Caring for elderly parents/relatives is a role reversal that few people find easy to navigate. For those of the older generation, it means having to give up a degree of independence and their life-long role as the parent figure. For the adult child, taking on the responsibility of parenting your own parent can be difficult to come to terms with. However, there are things that can be done to make this process easier:
Make a Plan
Many of us ‘fall’ into becoming carers as soon as it becomes apparent that one or both of our parents requires regular assistance with day-to-day living. You will need to assess your options and discuss them with other family members and friends to find a workable solution that meets the needs of all concerned.
Keep Stress to a Minimum
Caring for elderly parents can be a source of frustration in some circumstances, particularly if you have not previously had the best of relationships with them. It’s vital to be honest with yourself about your feelings. You may find it helpful to discuss the matter with a doctor or medical practitioner, especially if you are having problems with sleeping, eating, or managing your own emotions.
Take Time Out for Yourself
It’s very easy to become lost in the role of a carer. Trying to balance the needs of your loved ones with those of your own is not always easy to accomplish. Most carers may be holding down a full or part-time job, in addition to having school-age children at home to look after. This can often place even more stress on the management of day-to-day life for all concerned.
Before becoming too stressed and worn down by the responsibilities of caring, if possible book yourself a holiday or short break. Look for private care companies who can provide live-in care while you are away, for complete peace of mind for yourself and your loved one.
Care at Home
Putting your elderly relatives into a care home is not the only option available to you. Given the choice, most people would prefer to be cared for at home, where they can remain in familiar surroundings and close to family, friends. You may wish to contact your local council for help in the first instance. They will do an assessment of the type of care that your parent could receive, along with a financial plan of assistance if that is appropriate to your circumstances.
Even if you and your loved one doesn’t qualify for government assistance, you could still opt for your parent to receive care at home care from a private company specialising in providing care for the elderly. Services provided range from a couple of hours’ support once or twice a week, through to 24/7 live-in care from a dedicated carer.
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