Caregiving for Aging Parents when You Have a Chronic Illness

Taking care of aging parents can be a challenge at the best of times, but even more so when you have a chronic illness. And yet, that chronic illness can uniquely qualify you to be a fantastic advocate for your mom and dad:

"When you have a chronic illness, it can be enough of a challenge to get yourself through the day. Somehow, we add spouse, kids, work, maybe even occasional socializing to the mix. And if you are in your 30s and up, you may also find yourself having to take care of your parents. We are called the sandwich generation — right in the middle of raising children and providing care for aging parents. This is hard enough at the best of times, but adds some unique challenges when you have a chronic illness.

My story

I was only a few years into effective treatment for my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when my mother had a bad accident. My first worry was for her, the second that I wouldn’t be able to be there for her. Although I had finally found a medication that worked for me, I was still very much recovering, and my mother had been my main support, helping with freezer meals, grocery shopping, cleaning, and other chores. Now, from one moment to the next, I not only had to take responsibility for helping my mother through several months of surgeries and rehab, but had also lost a caregiver.

It was a complete reversal of the roles we’d had for decades and was a difficult adjustment for both of us. But I learned a lot about taking care of an aging parent when you have a chronic illness."

Read the rest of the article about caregiving with a chronic illness on HealthCentral. (Yes, there was a bit of a bottleneck in production, hence the flurry of articles this week)


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