The Employee Assistance Office is aware of a growing concern by many University employees: caring for an aging parent. Whether your parent is in a nursing home, hospital or living at home with you and your family, the emotional and physical demands of care giving can be overwhelming. While there is no prescription for the best way to manage your role as a care giver, the following suggestions may help you cope with your new responsibilities.
- Plan ahead while parents are healthy. Talk about what their plans are and what they would like to have happen. Once plans have been discussed, it will be easier for you if you need to take over, if roles reverse and you begin parenting your parent.
- These transition times can be particularly stressful for the immediate family. It’s not realistic to expect one person to know and do everything in a care giving situation. Make a list of all the weekly “care giving” tasks which need to be accomplished, check off what you can do and seek help from family, friends and professionals to assist with the balance of the tasks.
- Contact community resources. For example, Elder Care of Dane County (telephone: 240-0020) or Independent Living, Care Management (telephone: 274-7900).
- Take care of yourself. Try not to sacrifice your physical or mental health while assisting your loved one. You owe it to yourself to eat properly, exercise, go to the movies, dine out or take a vacation. Call a friend to assist with respite care.
- Contact the Employee Assistance Office (263-2987). Employee Assistance counselors are available for support and encouragement and may be able to help with identifying appropriate resources.
More caregiving resources:
The above information was adapted from the University of Massachusetts Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. We wish to thank them for permission to use this material.