Dear Barb – Helping Hands Can Ensure Parents’ Independence

Dear Barb – Helping Hands Can Ensure Parents’ Independence

Dear Barb:

I enjoy reading your column but I never thought I would ever have to write to you. My older sister and I have never gotten along. We are very different and have never shared any common interests. Now we are having a problem agreeing on what is best for my parents. My parents are getting older and having a hard time managing their affairs. I think it is time to put them into a place where they can be taken care of. My sister wants to keep them in their own home, with her and I caring for them. This is what my parents want as well. I am feeling ganged up on, but I want to do the right thing. I need help!


Hi, Tracey. I’m not sure there is a right or wrong in this case.

I can see you are a very caring daughter and want to do what is best. You believe your parents will be better taken care of in a facility where their needs are adequately addressed. However, your parents? wishes have to be taken into consideration. From what you are saying it seems your parents have been able to manage in their own home with limited help up to this point. Perhaps with some outside assistance they could continue to stay in their own home.

I imagine you and your sister are busy with your own families and caring for your parents would require time that possibly you can’t really afford, which is completely understandable. As our population ages many people find themselves in your situation, aptly named ?the sandwich generation.? The ?sandwich generation? are individuals, such as yourself, who are caught between caring for aging parents and their own children and grandchildren. As a result of this demand, an increasing number of organizations are becoming available to provide assistance to families such as yours.

Most communities have professionals that will direct you and your sister to the proper agencies. For example, Meals on Wheels is a service that supplies precooked meals to clients. Meals can be prepared to accommodate special diets and the cost is reasonable.

Another resource is Personal Support Workers, who are specially trained to come into the home to help clients with showers and personal care. For more extensive medical needs, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) also come into the home to assist with medications and dressings, as well as monitoring ongoing medical conditions. If your parents no longer drive, arrangements can be made through these agencies for transportation to appointments, shopping, etc.

There are many more services; however, they may vary depending on the area that you live in. Some of these services are covered under government or personal health coverage and some are not. A good place to start would be your family doctor. He or she will have all the information to assist you.

Eventually there may come a time when you will have to consider moving your parents out of their home, but for now you can probably keep them at home where they are most happy. Hope this information helps. Best of luck, Tracey.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.