Caring for Family

Athena
3 min readJan 7, 2024

Caring for senior relatives, especially when they are close by, presents a unique set of challenges that many of us will face at some point in our lives. This task is a delicate balancing act, involving the management of their daily needs, health issues, and emotional well-being, while also maintaining our own lives.

The Proximity Paradox

Moving closer to family, as many do, can significantly reduce the stress of long-distance care. It eliminates the worry of how to help from miles away. However, this proximity introduces its own brand of stress. When living far away, it’s easy to overlook the complexities of a senior relative’s needs. Regular phone calls can mask the reality of their situation, making “memory moments” appear as harmless senior moments. Being next door, however, brings these issues into sharper focus, highlighting the nuances and the severity of their needs.

Navigating Daily Life and Health Challenges

Day-to-day management often involves handling seemingly minor tasks that can accumulate and become overwhelming. From assisting a mother after a fall to resolving misunderstandings about financial documents like a 1099-R, each task requires patience and understanding. Beyond these practicalities, there are health concerns. Conditions like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), which affects breathing, and issues with balance, further complicate care.

Balancing Act: Family, Work, and Caregiving

For those juggling caregiving with raising children and maintaining a career, the challenges multiply. There’s a constant negotiation between the needs of aging relatives and the demands of personal and professional life. It’s a struggle to make everyone feel valued and supported, especially as we watch our loved ones contend with the gradual loss of memory and independence.

Emotional Struggles and Guilt

One of the most significant challenges in caregiving is managing the emotional toll it takes. Watching a loved one’s health and autonomy decline is painful. It often leads to feelings of guilt, especially when balancing this responsibility with other aspects of life seems nearly impossible. The desire to do everything can lead to burnout, and personal sacrifices, like giving up on keeping a tidy home, become necessary.

Setting Boundaries in Care

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Athena

Mom of three boys. Computer programmer living in the country with my husband focusing on my hobbies and youngest son. https://ko-fi.com/athenaandrew