February 17, 2021

group discussing mental effects of caregiving

Family therapy can be an excellent addition to a family caregiver’s toolbox for addressing the physical and mental effects of caregiving.

There are specific milestones we might encounter in our lives that, though not automatically negative, are known stressors. Losing a job. Starting a new job. Getting married. Getting divorced. And one that we in the home care industry are especially mindful of: the physical and mental effects of serving as a senior caregiver for family members.

Numerous conflicting emotions arise for those in the role of family caregiver, and they are exacerbated when trying to share duties with siblings or other family members. There are past resentments and hurts which might resurface, clashes related to decision-making, and the stress of trying to navigate what seems like a role reversal with a parent who once took care of us.

For these reasons and many more, family therapy can be an excellent addition to a family caregiver’s toolbox to ensure the absolute best possible care for elderly parents, in addition to his/her own emotional wellbeing. The following are just a few benefits of family counseling as parents grow older:

  1. It provides care for the family caregiver. Agreeing to the role of family caregiver can be daunting in and of itself, but factor in additional responsibilities, such as managing a home and caring for children while maintaining a job, and you have got a recipe for stress. Family counseling helps care providers sort through challenging emotions and reach solutions.
  2. It offers support through grief. Grief comes in many forms, and sometimes begins in the early stages of caring for aging parents, as family members work through the inherent changes taking place now and also to come. When an aging parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, the decline in cognitive functioning results in an additional degree of grief. A family therapist will help all members of the family to work through their grief together.
  3. It helps the family as a unit. A family therapist is focused on arriving at what is most beneficial for the whole family and its cohesiveness, 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 are not possible because of geographic restraints, continued COVID-19 distancing concerns, or any other reason, phone or Zoom sessions can be every bit as successful. The key is for involvement to be a main priority for all members of the family, and to make counseling sessions a regular, routine commitment.

If you are looking for a partner to provide trustworthy respite care services while you devote the time necessary for family therapy, call us at (314) 863-9912. With both a dependable family counselor and the aging care professionals at Continuum on your team, your family can deal with caregiving obstacles, such as the mental effects of caregiving, and enjoy quality time together.