One minute, you’re young and enjoying the freedom of life, and the next, you’re an adult with a family of your own and aging parents. It can feel as if life has passed you by in an instant. You’re doing your best at being a great parent and enjoying the journey as you go. But, you might also find that there’s more to being an adult than being a parent; you’re still a child too.
As your parent’s age, not only do you have to look after your kids, but you have to think about caring for them too. It doesn’t have to be a challenging experience; you can even enjoy it. If you’re starting to care for elderly parents, these tips should make you feel prepared in no time at all.
One of the most important things for you to do when caring for an elderly parent is to be supportive. Just like when you were growing up, and you needed them, now, they need you. Listen to them and do your best to understand their needs. If they’re moving into a full-time care facility, or even into your home, you’re going to want to support their transition as well as you can.
You’re also going to want to be around a lot more. The chances are, you’re pretty free with your time as you are a parent and caring for your children is a priority. But now, you have another set of people to care for, so it can help to become as available as possible. If your parents need taking to the supermarket or their latest round of orthopaedic treatment, they might need you to be there with them.
It will also help you all if you can be flexible around your parents. They probably don’t want to have to rely on you at all, but in reality, they may need to. As they age, their needs may change. They may require more assistance with everyday tasks or a lot more independence. Whatever it is that they require, try to be as flexible and accommodating as you can.
This one probably seems straightforward, but it’s a lot harder than you think. Yes, you will be nice to your elderly parents, just as you always have been. But, as they adjust to life in old age, they might need a little extra kindness in their lives. If they’re struggling to accept that they’re getting old, a familiar face and reassurance will see them on their way.
And lastly, but most importantly of all, just be there for them – whenever you can. It doesn’t matter if your parents are living independently or in your home, just knowing that you are there will help them to adjust. Be someone that they can talk to, vent to, a shoulder to cry on and even great company. There’s no better reward than paying your parents back for the time they spent raising you than returning the favour.