I'm Trapped Caring for Elderly Parents

|

Sep 14, 2023

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

trapped caring for elderly parents

I'm Trapped Caring for Elderly Parents

|

Sep 14, 2023

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

I'm Trapped Caring for Elderly Parents

|

Sep 14, 2023

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

trapped caring for elderly parents

I'm Trapped Caring for Elderly Parents

|

Sep 14, 2023

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

trapped caring for elderly parents

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Letting your elderly parent live with you is a life-changing decision, and many people feel forced into doing it because of pressure or guilt.

Feeling forced into taking care of your elderly parent can be overwhelming and cause you to feel trapped, and while this is common, it shouldn’t be normalized.

This article will explain why you feel trapped by caring for your parent, provide some solutions to make you feel less trapped, and provide some steps to take if you decide to put your elderly parent into assisted living.

Key Takeaways

  • You may feel trapped because of burnout, loss of freedom, restraints on career advancement, financial restraints, and poor health. 


  • To feel less trapped while caring for your parent you can take breaks, apply for income assistance, ask for help, or consider assisted living.


  • Putting your elderly parent in assisted living can help them get the support they need and improve your quality of life.

Is It Normal To Feel Trapped Caring For An Elderly Parent?

trapped caring for elderly parents

Yes, feeling trapped while caring for an elderly parent is common. The truth is that caring for an aging parent takes a lot of physical and emotional energy, which many people don’t realize until they become the primary caregiver.

Having a parent who is relying on you to provide and care for them puts a lot of extra pressure on you to devote more of your time and resources to them; which you might not have to give.

Overextending yourself typically leads to burnout, especially if you have to make sacrifices that keep you away from the things you love doing. Giving up aspects of your life to care for your parent can cause you to feel trapped.

It’s important to acknowledge that you’re feeling trapped and to identify what is causing you to feel trapped. Understanding the reason why you feel trapped will help you convey your emotions to your parent and hopefully work towards finding a solution to help improve your life and theirs.

Potential Reasons Why You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

Feeling trapped can come from a variety of physical and emotional factors. Listed below are the most common reasons why people feel trapped when caring for their parents. 

Take note of the factors that you identify with that are causing you to feel trapped.

Burnout

Burnout is when you feel as though you are hanging on by a thread because of mental and physical exhaustion. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and can’t keep up with life’s demands. Being a caregiver will throw more obstacles your way, making it harder to manage your time and mental energy.

Loss of Freedom

Those caring for elderly parents often end up sacrificing their hobbies and interests, missing out on trips, and saying “no” to events they would normally attend simply because of a lack of time. 

When you become a caregiver to your parents, you may find that you have to sacrifice a lot of your personal time that you used to have before which can cause you to lose your sense of independence.

Restraints on Career Advancement

Having too much on your plate while caring for your parents can keep you from devoting time to other essential things, such as your career. Taking care of your parents is important, but if it requires you to take a lot of time away from work, it could hurt your career advancement goals.

Financial Strains

Caring for your elderly parents will come with extra expenses in the form of food, medicine, trips to the doctor, and in some cases, home modifications. Having these extra expenses will add to your overall financial strain.

Poor Emotional Health

The burden of caregiving for your parents can also contribute to poor mental health. Extra stressors can bring out symptoms of anxiety, depression, and guilt. 

These symptoms are more prevalent among those who struggle to find the balance between getting everything done and enjoying life.

Poor Physical Health

Working yourself to exhaustion will have physical effects on your general health. Caring for your elderly parents might require you to cut back on things like sleep and exercise, which is detrimental to your health.

You may also find that you’re too tired to cook balanced meals, causing you to eat more convenient ultra-processed foods that are less nutritious.

What To Do When You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

what-to-do-when-you-feel-trapped

Now that we’ve covered that feeling trapped can be normal and that there are many reasons to feel trapped, let’s talk about solutions to help you work through this feeling.

Take Breaks

The best thing you can do to treat burnout is to create time for yourself. Allowing yourself at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for downtime can significantly reduce the effects of burnout. Try to schedule some time in your day to allow yourself to relax or to participate in activities that bring you joy. 

Share The Responsibility With Siblings

If you have siblings, consider asking them to set up a shared responsibility model, in which all siblings collaborate and support one another by taking turns caring for their elderly parents.

Sharing the responsibility can help you and your sibling(s) have a better quality of life and feel less trapped and isolated when caring for your parents.

If you have no siblings (or your siblings are unwilling to help), then you may want to consider assisted living.

Apply For Income Assistance

If money and a lack of resources make you feel trapped, consider exploring financial assistance options. Some programs will pay you for being a caregiver to your elderly parents.

