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How to Relieve the Stress of Caring for an Aging Parent: Amy O'Rourke at TEDxOrlando

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In a world where growing older can mean entering into a complex and confusing maze of difficult choices, Amy O'Rourke stands out as a passionate advocate for the elderly and their families. As founder of Cameron Group Care Management Services, she prioritizes quality of life and helps families and elders navigate the challenges of aging while supporting vital lifestyle preferences.
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Anna Karathanasis (14 hours ago)
She is talking cheap because people who work in homes take advantage and hate the elderly only to force them to give up all their possessions with LEGAL PAPERS. So don't lie -nobody can handle old people with love!Ha we want them gone! Why do you love them strange lady?
good health (7 days ago)
Get a free Medical Alert System For you or a Loved one 1-866-948-9051 call now for more info!! Best wishes
Glamorous Taee (10 days ago)
Children are so cruel to their parents! Their parents raise them and give them the best in life, and they turn around a throw their parents away in nursing homes! It’s despicable!
Noneya Business (15 days ago)
I’ve been taking care of my mom for 18 years. She complains about everything, never has a good day. Doesn’t matter that you try to fulfill every request. I’m tired, frustrated, my blood pressure is up. Feel like ending my own life! Just want some peace. I want to be left alone! I always thought I was strong, not now!
Blanka Hagge (16 days ago)
Very eye opening on how to except elderly. I am a caregiver for the elderly and it is the best job I ever had. They just want someone to listen what they have to say and I am learning something every time.
M 3 (29 days ago)
No words can replace your position as a caregiver of a person with a difficult personality, regardles of how you try not to take it personally.
Michelle Staunton (1 month ago)
What a lovely lady ! God bless her
Kitty Vortex (1 month ago)
Engaging and humorous but doesn't do what it says on the tin, i.e. suggest practical advice on how to relieve the stress of caring for an aging parent. It is a full-time, unpaid job, is absolutely draining, especially when you don't get to 'escape' to your own home and switch off. It is a problem for many live-in carers with elderly parents, and is only going to get worse as we all become older and require support.
jimin666 (1 month ago)
I really want to be there for my parents, they're not old but they need a lot care and attention, but I'm at university right now and I'm going through the most important years of my life studying medecine..and I feel so drained and torn..I wish they were able to live sufficiently without my assistance all the time. Idk what to do n how to cope
deepika rajput (18 days ago)
Yes these are the most important years of your life and you have to choose without any guilt....
99delsur (1 month ago)
So, to help you figure out what's truly important to you, ask yourself, when your parents are gone, what are the memories you are going to treasure? time spent with them? the day you aced that exam? getting your medical degree? (Or if it's easier for you -- what are you going to regret for the rest of your life doing/not doing?) Wishing for the impossible just adds stress. Spend more time and energy in determining what resources are available to help you help them. Can you stretch out your time at university -- take fewer courses at once, over a longer period of time? Would a tutor for you make things easier? (Sorry, got to comment on -- "most important years of my life" -- really? all the rest is downhill? That's a depressing thought. Childhood, growing up, nothing to treasure then?)
Rosa Santiago (1 month ago)
Thank you so much for your tips and advises God bless
B. Kane (1 month ago)
D Bee (1 month ago)
Splendid lecture! The speaker is a fantastic elder avodocate which is desperately needed in the world today. I know professionally and personally caring for the older generation. The greatest we can give ourselves and the seniors alike is acceptance. We have to accept that we can't change a senior but we can try to take the chance to change ourselves to become more patient,tolerant and forgiving. The caregivers of today will be receipent of caregivers of tomorrow. Teach the younger generation how you want to be cared for by how you care for the aged today.
Sheila Diuguid (1 month ago)
I have a friend who is on the brink right now and I watch this hoping for some nuggets of wisdom to help her through. Not so much
Patricia the booke (2 months ago)
If you are dealing with a toxic parent the best thing you can do for yourself is practice self care religiously.
Missy Cheesehead (2 months ago)
I took care of my sociopath father until he died, and take care now of my mom that has many issues, and it’s so hard, but this made me giggle and I’m thankful for that!
Janice Bowman (2 months ago)
My mother is never going into a nursing home. I am going to take care of her in my own home.
