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Role reversal: caregiving for aging loved ones

People may not realize they are a caregiver to an aging loved one. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. One day, you might help with someone’s grocery shopping, and then soon enough you find yourself responsible for making big decisions on behalf of your loved one.

Even if you aren’t the primary caregiver, decision making and finding or vetting appropriate services for a loved one can be overwhelming tasks. It can also negatively affect your health; family caregivers, especially those who are juggling children and eldercare, have an increased risk for depression, chronic illness and a decline in quality of life.

Stanford’s WorkLife Office partners with Avenidas, a non-profit senior services agency, to provide resources for employees and retirees who are caring for others.

“Eldercare is a topic that people are often hesitant to talk about or to reach out for help,” says Phyllis Stewart Pires, senior director in the WorkLife Office. “Sometimes caregivers feel guilty that they can’t handle things on their own.”

According to Paula Wolfson, LCSW, manager of Avenidas Care Partners, “People who are caregiving often feel that they are not living their own lives anymore. They are exhausted from juggling conflicting priorities and may feel as if they are living in a fog. When someone is in this position, the most important thing they can do is to seek help.”

Having access to the resources and support you need to not only care for your loved ones, but yourself as well is incredibly important in any caregivers journey. If you have an elderly family member who needs your care, or who will in the future, review these resources and support services on the WorkLife pages on Cardinal at Work.


Benefits & Rewards, WorkLife