As Mom and Dad age, the family dynamic begins to shift. Mom and Dad once cared for you, nurtured you, and kept you safe, and then it becomes time to return the favour. Caring for an aging parent isn’t always easy – here are five tips to help guide you.
Make it a Conversation Early
You need to have an open dialogue with Mom and Dad when they are healthy and fully aware. How would they like to enjoy their senior years? What are they comfortable with, and what are they completely opposed to in terms of future care? These conversations are always more difficult as the years pass, especially if your parent is affected by a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These are not easy topics, but talking about them early when there is no urgency is always a wise choice.
What is it like to live with dementia? What does arthritis do to the body? How does it feel to lose your partner of fifty years? These and other challenges are things that Mom and Dad may be dealing with. Educate yourself, use all available resources, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether you are the primary caregiver or witnessing these changes to Mom and Dad from afar, you are affected by these developments and have a right to understand what is happening.
Take Time for Yourself
Caregiver burnout is real. There is a fantastic expression: “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Take care of yourself and make your own happiness a priority, and you’ll better be able to provide for Mom and Dad. Relax in a hot bubble bath, schedule a weekly massage, take advantage of respite care services – do whatever you need to care for yourself first and foremost.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a community to care for our aging population. Ask siblings, enlist the generous help of neighbours, and use community resources. Accept the helping hand of anyone who is willing and able to chip in.
Keep a watchful eye on Mom and Dad. Does she not seem like herself? Is his mood changing? Does she have increasing memory problems? Does he have a harder time with daily tasks like getting dressed or using the bathroom? As we age, some changes happen in what feels like an instant, while others are more gradual. These changes may necessitate asking for help that you didn’t need the day or week before. Keep a watchful eye and be open to caregiving adjustments as needed.
Assurance Home Care has a suite of caregiving services to suit Mom and Dad’s exact needs and provide support and companionship to supplement your care. Give us a call at 613-706-0873 or send us an email, if you’d like to talk further about caring for Mom and Dad as they age.
- Stephen Bleeker