We often think of aging in terms of the physical challenges that arise as the body changes. However, the mental and emotional aspects of aging are perhaps more difficult to address— both for seniors and their families. “The thing that we run up against most often is depression and anxiety with older adults,” says Sheening Lin, a clinical psychologist at the Masonic Center for Youth and Families, a multidisciplinary team of highly trained professionals.
Issues such as isolation and not having access to quality caretaking can exacerbate anxiety and depression. “Some people are lucky enough to have family units that are intact,” says Lin, “but many people are on their own.” That goes for people at all stages of aging.
Another substantial but often overlooked issue is caregiver burnout. Caring for a parent can be particularly stressful, both in terms of navigating the logistics of care and the emotions that arise witnessing a loved one’s illness or degeneration. The usual child-parent dynamic also undergoes a massive change. “It’s a big adjustment for kids of seniors to go from being their equals to being their caregivers,” Lin says. The same is true for elders, who are used to protecting their children and now need to be taken care of. This shifting dynamic can be difficult for all involved— and represents one of the most important ways that MCYAF can help ease the transition. “We work with the children of aging parents to provide guidance,” Lin says, “but also helping them come to terms with what they can and can’t do, and balancing that with the needs of the parents.”
It is crucial during times of familial duress to build a network of support for all involved. MCYAF offers a team of professionals that helps families make decisions around medical needs and longer-term care while providing emotional guidance that supports the whole family, both in-person and via its telehealth program. For those interested in MCYAF’s services, call (877) 488- 6293 or visit mcyaf.org.
The Masonic Homes also offers short-term stay and respite care services for caregivers and elders. Its Transitions services in Union City provides care in a tranquil setting with excellent amenities. Transportation between care settings can be coordinated. To inquire about respite and short-term care services or to tour the facilities, call (888) 466- 3642 or visit masonichome.org/transitions.