Common Fears About Elderly Parents: At What Point Are The Fears Unhealthy?

Do you have an elderly parent who has recently moved into an assisted living facility? If so, this is a challenging time for you and your family. Adjusting to the physical, emotional, and mental declines of the twilight years can be a rollercoaster. Sometimes you might even feel afraid of what's ahead. Here are some fears common to this stage of life, and what to do if they've gotten too strong a hold on you.

Fears for your parent

As an adult child, you are likely to feel fear about your loved one's health. For instance, "what if" questions may flood your mind in the middle of the night or during a meeting at work that provoke anxiety. Examples of such questions are:

  • What if my loved one suffers a medical emergency when no one is around?

  • What if my family member inadvertently does something that could lead to danger, such as leaving the stove on or the front door wide open?

  • What if my parent becomes confused and wanders away?

Fears for your finances

Another area in which anxiety lies during this season of life is finances. As you already know, assisted living is not covered by insurance, so you and your family are likely paying for these costs out of your own pockets. You may find yourself afraid for what might happen if you can no longer afford this kind of care. Perhaps you took out a loan, and the extra burden it has put on your budget makes you anxious. Maybe you worry about what will happen if your parent needs more advanced care and your family can no longer contribute financially.

Fears for yourself

As you deal with issues surrounding your parent's advancing age, you may also become afraid of your future without him/her. You may find yourself becoming weepy as you consider the fact that you will someday have to journey through the death of your family member. Especially if you have not yet experienced death in your immediate family, thoughts of how dark such a time will be may weigh heavily on you.

These fears are very common to those in your situation. The key to handling them is to consider how much the concerns affect your ability to live life in a satisfactory manner. Fears that mar your concentration, sleep, or eating habits have gained inordinate power over you. If you find yourself so anxious that you snap at your spouse or neglect urgent work deadlines, your fears have reached an unhealthy level. If this is true for you, counseling sessions will help you navigate this phase of life successfully. If not, you're probably still overdue for a night out or a weekend away.

Remember that many others have felt the same fears that you do, and don't underestimate the power of a good long talk with someone you know has ridden this life rollercoaster already. It's understandable to be anxious, but reach out for professional help if needed. Find a trusted assisted living facility, such as Cokato Charitable Trust - Cokato Manor.