If you have an elderly mother or father who is unable to look after themselves, it can be emotionally draining. It’s difficult to see the person who raised you from birth struggling to perform basic tasks like dressing without assistance. You find yourself coming face to face with your parent’s mortality, and having to accept that they will eventually die.
On a personal note, I would do anything to have my mother back on Earth with me to take care of her as she aged. So if you still have your parents with you, cherish them and love them deeply!
In addition to these overwhelming feelings, you have the more practical burden of having to care for them. This responsibility can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you have a full-time job or children of your own to look after. Suddenly finding yourself in the position of caregiver can be quite a shock to the system.
You may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole situation. After all, you have no experience as a caregiver. And you might have to deal with a proud parent who refuses your help even though they desperately need it.
To help you get through this tough time, here are a few tips for caring for your elderly relative.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Guilt is a common emotion felt by the children of elderly relatives. Perhaps you feel you are not doing enough to help your parent, or that your inexperience means you are not providing the quality of care they need. Maybe you feel bad whenever you leave them alone and spend time with your own children. The first thing you need to remember is that this is not your fault. It’s a fact of life that people get old and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just by being in their life, you are helping them and doing your best.
Ask For Help
It would be best if you didn’t have to shoulder this responsibility all by yourself. Chances are, there are other people in your family who can chip in to make things easier. Maybe you have siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins who are also close with your parents. Try to share the caregiving evenly between you to make it more manageable and allow you all to focus on your own happiness too. Consider coming up with a rota of care to ensure everyone is on the same page and your parent is always being looked after.
Consider Hiring a Carer
If you feel you are unable to provide the care your elderly relative needs, hiring a carer is a great option. You are bringing in an experienced and trained professional who can look after your parent to the highest possible standard. This will ensure they have the company and assistance they need while allowing you a better life balance. Talk to a senior care consultant for advice.
Look After Yourself Too!
Caring for a parent can be incredibly draining and puts a real strain on your mental health. If you feel you are spending all your time caring for them, you need to find some space to look after yourself. Take a break to wind down and relax. Do something just for you, whether it’s spending time with your family or going for a long walk in nature. You will feel recharged and refreshed, and better able to provide the care they need.