99delsur (1 month ago)
I have cared for many elderly family members. I'm currently living with and caring for my mother in her home. Never is a long time. There are situations where caring might require a different setting. I HOPE it never comes to that.
Yolanda Estrada (3 months ago)
Old people are not all cute and wise. Caring for them can be like caring for your abuser. You force yourself due to guilt and pressure. I can't stand when people say things like " you should visit more often" I see my parents 3-4 times per week and take care of their issues ongoing daily. What more do people want? They want the ultimate sacrifice of me moving them into my home and destroying any small amount of peace I have in my life. Please never put your opinion on caregivers when you are not the one living the nightmare
Anna Karathanasis (14 hours ago)
+Felis Catus me too for all the above . I hate this
spiderpig24321 (1 month ago)
Yep Yolanda ...taking care of 2 abusers due to a sense of duty. They dont even try to help with their grandkids
Felis Catus (1 month ago)
I am getting burned out overseeing my mother’s care in asst. living with Parkinson’s disease. Already taken her to 7 doctors appt. this month, she doesn’t get around well & her room is a mess at the facility. I am EXAUSTED taking care of her laundry, getting her diapers etc. My brother won’t even drop by to see her & say “hello”, he lives in the area. My life isn’t the same, I am raising two teenage sons & married, this sucks I can tell you honestly it sucks, I cannot take her in or quit my part time job either. I HATE this!! I hope I die first before becoming a burden on my sons!!
Ghel Aveunalliv (3 months ago)
My inlaws always remove her diaper whenever she poop and then rub it in her bed... She always do that im exhausted 🙁🙁🙁🙁
Philippa Slatter (16 days ago)
Oh, your life is hard. You remind us that sometimes there really is role reversal, except that when I wipe my grandson's bottom I know he will grow out of it. When I wipe my mother's I'm just glad when it's just pee in her nappy pants.
Cathy Irwin (3 months ago)
I so needed this. Thank you!
kate golden (4 months ago)
The Hillary Clinton and Rice have no problem killing people
Lupita Lozano (4 months ago)
Thank you so much!! I am facing this reality and I desperately needed to listen this. I didn't know how to deal with my dad's care. He is sick with POTS and needs 24/7 assistance and that led me to be bossy and missing the opportunity to enjoy and accept that this is part of life. I promise, I won't miss this rare and unique opportunity. Again, thank you♥
Sassy me (4 months ago)
Took care of mom with dementia for 6 years full time at home. This should never be a one person job,impossible. In a nursing home one CNA cares for 30 residents. We were better off when we died in our 50:s
kim kims (5 months ago)
I am studying Gerontology in my Social work programme and this helped me. Merci boucoup.
Stella Bell-Murray (5 months ago)
Some of this could also apply to caring for (or just being compassionate/understanding/supportive with) your chronically ill family member who is in say their thirties.
Ibnziyad Tariq (5 months ago)
I am already my parents parent but damn they wont accept it, my mom atleast wont accept getting corrected by her Son, which is weird.
Melanie McCann (6 months ago)
The bulk of my comments are under 'courtshannon' replies but here's cliffnotes: things that get me through even after 15 years of Alz & dementia parent care by myself. KEEP repeating 'it won't last forever' (constantly even), eat REALLY WELL so your body doesn't crash, tons of B-complex (and C), relish at least a few sips of your coffee/tea while it's still hot!, a few primal screams are REALLY cathartic - seriously - get stuff OUT of inside you (even writing rants down gets it out), and I'll add, do something nice for someone else no matter how tiny just to feel like you still participate in 'life' and that your whole life wasn't really taken over completely. We caregivers know each other are out there.
posterboyuk1 (7 months ago)
Outstandingly good talk. Thanks.
Judith van Dijkhuizen (8 months ago)
This clarified my denial for me -- how I wish that hadn't happened. Wish I'd seen the talk sooner.
kimcase9 (8 months ago)
Bah...it is horrible...
