So many of us are sharing the common experience of caring for aging parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. and struggling through this unique and challenging experience. I spoke to 6 different people today facing this situation in their own way. Some have great parental relationships (some not so great or really traumatic), all were trying to balance care and a busy work life (and most, kids, marriages, etc.), all had different financial and physical situations (caring from afar, Mom moving in with daughter, Mom facing worsening eye sight, Dad caring for Mom with Alzheimer's disease now facing his own health issues).
Right now, it seems like these issues are part of a mounting list of stressful circumstances--or at least a mounting feeling of stress (sometimes just hearing all the concerns about the economy and troubles facing others we know adds a tangible stress even when things are going relatively well). Add to the normal pressures of caregiving the fact that we may be worried more about our own financial circumstances and our parents', and if we have a good job, we may worry even more about how we balance these things knowing how crucial it is to keep that good job in this economy.
The best place to start is getting good info. So many people worry because of things they hear, which are often untrue. Today I spoke to someone in just that situation and with some basic info., she felt a lot better. Neighbors and friends can be great support systems but be wary of the misinformation they sometimes have (or maybe correct info. that just doesn't apply to your situation). Almost everyone I know reads several books and gathers a lot of information before becoming a parent--but few do when it comes to eldercare issues. There hasn't been a lot of great info. out there in the past, but there is a lot now. Read up, and seek out good professional advice. If nothing else, it sure makes you feel a lot better and more prepared.
Right now I'm reading a great, inspirational book about aging...not so much the educational/eldercare kind...but I still highly recommend it: If I Live to Be 100: :Lessons from the Centenarians
by Neenah Ellis. A great read! For other books on caregiving, eldercare topics, see our recommended reading for family caregivers