Dealing with Ageing Parents, Time to Treat Them like Adults!
They may ask someone what day it is, laughingly explaining that they’ve lost a day somewhere, or they perhaps put the dishwashing cloth in the fridge.
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When Our Ageing Parents Need Our Help
Well, if you’re a baby boomer, you’ll most likely be among the many adult children called upon to take care of your ageing parents. This causes adults to reach out for family therapy, particularly as parents struggle with illness and approach the end of life.
It can be a daunting responsibility, and often both the ageing parent and the child-caregiver live with overwhelming resentment, guilt, and anger. For many, they may need help managing day-to-day affairs such as finances, household maintenance or care for physical conditions like arthritis or gout.
Often Decision Making Focuses on Issues of Medical Care
With ageing parents, adult children are conscripted to function as caregivers, healthcare providers, advocates, and financial and other sort of decisions. Don’t forget it can be very uncomfortable to an ageing adult to have a stranger provide care for them, especially for their more personal needs.
While ageing is inevitable, our attitudes and reactions have an enormous effect on how we adapt. Though it’s often preferred, having a family member as your ageing loved one’s primary caregiver may not always be possible.
There may come a time when your ageing parents will need outside help. As adult children, whenever we imagine our parents as seniors, at times we may not understand the extent to which their ageing will affect them or how it will affect us.
- Feeling lonely is common for elderly adults.
- Being social can help to deal with life’s changes.
- Resentment towards their children is a common emotion.
- Seniors living alone are prone to loneliness and boredom.
Having to make important healthcare decisions for an ageing parent can be hard on both family members and caregivers. As care needs increase for ageing parents because of declining health, the role of caregiving becomes more stressful.
However, a time will arrive when the effects of ageing become more evident, and long-term care may be needed. It’s a time of change when caring for ageing parents may be the chance to develop your relationship with your parents as they and you enter a new phase of life.
There are advantages to senior living most don’t consider.
But living with an ageing parent can mean significant changes for your family. While some ageing parents need financial support, others may also need help with day-to-day living. While ageing may be an inevitable part of life, with help, we can always accept and deal with the challenges it brings.
Unlike many countries, our children may move away from home, which weakens extended families’ capacity to easily navigate issues related to ageing parents. Many parents find this damages their relationship with their children since they feel they’ve been passed to an outsider.
Communicating with Your Parent
Ageing can involve several distinct developmental stages, and some elderly may even have jobs they need to carry out. Even when your ageing loved one loses their ability to drive, talk with them about it and reassure them, it isn’t a big deal.
This is especially important if you are the primary caregiver to your ageing parents. You often find that you’re now grown with your own young family, and the roles are reversed, you’re a caregiver to your ageing parents. When you are the primary caregiver, and your own needs are not adequately met, you cannot meet the needs of your ageing parent.
This Stage of Life Is Difficult for Both of You
Although challenging for us to face, our ageing parents may feel a lot more despair, depression, and anger due to their own declining ability to care for themselves as we do. Perhaps your senior parent needs someone to cook for them, then it might be time to get some help.
Support comes first by having a honest discussion where both elderly parents and adult children feel comfortable sharing their goals for the future. Choose a time when you can meet in a private and relaxed environment where your parents won’t feel attacked or like they are being told what to do.
Are the Elderly More Depressed?
Depression can be less prevalent among older adults than it is among younger adults. However, it can have serious consequences. Over 50% of all cases are from the first onset in later life. Suicide rates in the elderly are coming down. Yet, they are still much higher than in younger adults and closely associated with depression.
Regular phone calls can keep you in touch with your parents and can give them the support they need from you. Sometimes what our parents need most from us is our emotional support. Only we can provide that, but we will have nothing to give if we do not also care for our own needs.
As they become much less able to support themselves medically or financially, the responsibility often falls on adult children who may be unsure of how best to help their parents. Supporting the independence of an ageing parent is the best course of action eventually.
Mostly, we turn to our family for that support. The family can be an important source of emotional support, but they have to understand what is reasonable to expect.
You must get out regularly and socialise.
Emotional support and a new view of the situation can help people move on with their lives in a healthy way. Then the experience of ageing can be fulfilling and profound if it’s approached with insight and clarity and the support of caring children and loved ones.
A support group for family caregivers can be helpful. With limited time available, some caregivers may not attend support groups or other common stress relief outlets. Try to find some social support where you can, and try to be with people that are not part of your family who can share their insight or at least lend an ear.
