Jane Gross recently wrote in The New York Times that, while she was intensely involved in home care for her aged mother, Estelle, she continually refused to believe that her mother may need to be relocated from her assisted living community to a place closer to family.
Instead, Gross embarked on long-distance trips to her mother's Florida home, where she slept on the couch with the air conditioning on full blast and the television always turned on.
She watched as her mother slowly became unable to do basic tasks due to severe arthritis.
"I wanted her to be fine so badly that I pretended that she was, employing a commonly used combination of denial, laziness and attachment to the very convenient status quo," Gross writes.
However, she finally did decide to try and find a new place for her mother to live - one that was closer to home. And now Gross can stop at the new retirement living community for a quick cup of coffee and be on her way.
One of the biggest risks for caregivers is neglecting personal health, as Gross demonstrates. Many often push themselves to the limits in caring for a parent and ignore their own lives in the process, which can make things worse for both parties.