My mother is 73 and in good health, she had a stroke 5 years ago and it took time to help her get situated, but she walks upwards of 3 miles a day with her new puppy and physically she is in much better shape now than she was say in her 60’s. My father is 76 and has had some medical problems. In the future, since I am the one that lives the closest, if something happened to my parents, I would become their caregiver. That means if they wanted to stay at their residence, I would take the second room and make it into a sleeping area for me when I needed to stay over.
After my mother’s stroke, it was determined that my wife at the time would stay with her since they were in her hometown and I was on the other side of the country working. She mentioned to me on a daily basis that she loved my parents, but the stress of just doing simple tasks with my mother was incredibly difficult. She luckily did not need to have a full time job, so she stood by and was able to help with the physical therapy sessions and to make breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I bring this up after I read this article on CNN.com that really touched a nerve with me. Being a caregiver is not only a full time job, it is a life job and it can become really stressful. These are not just people off of the street that you can carry an emotional attachment to, these are parents that you grew up with slowly but surely falling apart in front of you.
My father is a tall man, he was always larger than life to me as a child and seeing him slowly but surely breaking down here and there really tugs at my heart sometimes. I would give anything to be there for my family as a whole in their time of need.
If you are a caregiver, or a soon to be expected caregiver, this story really helps one focus on the amount of work that is needed. How it affects your professional life and some of the options available to you. it does not mention a reverse mortgage, but that option is available as well. It could considerably reduce the stress brought about by finances and is an alternative to look into.