We know that the aging process is natural and happens to everyone. But this knowledge does not always comfort us when watching a parent decline in health. Aging in general comes with physical, cognitive, and emotional changes that may also be exacerbated by illness.
Read on to learn more about how to take care of your elderly parents while also tending to your own well being.
Watching your parents grow old
For many of us, watching parents grow older is an uncomfortable experience. Especially if visits are spaced out, changes may jump out at us more clearly than they would if we experienced them gradually over the course of time.
When you add the responsibilities of caring for an aging parent and their physical health to this emotional weight, it is easy to see why so many caretakers experience burnout.
If you are coping with aging parents and are wondering how to care for them in the next stage of life, the tips below may help.
Tips on moving your parents into a nursing home
Many of us must face the difficult decision of whether or not to place a parent into a nursing home. When care needs exceed what we are able to offer at home, a nursing home facility may be the best option for both your parents’ and your own well being.
Below are a few tips for finding your way through this challenging thought process.
- Pay attention to physical, mental, and behavioral signs.
- Ask yourself if your parents’ safety or well being is at risk if they continue living alone or with their current caregivers.
- Try not to wait too long. Moving into a nursing home before an emergency makes the process less stressful and safer.
- Don’t forget to account for your own well being. How is caregiving for your parents affecting your health?
- Find support from other family members, like siblings, when possible to make coordinating the transition as easy as possible.
- Visit senior living facilities to get a feeling for their environments, activities, staff members, and living areas.
Moving an aging parent into a nursing home can be logistically and emotionally taxing. Using these tips can help ease some of the stress of coping with aging parents.
Tips on living with elderly parents
Living with elderly parents often comes with many highs and lows. Spending extra quality time with parents can be fulfilling, while caretaking challenges can be tiring and emotionally difficult. The tips below may help maintain wellness for everyone living at home.
- Ask for help. Short breaks are effective in preventing caregiver burnout. If possible, consider hiring a home care aid once or twice a week so you can take a break.
- Make time for yourself. It can be helpful to carve out designated times for alone time with yourself, as well as time with your partner or children.
- Seek acceptance. Difficult as it may be, it can be easier to care for an aging parent when you are at peace that some conditions of their age may never change.
- Maintain healthy boundaries. It is perfectly acceptable, and even recommended, to compassionately share rules and guidelines with an aging family member living at home.
- Give yourself grace. This can be a tough situation—try to recognize that you are doing your best.
Caring for elderly parents and yourself
One of the most important—and overlooked—elements of caring for elderly parents is caring for yourself. It is important to look after ourselves when caring for others. Preventing caregiver burnout is good for your health, and ultimately benefits your parents, too.
If your elderly parents’ needs are beginning to exceed the caretaking you are able to offer without burnout, it may be time to consider retirement living or assisted living options.
Copeland Oaks is a continuing care retirement facility offering various tiers of independent and assisted living.
Click here to view all of the living options available on the beautiful Copeland Oaks campus.