Dating While Caretaking an Aging Parent
My Dad just had bypass surgery and is 89!! He lives with me and it is really hard!
I had to take off of work to care for him and my siblings don’t help much. I’m
exhausted! …. Darlene
Dating and care taking of an aging parent are very difficult but not impossible situations. With hospital mistakes being the third killer after cancer and heart disease, it is a full time job. To say you need to date someone nderstanding is an understatement. Since we all have challenges, being tolerant is a necessary characteristic. Sensitive people are in high demand anyways because times are a changing very often and quickly. Who doesn’t want someone understanding and sensitive to our stresses?
One never knows when their current situation will change. Having an adaptable quality is critical in relationships. Our job situation could shift as well as our financial situation, our personal health, or the needs of our children could also become more demanding. So the addition of an aging parent (f we are so blessed to have them) on our plate or other relatives is almost unavoidable. Having supportive relationships is critical. Someone caring is what everyone wants.
Any social worker or therapist would tell you to get support. There are support groups out there for every situation or need. Dating still is possible, yes more difficult but possible. This is where long distant relationships can work and or independent relationships work. The shortage of time is apparent so no needy partners in these situations are wanted.
My mother’s hip broke when she was 91 and she is presently 94. My youngest daughter had just graduated college ten days before my mom”s fall. I was the natural caregiver in place for both my brother and sister were living and working out of town. We kept vigilance at the hospital which is necessary. My Mother’s life changed dramatically and mine came to a screeching halt for three months. My daughter would give me weekly reprieves when I could sleep at home with my dogs.
My good friend Armand would join me while we drank some of the best tasting wine and watched the dogs play. Armand was a Godsend during that time and I will be forever grateful. I made daily phone calls to my brother and sister and cousin. I absolutely needed the support for my own sanity. Being a researcher I discovered that she only had a 50% rate of survival in the first year because of the high risk of another fall. So my stress level was off the charts. The medical staff for my mother that visited daily asked me what I was doing for myself. It is critical that we caregivers give ourselves breaks.
I admit I did not date during that critical time. Since my mother and her situation have stabilized I have and I still see her at least five times a week when I am available. So it is possible but you have to have help. You have to have a paid caregiver and family support. You also have to make time for yourself and have your own life. You have to take charge. Dating is possible.
Suz Alban Sunday