Caring for an aging parent can be a privilege, but it can also be one of the most difficult challenges that adult children face. The relationship between the aging parent and the adult child is unique. Making decisions on behalf of parents, managing their finances, providing physical care and helping them to remain in their own homes can bring joy as well as stress.
The everyday decisions that adult children must make, with and for their parents, are rarely clear-cut for the caregiver, who often experiences guilt, exhaustion and relentless worrying that can take a toll on physical, mental and emotional health.
Caregivers may be helping with dressing, feeding, bathing and other personal care needs, as well as cleaning, grocery shopping, managing medications and transportation to appointments.
Many caregivers also cope with their own financial burdens associated with caregiving, as well as time away from their families, friends and activities that they enjoy.
Where do caregivers go for help? There is an organization in Centre County that supports adult child caregivers through education, resources and support, helping caregivers to better care for themselves and their aging parents. Adult Children of Aging Parents — Centre County is a unique 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
ACAP offers free, monthly educational programs on the second Tuesday of each month. All sessions are held at 5:30 p.m. at the Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites, 115 Premiere Drive, State College. The meetings provide caregivers with resources to help them with the challenges of being a caregiver. All sessions are free and open to the public.
Individuals who anticipate being in a caregiver role in the future can attend and learn about their local options before they have to help make choices for a loved one.
ACAP — Centre County chapter was founded in May 2015 through the efforts of its core sponsors: Foxdale Village Retirement Community, Grane Home Health, Grane Hospice Care, HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital, Juniper Village at Brookline and Penn State Health. The parent organization originated in Hickory, N.C.; ACAP Centre County is the second chapter.
Past topics have included, “Caregiver Stress,” “Medicare and Medicaid” and “Managing Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms.”
The topic for Nov. 14 is “Understanding Veterans’ Benefits,” presented by Brian Querry, director of The Centre County Veterans’ Affairs Office. On Dec. 12, the topic is “Safe Driving and Seniors” with Tracy Everhart, ORT/L, director of therapy operations, HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital.
An RSVP is appreciated by calling 877-599-2227 (ACAP) or email ACAP.CentreCounty@ACAPcommunity.org. Visit our Facebook page and our website, www.acapcommunity.org, for resources such as articles, podcasts and event listings.
Suzanne Irwin is the marketing liasion with HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital.