Old Age: Looking After Your Parents And Yourself

June 20, 2017 9:20 pm

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It’s like a little cycle of life. They look after you, then you look after them, and it’s never easy to come to terms with the fact that you’re now the carer rather than the other way around, and at whatever age you are in life when you have to do this, the reversal of roles can be quite a burden. In effect, you are now the parent, and the burdens you face are many. From the inevitable emotional burden due to the responsibility you have, as well as the financial burden. So what do you do when a family member needs looking after in their old age?

Discuss The Issues As A Family

Whether this is a family meeting with all the siblings to discuss the best course of action, or sitting with your parent to discuss their future, it can be difficult. It is always best to do this in person rather than doing it online (as there may be family members dotted all over the country), or over the phone. Be warned, it can be a tense situation as everyone is bound to feel passionately about what is best, and as a result, it can get personal, especially with siblings. Accusations of not doing enough before may come to the fore, or it may stir up these feelings within you. But make sure that you’re doing what’s best for them, not for you or your siblings.

Be Respectful

Your parent’s needs and wishes are the priority. What do they think is best when it comes to feeling comfortable, would they rather stay at home and have a carer come by? Is this even feasible? It’s a lot of compromise to make in this situation, but you need to see what can be done to make it work. It depends on their overall health. If it’s got to the point where taking a plate to the kitchen is a struggle, their care plan needs rethinking. And you will only really know by spending a long period of time with them to get a handle on how they are coping every day, which may require a very busy few weeks, but it’s essential.

Keep A Close Eye

You may notice that their mental faculties are in decline, so you need to keep an eye out for any signs of concern that they may be suffering from minor or major dementia issues. It’s at this point that you need to think about putting them in a home for their own safety above everything else. There are homes that specialise in caring for people with dementia, such as Porthaven dementia care homes, and have an environment that is suitable for those who are suffering with cognitive decline. Their own home may not be safe for them anymore, and while you need to be respectful, you need to assess their safety above all else.

Understand The Impact On You Too

This is as important, and as you understand how best to deal with the situation, either by sharing the duties with your other family members, you need to be acutely aware of when to step away. You may very well feel guilty for this, but it’s essential to establish suitable boundaries.

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