Care, Compassion, and Support: Being There for Parents With Chronic Illnesses

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One of the most difficult times in any daughter or son’s life is facing the reality that a parent has a chronic illness. As mothers and fathers, it is not only ourselves who have to face these challenges, but also our own children. Grandparents are important figures and role models for children and it can be very hard for them to understand and deal with seeing their grandparents sick or suffering.

The difficult balance that requires looking after both elderly parents and children has led to us being called the “sandwich generation.” And there are lots of us: in many Western countries around 20% or more of the population belongs to the “sandwich generation.”

While much attention has been paid to parenting and managing a household, far less has been paid to how to care for chronically ill or elderly parents. The key to caring for chronically ill parents is balance.

Play to your strengths, only offer what you can, and don’t be afraid to seek help. Caregiving in the active sense is difficult, demanding, and not for everyone. There are other ways to support and help your parents beyond daily care.

Have open communication with your parents and build a relationship of trust and understanding.

Finally, you’re not in this alone. It’s important to know that there are resources available to help ease the challenges of caregiving.