It’s not easy watching your parents grow old. The people who once took care of you in your moments of need and taught you everything you know now may not be able to take care of themselves as well as they could before.
Many children are put into the role of parenting their parents, as they now have to care for their elderly folks. This can be extremely overwhelming unless you know the steps to take, so consider the below tips when it comes to caring for your aging parents.
Determine the reason behind the care
Before you start to care for them, you need to determine how much care they will need. For example, are they living with dementia, or have been injured from an accident or fall? It can be tough to know what the boundaries are, what’s expected of you, and the right things to say and do, especially if you have never been in a position like this before but knowing where exactly you need to focus on will help to go in the right direction.
Try and keep them at home as long as you can
Home is where the heart is, and it can be devastating when you have to put your parents into an assisted living home, and all they want to do is stay in the place they’ve lived and raised a family. Therefore, as long as everyone is safe, and it is safe to do so, having your elderly parents remain at home is the best option. The important aspect to consider is how much care they realistically need, and if that can be achieved at home. If the answer is yes, then great! It will make everyone feel much more comfortable knowing they’re in their own home.
Get extra help
Hiring a professional caregiver can take a lot of stress off your shoulders, especially if you’re the sole caregiver to your parents, and more so if they are still living in their home. Depending on their condition, some seniors require round-the-clock care, and putting that amount of responsibility on yourself can be detrimental to your own health, both mentally and physically. Remember your own limitations, as much as you want to do everything you can to help your parents, you still have to maintain your own life too. Plus, some conditions do require specialized care that you may not be equipped to take on yourself.
If possible, try and share the lighter caregiving duties with other family members. Ask them to commit to a regular visiting schedule, or at least to help out with chores like grocery shopping or cleaning.
Keep in frequent contact
It’s vital to remain in contact with your elderly parents. Of course, you want to keep in touch in case of an emergency or if they need any assistance with anything urgently, but also to combat the loneliness and depression that comes from ailments like reduced mobility or sight, for example.
Avoiding the stress of taking care of elderly parents is possible with the right help, but you must remember to take care of yourself as well. The entire process can be incredibly overwhelming, from making peace with your aging parents and their ailments to accepting the parental/child role reversal, to making serious care decisions. Try and figure out the right level of involvement and how you can best care for them without neglecting yourself, your health, or your own family.