Caring for an aging parent or set of parents as an only child can feel overwhelming. You may feel like you’re alone in the world, and that there’s no one you can turn to for help. Where other families may have three or four siblings to shoulder the burden together, you feel that you have to go it alone. This, however, does not have to be the case. It is possible for only children to provide themselves support in this challenging time, and to seek out resources and preparations that can make the process easier.
We have some helpful tips for any only children who may find themselves in this situation.
1. Count your blessings
First, it’s important to remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Before you express sadness and regret that you are your parents only child and that there is no one to share this heavy experience with you, remember that having siblings doesn’t always make the process easier. Siblings fight, siblings shirk their responsibilities, and siblings have contradictory opinions that can overcomplicate the situation and escalate tensions in a situation where that’s the last thing you need. Yes, the responsibility can be crushing to take on alone, but consider whether it’s worth appreciating that at least no one is arguing with you every step of the way.
2. Only doesn’t have to mean alone
Now that said, you don’t have to go through this process alone, and there are no shortage of resources that are not siblings that can be available to you. Whether that’s other relatives, like cousins or your parents own siblings, friends and neighbors from down the street if you live in a close community, or even a support group that you seek out for help—you are not alone, and you shouldn’t be isolated during this difficult time. Making the effort to connect with people who can help can make a world of difference.
3. Roadmap of documentation
For practicality’s sake, make sure that you have your roadmap of legal documentation prepared beforehand. This roadmap is a collection of the legal documents and information on insurance coverage and other legal items, including Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will. This will ensure that everyone is informed ahead of time of the proper course of actions and that you as the caregiver are informed of the available financial resources.
4. Seek out life care manager resources
There are lots of resources available to you as an only child caregiver, whatever your desired or needed level of support may be. If you find that your financial, familial, or career situation is such that you are unable to take on as much responsibility, a life care manager can be an excellent solution for your caregiving needs. If you need a support group, there are chat rooms and other online resources for whatever your situation may be.
One of the greatest challenges of caregiving can be dealing with other adult children, and mediating the conflicts that may arise. You, as an only child, don’t have to deal with this additional stressor, but can instead build your own support network that matches your own exact needs. MIR Senior Care Management & Care Consultants is committed to providing support for caregivers. If you are struggling, give us a call today.