At some point in most people’s lives, there will come a time when there is something of a role reversal when it comes to the relationships we have with our parents. Whereas in your early years – and in many cases way beyond that! – you are the one being looked after, as your parents get old they will need a lot more care – and it might be down to you to provide it.
There is dementia to consider, too – one in four UK adults will have to go through that as they get old. And all these factors add up to an incredibly stressful experience that might be difficult to fathom right now. But with a little preparation, you will be ready to be there for your parents and ensure they have the best possible care, regardless of their situation. Here are a few things you will need to think about.
Look after number one
First thing’s first, we all want to give our parents the utmost care and attention when the time comes that they need you. But unless we look after ourselves properly, how will we manage? Ageing can be a challenging experience for your folks, of course, but it is not exactly pleasant and stress-free for you, either. And if you sacrifice your own health for the sake of looking after your parents, you won’t be able to manage. So, think about how you are going to delegate and rope in help from others, and ensure you are eating well, keep exercising, and taking some time out every now and again.
Know when to call time
No one wants to see their folks in a home, especially if they are adamant they want to live on their own property, But ultimately, there may be a time when it is necessary. But how do you choose the right environment, and ensure they get looked after? There are a lot of scare stories out there, but as the Porthaven care homes point out, there are two key ingredients you need to look for when it comes to finding homes for the ageing and insecure – integrity and care. Online reviews can help you with your decision, as can advice from your local authorities. Doctors and nurses at your local hospital or surgery will also give you some great advice when pressed – it may not be a direct recommendation or condemnation for professional reasons, but you can certainly read between the lines!
Expect no praise
Here’s the thing about looking after ageing parents – they may not be appreciative of your efforts. It’s important to understand this at an early stage, as your stress levels are likely to rise even more if you are planning to expect appreciation, recognition, and thanks. This is especially true with people suffering from dementia, who just don’t see the world like everyone else. The only way to deal with this is just to do a good job because you want to, not to earn approval from your parents – who may not even be in a position to offer it.
Hopefully, none of us will have to go through these issues with our parents – but the chances are that it might happen. If you lay down some preparation in the coming years, you will help yourself avoid it being too stressful to handle.