If you’ve made the decision to care for your elderly parent at home, you’ll be doing a crash course in survival, especially in terms of maintaining your own emotional and psychological balance under very challenging circumstances.
You need to be prepared to deal with a parent who’s losing their independence, and perhaps having to come to terms with the fact that maintaining personal hygiene requires the assistance of someone else in the family.
As part of this loss of independence your parent could possibly become depressed and suffer with anxiety, which, in the transition period of adjustment is to be expected.
To prepare yourself it’ll help if you find support groups who can share their own experiences in similar situations, as well as to enlist the moral support of family and friends.
It’ll also be easy for you to head down the road to depression, which is why it’s wise to seriously consider bringing in professional help in the form of a highly trained, experienced and trusted caregiver.
Even if all you do is to give yourself a couple of hours a few times a week in which to see to issues that often get neglected when coming to terms with watching your loved one struggle to cope with a complete change of life, bringing in a caregiver will make a world of difference.
In a trying situation like this, if you become the caregiver to your parent, you’ll need to nurture patience, and you’ll be needing it to a great extent as you and your loved one begin this journey together while maintaining a good relationship.
This is a time in life when roles are completely reversed, where the adult child becomes the parent, and it helps to try and put yourself in your parent’s shoes so that you are prepared for the stress you’ll both be experiencing with these changes.
Here are a few tips that might make a difference to caring for an elderly frail or disabled parent:
Nurture the relationship
Nurture the relationship you’ve always had with your parent. Reassure them, even on the most difficult days, that you love and care for them despite the challenges. Love can overcome even the most difficult circumstances and your parent will need dollops of it.
Let go of expectations
For your aging parent this is the last phase in life, which is not an easy one to enter, but it’s also a new phase in your life, one that will require that you set all expectations aside and take each day, and each challenge as it comes.
Initially there may be a lot of negative emotions as you both come to terms with the different phases you’re both entering, but with a lot of patience and compassion on your part, the positives that influence the relationship with your parent will take precedence over the negativity.
Take it slowly
Getting the balance right after the initial responsibility is going to make adjusting to your new lives a lot easier. Trying to be and do everything for your parent will be exhausting for you, which means you owe it to yourself and your parent to take time out to recharge your batteries, and to take it slowly.
Be prepared for the anger your parent may feel
Anger and frustration may be part of the adjustment period for you parent as he or she comes to terms with losing their independence, and in some cases, their dignity, especially if they’re disabled and require bathroom assistance, help to get dressed or to eat.
Let your parent know that you value their dignity and set about ensuring that he or she will be able to do as much as possible on their own. This is where mobility aids can be used to add quality of life for your loved one.
Let your parent know their opinions count for you
This is a time when elderly frail people feel useless from a physical point of view, which is why it’s important to let your loved one know that you still value their advice very much.
This is such a simple act of kindness, yet it makes such a difference to your parent, allowing him or her to feel like they are still of great value.
Take time out
Taking time out for yourself not only gives you fresh energy, especially if you make the most of this time by relaxing completely and not seeing to chores, those can wait for another time out!
Go for a massage, visit the hairdresser, watch the sunset or have coffee with friends. Pampering yourself a bit gives you and your parent valuable time to breathe. The result will be that you are able to pick up where you left off with renewed energy and strength.
When you’re ready to bring in a caregiver
CareChamp will lend a helping hand in the form of highly trained, compassionate caregivers. The home based care provided by CareChamp is flexible and affordable, tailored to meet your schedules and care requirements.
Whether you choose to have full time or part time assistance in caring for your loved one at home, CareChamp will have the perfect caregiver to suit your care requirements and the personality of your loved one.
Contact the fantastic management team at CareChamp to make the best of the challenge of caring for your elderly frail or disabled parent at home.