Feeling Torn Between Caring for Your Children and Your Parents

Jennifer’s mother, Katherine, lives with her, her husband, and their two children. Katherine is mentally fine, but physically she needs a lot of care; her needs are increasing, and she requires assistance from her daughter to lift things, bathe, and dress.  Jennifer’s children have lots of activities and homework that they need help with, as well, and her husband travels a lot for work.  Jennifer often feels caught in the middle between her mother and her children, both of whom need her time and attention.

What happens when, like Jennifer, you have your own family, and one or both of your parents are showing signs of their advancing age and need your help? Perhaps they are no longer able to drive safely, or may need help around the home. You now have many demands on your time and energy. How can you make the right choices to be available for both your parents and your children? Below are some steps you can take to achieve balance:

1.    Admit to yourself that you can’t be everything to everyone at all times.
2.    Determine the needs of your children and look into resources that may be available to help you. Jennifer, in our example above, can get help with childcare, sign her children up for an afterschool enrichment program, and/or carpool with other parents to bring children to activities.
3.    Get help for mom and/or dad, so that you are not the only one who is seeing to their needs. If Jennifer’s parents have extended family, perhaps there are others that can get involved. If she is lucky enough to have siblings in the area, sharing the responsibility could be a big help. If the budget will allow, she could hire an aide or companion to check on her mother, do light housekeeping and cooking, and give her some companionship.
4.    Another alternative is to consider assisted living, where meals are served in the dining room, housekeeping and laundry services are provided, and there are numerous activities and outings for seniors to enjoy. Seniors in assisted living facilities have the option of living independently, yet they can request additional services, such as assistance with bathing and dressing and other needs, as it becomes necessary.

Many decisions in life demand that we make difficult choices. If you feel sandwiched between your children and your mom and/or dad, you shouldn’t have to choose; you love them all. Be sure that you make whatever plans are necessary and plan ahead so that you can ensure their well-being while allowing yourself to enjoy the loving moments with everyone.

Since Katherine, in our example, is starting to need assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing, she is on what is called the “Long-Term Care Continuum”. Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection is the process of protecting assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into a nursing home, while also helping ensure that you or your loved one get the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. Nursing homes in Northern Virginia cost $12-$14,000 per month. Learn how you can help your parents protect their hard-earned assets and preserve their dignity and quality of life at the same time. Call the Fairfax Estate Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. today at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.