ScottOne (8 months ago)
MAYBE people talk to their elderly parents like they are their children because IT WORKS. If you can't get your parents out of bed, if you can't get them to bed, or have them get ready for an appointment....sometimes you have to treat THEM like kids. "MOM we have to get ready to go, your appointment is in 30 minutes, we have 6 minutes before we have to be out the door". And they just sit there and do nothing until 5 minutes later when they have to get their stuff together. fml
little red rose (2 months ago)
Tell them the appointment is in half an hour when really it's in an hour. Result: Calm parent and offspring.
edward kent (8 months ago)
this woman knows absolutley nothing about older people......making up a script for a talk is just shocking....adding fictitious name s to her story is just wrong................somebody, please slap the liar................................................
tom11zz884 (8 months ago)
Parents need to make better choices when they are younger so they won't be a financial burden on their children when they get older. Put money aside now for a old folks home when you are still young and working.
C Liberty (8 months ago)
While speaker gives excellent points....it's still the most exhausting time of your life. The dependency, the need, the demands, etc...and my parents live in a very nice retirement facility! They are good and loving people but the stress on my own life is taking its toll physically (emotionally and mentally came first.) I had to start setting boundaries. That has helped a lot.
Olivia Mae (1 month ago)
C Liberty Hi, consider yourself lucky you don't have them both living with you, you are blessed, you can leave them and go home. Be grateful at least for that.
peterc (4 months ago)
C Liberty - I am 56 and have an 87 year old mother who is slowly succumbing to dementia. I live with her and I find my life now consists of shadowing her every activity. Among other things she leaves taps on in the bathroom sometimes with the pug still in. I now have to put her medication into her mouth and spoon feed her meals. She can just about still toilet herself. But there are frequent unpleasant problems. My sister urges me to put her into a care home. I am despairing at the moment. Caring for an aged parent is challenging enough. But once they have lost their minds it becomes impossible.
Email Spam' (6 months ago)
can we talk. i need solution.
Sy Hussaini (10 months ago)
My parents moved in with my wife and I when I was only 33 years old and my wife was 25. That was my dads retirement plan. I never questioned it and simply took care of them, in concert with my elder brother. They have lived continuously with us , with us being 100% responsible for everything. Food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and welfare. Over the last 28 years we have raised our families and taken care of our parents. Mom passed away from Parkinson's , at home, over 20 years ago. Dad is 92 and with Alzheimer's. We are caring for him. It is not easy. Lots of sacrifice of resources, the most important one being time. Now my mother in law who is 76 is needing help. We will see them thru as best as we can on this journey of life. Maybe in the final analysis that is all that we can say. We took care of them and did the best we could as their children.
Kathy Matlock Wigley (10 months ago)
My 74 year old mother moved in our home August 2016. It has been stressful for all of us. I appreciated your words. Thank You!
Darlene DeVegan (11 months ago)
my mother constantly and chronically complains nags moans and groans very difficult to be around
Peter Johnson (11 months ago)
Sorry I shut it off as soon as you mentioned Crooked Hillary.
Melanie McCann (6 months ago)
So you missed the point of the talk just because of that (no matter what party you are)?
Peter Johnson (8 months ago)
DAVID EVANS - that’s a good question. Not sure why you’re asking me. All I said was I’m a conservative. The Dems are for the illegals and for socialism.
DAVID EVANS (8 months ago)
Peter Johnson Are the Republicans for the working man .. I thought they were about Big Business being allowed to ride rough shod over the people.Depriving them of safe working conditions, healthcare & Education & sticking their money made on the backs of others into offshore accounts .You can't be happy with Trump . His need to use social media like a teenager, tell you all you need to know about the man .He's not good enough to be president .
Peter Johnson (8 months ago)
DAVID EVANS - no. I’m a conservative that used to be a Democrat. Remember what Democrats used to stand for? The working man? Not anymore.
sirbuddysworth (11 months ago)
I've been doing everything right up to the point where you said "you have to slow down" well in my situation for this is the opposite, I have a hard time keeping up with my grandfather. He always wants to go do something everyday when I just want to relax sit on my front porch and listen to the birds. Then he's always talking like he is going to die tomorrow all the time it's really annoying we know death will come sometime even for me, but talking about it all the time is a real downer and it ruins my day...
shannon (1 year ago)
This is unhelpful when you have someone who is toxic
Megan Pederson (1 month ago)
Also I am only 21 so my folks are only in their mid 50's and early 60's so I don't take care of them. I possibly will eventually because they refuse to live in assisted living
Megan Pederson (1 month ago)
+Olivia Mae you are so welcome. However you cannot force change. They are who they are and younger ppl just need to respect them for who they are but all you can do is smile and maybe add humor.
