Whether we like it or not, we are all going to age. It is just the cycle of life and something you have to accept. The same applies to your parents. As you grow older, so will your parents, which means there will come a time when you will have to deal with the responsibility of looking after elderly parents. They looked after you when you were a child and brought you up and now it is your turn to return the favor. However, caring for elderly parents can put a huge strain on your personal and professional life. Trying to juggle everything is enough to drive you nuts. So, how can you stay sane?
Here are some of the best ways you can stay sane while looking after an elderly parent or parents:
Tip 1: Take time out for yourself
You are going to get caught up in the task of looking after your aging parents. Obviously, it is natural for you to want to make them as comfortable as possible and fulfill all their needs. But, this means that you end up neglecting yourself, which can be a major mistake on your part. You have to take some time out for yourself in which you can rejuvenate and relax. Too much stress and responsibility is not good for anyone. Therefore, take a break every now and then. Take a walk and get some fresh air or schedule a night out with your friends or family.
Tip 2: Take things slow
Looking after an elderly parent is not a race; there is no need for you to rush anything. It is best to go slowly about it because it is new territory for you and your parents as well. You have no idea what to expect so move cautiously and slowly. The best you can do is enjoy your parents’ company and have a good time. Let things unfold on their own. Gradually, you will be able to develop a routine.
Tip 3: Make any adjustments, if needed
Whether they are moving in with you or staying at their own place, you should get an idea about their requirements and try your level best to meet them. There are some adjustments you might have to make such as installing a stair lift or adding something in the bathroom to make it easier for them to access the bath or shower.
Tip 4: Ask for help when you need to
You are human, which means it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask for help. It doesn’t matter who it is; it can be a friend or a family member. Your parents are probably going to be understanding if you are not able to cope with the responsibility or care for them without some additional help. Being their child, you want to give your best to them and not make them uncomfortable in any way. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask someone else for help from time to time.
Tip 5: Prepare for sibling rivalry
You can expect the worst from your brothers and sisters at this point. Everyone wants the best for their parents, but when they approach their deathbed, things tend to get a bit crazy. Lots of families end up having huge arguments over a number of matters ranging from childhood mementos, possessions, money, your parents’ will and lots others. There is going to be plenty of rivalry and you should be ready for it beforehand. Do the right thing and preserve your dignity by not participating in any of the arguments. Your parents are going to be really hurt and disappointed to see their children arguing this way and you don’t want to do that.
Tip 6: Expect their anger
When you start caring for an elderly parent, it is a tough experience for them because they no longer have autonomy over you. They are now dependent and that’s not easy to accept. Thus, they are going to be cranky and angry and you have to be understanding. Give them love, respect and attention.
If it is difficult for you to manage looking after your elderly parent with your work and family responsibilities, it might be a good idea to look for an in home care option, so your parents are not neglected and are properly cared for.