Best Counselling Practices for Adult Children who are Experiencing Caregiver Stress of Aging Parents
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This thesis establishes a best practices protocol for counsellors working with adults who are experiencing stress as they provide care for aging parents, and identifies the factors and contexts that create stressful caregiving experiences in order to better understand when care of aging parents can become a significant clinical issue. This is a timely subject due to the aging population and the growing number of adult children who are caring for their aging parents. This thesis provides the first component of a best practices study through the systematic analysis of scientific and professional literature. This literature review identifies the following as significant factors contributing to the caregiver stress of adult children caring for aging parents; deterioration of self-care, role conflicts, family pressures, long distance caregiving, nursing home placements, and issues surrounding grief and loss. The research also indicates that each caregiving situation is unique and exploration and assessment of each individual situation is beneficial with respect to context and contributing stressors. Education and knowledge of the aging process also plays a crucial role in the understanding and awareness of how physical, mental, and cognitive impairments impact the caregiving process. Implications and recommendations for counsellors working with this population are presented and areas benefitting from further research are discussed.