#18 – How can I lighten the load for my mother in Chapel Hill? Over the years, Dad’s condition has worsened.

Click here to see the prior item in this series:  What are the signs of elder abuse?

How can I lighten the load for my mother?  Over the years, Dad’s condition has worsened, and now when we talk, Mom sounds exhausted.

Your mother may be hesitant to ask for help or to say that she needs a break. Be sure to acknowledge how important her care has been for your father. Also, discuss the physical and emotional effects caregiving can have on people. Although caregiving can be satisfying, it also can be very hard work. Offer to arrange for respite care.  Respite care will give your mother a break from her caregiving responsibilities. Respite care can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days. Care can be provided in the family home, or your dad may spend the time in an adult day services program or at a skilled nursing facility. The ARCH National Respite Locator Service can help you find services in your parent’s community. You might suggest your mother contact the Well Spouse Association—it offers support to the wives, husbands, and partners of chronically ill or disabled people and has a nationwide listing of local groups.

Your parents may need more help from home-based care to continue  to live in their own home. Some people find it hard to have paid caregivers in the house, but most also say that the assistance is invaluable. If your mother is reluctant, point out that with an in-home aide, she may have more energy to devote to your father’s care and some time for herself. Suggest she try it for a short time, and then decide.  In time, your father may have to move to assisted living or a nursing home. If that happens, your mother will need your support. You can help her select a facility. She may need help adjusting to his absence or to living alone in their home. Just listening may not sound like much help, but often it is

Click here to see the next item in this series:  Should I encourage my parents to get more help?

Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.


Within Acorn’s service area of Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina (Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Morrisville, Cary, and Apex) the following resources may be especially helpful:

  • Orange County Department on Aging, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516, (919) 968-2070
  • Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Avenue – Suite 202, Durham, North Carolina   27701, (919) 688-8247
  • Chatham County Council on Aging, 365 North Carolina 87, Pittsboro, North Carolina   27312, (919) 542-4512
  • Triangle J Area Agency on Aging, 4307 Emperor Boulevard
- Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, 919-558-2711
  • Resources for Seniors (Wake County), 1110 Navaho Dr.  – Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27609, 919-872-7933