Low-income families that get Medicaid can be offered home healthcare services. Or, if your elderly parent is a veteran, then you could apply for the Veteran-Directed Program.

Assisted Living

There is no shame in turning to assisted living if you feel that you cannot care for your parents by yourself. A good assisted living facility will provide excellent care to your parents while taking a load of responsibility off your shoulders.

Assisted living facilities often provide a range of services such as meals, help with activities of daily living (like dressing and bathing), medication management, emergency alert systems that summon help in case of a medical emergency, and housekeeping. 

All these services make it easier to care for your elderly parents from afar or when you have other obligations to attend to, such as work or taking care of children. 

The biggest benefit is that residents will live independently while also having access to assistance at any time. This means that your parents can still retain their autonomy and dignity, while also getting the care they need for any physical or mental health concerns. 

How To Send A Parent To Assisted Living

how to send a parent to assisted living

As difficult as it can be, deciding when to send an aging parent to assisted living is a decision that many families must face. 

There are many factors that contribute to assessing long-term care needs for an elderly person including health issues such as physical disability, cognitive decline, or lack of mobility. 

If you think assisted living is your best option, then here are some steps to make the transition seamless and stress-free for everyone involved:

  1. Research Facility Options

Take the time to research assisted living facilities near you to find one that you think would be a good fit for your parent. Visit the facility to meet the staff and ask them about the services they offer, such as housekeeping, meals, and social activities.

Ensure that the facility you choose fits into your budget and see if there is an admission process to enter. 

Oftentimes there are waitlists to get into assisted-living facilities so you may need to submit your parent’s application in advance.

  1. Talk With Your Parent

Explain to your parent why you think assisted living is a good option for them and how it would be mutually beneficial. Be honest and tell them that you are feeling trapped and overwhelmed. 

Tell them about the assisted facility you had in mind, and explain what their day-to-day life would look like and what services they can expect.

If possible, you may want to take them for a tour of the facility so they know exactly what to expect ahead of time to ease the transition.

  1. Prepare The Necessary Paperwork

Once you find an assisted living facility that is reputable, it is time to gather the documents required for the paperwork.

All assisted living facilities will have different document requirements, but these are the ones that I recommend you have ready:

  • Birth certificate

  • Driver’s license

  • Insurance card

  • Medicare or Medicaid card

  • Organ donor card

  • Social Security card

  • Marriage certificates

  • Mortgage documents

If you need help organizing your family’s paperwork and documents, check out Trustworthy. We specialize in organizing important documents and keeping them safe and secure for you to access whenever needed.

  1. Notify Healthcare Providers

Notifying your parent’s healthcare providers should be a priority as soon as you know your parent has been accepted into assisted living.

Getting this done as soon as possible is crucial so that the healthcare providers can update your parent's records. Having the records updated promptly will prevent delays in access to medical treatments.

  1. Plan The Move

Pick a date when you and your parent will arrive at the facility and start organizing the logistics and transportation of your parent’s items

If your parent has been put on a waitlist, then it may be a good time to start thinking about downsizing, especially if your parent has a lot of possessions. Talk it over with your parent on how they want to handle it. 

Instead of donating extra items, you can also try to sell them at a yard sale or online to get some extra income to help you and your parent going forward.

  1. Prepare Personal Belongings

Once all the legal work is done, you can gather your parent's belongings to be moved into the facility.

I recommend making an essential packing list with your parent so that they feel they have everything they need to feel at ease. 

Remember to be empathetic throughout this process because leaving your home to move to a new location can be emotional, so be kind and supportive throughout this transitional phase.

  1. Setup Living Space

Once you arrive at the facility, ask your parent how they want their living space adjusted. Adjust any furniture or items exactly how they want them to make your parent happy and comfortable.

Ensure that the space is functional and that it’s easy to move from place to place.

  1. Monitor and Communicate

Try to keep in touch with your elderly parent on a regular basis. Even if they are in good hands, it's important to communicate with them to show that they are still loved.

I also recommend that you save the number to your parent’s facility so that you can communicate with the staff about any potential issues that arise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I give up my life to care for elderly parents?

Deciding whether or not you should give up your life to care for your elderly parents is entirely up to you. Some cultures expect you to devote your life to caring for your parents; however, if caring for your parents decreases your quality of life, you should consider other care options.

Is it my responsibility to take care of my parents?

Most states in the U.S. have laws that make you legally responsible for the care of your parents. Caring for elderly parents includes letting them live with you, home care, CDPAP home care, and assisted living.

Can I be forced to care for an elderly parent?

It depends on the state where you live. In some states, you can appeal the mandatory care, while in others, you cannot. Failing to provide care for elderly parents in some states that mandate it can result in criminal charges.

