Dealing with role reversal from child to parent caregiver

Posted: 7/11/2019 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare

It’s a terrifying reality that is faced by many children of older adults. After serious illness or a sudden health emergency, the doctor shares that it is no longer safe for Mom or Dad to live alone. Suddenly, you are thrust into the role of caregiver. 


Making the transition from child to parent caregiver can be challenging. The responsibilities and stress that come along with the role of caregiver can be overwhelming for many people. 


Adding the responsibility of caring for your parent to the responsibilities of caring for your own spouse and child(ren) while balancing work is a lot for anyone to handle. Many well-intentioned family members are simply unprepared for the enormity of the shift. 


The transition isn’t easy for Mom or Dad either. Think of how it would feel to suddenly need your child for everything. Transitioning to caregiver from son or daughter is stressful for everyone involved. 

How to handle the transition from child to caregiver   

If you’ve recently become a caregiver to a parent, keep these tips in mind to handle the transition:

Take charge with compassion. 

While caregiving can be an opportunity to give back to your parent, remember that Mom or Dad isn’t your child. Your loved one should be treated with dignity and respect. Try not to remind your loved one that they are “incapable” of taking care of tasks, but instead framing your intervention as “helping” or “making life a bit easier.” 

Ask what your parent wants. 

While adult children may feel uncomfortable with their role as caregivers, aging parents may also be grappling with a loss of independence. Bring Mom or Dad into conversations about care so that he or she feels some sort of control over the situation. If your parent is obstinate or having a lot of difficulty, consider bringing a doctor or social worker into the conversation.  

Create a support system. 

Caring for a parent can take an emotional and physical toll, so it’s important to build and take advantage of a support system.  Online and in-person support groups can be found through hospitals, Facebook, or organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Heart Association. 


Senior home care services can help family caregivers tremendously, augmenting their care while providing professional, compassionate services to help your loved one stay happy and healthy at home. 

Focus on the positives. 

Caregiving can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, but look for the bright moments and cherish the time you spend with your loved one. Keep in mind that you’re helping someone you love remain comfortable through the last years of his or her life. Look for good moments where you can listen to music together or reminisce about past memories and good times. These are the moments you’ll be sure to cherish later in your own life. 

We’re proud to help you care for your loved one.

At Interim HealthCare, we’ve been empowering family caregivers for over 50 years. Our senior home care services complement your own care to provide well-rounded, compassionate, professional services for your loved one. To learn more, contact your nearest Interim HealthCare location using the locator below.