Durham Senior Care Tips: 6 Things to Remember When Caring For Aging Parents

July 1, 2016

Most of us will live to see our parents through the final days of their lives. As our parents age, senior care requires major role changes in the relationship as grown adults that we will experience as our parents transition from an active retirement lifestyle to one that may require more in-home care and help with decisions as they age. These role changes can become uncomfortable for adult children and may make you feel isolated, resentful or guilty. There are some suggestions for helping you overcome those obstacles and frustration experienced during that time.

Lean In
Start a conversation with your parents about how you can help and what they would like you to do. Keep communication open even if you are just suggesting ways to help. Ask what your parents would like help with and plan to revisit when plans need adjusting.

Acknowledge Your Guilt
There will be some days you just don’t want to help with the caregiving for your parents. You may often feel exhausted, unappreciated or resent the perceived obligations. People feel guilty when they don’t feel like helping at times. It is good to communicate those feelings with others in the same situation or a family member to let us know that these feelings are not wrong. It is a good idea to have a support network of close friends, a support group or an online community so that you know you are not alone.

Accept That You Will Mourn
Your parents will mourn their loss of independence as much as you will mourn their independence. The role reversals can be frustrating and parents may want to hold on to as much control as they can. You will need to maintain your independence as you take control of situations that your parents may not want you to be in control of because you are their child. Make a habit of having a family meeting on a regular time schedule to discuss things with your parents. Remember to avoid these during holidays and find a neutral time and place to meet.

Embrace Your New Identity
Becoming a caregiver will be a new identity for you whether you live close by or in another state. You may not see your self as a caregiver with new tasks, but may feel more of a caregiver burden. Feeling this burden and taking on a new role can lead to depression. You need to remember that even though you have a new role as caregiver with more tasks, you need to pursue those things you love. You do not want to lose your identity and things that make you proud about yourself.

Laugh Often
Enjoy the sweet or funny things that happen along the way. There will be memories made during this time that will make you smile. Keep a journal to document them and highlight those special occasions.

Establish Your Own Board of Directors
Have a network of support so that you can maintain a healthy outlook on your new caregiver role. Check in with your close friends that you can bounce questions off of or get honest feedback about how you are managing your new role as caregiver. They should also be able to tell you if you need counseling, a support group or should continue doing things you love.

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