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Always a Parent:
Worries About Adult Children

Maternal or paternal instinct isn't something that can be shut off once a child reaches a certain age. In the midst of your concern for your parent, he or she is also worried about you. That concern, that love, has been a cornerstone in your relationship. It's not about to suddenly change now.

Your mother can't help but worry when she sees how much her problems and her needs stretch your patience, your strength, your schedule. She knows you're overworked, frightened, and sad. You can tell her not to worry, but she does anyway. She sees the truth.

Here are some things you can do to help ease your parent's mind — and yours:

--Talk with your parent during a calm time. Let Dad know that if you feel there's some part of caring for him that you can't handle, you will admit it and get help from someone who can. Let him know that you're going to take care of yourself, too: by going to a support group or out with a friend. Your parent will be happier knowing you're looking out for yourself.

--Understand that Mom may suddenly seem like such a busybody because you're around her more than you have been in recent years and she's more aware of your daily ups and downs. Maybe you're upset because your child was sent to the principal's office this morning or the car repair isn't going to be completed for three more days. Your mother didn't used to know about these things in any detail. Now she does. When you're down, for whatever reason, she wants to solve the problem or offer possible solutions. Gently thank her for her concern but let her know you can handle it.

--Remember that you don't have control over your parent's worry. Even though you reassure your dad that he doesn't have to worry, he does. You'll say, "Don't worry," and he'll sit there and worry anyway.

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"Catholic Caregivers" flier

(with "When the Professionals and Your Care-receiver Disagree")