Families step up to take care of aging parents - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Families step up to take care of aging parents


It's not an easy choice to give up your independence - but as more and more baby boomers approach retirement, they're having to make some tough decisions - such as moving in with their kids.

The decision is challenging for parents to give up independence. Two families shared how this choice worked for them.

Gary Hyman is in his glory days, enjoying retirement. But life has certainly thrown him some challenges - the loss of his wife and a stroke that left him unable to care for himself.

"Everybody hates to give up their own independence," said Gary. "You think it over and think it over and then when you don't have any choice, you resign yourself to say, 'Well, that's the best thing for me.'"

A pretty common reaction, say the experts.

"Of course parents never want to be a burden on their children, so they don't want to feel that way," said Kathy Miller, Director of Programs at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. "Of course they want to maintain their independence as long as they can."

Gary moved in with his daughter - willingly, but with regrets.

"Basic tasks, some bodily things I can't do, my daughter has to assist me," said Gary. "And that really bothered me for a long time."

He says it took time to come to terms with his new circumstances, but some things really helped. Gary still has his own room and space.

It wasn't an easy transition by any means, but he says now he sees that he gets more time with his daughter - and life is still good.

"I do all I can of what I can do. My life is pretty... it's pretty back to normal."

Across town, Lillian Dickens can't say as much now that her dementia has really taken her mind, but her daughter Wanda remembers how tough it was for Lillian to face her mental health and the choices that would have to be made about her care.

"It was hard for my mom at first, because she knew something was going on with her, and she's so stubborn and hard-headed," said Wanda.

But as time has passed, both families have found that they cherish the time together - even the challenges.

"She just started humming, like humming all the time. And that I cherish... cause that's a little piece of her that's still around. Still around," said Wanda.

Both families say Grace Place has given the caretakers reprieve from the responsibility - and the recipients a return of some independence.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly