Caring for an aging parent is stressful. Not only do you have to deal with complex emotions about mortality and the sudden shift in caregiver roles, but you also gain a lot of responsibility.
Figuring out how to take care of a parent is a lot of work, but multigenerational households have always existed. It’s normal for parent-child relationships to change when your aging parents are in their twilight years.
We want to make it easier for you. Keep reading to learn a few tips for caring for the elderly.
Don’t Be Patronizing
When you switch into the role of a caregiver for someone who used to care for you, you may have the tendency to be patronizing. As a culture, we tend to infantilize the elderly and treat them like children.
Remember that your parents are still your parents. Part of learning how to care for an aging parent is learning how to accept that your roles have changed, but also that they’re not your child.
Treat your parent as you would like to be treated.
Make Your Home Accessible
If you’re an able-bodied adult, there are likely a few things that you don’t think about when it comes to accessibility. Many older people struggle with mobility, so they need extra help around the house if they want to stay safe and avoid dangerous falls.
If you have stairs, consider either installing a lift or making sure that all necessities are available downstairs.
Install a shower bar and consider keeping a shower seat in the restroom closet or cabinets. This makes the shower safer for the entire family.
You want your parent to be able to maintain their independence. They’ll be happier if they can get around without extra help from you or your family, and accessibility in the home can help with that.
There will be times when caring for your parent is a frustrating experience. It’s hard to handle the changes that come with aging, and because your parent-child relationship has changed, there can be power struggles.
You need to give your parents grace. Remember that they, too, are dealing with this change, and consider how frustrated you would be in their position.
Manage your expectations and give your elderly parent (and yourself) time to adjust.
Ask for Help
There will be times where you feel burnt out by caregiving. This is normal. You don’t have to go through it alone.
You need to take care of yourself if you want to be an effective caregiver. This means asking for and accepting help when you need it. Talk to family members about stepping in when you need a break.
If something is too complicated for you to handle, like a sudden illness or injury, consider getting professional respite care or skilled nursing services. Visit this website to learn how professionals can help take some of the weight off of you.
Caring for an Aging Parent Is Difficult, But You Can Do It
There isn’t a lot of information about caring for an aging parent, but it’s something that many people will experience. It’s almost taboo to talk about.
When your parent moves in with you, remember that they’re a family member in need, not a burden. Treat them like the adult that they are, and don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.
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