Once your parents come of certain age, they may have a hard time caring for themselves. When this happens, it will be your duty, your responsibility and your obligation to do all you can for them. Sometimes, this means looking for a suitable institution which could become their permanent residence, while at times it will merely mean lending them a helping hand.With that in mind and without further ado, here are five things to know about caring for elderly parents.
1. What is an emotional effect?
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that caring for your parents, although an obvious choice at first, isn’t really something that will fail to leave an emotional toll on both you and your family. For someone who has always seen their parent as a safety net, the reversal of roles might be much more difficult than it may seem at first. Moreover, you need to understand that there’s more than your own emotions at play. Your spouse and your children might get affected by this as well.
2. Is there an illness involved?
There are some illnesses that can make taking care of a parent both emotionally exhausting and incredibly difficult to handle for someone without specialized medical training. One of such problems is dementia, which is very common with people in their old age and only gets worse with time. In this scenario, putting your ego aside and enlisting your parent in a facility specialized in dementia care is the only noble thing to do. Even though it may seem harsh at times, this is really the only way for them to have a resemblance of a normal life, considering their state.
3. Are you being overprotective?
Sure, as one ages, it’s inevitable that they’ll need more and more assistance around daily chores. However, trying to impose yourself on the parent that, frankly, can handle all of this on their own may not be the best idea and might even come across as insulting.
In order to help them preserve their dignity, as well as keep their self-confidence, you need to let them take as much responsibility for their life as possible. Moreover, by preventing them from performing tasks that they are still able to do, you’re hurting them in the longrun, while you’re supposed to be helping them.
4. Do they have a company of peers?
In your household, your parents will be surrounded by the people closest to them (children and grandchildren); however, having a company of peers is still something that’s deemed as more than necessary. In your own neighborhood, your parents might not have a single friend and, at their age, making new acquaintances is more difficult than ever. So, you need to consider whether dragging them across the country just so they could move into your household is really something that’s in their best interest. If not, then you need to consider the most suitable alternative.
5. Can they develop a new hobby?
Finally, boredom is one of the greatest plights of old age, which is why helping your parent find a new hobby may help them out immensely. This is both an exhaust vent and a useful distraction.
At the end of the day, you need to set your motivation straight and ask yourself one question that’s tough to answer. Namely, you need to ask yourself whether you’re doing a thing that’s in the best interest of your parents or the thing that will help ease your consciousness the most. As we’ve suggested earlier, leaving your ego behind is the only way in which this can work, yet, it’s admittedly one of the hardest things you can ever do.Nevertheless, you know that your mother or father is definitely worth it.