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Navigating life in the middle: How to care for aging parents without losing yourself

Feeling caught in the middle between caring for your aging parents and young family? Nurse Next Door offers in-home support for elderly parents to give you peace of mind
Photo provided by Nurse Next Door

Facing the realities of getting older can be tough to confront for anyone, but it’s an inevitable progression of life. Yet, for many of us, watching our parents age can be a difficult thing to face, especially when they require more comprehensive care. 

Like many of those belonging to the “sandwich generation” - families with both young children and elderly parents - you may be feeling overwhelmed as the two groups require your care and attention.

If the challenges are mounting and you need a solution, Nurse Next Door Homecare offers comprehensive services that provide benefits that flow in both directions.

“Families that are feeling overwhelmed, they need to know there are options out there, and to make a call to find out what they are,” says Carol Lange, owner of Nurse Next Door in the TriCity region. “Sometimes, there are seniors taking care of elders, and they need breaks and an opportunity to enjoy retirement too.”

Starting the conversation

Shifting perspective from your parents being idolized heroes to those needing care can be jarring, and the signs of this transition aren’t always clear. However, some indicators can signal the need for a change. 

Such signs may appear in the home through damage and repairs going untreated or an empty fridge. More personal indications can present as declined physical health or emotional changes, including loss of confidence, depression, or reclusiveness. 

While the topic may be a challenging one to approach with reluctant, elderly parents, there is some help to break the ice.

“The big key is to get a third party professional - a physician or homecare manager - involved in the discussion,” Lange describes. “That helps you to work around the emotions that you and your parent are feeling.”

Such emotions may include the simple fact that your parents still view themselves as your caregivers, making it difficult to accept that the roles may need to be reversed. As such, elderly parents try to reassure their adult children they are fine with their current living arrangements.

“But in many cases they really aren’t,” Lange explains. “For some, they have been increasingly over-depending on their family for quite a while. And their adult children are steadily getting worn down as they try to tend to the mounting responsibilities in their life. And sadly, it can take a crisis event, like the hospitalization of an elderly parent, to bring the subject into focus for everyone.”

The best course of action is to approach the discussion with patience, respect and logic while scheduling care visits to avoid these scenarios from happening.

“If you address the situation early enough, everyone can examine what outside assistance can be provided and how it can make a positive difference to all parties,” Lange says.

At-home comforts meet peace of mind

Photo provided by Nurse Next Door

With Nurse Next Door, elderly parents receive the care they need in their own homes where they feel safe and connected, increasing their likelihood of being willing to accept care.

“It’s all about aging in place with the right kind of support,” Lange says. “Pushing someone to move so that an adult child can have peace of mind is most often a losing proposition.”

Homecare services are customizable to fit unique situations, needs, and level of care required, focusing heavily on routine through options such as scheduling visits at specific times, meal preparation, personal care, homemaking, running errands, and overnight care.

“Plus, family-funded care means engaged, reliable, consistent care staff that you can depend on,” says Lange.

Choosing in-home support can also be more financially feasible than assisted living through utilizing the growth in value of the family home to cover the costs of homecare rather than selling the home and paying “rent” in an assisted living facility.

A typical family-funded homecare schedule costs around $2000 a month for 3-4 weekly visits. However, you can’t put a price on the safety and peace of mind it brings mom and dad to enjoy the activities they need help with to stay healthy and at home.

For more about Nurse Next Door and how they can provide solutions for your family’s care needs by visiting