Many people have questions when their parents get old enough that they need daily care. It can be an overwhelming time in an adult child’s life to contemplate caring for an elderly parent full-time.
While there is some stigma surrounding refusal to care for an elderly parent, there are actually many reasons why this might not be a realistic goal for you as a grown child.
People’s relationships, combined with location and work demands can make caring for an elderly parent almost impossible for some children.
If you have questions about whether you can refuse to care for an elderly parent, read on for more information.
Also, if you want to get paid to take care of your parents check out the CDPAP program.
Why Would Someone Refuse to Care for an Elderly Parent?
There are many reasons why you might refuse to care for your elderly parents. Despite social pressures that are intended to make you feel responsible for your parents as they age, not every situation is the same and you might not be able to care for your elderly parent for any of the following reasons.
Lack of Time
If you have a busy job or you have more than one child, you might not have the time to care for an elderly parent. Being out of the house for work or to take kids to their after-school activities and other events can lead to real issues related to eldercare. Most elderly people will need almost constant care on a daily basis, and you might not have the time to provide this care.
It can be expensive to care for an elderly parent. They might need to have weekly doctor’s visits or they may need special care that can add a lot of costs for you. There are some potential sources of financial support that you might be able to apply for, but these programs do not apply in all cases. You may have to find the money to support your elderly parent from your own pocket, and this can be tough.
Difficult Relationship With Parent
No matter how hard some people try, issues with relationships can happen. Parents and children do not always get along, and grudges or hard feelings that have been caused by past events can cause lasting issues with your relationship with your parents. It is almost impossible to care for someone who will not allow you to take care of them and you should not try to force this care on your parents.
Affecting Your Own Emotional and Physical Health
Despite your desire to care for your parents, this can be a very difficult and taxing experience for you. you might not be able to provide the right care to your elderly parents because the stress of having to care for them might be damaging your own emotional and physical health. Caring for an elderly parent can lead to a lot of fatigue for you as the caregiver. This can be particularly true if you have a parent who is not able to understand where they are or what is happening to them.
If you do not live near your parents, you might not be able to get to them to provide support and care. While some elderly people are willing to relocate to your area, many elderly people like where they live and want to stay in their homes, or at least in the town that they like. You may not be able to care for them if they will not move to be close to you.
Am I Obligated to Care for My Elderly Parents?
There are some states which do require you to care for your elderly parents. This care is guided by the Filial Responsibility Law in each state. You might not be aware of what the law is in your state but this is an easy thing to look up and get some details about.
The 27 States Which Require That You Take Responsibility Financially for Your Parent
If you are not sure if your state requires that you take care of your elderly parents, there are 27 states that do require this. These are the states that require you to care for your elderly parent when they are no longer able to care for themselves:
· New Hampshire
· New Jersey
· North Carolina
· North Dakota
· Rhode Island
· South Dakota
· West Virginia
Filial Responsibility Law
This law refers to your responsibility or duty to care for and support your parents. Not every state requires that you do so, but in the 27 states that have this law in place, you cannot choose to ignore your parent’s need for support once they have aged to the point where they cannot care for themselves. The trouble with these laws is that they are difficult to enforce due to a variety of variables that you might not have control over that lead to exceptions.
The amount that you might have to pay for your parent’s care can vary. If they still have medical insurance or they qualify for aid from the government or the state, you might not have to pay for much every month. If they do not have medical insurance or any kind of financial support from retirement or social security, the care that your parents require could become quite hard to afford.
In the cases where this law was waived, it is often waived related to your own lack of financial ability to care for someone who needs expensive medical treatments and other kinds of expensive care. Your parents might be impoverished, but you need to be able to afford to keep a roof over your own head as well.
Healthcare and the rising cost of services have caused a lot of debate about these laws and how they can negatively impact families who are barely able to support themselves. While every parent intends not to burden their children with their medical costs, it can be a reality that comes to pass that their medical expenses can bankrupt other members of their family.
Ethics of This Decision
The ethics related to refusing to care for an elderly parent are complicated. Many people feel a sense of responsibility for their parents even if they do not get along with them or think that they can care for them adequately. There are options like nursing homes and private in-home care that might fill in these gaps, but it can still be a hard choice to make to turn over the care of an elderly parent to someone else.
Can Cause Guilt
Feelings of guilt are a common side effect of being unable to care for an elderly parent. This is normal, and if you truly cannot support your parents, you should not force the issue. You will not feel any less guilty if you are unable to support your parents on a daily basis and you will likely run into lots of issues if you try and care for someone who does not want your help. It can be tough to carry the burden of guilt about your parent’s needs with you, but in some cases, there is nothing that you can do about their situation.
Can Cause Family Issues
Family strife over the care of an elderly family member is quite common. Many people find that the stress of caring for the elderly parent is not as much of a problem as the stress that is caused by the conflict in the family surrounding their care. You might be trying to do the right things, but maybe your siblings want you to do something else. These kinds of conflicts can lead to it being impossible for you to care for your family member even if you would actually like to do so.
Other Options for Caring For an Elderly Parent
Thankfully, there are often many other options for your elderly parent’s care needs. The choices that you make will likely depend on your own unique finances and the support that your elderly parent qualifies for. You might find that you have to choose the lesser of a few evils, but there are almost always options out there to care for your elderly parent’s needs if you cannot do so.
Nursing homes and elder care services are the most commonly used solutions for eldercare. If you are able to find a safe and secure nursing home, you might be able to get some support through elder care programs to help with the costs. You might also be able to afford these costs yourself depending on your situation.
In-home elder care is another option that can be provided through a service. There are many ways to structure the caregiver time that is given to your elderly parent and they might be able to stay in their own home for a while longer as they use these services. You can also move your elderly parents to your home and have the in-house care service come to your home to take care of them.
This is another service that can sometimes be supported through the use of financial assistance programs for elders and you might find that things like dementia or Alzheimer’s programs can help offset the costs of this kind of care for you and your elderly parents.
Government benefits vary by state, but you might be surprised to find out that your parents qualify for quite a bit of financial support during their old age. Doing some research into this area might show that there are many programs that your elderly parent qualifies for that can help them to live in their home with daily care or the programs might help with the costs of their medical care.
You should always look into these programs to see if your elderly parent qualifies for any of them. There is no sense in struggling to make ends meet when you could be helping your elderly parent find the right living situation through the use of these funding programs.
No matter what kind of arrangement you have come up with for your aging parent, you might need some help with the processes of getting them set up in their living arrangement. You might also need some help navigating the rules and regulations of all of these programs and services.
There are many support groups in every state that are created just to help families care for their elderly parents. You will find that you can get emotional support from these groups as well as practical help. Being able to access the knowledge and skills offered through these support groups can make your task much easier as you try to find the right living situation and support arrangement for your parents.
Caring for an Elderly Parent Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle
If you have been feeling like there is no way that you can figure out the right care situation for your elderly parent, this list should help get you on track to find the right resources for your needs. You should always make the right decision for your own mental and emotional well-being and consider what you can actually afford before you try to shoulder all of the needs of an elderly parent without support.
You might be required by law to take on responsibility for your elderly parent, but there are many support groups and government programs that can make this support much easier to afford and much easier to take care of. You might be surprised at all the help that is out there for your situation.
Don’t let caring for an elderly parent be a struggle. Get set up with the right support to help you to navigate this difficult time.