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Things To Consider When Caring For Elderly Parents
As your parents get older, it’s likely that they are going to need more help from you in various areas. This could be practical help in areas like shopping, moving furniture, or running errands, or it could be more substantial and require a huge life change for you both. You may need to become more responsible for their healthcare or business and financial matters or they may be completely dependent.
Often, this process happens gradually, which can give you time to adjust to the changes in your relationship. But sometimes there can be a sudden decline due to illness or accident, which can make the process more difficult to come to terms with as you have no time to get used to the idea.
Learn about the likely progression of any illness
If your parent is living with an illness or degenerative condition, then it can be difficult to see past the immediate needs of their care. One of the best things you can do is get a clear picture of how their illness will progress. Is it something that they will recover from, will it get worse quickly or gradually?
By doing this you can look into other options well in advance and begin planning. For example, if they are going to need more care would you look at home help or a nursing home. Many people are worried about the treatment of relatives in care facilities but you can take the time to look into the best places and also check with attorneys dealing with abuse in nursing homes so you know which ones to avoid.
You have your own life and family to take care of, so suddenly being responsible for someone else can feel overwhelming. Don’t try and do everything yourself. Look at ways of making your life a little easier where possible. This could be practical everyday things like getting a cleaner a few hours a week, automating all of your food shopping right the way through to finding a support group for carers so that you have people to talk to about your situation. They will be experiencing something similar so you may feel more supported.
Keep time to yourself
With all of the extra demands on your time, you might find that you’re not pursuing your hobbies anymore, or not seeing your friends as often. If you have a family of your own then you may not be going out or spending as much time together. If you are finding this to be the case, you need to make time for these things in order to prevent yourself from burning out or feeling depressed.
Caring for Elderly Parents: Allow yourself to feel
There’s no right way to feel when it comes to this stage in your relationship. You may be grieving for the loss of your parent-child relationship or you might feel scared or even resentful that your life is interrupted. Your experience is unique to you and not everyone will feel the same in your position.