Our parents will not be young forever. As we also age, so do our parents. There will come a time when the once energetic dad can no longer walk on his own, and the once super mommy can no longer lift a hand to feed herself. That’s the sad cycle of life that we have to face and accept. And then comes the reversal of roles between parents and children. If before, your parents were the ones taking care of you and your every need, now it’s your turn to care for them.
While some children may just be okay with that and would gladly give back the care that their parents gave them before, we have to admit that it is not an easy role to take and embrace. You have to be emotionally, mentally, physically and financially prepared for this.
To help you prepare for this season of caring for your aging parents, here are some tips that can contribute to making your life easier as you embrace your new role:
1. First and foremost, welcome this change.
There’s nothing you can do but to accept that you are now the one responsible for your parents. Yes, this is not an easy role to take but don’t think that it is too much burden when all you have to do is to communicate. When you need help, you might want to consider using a home health assistant to do the job. They are your parents, after all. No one will care for them better than you.
2. Prepare yourself emotionally.
If before when you do something good for your parents, they will reward you or a gift in return, this time, that will not be the case anymore. There will be times when even if you have already done your best to take care of your aging parent/parents, they will even scold you and tell you that you’re not caring for them well enough. During these times, you just have to understand that your parents may not be in their usual sane selves anymore. Their old age plus the illnesses they are experiencing will change how they feel towards people and situations. At times, they will throw tantrums at you and will tell you hurtful things. Just remember, it is not about you. These are just normal scenarios with aging parents.
3. Let them decide.
One of the factors that make aging parents feel sensitive about is when they can no longer decide for themselves. This would eventually make them feel useless and pathetic. So to avoid this, let your parents decide what they want or anything that concerns them. Let them feel that they still have the autonomy and it is still them who are running their lives and not you.
4. Ask them for advice.
Although they may not be as strong as when they were younger, you can still go to your parents and ask them for advice when you are experiencing some troubles or problems. They would appreciate it a lot since they will feel that you still value their opinion.
5. Don’t take your own health for granted.
Caring for your aging parents is a full-time job, and you are on-call most of the time, so it is important that you also take care of yourself. You can’t take care of your parents if you are sick. You may not have much time on your hand since you don’t know when your parents will need your care and support, but always make sure that you still allot a ‘me-time’ for yourself. Go out with your friends once a week and have a regular date with your family, so you won’t feel that caring for your parents is taking the life out of you.