Are you legally responsible for your parents?

Depending on your state, you are legally responsible for caring for your elderly parents if they cannot care for themselves.

Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent?

Depending on the state, yes. Some states don’t require children to provide care for elderly parents. In states that do, it is possible to appeal and fight it in court if your elderly parent presses charges against you.

Letting your elderly parent live with you is a life-changing decision, and many people feel forced into doing it because of pressure or guilt.

Feeling forced into taking care of your elderly parent can be overwhelming and cause you to feel trapped, and while this is common, it shouldn’t be normalized.

This article will explain why you feel trapped by caring for your parent, provide some solutions to make you feel less trapped, and provide some steps to take if you decide to put your elderly parent into assisted living.

Key Takeaways

  • You may feel trapped because of burnout, loss of freedom, restraints on career advancement, financial restraints, and poor health. 


  • To feel less trapped while caring for your parent you can take breaks, apply for income assistance, ask for help, or consider assisted living.


  • Putting your elderly parent in assisted living can help them get the support they need and improve your quality of life.

Is It Normal To Feel Trapped Caring For An Elderly Parent?

trapped caring for elderly parents

Yes, feeling trapped while caring for an elderly parent is common. The truth is that caring for an aging parent takes a lot of physical and emotional energy, which many people don’t realize until they become the primary caregiver.

Having a parent who is relying on you to provide and care for them puts a lot of extra pressure on you to devote more of your time and resources to them; which you might not have to give.

Overextending yourself typically leads to burnout, especially if you have to make sacrifices that keep you away from the things you love doing. Giving up aspects of your life to care for your parent can cause you to feel trapped.

It’s important to acknowledge that you’re feeling trapped and to identify what is causing you to feel trapped. Understanding the reason why you feel trapped will help you convey your emotions to your parent and hopefully work towards finding a solution to help improve your life and theirs.

Potential Reasons Why You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

Feeling trapped can come from a variety of physical and emotional factors. Listed below are the most common reasons why people feel trapped when caring for their parents. 

Take note of the factors that you identify with that are causing you to feel trapped.

Burnout

Burnout is when you feel as though you are hanging on by a thread because of mental and physical exhaustion. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and can’t keep up with life’s demands. Being a caregiver will throw more obstacles your way, making it harder to manage your time and mental energy.

Loss of Freedom

Those caring for elderly parents often end up sacrificing their hobbies and interests, missing out on trips, and saying “no” to events they would normally attend simply because of a lack of time. 

When you become a caregiver to your parents, you may find that you have to sacrifice a lot of your personal time that you used to have before which can cause you to lose your sense of independence.

Restraints on Career Advancement

Having too much on your plate while caring for your parents can keep you from devoting time to other essential things, such as your career. Taking care of your parents is important, but if it requires you to take a lot of time away from work, it could hurt your career advancement goals.

Financial Strains

Caring for your elderly parents will come with extra expenses in the form of food, medicine, trips to the doctor, and in some cases, home modifications. Having these extra expenses will add to your overall financial strain.

Poor Emotional Health

The burden of caregiving for your parents can also contribute to poor mental health. Extra stressors can bring out symptoms of anxiety, depression, and guilt. 

These symptoms are more prevalent among those who struggle to find the balance between getting everything done and enjoying life.

Poor Physical Health

Working yourself to exhaustion will have physical effects on your general health. Caring for your elderly parents might require you to cut back on things like sleep and exercise, which is detrimental to your health.

You may also find that you’re too tired to cook balanced meals, causing you to eat more convenient ultra-processed foods that are less nutritious.

What To Do When You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

what-to-do-when-you-feel-trapped

Now that we’ve covered that feeling trapped can be normal and that there are many reasons to feel trapped, let’s talk about solutions to help you work through this feeling.

Take Breaks

The best thing you can do to treat burnout is to create time for yourself. Allowing yourself at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for downtime can significantly reduce the effects of burnout. Try to schedule some time in your day to allow yourself to relax or to participate in activities that bring you joy. 

Share The Responsibility With Siblings

If you have siblings, consider asking them to set up a shared responsibility model, in which all siblings collaborate and support one another by taking turns caring for their elderly parents.

Sharing the responsibility can help you and your sibling(s) have a better quality of life and feel less trapped and isolated when caring for your parents.

If you have no siblings (or your siblings are unwilling to help), then you may want to consider assisted living.

Apply For Income Assistance

If money and a lack of resources make you feel trapped, consider exploring financial assistance options. Some programs will pay you for being a caregiver to your elderly parents.

Low-income families that get Medicaid can be offered home healthcare services. Or, if your elderly parent is a veteran, then you could apply for the Veteran-Directed Program.

