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Role Reversal in the Care of Elderly Parents: Recognize the Issues

Role reversal in a parent-child relationship is never easy. For adult children who grew up in stable families, it can be a particularly tricky emotional change, having to give up the old image of parents who always take care of things.

A Massachusetts psychologist, Dr Erlene Rosowsky, recently spoke about the challenges involved in care-giving relationships involving elderly parents. Recognizing these challenges can be important part of estate plan arrangements for families who are dealing with care-giving arrangements and other elder law issues.

For adult children who take on a frontline care-giving role for an elderly parent, one of the key issues is the need to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the role. Care-giving can be a rich, meaningful experience. But it can also become so intense and demanding that it threatens to engulf the caregiver in anxiety and exhaustion.

Given the demands of care-giving, it's important for care-givers to take breaks and not be on duty all the time. The moments of respite will be good for all concerned.

Many families are affected by care-giving arrangements. According to one survey, 1 in 4 U.S. households provides some type of care to an older adult. Many of these care-givers are middle-aged people caring who are also involved in raising their own children.

The stress on people in this "sandwich generation" should not be denied. About 2 of every 5 people providing elder care have children of their own under age 18, so this involves a lot of people.

Talk with an experienced Massachusetts elder law attorney at our firm about how care-giving arrangements should be reflected in your estate plan.

Source: "Speaking of Aging: How to Be a Parent to Your Parent," West Roxbury Patch, 6-12-2011

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