Considering that US boomers, ages 58 – 76, are the second-largest population in the US, the chances that you’ll provide some level of care to your parents are rather high. According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 69 million people in this age group. That’s a lot! So, if you haven’t already had to care for your aging parent, get yourself geared up. You know what they say – you can’t pour from an empty cup, so here are some resources for coping with your aging parent/s.
It’s natural to feel frustrated, guilty, defeated, or stressed when you are helping an aging parent in any capacity. Chances are that they’re trying to assert their independence or that they may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or even dementia. Losing independence, not being as independent, and experiencing any type of medical diagnosis can be deleterious for anyone. Thus, it’s important for you to be cognizant of what they are going through so you can respond accordingly.
Ask a Professional
If you are unsure of all the behaviors that your aging parents may exhibit during this time of their life, ask a professional. If you are authorized to receive information about your parent’s medical records, you can ask your doctor about specifics regarding their condition. Consider asking them things like:
- Does this cause behavior problems? If so, what kind of behavior?
- Will this get worse or stay the same?
- Is there anything that they take or eat that may make things worse?
- Will certain situations make things worse?
Vent to Someone
While you may get medical information from a doctor that can help you mitigate unfavorable behavior changes, you may also just want to vent to a friend or counselor. Friends are great because they typically know your personality and situation. If you’re not comfortable with talking with them, talk to a counselor. You can also seek out a support group like the Family Caregiver Alliance Online Support Group.
Take Time For Yourself
Don’t expect yourself to be available all of the time. Make arrangements for another family member to help you. If you’re an only child, here is a great blog we have about Caring for an Aging Parent as an Only Child. If you don’t have family locally, consider hiring an in-home care company for respite care.
There’s also a great app called Lotsa Helping Hands where you can let family members know when they can jump in to help you manage things.
Give Yourself Kudos
Sometimes we just have to sit down and take a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back. You may even treat yourself to your favorite restaurant or a day trip somewhere. You’re doing a lot when you’re helping aging parents so don’t forget to take a moment to commend yourself!