I'm not a parent and I know parenting is not "easy" by any means, but I venture a guess that caring for an elderly relative full time is much more difficult.
The reason I'm asking this question is because my aunt said to me today that caring for three teenage daughters is the more difficult of the two scenarios (me being a live-in caregiver for grandma while working 2 jobs versus her bringing up 3 teenage daughters, plus having a multitude of pets, a house to maintain, and a husband to deal with).
While parenting is by no means "easy", I would say that caregiving is more difficult:
- an elderly person often cannot move on their own (i.e. wheelchair or bed bound). Moving an elderly person is far more difficult than moving a baby or small child- there's much more dead weight to deal with, and you can injure yourself or the elderly person. - they may need help bathing - they need help getting dressed - Incontinence issues - Memory problems - the elderly are far more likely to fall or get sick. It's not like kids, where a toddler falls and bounces right back up and "awwwe so cute you went boom". No. If an elderly person falls, there is nothing "cute" about it. It's more like "oh $#*! Call 911!"
While there are some similarities between the two (feeding, dressing, diapers and trying to keep them entertained), at least kids are sort of adorable in the process. Elderly people not so much. This is definitely not my idea of a joyride by any stretch.
In all honesty, my aunt had some nerve to actually say that to me, and how I should "enjoy it while it lasts". Sometimes I wish she would take Grandma for a week and see how difficult it really is. She won't, because she already has an idea from ten years ago when grandma fell and she cared for her in her home for 3 months. Obviously, she has forgotten exactly how hard this really is. There is nothing "enjoyable" about watching someone you love waste away and slowly die right in front of you.