It’s shocking for many when they see that their parents aren’t as mobile and healthy as they used to be. Some notice this through the frequency of accidents and unusual behavior. To others, it’s through an announcement of a disability or disease. Whatever the case, dealing with this change in your parents’ lives is stressful. Not only because of their vulnerability but also because you’re bound to make difficult decisions that will change your lives for good.
When this time comes, you can do three things:
Ask Yourself: What Do My Parents Need?
It’s easy to jump to conclusions when you face this dilemma. In your desire to provide well for your parents, you might make decisions that don’t meet their needs.
The best thing to do is to assess which parts of their daily lives are most affected. Is it their ability to perform simple tasks like getting in and out of bed, bathing, and dressing? Maybe it’s cleaning, cooking, and running errands around their hometown in Michigan that they find difficult.
Knowing the specifics will give you an idea of the scope of help they need, as well as who can provide them. If daily chores are their primary concern, they might be more comfortable with companion care services. More complicated issues relating to health conditions require varying degrees of healthcare monitoring. Keep up a dialogue with them so you can adjust the help you give as the need arises.
Ask Yourself: What Am I Capable of Doing?
Your parents might need your assistance at any stage of your life. It could be that you have a family with young children or a blossoming career that takes up most of your time. There’s also the matter of geographical distance and your health.
Before you promise a certain level of help, think hard if you’re able to commit to it.
Overestimating your abilities could lead to strained relationships and poor financial management. If you’re pressed to compromise your personal life because people expect you to, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. There’s no shame in admitting that you might not be the best person to take over their daily living. Caregiving is a challenging task. You and your parents benefit more from asking or hiring help where due.
Ask Yourself: What Do My Parents Want?
Deciding on your own or enforcing your wants is a sure way to start a quarrel. While your intentions are good, they don’t cater to your parents’ need for emotional support.
Imagine being the one stripped of your ability to do things you’ve done for most of your life. Their admittance to needing help doesn’t make it easy for them to accept intrusion in their private lives.
Prepare to have regular conversations with them about their situation. If there’s no serious risk involved yet, suggest one change at a time. This will help them manage the new scope of their physical and mental abilities. After all, it’s more difficult for them than it is for you.
Love is patient. There’s no quick solution to the changes your parents experience as they age, especially if it comes with a health condition. Ready yourself for difficult decisions, and remember that you don’t have to do everything by yourself.