Assisted Living

There is no shame in turning to assisted living if you feel that you cannot care for your parents by yourself. A good assisted living facility will provide excellent care to your parents while taking a load of responsibility off your shoulders.

Assisted living facilities often provide a range of services such as meals, help with activities of daily living (like dressing and bathing), medication management, emergency alert systems that summon help in case of a medical emergency, and housekeeping. 

All these services make it easier to care for your elderly parents from afar or when you have other obligations to attend to, such as work or taking care of children. 

The biggest benefit is that residents will live independently while also having access to assistance at any time. This means that your parents can still retain their autonomy and dignity, while also getting the care they need for any physical or mental health concerns. 

How To Send A Parent To Assisted Living

how to send a parent to assisted living

As difficult as it can be, deciding when to send an aging parent to assisted living is a decision that many families must face. 

There are many factors that contribute to assessing long-term care needs for an elderly person including health issues such as physical disability, cognitive decline, or lack of mobility. 

If you think assisted living is your best option, then here are some steps to make the transition seamless and stress-free for everyone involved:

  1. Research Facility Options

Take the time to research assisted living facilities near you to find one that you think would be a good fit for your parent. Visit the facility to meet the staff and ask them about the services they offer, such as housekeeping, meals, and social activities.

Ensure that the facility you choose fits into your budget and see if there is an admission process to enter. 

Oftentimes there are waitlists to get into assisted-living facilities so you may need to submit your parent’s application in advance.

  1. Talk With Your Parent

Explain to your parent why you think assisted living is a good option for them and how it would be mutually beneficial. Be honest and tell them that you are feeling trapped and overwhelmed. 

Tell them about the assisted facility you had in mind, and explain what their day-to-day life would look like and what services they can expect.

If possible, you may want to take them for a tour of the facility so they know exactly what to expect ahead of time to ease the transition.

  1. Prepare The Necessary Paperwork

Once you find an assisted living facility that is reputable, it is time to gather the documents required for the paperwork.

All assisted living facilities will have different document requirements, but these are the ones that I recommend you have ready:

  • Birth certificate

  • Driver’s license

  • Insurance card

  • Medicare or Medicaid card

  • Organ donor card

  • Social Security card

  • Marriage certificates

  • Mortgage documents

If you need help organizing your family’s paperwork and documents, check out Trustworthy. We specialize in organizing important documents and keeping them safe and secure for you to access whenever needed.

  1. Notify Healthcare Providers

Notifying your parent’s healthcare providers should be a priority as soon as you know your parent has been accepted into assisted living.

Getting this done as soon as possible is crucial so that the healthcare providers can update your parent's records. Having the records updated promptly will prevent delays in access to medical treatments.

  1. Plan The Move

Pick a date when you and your parent will arrive at the facility and start organizing the logistics and transportation of your parent’s items

If your parent has been put on a waitlist, then it may be a good time to start thinking about downsizing, especially if your parent has a lot of possessions. Talk it over with your parent on how they want to handle it. 

Instead of donating extra items, you can also try to sell them at a yard sale or online to get some extra income to help you and your parent going forward.

  1. Prepare Personal Belongings

Once all the legal work is done, you can gather your parent's belongings to be moved into the facility.

I recommend making an essential packing list with your parent so that they feel they have everything they need to feel at ease. 

Remember to be empathetic throughout this process because leaving your home to move to a new location can be emotional, so be kind and supportive throughout this transitional phase.

  1. Setup Living Space

Once you arrive at the facility, ask your parent how they want their living space adjusted. Adjust any furniture or items exactly how they want them to make your parent happy and comfortable.

Ensure that the space is functional and that it’s easy to move from place to place.

  1. Monitor and Communicate

Try to keep in touch with your elderly parent on a regular basis. Even if they are in good hands, it's important to communicate with them to show that they are still loved.

I also recommend that you save the number to your parent’s facility so that you can communicate with the staff about any potential issues that arise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I give up my life to care for elderly parents?

Deciding whether or not you should give up your life to care for your elderly parents is entirely up to you. Some cultures expect you to devote your life to caring for your parents; however, if caring for your parents decreases your quality of life, you should consider other care options.

Is it my responsibility to take care of my parents?

Most states in the U.S. have laws that make you legally responsible for the care of your parents. Caring for elderly parents includes letting them live with you, home care, CDPAP home care, and assisted living.

Can I be forced to care for an elderly parent?

It depends on the state where you live. In some states, you can appeal the mandatory care, while in others, you cannot. Failing to provide care for elderly parents in some states that mandate it can result in criminal charges.

Are you legally responsible for your parents?

Depending on your state, you are legally responsible for caring for your elderly parents if they cannot care for themselves.

Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent?

Depending on the state, yes. Some states don’t require children to provide care for elderly parents. In states that do, it is possible to appeal and fight it in court if your elderly parent presses charges against you.

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Letting your elderly parent live with you is a life-changing decision, and many people feel forced into doing it because of pressure or guilt.

Feeling forced into taking care of your elderly parent can be overwhelming and cause you to feel trapped, and while this is common, it shouldn’t be normalized.

This article will explain why you feel trapped by caring for your parent, provide some solutions to make you feel less trapped, and provide some steps to take if you decide to put your elderly parent into assisted living.

Key Takeaways

  • You may feel trapped because of burnout, loss of freedom, restraints on career advancement, financial restraints, and poor health. 


  • To feel less trapped while caring for your parent you can take breaks, apply for income assistance, ask for help, or consider assisted living.


  • Putting your elderly parent in assisted living can help them get the support they need and improve your quality of life.

Is It Normal To Feel Trapped Caring For An Elderly Parent?

trapped caring for elderly parents

Yes, feeling trapped while caring for an elderly parent is common. The truth is that caring for an aging parent takes a lot of physical and emotional energy, which many people don’t realize until they become the primary caregiver.

Having a parent who is relying on you to provide and care for them puts a lot of extra pressure on you to devote more of your time and resources to them; which you might not have to give.

Overextending yourself typically leads to burnout, especially if you have to make sacrifices that keep you away from the things you love doing. Giving up aspects of your life to care for your parent can cause you to feel trapped.

It’s important to acknowledge that you’re feeling trapped and to identify what is causing you to feel trapped. Understanding the reason why you feel trapped will help you convey your emotions to your parent and hopefully work towards finding a solution to help improve your life and theirs.

Potential Reasons Why You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

Feeling trapped can come from a variety of physical and emotional factors. Listed below are the most common reasons why people feel trapped when caring for their parents. 

Take note of the factors that you identify with that are causing you to feel trapped.

Burnout

Burnout is when you feel as though you are hanging on by a thread because of mental and physical exhaustion. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and can’t keep up with life’s demands. Being a caregiver will throw more obstacles your way, making it harder to manage your time and mental energy.

Loss of Freedom

Those caring for elderly parents often end up sacrificing their hobbies and interests, missing out on trips, and saying “no” to events they would normally attend simply because of a lack of time. 

When you become a caregiver to your parents, you may find that you have to sacrifice a lot of your personal time that you used to have before which can cause you to lose your sense of independence.

Restraints on Career Advancement

Having too much on your plate while caring for your parents can keep you from devoting time to other essential things, such as your career. Taking care of your parents is important, but if it requires you to take a lot of time away from work, it could hurt your career advancement goals.

Financial Strains

Caring for your elderly parents will come with extra expenses in the form of food, medicine, trips to the doctor, and in some cases, home modifications. Having these extra expenses will add to your overall financial strain.

Poor Emotional Health

The burden of caregiving for your parents can also contribute to poor mental health. Extra stressors can bring out symptoms of anxiety, depression, and guilt. 

These symptoms are more prevalent among those who struggle to find the balance between getting everything done and enjoying life.

Poor Physical Health

Working yourself to exhaustion will have physical effects on your general health. Caring for your elderly parents might require you to cut back on things like sleep and exercise, which is detrimental to your health.

You may also find that you’re too tired to cook balanced meals, causing you to eat more convenient ultra-processed foods that are less nutritious.

What To Do When You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

what-to-do-when-you-feel-trapped

Now that we’ve covered that feeling trapped can be normal and that there are many reasons to feel trapped, let’s talk about solutions to help you work through this feeling.

Take Breaks

The best thing you can do to treat burnout is to create time for yourself. Allowing yourself at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for downtime can significantly reduce the effects of burnout. Try to schedule some time in your day to allow yourself to relax or to participate in activities that bring you joy. 

Share The Responsibility With Siblings

If you have siblings, consider asking them to set up a shared responsibility model, in which all siblings collaborate and support one another by taking turns caring for their elderly parents.

Sharing the responsibility can help you and your sibling(s) have a better quality of life and feel less trapped and isolated when caring for your parents.

If you have no siblings (or your siblings are unwilling to help), then you may want to consider assisted living.

Apply For Income Assistance

If money and a lack of resources make you feel trapped, consider exploring financial assistance options. Some programs will pay you for being a caregiver to your elderly parents.

Low-income families that get Medicaid can be offered home healthcare services. Or, if your elderly parent is a veteran, then you could apply for the Veteran-Directed Program.

Assisted Living

There is no shame in turning to assisted living if you feel that you cannot care for your parents by yourself. A good assisted living facility will provide excellent care to your parents while taking a load of responsibility off your shoulders.

