A lot of people see their parents as these superhuman beings that they’ve always looked up to and asked help from. The problem with this view of parents lies in the fact that as they grow older, they might become less and less independent, which might make it your responsibility to take care of them. This will not only change their image in your eyes (which doesn’t mean that you love them any less) but it will also bring to some additional changes. With that in mind and without further ado, here are five tips for people caring about aging parents.
1.Don’t be too hard on yourself
The first piece of advice that you need to adhere to is that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Sure, it’s your parent and they did a lot more for you growing up, however, it still doesn’t mean that you should feel bad for not being able to do more. After all, there’s only so much you can do. Remember that you too have your family, your responsibilities and your life. No matter how much you love them and how much they need you, you simply can’t put your entire life on halt. Speaking of which…
2. Pay attention to the rest of your family
As your parents start getting older and their mental state starts getting worse, this is something that will reflect on your mental state as well. Keep in mind that any change on you might soon be reflected on your spouse and children. Of course, your parent is in need of your aid, however, this doesn’t mean that the rest of your family can now manage without you. Try to make them feel this transition as little as possible and you’ll do them all (and yourself) a huge favor further down the line. No matter how hard it may all seem at the moment.
3.You don’t have to do it all on your own
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that you don’t have to do this on your own. We’re not talking about splitting responsibilities with your other siblings or even about letting your family help you. In a case your aging parent has dementia, you won’t even be able to do it all on your own. We’re talking about finding trained professionals to help you take care of them. The best thing you can do is find a specialized dementia care program to sign your parents up for. If not, you at least need to invest some research on the topic so that you’re better prepared.
4.Let them stay as independent as possible
The last piece of advice, as well as one of the most invaluable ones, is the fact that you don’t have to handle all the tasks that you can. You shouldn’t do so either, due to the fact that your parents need to feel in charge, at least partially. Therefore, it’s crucial for their self-confidence that you don’t relieve them of those chores that they can clearly do on their own.
This is sometimes tricky, due to the fact that both parties tend to be biased. They will overestimate their abilities, whereas you, as a concerned child, might underestimate them. Still, this is crucial not only for the way in which they see themselves but also for the way in which they see this change in your relationship. Getting accustomed to this change won’t come easy to them, so make sure to try and make this transition as seamless as possible.
At the end of the day, each scenario comes with its own unique context and set of circumstances. That being said, you can still do your best to implement the above-listed four tips in order to get the most out of this unpleasant yet inevitable situation.