Life is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and you never truly know what lies ahead. What we do know is that we all get old. When your parents begin getting on in age, the challenges of life can shift drastically.
Often children become their parents’ caretaker later in life, and the role reversal can be a hard shift to manage. If you’re finding that your life is shifting in this manner, take a deep breath.
You can handle the challenge with the right information as your guide. Start learning now, and check out some helpful tips for caring for your aging parent.
Educate yourself on the specifics
Always stay in the “know” regarding your parent’s medical challenges. Take the information you have, and expand your understanding of your parent’s struggle. You’ll do yourself a favor by doing the legwork, and spending ample time researching the diagnosis of your parent.
Your research will also uncover various support groups where people facing the same challenges can lean on one another. It’s always helpful to talk to several different people in the same situation to gather a well-rounded perspective.
Accept support from others
Don’t allow your ego to have a say in this situation. If people are offering to help reduce your workload, let them. Having difficult conversations with your aging parents is something that should be done with others present.
You may have some reluctance, but there are often siblings and other family members who are more than willing to help.
Caretakers often run the risk of living a socially isolated life, and the isolation causes unnecessary frustration. Take care of yourself, and be cognizant of your level of personal isolation.
Understand the resources available
There are always local resources available to support those who are charged with caring for an aging loved one. Meal delivery programs, home aid professionals, transportation services and more can really make life easier.
Talk with your employer
When you see that caring for your aging parents is going to start taking a significant amount of your time, it’s a good idea to talk with your employer about the situation. Your employer needs to know that you may have to miss some time at work to care for your parents.
Often, professional employers are supremely understanding of the issue, and will work with you to make your schedule more manageable if necessary.
Make the necessary legal changes
It’s vital that you help your parents get all of their legal documents in order while their mind is still in good shape. Work on formulating their will, consider power of attorney, and ask whether or not your parent wants to have a DNR in place.