Supporting an aging parent or relative is never easy. But it seems like this responsibility gets tougher by the day. Costs keep going up, and support keeps going away. If you’re struggling with elder care, you’re not alone.
The Sandwich Of Care
The task of caring for aging relatives right now is falling heavily on family members. In particular, people who we affectionately refer to as the ‘sandwich generation’, caught between the demands of both child care and elder care, bear the brunt of the burden (according to Janet Kim, communications director for Caring Across Generations).
My mother and father are a ways off from needing any assistance right now, but I saw first-hand how having to care for someone else full time affected my dad. His aging and disabled brother needed full-time in-home care and it really took a toll on my father.
Having to constantly be available to administer medications, ensure his brother’s safety, and keep him fed and clothed not only affected my dad financially but also mentally — and he doesn’t even have little kids at home to take care of anymore. Imagine if you had to do all of that while simultaneously raising your kids!
When you have young kids at home the idea of having to care for your aging parents can seem overwhelming. So what options are out there?
One thing that works for me and my sister is that we have a plan. We discussed in advance what to do if and when our parents are unable to care for themselves. Having a plan in advance can ensure that there are no surprises and sibling squabbles don’t cause problems.
Elder Care – Planning For The Future
Even if your parents are a few years away from needing care it never hurts to have a plan in place. Some things to think about are:
- Who will handle medical decisions?
- Do your parents have enough financial resources to live on their own?
- Will you provide in-home care or will they need to be placed in a home?
- Will your parents need to move in with you?
- What will the extra costs be to house, clothe, and feed your parents?
- What resources are available to help you along the way?
The Future Of Elder Care In Wisconsin
I can only speak to the state I live in, but I’m sure many states around the nation face similar problems with rising costs and lack of support.
If you’d like more info on how you can affect change toward more affordable elder care, check out familyfriendlywisconsin.org to see how you can help.
About Family Friendly Wisconsin
Hardworking Wisconsin families are feeling the squeeze. Skyrocketing costs for prescription medicines, childcare, and elder care are making it harder than ever to get ahead and sometimes even pay the bills at all.
That’s why Family Friendly Wisconsin is building grassroots support to pass commonsense laws that make Wisconsin a healthier, more affordable place to live, work, and raise a family.
Want to read more? Check out my article on Taking Care of Aging Parents.
This article is Paid for by the Sixteen Thirty Fund.