There’s a largely undiscussed issue in this country. Over 15 million American citizens are acting as unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Most of those caregivers are children looking after their parents. This is unfair for everyone involved, but many family members feel an obligation to take over this responsibility. Here are the reasons why some people decide to forego nursing homes and memory care facilities in favor of taking the burden upon themselves.

  1. Guilt
    Many children might feel guilty about not being there for their parents in old age. This guilt could compel them to try and make up for lost time by skipping over the nursing home and caring for their parents alone. They may see it as their duty to help their parents and could even feel ashamed by the thought of not becoming their sole caregiver.
  2. Love
    It is hard to accept your parent’s diagnoses. It is even harder to let go of the close bond you have formed your whole life. Love might make you desire closeness and further affection in the later years of their illness. You might try and take on a huge responsibility out of love, in the hopes of cherishing your time together or even bettering their situation due to your emotional investment.
  3. Fear
    You might be afraid that your parents won’t receive top-level care in an assisted living home. This fear can drive you to bite off more than you can chew. Specialized caregivers are much better equipped to handle your loved one’s needs than you are, but fear can blind you to this fact and keep you from being able to recognize what’s in your parents’ best interests.
  4. Pride
    If you are the type of person who never likes admitting defeat, you could take on this massive responsibility out of pride. After all, they are your parents; you should be able to take care of them yourself. Right? In some cases, the inability to put aside one’s pride could keep your loved one from getting a higher quality of care.
  5. Money
    In many cases, the main reason children end up caring for their elderly parents involves money — to at least some extent. Memory care centers can be expensive if families haven’t planned ahead for long-term care or have the proper insurance coverage. If money is the reason you are attempting to care for your parent alone, research the possible alternatives. The stress and pain that comes with taking care of a parent with dementia can be much more costly overall. You’d be surprised by how affordable many facilities can be — and how the peace of mind they provide is well worth the investment.

It is always a good idea to seek out specialized nursing homes for you parent with dementia. Still, it is more than understandable that many people don’t decide to do this. If any of the reasons above ring a bell to you, you might want to consider all options for getting your parent the help that they need.