As if parenting were not difficult enough, today’s older parents are finding themselves facing new and more complex problems with their adult children.
A recent study found that almost 60 percent of parents are providing or have provided financial support for their children. A whopping 36 percent of adults ages 18 to 31 are still living under their parents’ roof. Last year 80 percent of college students moved home with their parents.
Many parents must also contend with children who develop serious drug, alcohol or mental health problems. With an estimated 23.5 million Americans addicted to alcohol and drugs, the number of parents facing addiction in their adult children, is staggering. More than one-third of long-term mentally ill adults live with their families, most with aging parents. In the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study the most likely targets of violence by those with serious mental illness were family members or friends (87 percent), and the violence typically occurred in the home
In addition to having to face the stigma associated with substance abuse or psychological conditions, parents have to deal with chaos, unpredictability, threats of suicide or violence, a broken and inadequate mental health system, and a person who likely doesn’t believe to be ill or refuses treatment. These parents also struggle with feelings of guilt, grief, frustration, resentment, fear and shame. If grandchildren are involved, adult children may use them as pawns to get money or favors.
On the other end of the spectrum are adult children who function well, but believe they know better than their parents what their aging parents need. Taking care of an elderly parent becomes just one more task on their chore list. They have little understanding of the seniors need to remain in control of their own lives for as long as possible. This adult child means well, but doesn’t respect the elder’s right to make their own life decisions.
Come get tips for dealing with these challenges, learn how to care for oneself during this difficult time, and leave with additional resources for getting support. Don’t be alone with this. Share with others who understand.
The cost of the workshop is $5. To reserve a place call the library 302-227-8044.