Focus on the Family

When Family Members Adjust to Their New Roles

Most parents are accustomed to caring for their children – no matter their ages. So what happens when these roles reverse?

by Carol Heffernan

Within a brief span of time, adult children can find themselves responsible for Mom and Dad. Watching a parent grow vulnerable and dependent is an uncomfortable transition. But shifting family roles are becoming increasingly common as more and more people try to meet the demands of their own children, while feeling the tug to assist their aging parents.

Providing care for parents, whether local or long-distance, lasting months or years, involves major change. With financial implications, strain among family members and difficult decisions at every turn, it's no wonder so many caregivers and potential caregivers feel overwhelmed.

But don't despair. There are practical ways to prepare for and adjust to the new roles within a family.