Assisted living facilities often provide a range of services such as meals, help with activities of daily living (like dressing and bathing), medication management, emergency alert systems that summon help in case of a medical emergency, and housekeeping. 

All these services make it easier to care for your elderly parents from afar or when you have other obligations to attend to, such as work or taking care of children. 

The biggest benefit is that residents will live independently while also having access to assistance at any time. This means that your parents can still retain their autonomy and dignity, while also getting the care they need for any physical or mental health concerns. 

How To Send A Parent To Assisted Living

how to send a parent to assisted living

As difficult as it can be, deciding when to send an aging parent to assisted living is a decision that many families must face. 

There are many factors that contribute to assessing long-term care needs for an elderly person including health issues such as physical disability, cognitive decline, or lack of mobility. 

If you think assisted living is your best option, then here are some steps to make the transition seamless and stress-free for everyone involved:

  1. Research Facility Options

Take the time to research assisted living facilities near you to find one that you think would be a good fit for your parent. Visit the facility to meet the staff and ask them about the services they offer, such as housekeeping, meals, and social activities.

Ensure that the facility you choose fits into your budget and see if there is an admission process to enter. 

Oftentimes there are waitlists to get into assisted-living facilities so you may need to submit your parent’s application in advance.

  1. Talk With Your Parent

Explain to your parent why you think assisted living is a good option for them and how it would be mutually beneficial. Be honest and tell them that you are feeling trapped and overwhelmed. 

Tell them about the assisted facility you had in mind, and explain what their day-to-day life would look like and what services they can expect.

If possible, you may want to take them for a tour of the facility so they know exactly what to expect ahead of time to ease the transition.

  1. Prepare The Necessary Paperwork

Once you find an assisted living facility that is reputable, it is time to gather the documents required for the paperwork.

All assisted living facilities will have different document requirements, but these are the ones that I recommend you have ready:

  • Birth certificate

  • Driver’s license

  • Insurance card

  • Medicare or Medicaid card

  • Organ donor card

  • Social Security card

  • Marriage certificates

  • Mortgage documents

If you need help organizing your family’s paperwork and documents, check out Trustworthy. We specialize in organizing important documents and keeping them safe and secure for you to access whenever needed.

  1. Notify Healthcare Providers

Notifying your parent’s healthcare providers should be a priority as soon as you know your parent has been accepted into assisted living.

Getting this done as soon as possible is crucial so that the healthcare providers can update your parent's records. Having the records updated promptly will prevent delays in access to medical treatments.

  1. Plan The Move

Pick a date when you and your parent will arrive at the facility and start organizing the logistics and transportation of your parent’s items

If your parent has been put on a waitlist, then it may be a good time to start thinking about downsizing, especially if your parent has a lot of possessions. Talk it over with your parent on how they want to handle it. 

Instead of donating extra items, you can also try to sell them at a yard sale or online to get some extra income to help you and your parent going forward.

  1. Prepare Personal Belongings

Once all the legal work is done, you can gather your parent's belongings to be moved into the facility.

I recommend making an essential packing list with your parent so that they feel they have everything they need to feel at ease. 

Remember to be empathetic throughout this process because leaving your home to move to a new location can be emotional, so be kind and supportive throughout this transitional phase.

  1. Setup Living Space

Once you arrive at the facility, ask your parent how they want their living space adjusted. Adjust any furniture or items exactly how they want them to make your parent happy and comfortable.

Ensure that the space is functional and that it’s easy to move from place to place.

  1. Monitor and Communicate

Try to keep in touch with your elderly parent on a regular basis. Even if they are in good hands, it's important to communicate with them to show that they are still loved.

I also recommend that you save the number to your parent’s facility so that you can communicate with the staff about any potential issues that arise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I give up my life to care for elderly parents?

Deciding whether or not you should give up your life to care for your elderly parents is entirely up to you. Some cultures expect you to devote your life to caring for your parents; however, if caring for your parents decreases your quality of life, you should consider other care options.

Is it my responsibility to take care of my parents?

Most states in the U.S. have laws that make you legally responsible for the care of your parents. Caring for elderly parents includes letting them live with you, home care, CDPAP home care, and assisted living.

Can I be forced to care for an elderly parent?

It depends on the state where you live. In some states, you can appeal the mandatory care, while in others, you cannot. Failing to provide care for elderly parents in some states that mandate it can result in criminal charges.

Are you legally responsible for your parents?

Depending on your state, you are legally responsible for caring for your elderly parents if they cannot care for themselves.

Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent?

Depending on the state, yes. Some states don’t require children to provide care for elderly parents. In states that do, it is possible to appeal and fight it in court if your elderly parent presses charges against you.

