We often get so busy with our own lives that it can be difficult to find the time to take care of the needs of aging parents. One of the most emotionally challenging experiences an adult goes through is watching their parents grow old. All your life, you see your parents as a pair of protective and strong pillars that form the foundation on which you stand. This makes it difficult to see them slowly losing their ability to even do small chores independently. When elderly parents become dependents, caregiving can be a tough job.
Caregivers at the Ashtonleigh Residential Home, a leading care home in West Sussex, say that most of their residents complain about family members not being able to understand what they actually expect of their children. When a parent-child relationship becomes problematic due to old age of the parent, children often make the mistake of distancing themselves from their parents to avoid conflict. And if there is any friction, it should be resolved as early as possible. Read for more on how to deal with elderly parents.
Tips for Dealing with Aging Parents
- Accept the change – Ignoring the change in your parents’ lifestyle, behaviour and their equation with you does not make it go away. When your parents start depending on you, you enter a totally new role in life, and this calls for a change in methodologies and even emotions at times. Remember that this is affecting them more than it affects you. Besides being financially dependent on their children, some parents also become physically dependent on others with age. Communicate with your parents and make them comfortable with depending on you for their needs, reassure them to make sure it does not hurt their self-esteem.
- Keep your emotional expectations low – The relationship between an elderly person and their caregiver can be a deep one. However, caregivers often begin to expect more from their parents than they are willing to offer and this can worsen the situation. Caregiving experts from care homes in Crawley suggest, “If your parent suffers from dementia you should absolutely do away with any expectations of appreciation or a display of affection or gratitude.” It may feel like your parents are ungrateful of your efforts but it is their state of mind that keeps them from expressing or even feeling such things. Do not take it personally and keep your guard up to protect your emotions.
- Give your parents autonomy – Besides tending to their needs, the role reversal also calls for you to nurture your parents’ dignity with ample reassurance. Ordering or instructing your parents can make them feel like they are no longer entitled to run their own life and obliged to live according to your wishes. Let them make their own decisions and handle situations independently to avoid hurting their confidence.
Caregiving is a full time commitment and cannot be equated with a busy work life. If you too are struggling with it, consider hiring a nurse or putting your parents in a residential care home like those in Horsham.