Becoming a caregiver for your parents can feel strange and stressful at first. For so long you were used to your parents taking care of you, and now it’s your turn to take care of them. Switching roles isn’t always easy, but with guidance and planning, you both can get familiar with your “new roles” and learn to enjoy each other’s company. Here we provide some advice on how to cope with aging parents and still maintain stability.
Remember The Things That Will Never Change
Your parents will always see you as their child, and that’s something you can’t change. So, talking to them like you would talk to your children won’t help. You still need to treat them like your parents – talk to them with the respect they deserve and continue to do the activities together like you normally would. You will just have to be a little more assertive to parents who are stubborn in their ways to get them to let you help them, but if you take it slow, they will get used to it over time. Try starting with some minor things like helping them with cleaning or doing some grocery shopping for them. When they see you as helping instead of telling them what to do, your relationship will be easier to manage.
Make A Plan
As your parents begin to lose independence and require more assistance, you may come across difficult circumstances where you are forced to make quick decisions without knowing if they are the right ones. Instead, create a plan that prepares you for as many of possible your parents future aging needs. For example, understand what their health insurance covers, proper requirements for diet and exercise, and how to address signs of depression or feelings of isolation. Being able to anticipate their needs can help you take better care of their health and wellbeing.
Reach Out For Help
If you have siblings, family friends, or nurses in the family, see if they can help you share some of your responsibilities. Many people are happy to lend a hand when you need a break. When you have a list of willing aids, sit down with a group of people beforehand and go over what is needed, when they are available, and how they can help to make the process run more smoothly.
Join A Support Group
It’s often exhausting both physically and emotionally coping with aging parents, but you don’t have to feel alone or isolated. There are others out there who know exactly what you are going through and can help you through those challenging times. By joining a support group, you can seek advice and find shoulders to lean on when you need it.
Ensure Self Care
In addition to your personal life and career, taking care of a parent can feel overwhelming. To ensure you don’t burn out, remember to take time for yourself. Learn how to recognize the signs of caregiver stress – anger, depression, irritability, social isolation, sleep problems – and take time to get the rest you need. Make time every day for exercise and proper nutrition. If you find that you are struggling with self-care, talk to a good counsellor for guidance. The better you are, the better you can care for your parents.
Caring for your parents can be stressful, but it can also be very rewarding. It takes a good amount of balance of attending to their needs and making sure your own are met, too. So, talk to a professional who can help guide you during this time. At Qualicare, we can help you with all your caregiver needs. Reach out to us today.
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