Megan Pederson (1 month ago)
+Olivia Mae great question. Sometimes we have a really toxic relationship with all people no matter the age, race, gender, etc. Not everyone is going to get along and all we ever will be is human. Nobody is ever going to agree with everything. I am sorry that you may have a toxic relationship with your loved one. Sometimes it's an age thing. Elderly people are cranky, stubborn, sometimes they don't think about their words (like everyone else)... My grandma is just like that. I have had toxic relationships with clients and such. Sometimes I dont get along with them but I know that in the end I may have just been a difference maker in their life. Even when it is the slightest thing. I have no exact, pin pointed answer for you and I am so sorry to hear of a possible toxic relationship. Sometimes talking with your loved and listening to them whole heartedly is the best thing because they then feel like they still have a purpose in life. I know that it may sound like something you may not want to do (I don't like doing it either) but it is helpful to clear up misunderstanding. Be kind. Be respectful. Take it as a kind reminder.
Megan Pederson (1 month ago)
I understand. I am a Gerontology major and I have a dad who is in his early 60's. I don't have the best relationship with him right now because of misunderstanding of life differences.
Olivia Mae (1 month ago)
Courtshannon How very true.
VietVet 1970 (1 year ago)
A person should have the right to make the conscious decision to not be a burden on their children. Some parents will not accept the role reversal that's required to successfully navigate the caregiving maze. I didn't work for 46 years to take on caring for a newborn in the form of an elder parent.
Glamorous Taee (10 days ago)
WOW!!! So, your parents didn’t work to take care of you? Cruel!
99delsur (1 month ago)
You wouldn't exist if it weren't for that said parent. There are problems with the role reversal model of what's happening. Two are rather glaring. One, you're dealing with a person who has lived independently more years than you have. (And you think you're not happy giving up your independence to care for them?! You feel life is giving you a raw deal? You still have a choice - care for them or not. They have no choice but to be dependent. Who's the one with the greater need?) Two, unlike most children, the elderly person is only going to fail more and more in health, physical ability, etc. Instead of becoming more and more independent, they increase in dependency -- plus there's no time horizon on this -- no end point in 18-20 yrs. As the speaker said, it's not a role reversal. You need another way of looking at things. Both sides need to give, not just a little, a lot. Never going to work one-sided.
Monika Ballah (9 months ago)
Christina Jinez (1 year ago)
This is helpful & comforting. I need to know though, because I'm feeling defeated, is it possible to work, raise a family, and be there for the aging/ ill parent? I heard you talk about powerful women who have done it, but HOW did they do it? I recently graduated from college. My plans were to start working afterwards, but now my mom has cancer & has asked me to stay home to take care of her. How do I do this? How do I care for her & also tend to the needs of my family?
Glamorous Taee (10 days ago)
Your parents did it when they worked and raised you!
99delsur (1 month ago)
With you on the sibling regret. Might be a lost cause there now. Time to look elsewhere for help -- from more compassionate, caring resources. Check with your local gov't agency on aging to help you get in contact with local resources.
Jeff Swartz (2 months ago)
Its good to ask for help. There are compassionate people around. Use social media. Ask for help for maybe one day a week.
Ale Rodriguez (4 months ago)
It's all about time management! I have been caring for my mother for 17 years and I don't regret it all. What I do regret is allowing my siblings to get comfortable with, me not asking for any kind of help from them and now that I do need their help they are MIA. a little background story.... I've been married for 14yrs, have 3 children and resently
Email Spam' (6 months ago)
sometimes we need to choose. talk to me. i have same situation here.
MsOrchidBouquet (1 year ago)
So interesting and relevant.
Phantom Anna (1 year ago)
when you are a care giver, you are the eyes and ears of the elderly you care for, and there will come a point where you will hear them say they want to die. let them die! it's their choice not to be part of this wver demanding world anymore! what is the point of prolonging their suffering until their dying breath when they can die with dignity and honor witout having to have some stranger wipe your ass? oh, right, it's not for love, it's SELFISHNESS.
Email Spam' (6 months ago)
Phantom Anna if we can choose to get out from this world. i think 90% will choose to get out.
rob leach (1 year ago)
i guess it's different for everybody. i can't imagine who i'll be when this chapter of my life is over. i wasn't important enouph to be a part of my father's life until he needed help. i wonder everyday if i wouldn't be happy to jump in the coffin in his place...
