As our parents age, we understand that there will be a time when they will need our help caring for them in their old age. When this happens, the family of adult children has the responsibility of discussing how to care for the aging parents. If you are the adult child stepping in to help care for an aging parent, the shifting of roles can be difficult. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you assume your new caretaker role.
Work in Tandem
As you shift from your role as a child to the caretaker, you should remember how important maintaining some independence is for your parent. If your aging mother loved to cook, garden or other activities that may be hard for her, you might want to find ways you can accommodate her hobby into her life. Think of you and your parent as a team working together.
Set Aside Your Need to Be Right
Caring for your parent during this time can be frustrating, especially if they have been diagnosed with dementia. If you focus on all the ways your parents may be failing or doing something wrong, it can be extremely exhausting and emotionally draining for both parties.
For example, on Sundays your father enjoys walking to the donut shop on the corner, getting coffee and reading the newspaper, but since the onset of his dementia, he gets lost on his way to the shop. Despite the fact that you have told him repeatedly he cannot go for his weekend walks to the corner store, he still leaves the house at 6 am Sunday morning.
When you find him lost in the neighborhood later that morning, you might have the overwhelming urge to explain to him why you were right all along, but this type of thinking will not help either you or your father in the end. Remember to work in tandem, instead of not permitting him to head to the corner store, consider asking if you can go to the shop with him. This way, he can maintain his independence, and you can ensure he makes it to the store.
Find Out Where Important Documents Are
Discuss where important documents are stored in case something happens. Find out where their insurance information is, what medication their doctors have prescribed to them and any other health regimens their doctor may have for them so you can help them get the care they need.