Online community offers guidance, support for people parenting their aging parents

Parenting Aging Parents hopes to offer support for those who are transitioning into this role

SAN ANTONIO – As the month of November comes to an end, it also marks the end of National Caregivers Month.

It’s hard to see our parents getting older and falling victim to the reality of time.

“My mom has Alzheimer’s and we’ve seen her go slowly, like all Alzheimer’s happens,” Mike Barnes, co-founder of the online community Parenting Aging Parents, said.

Mike and his wife Kim watched as his mom’s condition got worse. Ultimately, Mike and his sister decided to move her into memory care.

“This is so tough. I can’t feel like I’m the only one going through this. I think there are a lot of people that need help. And what if we started a Facebook group, a community to try and get help from each other,” Kim Barnes, co-founder of Parenting Aging Parents, shared.

After some time, Kim agreed and they created their online community.

The group lives on Facebook. Since it was formed in March, 1,300 people have joined. It serves many purposes: an advice column, a resource hub, and even a place for caregivers to vent.

“I’ve had a terrible day and this has happened and this has happened... And I just need to tell, tell somebody that and you have five, 10, 15, 20 people jump on and comment and say, ‘I’m behind you 100%,’” Mike said.

Mike and Kim hope this online haven helps ease the role reversal from kid to the caretaker.

“It’s great to know that there’s a place like the Parenting Aging Parents group, where you can come for those unexpected challenges that you face and be able to get the support,” Kim said.

For people here caring for aging people, there is a centralized spot for resources.

The Bexar Area Agency on Aging has links for things like caregivers, benefits counseling, and care coordination.

For rural areas outside of Bexar County, you can utilize the Alamo Area Agency on Aging.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.