Helping an elderly parent, whether it’s your mother or father, can be difficult, to say the least. You want the best for them, but more than anything you want them to be safe and healthy in their home environment. Maybe you’ve convinced them to move in with you, assuming everything would be easier, but it’s simply not.
There are certain invaluable truths you will discover as you begin supporting this aging parent. Below are four you might want to consider because as you acknowledge and accept them, you may change your perception and approach.
First, home care is valuable.
You may certainly feel this is your responsibility, something you ought to do as their adult child, but if you have other responsibilities, including work, raising children of your own, community work, and so forth, you will have limited time.
You don’t have to do this alone. In most communities, there’s at least one or more home care agencies that provide support services for aging and disabled adults in their towns or cities. Rely on those, even if it’s just for a couple of hours at a time once or twice a week.
Second, no one is perfect.
There is no such thing as a perfect caregiver. You won’t get everything right. Neither will another caregiver, family member, or home care aide. However, it’s important that if you have never done this before you acknowledge the propensity and possibility of mistakes.
Some of those mistakes, though, can be costly, not just in regard to risk factors, but also missed opportunities. By leaning on an experienced home care aide, you can minimize the impact simple mistakes could have.
Third, you will gain nothing from wallowing in guilt.
You may feel guilty about many things, especially as it pertains to the support you offer this aging parent, but don’t wallow in it. Feel guilty, forgive yourself, apologize if needed, and move on.
If you keep wallowing in guilt, it’s only going to exacerbate the stress and that’s going to be a detriment to the quality of support and care you might be able to provide.
Fourth, if you don’t care for yourself, you will be less valuable to the senior depending on you.
It is absolutely essential you make time to care for yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be much help to anyone, much less that senior who is depending on you right now.