The Stress of Caregiving
As our parents, friends, and relatives age into elderhood, their lives and our lives change in
often unexpected ways. The independence of a parent, so consistent over the decades, can
decline quickly with something as simple as an ankle-twist, a bout of the flu or falling prey to a financial scheme . Though our parents, or other loved ones, may seem invincible when we were younger, it is an adjustment when they start to require more care and more attention that we are used to.
Being a caregiver, whether as a friend or as a child or relative, is a challenging role that not
everyone handles the same way. Caregiving can be as simple as driving an elder parent to the grocery store twice a week, or as complex as handling a wide variety of medications and
treatments. No matter how dense or how simple, taking on this particular role can take a toll on our own stress levels, especially if we are unfamiliar with the process of aging safely and
One of the best things you can do for an elder relative who is starting to need more attention
and care paid to their life and health needs is to consult with a geriatric care manager. Geriatric care managers, or “GCM”s, (also called aging life care professional) are well-versed in the multitude of issues that can arise (and be prevented!) in elderhood. Here at Senior Steps, our GCM team is very familiar with the process of aging and the complex navigation required through multiple different organizations to ensure a healthy, fulfilling elderhood for our parents and relatives.
It’s important to remember that caring for an elder relative does not have to be an extremely
stressful or painful process. Although it can be challenging to first deal with an issue in an elder parent that has never arisen before, such as memory problems or coordination issues, don’t forget there are hundreds of resources for dealing with both the problem itself and your own well-being. Caregivers are never alone, and working with a geriatric care manager (even for a brief and inexpensive, even complimentary, consultation) can do wonders to get a handle on the challenge and ensure a happy healthy elderhood.