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Should You be the Caregiver for your Elderly Parent?

All in the Family: Hands Off, Hands Free or Hands On?

Making the decision to become Caregiver for a loved one is one of life’s most challenging decisions. And much like, taxes, trips to the dentist, and other not so exciting life choices, many procrastinate this topic, if not avoid it absolutely.

In my experience, I find that within each family, there are usually three distinct categories in which our children fall into regarding the level of care and the type of Caregiver they become. First we have the:

Hands Off: This child is usually, just as the name implies, hands off. Characteristically, these people are very bottom line driven. They are usually very analytical in their approach style and like to have opinion in care plans, but lack the hands on abilities to carry out those plans.

They are quick to judge and change plan directions and quick to look to other family members to “handle” the situations. Interestingly enough, I feel these people often hold intense emotional attachment to their loved ones, but have built a wall of defense against outward display of these emotions. Often times, these children are the eldest of siblings and/or have achieved the greatest amount of financial or personal success.

Once, and if they do, transcend into one of the other two categories, they are often one of your best advocates because of their strong emotional ties and decision making abilities.

Hands Free: This child is usually characterized by ambivalence and exhibits a very easy going, carefree attitude. It is often found that this child has difficulty making decisions and is very easily persuaded along the lines of the strongest opinion in the family.

Many time, this child is a middle child, and has a difficult times taking the lead, and generally has a very easy going demeanor. This child has often times grown up in modest to good economic times. This absence of adversity in growing up may lead to their hands free, liaises’ faire attitudes.

Hands On: This third child is normally the take charge, hands on child. It is not atypical for this child to be the youngest and is often times female. General characteristics are high compassion, carried with high emotion. These children usually carry their emotion on their sleeves and appear as though their entire lives revolve around their loved one (and often times it does!).

The most successful families will recognize these inherent differences and use these as strengths of diversity in developing the best care plan possible for the loved ones in their families.

David Hummel
Director of Care
Cardinal Home Care, LLC