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Senior Caregiving: Parenting Your Parent

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We never expect to become parents to our own parents, but as they age, their need to hold onto their independence conflicts with our responsibility to make sure they are safe and receiving the best care.

It’s hard to know exactly when it’s time to transition from being a concerned child to becoming the parent. You see signs that cause you concern, but you’re not sure if it’s just normal aging or something more serious.

Sometimes, our parents’ health slowly deteriorates, which makes it hard to know what steps to take and when. Other times, a sudden health crisis will push us across that line and we find ourselves instant parents to our parents. However you end up in the situation, below are a few suggestions that can help ease your journey.

  • Be Prepared and Take Advantage of Available Resources

Be as prepared as you can be. You never know what lies ahead, but there are resources available to help caregivers, such as New LifeStyles. Also, try researching all of the available government and state assistant programs. Even if your parents are not yet in a situation that concerns you, it’s better to prepare yourself.

  • Be Patient

Your parents’ dignity should always be considered. They probably won’t like being taken care of because losing their independence is the hardest thing for them to accept. There will be times they resent you, but always be patient with them. Consistently and respectfully explain to them why you’re doing what you’re doing.

  • Ask for Help

You know your limits. If you find yourself stressed out, ask a family member or friend to help you. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for help sometimes even an hour to yourself can help.

  • Take Time for Yourself

Take time to relax or go out and don’t feel guilty about it. Caring for a parent can be physically draining. We all deserve and need downtime. Schedule time for yourself to do something relaxing ­ even if it’s doing nothing. Sometimes, we just need to do nothing in order to recharge.

  • Talk to Someone

Caring for a parent is sometimes harder than raising children. We are used to depending on our parents. The role­reversal is an emotional roller coaster. Talking it out with a friend or even a professional can help get you through any emotional pain.

Lastly, know when it’s time to consider other options, such as a Nursing Home, Home Care or an Assisted Living Community. If you find yourself unable to provide the care that your parent needs, it might be time to consider a Senior Living Community where they will receive the care they need in a setting that is right for their individual situation.