You’ve left the office on time for once, determined to pick up the kids early and get them to your daughter’s dance class, then on to your son’s hockey game. You’ll have to pick up dinner on the way, but they are used to eating in the car twice a week when commitments overlap. It’s doable, barely, until your phone rings. It’s the lady who lives next to your father, and she says he’s slipped on the icy sidewalk out front. Can you come check on him right away, she asks?
Twice last month, you had to have a girlfriend pick up your kids from school so you could drive him to appointments. This time, you know it’s likely a visit to urgent care, and who knows what might come afterward? You hadn’t realized he wasn’t able to keep the sidewalk clear on his own anymore – when did that stop? You try to remember if you noticed any other changes the last time you were there, but it’s all a blur.
This is the reality of many working families in Canada, and the problem is only growing larger.
Busy parents are not just responsible for their children and jobs, they also have a pressing need to care for their senior parents. Senior care can be stressful for families to provide on an ongoing basis, and nearly impossible after a health crisis or serious diagnosis. And yet, many families put off conversations about available resources and care options until the strain is nearly unmanageable.
It’s not just a lack of time, stress, or guilt that can burden adult children of seniors. While they may delay discussions about home care in the hopes of avoiding expense, there are other costs to waiting. There can be serious repercussions to holding off on getting help with care, including disruption to career and income, further adding strain to families.
The baby boomers are aging, and their numbers are significant when compared to history.
Population projections indicate that by 2026, one in five Canadians will be 65 or older, up from one in eight in 2001. This means there will be fewer adults to care for a large senior population, as well as a society that has yet to adjust in ways that might make the caregiving easier. Most working adults struggle to balance family demands, and have yet to see workplace benefits that allow them to take the time they would need to care for a senior parent.
Many adult children eventually realize that private in home care is the support they were so desperately needing to help pull their families out of the overwhelm.
Once a caregiver is chosen and things settle into a routine, most families wish they had made the decision sooner. Homecare for a senior parent does not reduce the relationship or involvement with their mom or dad at all, but simply removes the worry and guilt. No longer are visits scattered and unplanned, and dictated by illness or crisis. Consistent care by experienced caregivers will free both senior parents and their children from the anxiety often present when all they can do is react.
You flip through an album with your father, sipping a cup of tea and laughing at a shared memory prompted by a childhood photo. Your weekend visits are now relaxed conversation, catching up on news of the children and people back home. Smiling at the muffins on the counter, you realize his caregiver must have been by with fresh groceries yesterday. You pop two on a plate and bring them out for you as your father mentions a new prescription his doctor recommended. You smile to yourself, as you already knew from the last update from the homecare office, but it’s nice to have the chance to chat about it so you know how he’s feeling. You wonder why it took you so long to accept help, and are thankful for the chance to enjoy your visits like you used to.
Have questions or feedback for us on what you just read? Please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to chat with you.
When you can’t be there to check in on your senior mom or dad or see for yourself how things are going, our caregivers can offer valuable reassurance.
~ Senior Homecare by Angels Calgary team