As you reach middle age, you’re put in the sometimes overwhelming position of caring for young children at the same time as looking out for your ageing parents. This split in your responsibilities can take its toll if not properly managed, and that’s what this guide is all about.
Caring for elderly relatives is all about being there in the moments that matter, while at the same time assigning importance to your own family and your unique individual needs. Finding that balance between supportive care and over-stressed diligence is a crucial part of looking after your ageing parents.
Your elderly parents will naturally be delighted to receive you on visits to their home - especially if you’re bringing beloved grandchildren with you. By making the time to be in the same space, you’ll be showing that you care and that you’re invested in your extended family life. Above that, you’ll also be better equipped to notice if your elderly relatives are struggling with anything in their home. For ageing people, falls at home can entail long and painful recovery processes, and as such being aware of your parents’ ability to live independently is an important aspect to your responsibility for them.
While it’s an unpleasant thing to consider, and a delicate issue to deal with, a bereavement in the form of one of your parents passing away is not only a significant trauma for you; it’s one of the toughest moments in the life of your other parent. The mourning process is, of course, an essential stage in your recovery from this trauma. But it’s also important, where possible, to be there for your grieving parent, who is likely struggling with a deep level of grief that may be all consuming. Come together as a family, and keep those bonds strong.
Elderly people are also at risk of developing one of a number of degenerative illnesses, many of which require constant care. This can be an incredibly difficult time for your whole family, and sometimes the answer is in seeking extra help - or at the very least advice - to protect and care for your elderly relative.
There are many incredible organisations across the country that are there to provide support. Take a look at Dementia Australia, for instance, to see the wonderful work they’re doing to improve the lives of families across the nation. Engage with such support groups to help you plan for the future.
While independence and dignity should always be the top priority for your ageing parents, there may well come a time where you must gently insist that they relocate. This might be to a bungalow closer to your own home, into your family home itself, or to a home for the elderly in which they’ll be efficiently and effectively cared for.
It’s a tricky topic to broach, but if you’re sure in your convictions that they should relocate, you should make the argument and support them in every stage of their move to a new place of residence.
Caring for elderly relatives is sometimes tough, but always rewarding. Bear the above tips in mind to conscientiously and kindly care for your ageing parents.