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Letting your elderly parent live with you is a life-changing decision, and many people feel forced into doing it because of pressure or guilt.

Feeling forced into taking care of your elderly parent can be overwhelming and cause you to feel trapped, and while this is common, it shouldn’t be normalized.

This article will explain why you feel trapped by caring for your parent, provide some solutions to make you feel less trapped, and provide some steps to take if you decide to put your elderly parent into assisted living.

Key Takeaways

  • You may feel trapped because of burnout, loss of freedom, restraints on career advancement, financial restraints, and poor health. 


  • To feel less trapped while caring for your parent you can take breaks, apply for income assistance, ask for help, or consider assisted living.


  • Putting your elderly parent in assisted living can help them get the support they need and improve your quality of life.

Is It Normal To Feel Trapped Caring For An Elderly Parent?

trapped caring for elderly parents

Yes, feeling trapped while caring for an elderly parent is common. The truth is that caring for an aging parent takes a lot of physical and emotional energy, which many people don’t realize until they become the primary caregiver.

Having a parent who is relying on you to provide and care for them puts a lot of extra pressure on you to devote more of your time and resources to them; which you might not have to give.

Overextending yourself typically leads to burnout, especially if you have to make sacrifices that keep you away from the things you love doing. Giving up aspects of your life to care for your parent can cause you to feel trapped.

It’s important to acknowledge that you’re feeling trapped and to identify what is causing you to feel trapped. Understanding the reason why you feel trapped will help you convey your emotions to your parent and hopefully work towards finding a solution to help improve your life and theirs.

Potential Reasons Why You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

Feeling trapped can come from a variety of physical and emotional factors. Listed below are the most common reasons why people feel trapped when caring for their parents. 

Take note of the factors that you identify with that are causing you to feel trapped.

Burnout

Burnout is when you feel as though you are hanging on by a thread because of mental and physical exhaustion. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and can’t keep up with life’s demands. Being a caregiver will throw more obstacles your way, making it harder to manage your time and mental energy.

Loss of Freedom

Those caring for elderly parents often end up sacrificing their hobbies and interests, missing out on trips, and saying “no” to events they would normally attend simply because of a lack of time. 

When you become a caregiver to your parents, you may find that you have to sacrifice a lot of your personal time that you used to have before which can cause you to lose your sense of independence.

Restraints on Career Advancement

Having too much on your plate while caring for your parents can keep you from devoting time to other essential things, such as your career. Taking care of your parents is important, but if it requires you to take a lot of time away from work, it could hurt your career advancement goals.

Financial Strains

Caring for your elderly parents will come with extra expenses in the form of food, medicine, trips to the doctor, and in some cases, home modifications. Having these extra expenses will add to your overall financial strain.

Poor Emotional Health

The burden of caregiving for your parents can also contribute to poor mental health. Extra stressors can bring out symptoms of anxiety, depression, and guilt. 

These symptoms are more prevalent among those who struggle to find the balance between getting everything done and enjoying life.

Poor Physical Health

Working yourself to exhaustion will have physical effects on your general health. Caring for your elderly parents might require you to cut back on things like sleep and exercise, which is detrimental to your health.

You may also find that you’re too tired to cook balanced meals, causing you to eat more convenient ultra-processed foods that are less nutritious.

What To Do When You Feel Trapped Caring For Elderly Parents

what-to-do-when-you-feel-trapped

Now that we’ve covered that feeling trapped can be normal and that there are many reasons to feel trapped, let’s talk about solutions to help you work through this feeling.

Take Breaks

The best thing you can do to treat burnout is to create time for yourself. Allowing yourself at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for downtime can significantly reduce the effects of burnout. Try to schedule some time in your day to allow yourself to relax or to participate in activities that bring you joy. 

Share The Responsibility With Siblings

If you have siblings, consider asking them to set up a shared responsibility model, in which all siblings collaborate and support one another by taking turns caring for their elderly parents.

Sharing the responsibility can help you and your sibling(s) have a better quality of life and feel less trapped and isolated when caring for your parents.

If you have no siblings (or your siblings are unwilling to help), then you may want to consider assisted living.

Apply For Income Assistance

If money and a lack of resources make you feel trapped, consider exploring financial assistance options. Some programs will pay you for being a caregiver to your elderly parents.

Low-income families that get Medicaid can be offered home healthcare services. Or, if your elderly parent is a veteran, then you could apply for the Veteran-Directed Program.

Assisted Living

There is no shame in turning to assisted living if you feel that you cannot care for your parents by yourself. A good assisted living facility will provide excellent care to your parents while taking a load of responsibility off your shoulders.

