Even if your parents are ageing gracefully, sometimes it gets to a point where you have to take care of them, instead of letting them take care of you. The role reversal can come as a shock to you initially, but you need to be ready for the responsibility. Taking care of elderly parents is difficult, especially if they have disabilities or long-term illnesses. It requires hard work, patience, commitment, and dedication, and at times it can be a thankless job. However, most people are willing to do this for their parents, because they know that it is the right thing to do.
Look After Yourself
Aged care can be one of the toughest and most stressful jobs because it requires a lot of patience and consideration for the person that you are looking after. It is easy to forget about your needs since you are busy making sure your loved ones are happy and healthy. Not to mention, you may have a job or children that need your attention as well. While it is fulfilling to put other peoples’ needs above your own, it can take a toll on you. Therefore, you need to pace yourself and take some time off occasionally. You may be able to go for a small holiday and find someone to assist with the care for your loved one while you are away. If you are having a hard time dealing with the stress associated with caregiving, talk to a counsellor, and they will give you some strategies to help you to deal with the problems that you may be facing.
Ask for Help Sometimes
While you might want to be the sole caregiver to your elderly loved ones, you can not always be there to do everything for them. It would help if you were realistic about the care you can give them and arrange for someone else to do what you can not do. You can ask your friends and family members to assist you, or might want to hire a carer to help you out as well. However, sometimes, even with this level of assistance it can be hard to care for your loved ones, and you might need to consider full-time aged care. Facilities like Kew Gardens make the transition into aged care easy by making your parents feel as comfortable as possible. It will also allow them to interact with people their own age more often and have around the clock care from health professionals as they need it. It can be hard to let go of your parents, but you have to do what is best for everyone involved, and putting your parents into aged care will take some of the burden of care off of you and your loved ones.
Learn About Their Likes and Dislikes
You may be providing the best care by cooking and monitoring your parent’s health, but they can still feel lonely and bored from time to time. Even if your parents have limited mobility, you should find out what they love to do and get them to get out and do it. For example, if they like interacting with other people, you should organise visits to their friends’ houses or community events to get them out and about. Spending time with them will also give you insights on their dislikes, and you can arrange a better routine that will make them happy. And in turn, they may get to know you better as well, so it will be easier for you to have a good relationship with each other.
Do Not Change Everything
Change can be hard for anyone at any age, so it is important to keep any changes to a minimum where you can when you are looking after your parents. While you want to ensure they are taken care of, do not try to change every aspect of their lives. For instance, if you must employ a caregiver, the nurse can start by giving part-time help until your parents are comfortable with assistance. If there are changes that you need to make that can not be avoided, then try to talk to talk to them prior to making said changes, so that they feel prepared for what is to come. Getting them involved in any of the decisions that need to be made about their lives will make the process easier as well, because they will be more likely to understand where you are coming from if you talk to them calmly. Any changes you make to their lives should be done gradually because they will probably be more receptive to the changes that need to be made.
Do Not Get Upset With Them
Taking care of your loved ones sometimes means that you have to make decisions that they will not like. For example, if they are living at home on their own, you may arrange for a carer to come and help them a few times a week, even if they don’t believe that they need any help. When people get upset in these situations, they tend to lash out because they don’t like some of the changes that are being made. If they respond with hurtful words, you should not take it to heart. Being dependent on another person can be hard for some people, so they may not always be grateful when you are trying to help them. It is important to try to remain calm and to not fight back when they react badly in these situations, because you will only make the situation worse if you take things personally.
When you are a caregiver to an elderly person, you should refrain from shouldering the burden alone, especially if you are trying to take care of an elderly parent. Taking care of yourself and seeking help can reduce the stress and minimise the challenges that come with responsibility of caring for another person. At the end of the day, you need to remember that your parents would do anything for you when you were growing up, so it is only right that you try to repay the favour when you get the chance.