Parents instinctively care for their young ones. Providing love, guidance, and support is a natural aspect of parenting. But as time goes on and children gain their independence, there’s a gradual shift in the relationship they share with their parents.
Eventually, all adults turn into ‘parents’ for their aging loved ones. This shift comes with its own unique set of challenges for the family. Here are a few pointers to help you transition into your new role as caregiver:
- Understand their needs
- Create a plan
- Give them space
- Be Gentle but Assertive
- Focus on The Positives
Dale Schaefer, owner of Always Best Care, a provider of senior care in Cincinnati OH, believes caregiving is about providing support while helping the elderly maintain their dignity. You need to take the time to understand how your parent is feeling and what they may need. Manage their budget, medications, and daily activities without getting in the way.
Every family and every situation is unique. You need to start by planning how you’re going to manage the finances and household chores. You need to let your parents have a sense of control while helping them get things done around the house.
Nothing is more valuable to an elderly person than love and support. But no one wants to compromise their freedom and independence. If you need to say something, try to avoid using a condescending tone and ask for their input in every important matter.
Difficult and uncomfortable topics are unavoidable. But you must navigate through them with poise. You may have to take up difficult issues on driving, living alone, and safety concerns. As you assume the role of the parent in this relationship, you may have to learn to be assertive and respectful at the same time. It’s a delicate balance that you have to strike if you want the transition to go smoothly.
Assuming the role of adult caregiver is challenging, but it could also be spectacularly rewarding. Take the time to break away from the daily routine and enjoy the time you get to spend with your loved one.
With patience and practice, both you and your elderly loved one can transition into this new phase of life. Cherish every moment and aim to give back as much as you can in the time you have left.