Philippa Slatter (16 days ago)
I'm reading this in Sept 2018 and wonder how Rob is now. I do hope he has survived. It is only human to feel deep resentment and despair. I thought the talk was good until the last anecdote, which must have been so hard to take for those who are responsible for difficult, dependent parents who nobody wants to meet. I am writing my Advance Directive (UK law) because I don't want the family or the NHS wasting resources on me if I want to die. It should be my choice.
Monika Ballah (9 months ago)
live your life. you only got one
AlyArt (1 year ago)
Overwhelmed today, your advice helps. I'm a single mom (sole $) raising a teenage and caring for my unhealthy elderly father. Please address the sandwich generation. I get it from both ends, and with that my health has diminished (no insurance can't afford). Plus, my father has put me in to considerable financial problems, I try to talk to him about finances but he will not listen. He get the mail before I get home and hides it from me. He would answer why. ( he has signed me and himself up for numerous Credit cards and try to get loans in my name). Dealing with everything now, but it's a black hole.
99delsur (1 month ago)
AlyArt, little late for you perhaps, but maybe it will help someone. You can now put blocks on your credit (& take them off when you want a new credit card, loan, or whatever) for free.
Melanie McCann (5 months ago)
AlyArt Hearts & good thoughts out to you so much. P.O. box such good idea Christina L! This is a good vid but has not much to do with the realities of caring for someone at home like so many of us have to. The new lifestyle - just to endure!...(and endure, and endure,...). The reason why is sad but at least we know we're not alone by far. Oh! Almost everywhete in the country has an Area Agency on Aging. They're non-profit so can tell you things & processes & laws & other agencies who can help you & what you/dad may qualify for; answers that you'd never get out of Medicare & Medicaid. Wouldn't have made it w/o their help. Hard part is squishing one more thing into a schedule to get there, eh!?
Christina Lowther (6 months ago)
Sorry for your troubles, I'd get a PO box for mail or sign up for electronic bill pay. It sounds like your dad may have dementia and I hope you've found help. Hang in there.
mirka narika (1 year ago)
going through this and what i want to do once i am 60 is tell my fam that if something happens to me do not resucitate or put me through surgery. just let me go, i dont want to be a burden.
M 3 (19 days ago)
It would be helpful to your family to put it in writing--advance directives, living will, etc
Spacely Man (2 months ago)
mirka narika I kinda see how you could believe that.
Helping our parents certainly makes us take a look at what we want as we age.  Have you done a personal health directive and/or talked with your family about what you want?  So many of us delay this.  (Including me.!). eek....maybe I'll get on that.
Heidi Jacobs (1 year ago)
Leigh Piatt-Gonzalez (1 year ago)
Thank you so much this really helped me get clarity.
Ilan I (1 year ago)
great points
Homestead Wannabee (1 year ago)
perspective, thank you :) I try to always remember, she is a person (my mom) still living her life. She is not living mine.
James Maceroni (1 year ago)
I find it way to stressfull my life which i don't have one any more it totally revoles on taking care of her.Sample can't even finish this comment got to go.
annb blogs (4 months ago)
yes been there or there in the garden its stressful but everybody is an individual did care work going back into with a purpose got a vision boards for the down days when u feel so frustrated
Christina Jinez (1 year ago)
lol I just had the same experience. I was writing a comment and couldn't even finish before my mom came in asking for something.
Debra Seiling (2 years ago)
Thank you for helping viewers better understand the feeling of caregivers and those they love in this process!
Patty Dixon (2 years ago)
How many times have we heard that you become your parents to your parents. Powerful message that, nope, you will NOT. This was a great talk, Amy, and I learned much. I feel better, less scared. Thank you.
bantachey3 (5 months ago)
Patty Dixon d
aahhhyess (2 years ago)
i listen to a lot of Ted Talks & this one will be really useful in my life & it opened my heart. thank you for posting it!
Petula Morris (2 years ago)
Thank You .
MartyMoments (3 years ago)
Very great advice. Thanks for the info and interesting tedtalk.
lenowz (5 years ago)
I loved it ,, i wish people can feel her, i guess if they did there will be less sad older people
فاطمة (5 years ago)
an incredible talk really I enjoyed it and like it from the bottom of my heart ! Thank you lady.

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