Assisted living facilities often provide a range of services such as meals, help with activities of daily living (like dressing and bathing), medication management, emergency alert systems that summon help in case of a medical emergency, and housekeeping. 

All these services make it easier to care for your elderly parents from afar or when you have other obligations to attend to, such as work or taking care of children. 

The biggest benefit is that residents will live independently while also having access to assistance at any time. This means that your parents can still retain their autonomy and dignity, while also getting the care they need for any physical or mental health concerns. 

How To Send A Parent To Assisted Living

how to send a parent to assisted living

As difficult as it can be, deciding when to send an aging parent to assisted living is a decision that many families must face. 

There are many factors that contribute to assessing long-term care needs for an elderly person including health issues such as physical disability, cognitive decline, or lack of mobility. 

If you think assisted living is your best option, then here are some steps to make the transition seamless and stress-free for everyone involved:

  1. Research Facility Options

Take the time to research assisted living facilities near you to find one that you think would be a good fit for your parent. Visit the facility to meet the staff and ask them about the services they offer, such as housekeeping, meals, and social activities.

Ensure that the facility you choose fits into your budget and see if there is an admission process to enter. 

Oftentimes there are waitlists to get into assisted-living facilities so you may need to submit your parent’s application in advance.

  1. Talk With Your Parent

Explain to your parent why you think assisted living is a good option for them and how it would be mutually beneficial. Be honest and tell them that you are feeling trapped and overwhelmed. 

Tell them about the assisted facility you had in mind, and explain what their day-to-day life would look like and what services they can expect.

If possible, you may want to take them for a tour of the facility so they know exactly what to expect ahead of time to ease the transition.

  1. Prepare The Necessary Paperwork

Once you find an assisted living facility that is reputable, it is time to gather the documents required for the paperwork.

All assisted living facilities will have different document requirements, but these are the ones that I recommend you have ready:

  • Birth certificate

  • Driver’s license

  • Insurance card

  • Medicare or Medicaid card

  • Organ donor card

  • Social Security card

  • Marriage certificates

  • Mortgage documents

If you need help organizing your family’s paperwork and documents, check out Trustworthy. We specialize in organizing important documents and keeping them safe and secure for you to access whenever needed.

  1. Notify Healthcare Providers

Notifying your parent’s healthcare providers should be a priority as soon as you know your parent has been accepted into assisted living.

Getting this done as soon as possible is crucial so that the healthcare providers can update your parent's records. Having the records updated promptly will prevent delays in access to medical treatments.

  1. Plan The Move

Pick a date when you and your parent will arrive at the facility and start organizing the logistics and transportation of your parent’s items

If your parent has been put on a waitlist, then it may be a good time to start thinking about downsizing, especially if your parent has a lot of possessions. Talk it over with your parent on how they want to handle it. 

Instead of donating extra items, you can also try to sell them at a yard sale or online to get some extra income to help you and your parent going forward.

  1. Prepare Personal Belongings

Once all the legal work is done, you can gather your parent's belongings to be moved into the facility.

I recommend making an essential packing list with your parent so that they feel they have everything they need to feel at ease. 

Remember to be empathetic throughout this process because leaving your home to move to a new location can be emotional, so be kind and supportive throughout this transitional phase.

  1. Setup Living Space

Once you arrive at the facility, ask your parent how they want their living space adjusted. Adjust any furniture or items exactly how they want them to make your parent happy and comfortable.

Ensure that the space is functional and that it’s easy to move from place to place.

  1. Monitor and Communicate

Try to keep in touch with your elderly parent on a regular basis. Even if they are in good hands, it's important to communicate with them to show that they are still loved.

I also recommend that you save the number to your parent’s facility so that you can communicate with the staff about any potential issues that arise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I give up my life to care for elderly parents?

Deciding whether or not you should give up your life to care for your elderly parents is entirely up to you. Some cultures expect you to devote your life to caring for your parents; however, if caring for your parents decreases your quality of life, you should consider other care options.

Is it my responsibility to take care of my parents?

Most states in the U.S. have laws that make you legally responsible for the care of your parents. Caring for elderly parents includes letting them live with you, home care, CDPAP home care, and assisted living.

Can I be forced to care for an elderly parent?

It depends on the state where you live. In some states, you can appeal the mandatory care, while in others, you cannot. Failing to provide care for elderly parents in some states that mandate it can result in criminal charges.

Are you legally responsible for your parents?

Depending on your state, you are legally responsible for caring for your elderly parents if they cannot care for themselves.

Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent?

Depending on the state, yes. Some states don’t require children to provide care for elderly parents. In states that do, it is possible to appeal and fight it in court if your elderly parent presses charges against you.

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