In Your Next Chapter, Caring for an Aging Parent
As you begin to transition into the next chapter of your life, other considerations will begin to emerge on your horizon. Among those factors entering into your new equation may be the consideration of caring for an aging parent or parents.
Q: "I can't get more job training because I'm taking care of an aging parent. What would you say to me?"
A: There are alternatives or options which you need to consider, including elder care options from agencies that visit men and women's homes on a regular basis. So, perhaps the answer is bringing someone in on those days of the week when you are working or gaining additional training.
Q: "I take my mother to many doctors appointments. Does this limit me in the kinds of jobs I can accept, because I have to take so much time off work?"
A: There are agencies dealing with aging in each county. Some of these are voluntary organizations, such as churches uniting together to take seniors to doctors' offices and dentists' offices plus tests at hospitals. There are simply men and women in the community who have already retired, and they're willing to perform these functions.
Q: "Where can I learn more about these services?"
A: You can check with your own county departments on aging or voluntary organizations in your county that deal with the subject of aging.
Q: "I never know when a family member is going to need me, and then I have to drop everything. So I can't work, and we're running out of money."
A: Most companies and schools would take that into consideration from an attendance standpoint. This is an item that can be negotiated.
Q: "I have to give the highest priority to helping my aging parent. Don't you think so?"
A: Your aging parent understands the necessity of you working, if you absolutely have to have money from a cashflow standpoint. Everything in life is a question of establishing correct priorities. If you need income every month to pay your bills, then that is your first priority. This doesn't mean that you're not involved in the resolution of your aging parent's problem.
Q: "My mother is very high maintenance."
A: There are also nursing home options and assisted living options that need to be evaluated going forward. Perhaps, one of these options involves your mother selling her current home or condominium, as she evaluates these senior living options.
Q: "I know that other cities have more job opportunities for me. But my parents wouldn't even consider moving and I take care of them."
A: All of these concerns have to be taken into consideration. So, if working is the first necessity that you have, then you have to pursue these job opportunities where you're concerned and, then, deal with your aging parent issues as a separate line item. In other words, you need to de-couple those items.
Q: "My father is frail, and he simply could not move with us."
A: Then your father needs to consider senior living options that would be appropriate for him, based upon his age and physical or mental limitations.
Q: "All of my family and friends are in this town. We just can't move."
A: Because your family and friends are here doesn't mean you can't move. That's a choice on your part.
Q: "I'm too old to move. I'm set in my ways."
A: I'm reminded of the phrase from the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread." I don't think that it has to do with where you currently live but where you can earn your income. And I believe that flexibility is part of the answer in this process. The more flexible we're willing to be, the more easily our needs can be met in this area in terms of providing the income we need for our basic necessities.
James O. Armstrong, who is the president of NowWhatJobs.net Inc., also serves as the Editor of this web site. In addition, he is the author of "Now What: Discovering Your New Life And Career After 50" and the president of James Armstrong & Associates, Inc., which is a media representation firm based in Suburban Chicago.