Taking care of your parents is a huge responsibility that you should handle with love and affection. Ashley, a 54-year mother of two college-age children, has started helping her mother Susan with daily tasks and doctor’s appointments. She visits every morning to make sure that her mom has showered, gotten a solid breakfast, and took her morning pills.
Since her mother’s current diagnosis with beginning stages of dementia, Ashley has noticed that Susan currently requires more care daily. This is causing Ashley to undergo feelings of sadness, anger, and stress as she takes on the caregiving role that has traditionally been held by her mother.
As we grew up our parents might have offered advice, support, discipline, and maintenance. Whether you had to know how to repair your bike or were seeking advice on the way to diaper your first kid, your parents might have been a source of advice.
However, as parents age, an increasing number of family caregivers are fighting in an unfamiliar role as a parental figure to their elderly parents. Swiftly, the tables have turned and determining to accept and settle into this dynamic can be challenging. There are a few measures that Ashley, along with the millions of family caregivers in similar conditions, can take to help ease the rigors of “parenting” your very own aging parents.
Let Yourself To Grieve The “Loss” of Your Parent
Although they haven’t passed away, the person that you knew as your mother or father could be changing rapidly. It’s fine to feel upset or sad about your relationship changing, and to allow yourself to mourn the loss of your past relationship.
Maintain Respect In Your Communications
Elderly parents might be stubborn and embarrassed that they need assistance from their children. For what was once a simple job, such as bathing or getting to the supermarket. While caregiving in and of itself can be stressful, it’s imperative to speak with your parents politely and ask them to do the same. Even though it can be frustrating for Ashley to explain to her mother why she must take her blood pressure medicine every day. Doing this calmly and clearly will lower the probability of hurt feelings and a harmed relationship.
Set Boundaries On Your Caregiving Duties
Irrespective of how much you love your mother or father, neither of you might be familiar with having to help them with toileting or bathing. However, taking the opportunity to set up boundaries of what you’re capable of comfortable doing will allow you to make a care plan for your parents with which all parties are convinced. Keep in mind, outside help, such as that of a house care provider, can help with tasks you do not feel comfortable with.
Plan Ahead To Ensure Safety
The financial resources of a family can drain due to long-term care. However, by taking the time to plan ahead, children may continue to have the ability to talk to their parents. About available resources in the estate to pay for care, in addition to their desires for long-term care. A realistic plan might help you feel like there’s some roadmap to your parents future, in addition to yours as a caregiver. Provide comparative reassurance in an otherwise unnerving situation.
Finding assistance as you transition into the role of caregiver is vital to avoid harming your physical and mental well-being. An overload of stress can bring feelings of anxiousness and fear, in addition to conditions like depression and hypertension. Support from friends and siblings and, turning to internet forums and local assistance groups are some good ways to cope.
Transitioning from the role of a child is an important change in the parent-child relationship. Irrespective of your prior relationship with your parents. It is important to understand your emotions about the change and allow yourself to grieve in the procedure. With the proper planning, support, and patience parenting your parents in their golden years can be a less stressful and more rewarding experience.
Recognize The Transition
As parents get older, trying to hold on to their liberty can be at odds with yet the most well-intentioned “advice” from their children. We wish to be cared about, but fear being taken care of. So you get that pull and push when a well-meaning son or daughter walks onto our lawn.
So what are older Parents searching for in relationships with their adult children?
In a 2004 study, two Professors in the State University of New York at Albany, the sociologist Glenna Spitze and the public-health professor Ashley Gallant. Researched the issue in interviews with focus groups of older adults.
What Do Parents Want?
The participants show a strong need for both freedom and connection in relationships with their adult children. Resulting in ambivalence about receiving assistance from them. They define themselves as independent but expect that children’s help will be available as needed. They’re annoyed by children’s overprotectiveness but appreciate the concern that it expresses. They use a number of strategies to manage their ambivalent feelings, like minimizing the help they get, ignoring or resisting children’s efforts to control.
Among the scariest things to people, as they age, is that they do not feel in control anymore. Therefore, if you tell your father not to go out and shovel snow, you think he’ll listen. It is a sensible thing. But his reaction will be to go out and shovel away… it is a means of holding on to a life which appears to be slipping back.
Whether that means he is stubborn or independent depends on who’s making the call. View parental stubbornness as a complicating part in intergenerational relations. Not surprisingly, mature children were more likely to say their parents are acting stubborn than the parents were to observe the behavior in themselves.
Understanding why parents could be resisting, insisting, or persisting in ways or opinions may lead to better communication. The information to the child: Don’t select on arguments. Don’t make a parent feel frustrating. Plant an idea, step back, and convey it up later. Be patient.
Parents Need To Speak Up
But that goes both ways. Based on past experience when parents involve in magical thinking, like our kids should have understood x, or should have done y–and then we are disappointed if they do not come through. Your caregivers are not mind-readers.
The onus here is on us parents. The clearer we’re in expressing our opinions and stating our requirements, the better our chances of having those needs met.
The study shows that adult children have a good idea of what their parents’ needs are. Parents may do to try to understand and deal with the child’s concerns. The study found that when the middle-aged grownup is concerned about the aging parent, the parent is both irritated by that and feels more loved.