Yvonne’s story – caring for ageing parents at home full-time

Yvonne with her parents Nick and Helen. [Source: The Greek Herald]

Having an older loved one move into residential aged care is a daunting decision that affects the whole family. So daunting that some adult children decide to make sacrifices to care for their ageing parents at home. 

Yvonne from Adelaide, South Australia, made the decision with her family to move back in with her parents, Nick and Helen, to care for them. 

In 2018, Yvonne, her husband Nicholas and son Jamieson moved back into the family home. “We wouldn’t say that it was a hard choice, more so we knew that it was the right decision,” she told The Greek Herald.

“The ‘hard’ part was acknowledging that we were going to be living a different type of life than what we had been used to.”

Yvonne’s father Nick had onset dementia with constant mini seizures which changed his behaviour and demeanour, something his family struggled to deal with. 

Caring for your ageing parents full-time is not always an easy task, especially while trying to maintain your own employment and lifestyle. Outside of working full-time and assisting with household jobs like cooking, cleaning and organising medicines, Yvonne’s husband would help out with medical emergencies –  often dropping what he was doing to rush his in-laws to the Emergency Department when they had a fall. 

In 2019, Yvonne’s father passed away at 94 and the family continues to look after Helen. At the end of 2022, Helen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and has experienced progressive symptoms like forgetfulness and changes in her mood and behaviours.

“Mum is my best friend,” Yvonne said.

Yvonne realised she was so burnt out that she needed to make the decision to either leave work or place her mum into care – describing the juggling act as a “constant treadmill and I couldn’t come off”. 

Yvonne eventually found a part-time role closer to home and began to look into in-home support through an aged care package.

Do you care for a parent at home full-time? Let us know in the comments below.

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