February 17, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

Family counseling benefits seniors and the rest of the family, too

There are particular milestones we might experience in our lives that, though not necessarily negative, are known stressors. Losing a job. Starting a new job. Getting divorced. Getting married. And one that we in the home care industry are especially mindful of: the physical and mental impact on family members who are caring for aging parents.

Numerous conflicting emotions crop up for people in the role of family caregiver, and they are exacerbated when trying to share responsibilities with siblings or other members of the family. There are past hurts and resentments which might surface, conflicts associated with decision-making, in addition to the stress when trying to navigate what seems like a role reversal with a parent who once took care of us.

For these reasons and more, family counseling may be a wonderful addition to a family caregiver’s toolbox to ensure the absolute best possible care for elderly parents, in addition to his or her own mental wellbeing. Here are just a few potential benefits to family counseling as parents age:

  1. It provides care for the care provider. Undertaking the role of family care provider can be daunting in and of itself, but add in additional responsibilities, such as caring for children and managing a home while maintaining employment, and you have got a recipe for stress. Family counseling helps care providers work through difficult emotions and reach solutions.
  2. It provides support through grief. Grief comes in many forms, and quite often begins during the early stages of caring for senior parents, as family members work through the inherent changes occurring now and also to come. When a senior parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, the decline in cognitive functioning leads to an additional level of grief. A family therapist can help all members of the family to sort out their grief together.
  3. It helps the family as a unit. A family therapist focuses on achieving precisely what is most beneficial for the whole family, through challenges such as issues pertaining to inheritance and other financial concerns, medical decisions, and any difficult family dynamics.

If in-person therapy sessions for your family aren’t practical due to geographic constraints, continued COVID-19 distancing concerns, or another reason, phone or Zoom sessions can be equally as effective. The key is for involvement to be a priority for all members of the family involved, and to make therapy appointments a regular, routine commitment.

If you need a partner to provide trusted respite care services  while you devote the time necessary for family therapy, give us a call at (315)579-HOME (4663). With both a trusted family therapist along with At Home Independent Living, the leaders in senior care and independent living in NY, on your team, your family can deal with caregiving obstacles and appreciate quality time together. See our Service Area page to find out if our caregivers  are available in your community.