Enlist the Support You Need
If your parent becomes housebound, enlist other family members, friends, or a hired companion to visit regularly and give you a break. Confide in, or strategise with a friend, sibling, therapist, or online support group. It’s known that in addition to helping their ageing parents with day-to-day living, a lot of adults report their parents count on them for emotional support.
Try to get support from people who care about you, who love and encourage you. Help your loved one to identify his or her goals of care, and then work with a system to make sure treatment decisions are made that support those goals.
They Often Stress over the Fear of Losing a Caregiver
Identify areas where you might need some support or assistance, but don’t get stuck in the “should I” because it is just counterproductive. Relatives can be essential sources of support, and open lines of communication can reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
Take a honest look at where an elderly parent needs support. That is the first step and then assess all the possible solutions to get them the help they need. It doesn’t matter if it’s a caregiver support group, a spiritual or religious group, or meeting with some other family members, find a community that supports you.
Staying calm and positive when you’re working with an elderly parent can be difficult. Still, it can also be one of the most important things you can do to help and support your parents. Staying informed, considering their happiness and comfort and making use of many supportive resources, is the best approach when caring for elderly parents.
- As they age, you will feel a wide range of emotions.
- Casual help from friends and family may not be enough.
- Caregiving can also make demands on your physical health.
- The love of a mother is beautiful if you look inside her heart.
Focus on what they’re doing well and what they don’t need help with. It could be easier to guide the conversation into one that concerns the areas in which they do need help and support. All your parent really wants to know is that you love them, support them, and will enjoy those moments with them during this challenging time in your lives.
Most people benefit from learning and practising better communication skills to better manage these relationship dynamics. Some well-meaning people often inadvertently treat older relatives in ways that threaten their autonomy or dignity or otherwise strain the relationship.
Sometimes families may meet to address an urgent issue.
If your loved one needs supervision and assistance to ensure their safety, then bring in outside help to take over some of your duties. Losing the ability to perform everyday tasks of daily living can make ageing adults feel they are losing independence of their lives.
They may feel sad or frustrated about the changes they’re experiencing, so let them tell you and try your best to be there for them. While a normal part of ageing, some losses can leave your parents feeling depressed.
A Healthy Balance in the Home
Now we’re living longer, healthier lives, however, that responsibility is mostly left up to the adult children often while raising their own children. Suppose your mom and dad are already seniors and still in good health and living independently. In that case, we may feel no dramatic changes or concerns.
There’s also evidence that taking care of an elderly family member negatively affects a caregiver’s health and increases stress. You owe it to your health to understand what is going on and how to get the help to make a plan that will benefit everyone in your family.
Caring for a Parent Is a Process That Lasts Many Years
When your ageing parents aren’t living as healthfully as you’d like, it can create a stressful situation, for them and you. Yet, by ensuring that you have enough help and that you take care of your own health and well-being. Then you can manage the stress of caregiving and give your parents the best possible quality of life.
Ultimately, we all take on some caregiver role with elderly parents, even if we don’t live with them or provide daily care. However, when we do find ourselves as primary caregivers for our elderly parents, we must avoid doing so with any pre-determined ideas about their competence.
Why Are the Elderly Always Complaining?
When people are working, raising their children and mixing with friends, they often feel they have to rein in any negative personality traits. And so a lot of what they feel could be negative when they’re bored or no longer feel a sense of purpose.
But providing care for an ageing parent is stressful, and family caregivers, especially those on the front line, need to relieve the stress. Those that are their parent’s primary caregiver, you’ll need a nearly unlimited supply of empathy and compassion.
When the time comes that it is no longer feasible for you to continue as a caregiver. At this point, it’s probably time to talk with your older loved one about moving to a senior living community. I know some seniors programs and caregivers can come to the home. Still, honestly, it’s more work for the caregiver to organise.
But it can be challenging for a lot of parents to take advice from their kids. So think about suggesting a health coach or other expert from whom advice might be more welcome. No matter how awkward, it’s essential to have a frank discussion with your parents about their health. This will help them understand the ways it ultimately affects the entire family.
As we get older, so do our parents and other loved ones.
Remind your parents you care about them, that you want to help with their health and well-being, both today and in the years to come. Few realise that if one has health issues, everything else in life becomes monumentally more difficult.
Sometimes asking for help may seem like such a daunting task, but it can be as simple as typing home care near me into a search engine online. When you don’t take care of your own health, you cannot take care of someone else’s.