves around that they were not able to provide an adequate amount of care for their parent or guilt about encouraging them to move into senior living. This sense of guilt is unnecessary and self-imposed. Since it has been recognized that professional help is required and have made steps to introduce that help – guilt should be let go. This chapter of life is an emotional one, try and mitigate any unnecessary stress.
Plan Out a Special Day – Franklin Park Senior Living communities allow residents to leave the community with their family members whenever they want. To help rekindle and reaffirm the parent-child relationship, schedule a day with fun activities. Some suggestions include a nice lunch, movie, a walk outdoors, or a spa day. Because the relationship has centered around caregiving for so long, these fun and superfluous activities were probably few and far between.
Spend the Day at the Community – Another recommendation to rebuild the parent-child relationship is to spend the day at the senior living community. Doing this activity provides the child with insight into how their parent spends their day. This also helps alleviate guilt and gives peace of mind that the parent is well taken care of in their new home. Most communities, including Franklin Park Senior Living communities, encourage family members to visit and participate in activities.
Be a Kid Again – If the relationship is still strained and is still revolving around the parent’s care, try and purposely shy away from those conversation topics when possible. We recommend focusing on having natural family discussions like what happened during the day, how other family members are doing, and friendships. Even if they seem like mundane details, it harkens back to conversations had for many years over the dinner table.
Do you find yourself struggling as a family caregiver? We would love to meet you and your parent. Stop by one of our communities or attend one of our caregiver support meetings. You can start by finding your local Franklin Park Senior Living community.