Caring for aging parents is a journey that involves communication, community services, family support, financial resources, legal expertise and medical care. This process may come with the reality of psychological strain for both the parents and their children. The good news: You are not alone. There are ways in which to address and help alleviate the emotional and psychological concerns of aging parents and their children.
Acceptance is the first step in normalizing the situation and reducing anxiety. Acknowledge the limitations of your elderly parents and avoid getting frustrated with symptoms such as a failing memory. Being aware of these limitations may alleviate some of the stress that can accumulate. Make your loved ones a part of your daily life as much as you can. Listen with attention to what they have to say and don’t marginalize their thoughts or contributions. Practice patience. This will contribute to a pleasant, smooth journey.
Maintain a well-rounded lifestyle. Providing optimal care for others includes first ensuring self-care and a balanced life. A balance of work, family, caregiving and relaxation is essential for any caregiver. This is especially true for caregivers in the sandwich generation, who are responsible for maintaining care for their children as well as their parents. Learn to recognize what you need in different domains of your life and feel entitled to create that balance. Take breaks; nurture your mind and body.
Recognize your own strengths and limitations. This may include level of care, financial resources and personal needs to name a few. Don’t be set on doing it the “right way”, whatever that may mean to you and your family. Be open to creative solutions. Consider local professional senior care services with flexible hourly or 24-hour options such as Baywood Home Care to support and supplement care. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the community, family, friends, church, and other. Doing this will enable you to let go of any negativity or resentment that may build up during challenging times, and focus more on being caring and present.
Encourage activities to keep body, mind and spirit lifted. These can include physical activities such as exercise classes or day trips, an audiobook or selections of musical favorites. In addition to its soothing effect, music helps to keep brain cells stimulated and has the ability to arouse memories that have become dormant.
Have realistic expectations when it comes to receiving praise for your efforts. You may feel doubt about what you are doing, or feel guilty for getting upset. A comfort resides in your parents simply knowing that you are there for them. Recognize what you are doing, and appreciate your own caring and heartfelt efforts.
Lastly, smile a lot and show genuine happiness. Emotions are contagious. Reflect on what makes you happy, and don’t hide the positive feelings you have or the successes in life.
Baywood is here to assist in this phase of life with caregivers and R.N.s who provide care and care management as well as day-to-day support for your aging parents. With flexible services, you are free to choose what is best for your life and those of your loved ones. Whether you simply need a break during the day, or 24-hour live-in care, we are here to help.