Caring for a disabled family member can present problems that are difficult to prepare for, such as dealing with someone else’s finances or arranging for in-home care or a nursing home. In some cases, the people who are helping to care for a disabled family member are still children under the age of 18.
Caring for a disabled person, no matter what your age, can be a trying experience, but there are many resources and people willing to assist for those who ask for help.
One of the challenges facing today’s older generation is preparing for their own retirement while caring for a disabled parent. Their parent’s disabilities aren’t always profound, but they are disabilities nonetheless. The types of disabilities that most often occur are broken bones, Alzheimer’s disease, loss of eyesight, diabetes and arthritis in all of its many forms. Some individuals may also have cancer that requires long-term care.
There are many diseases and conditions that can render an adult disabled while they still have children to care for under the age of 18. It is stressful enough to care for young children without having the added difficulty of a disability, especially if the condition was brought on suddenly.
Concerns range from trying to understand the financial aspects of caring for an aging parent, to deciding what the best living arrangement is for them. Sometimes the situation becomes difficult if an aging person wants to keep their independence and doesn’t want his or her child to make decisions about their life for them. For the adult child, deciding whether to place a parent in a nursing home, even temporarily, can generate feelings of guilt and create stress as well as place a strain on their relationship with their parent. Children who have a parent who is newly disabled may have trouble adapting to the many changes. If they are very young and are used to their mother or father caring for them, it can be upsetting to suddenly not have the same type of support they enjoyed before.
This change in family dynamics can cause feelings of anger, loneliness and frustration.
On the other hand, older children, especially teenagers, may surprise a disabled parent by being more than willing to adapt and take on additional responsibilities to assist them. The bond between parent and child may become stronger as a result of the two individuals having to rely on each other.