Watching your parents age isn’t easy. As we have our own children and they grow, we begin to see our own parents aging. The dynamics of the relationship can begin to change. It can also be difficult as to go through this change. For episode 117, we discuss tips to deal with aging parents.
1) Takes things slow – You must have patience and know that things are going to take you a lot longer than you planned. They may move pretty slow so you need to be considerate of that.
2) Be empathetic that change is hard – Whether they need to downsize where they live or go into a home or senior center, change is not easy. Be empathetic to this rather than trying to convince them that everything is going to be so much fun and better.
3) Ask for help – Don’t try to do everything yourself. Call on family members, friends, and even caregivers to assist when they can. If someone needs to be hired or they need more permanent assistance, consider the options.
4) Understand they are just going to forget things – You may find yourself repeating things over and over. It may even be something you just talked about. Realize that their memories are often affected as they age.
5) They may be in denial – They may not want to admit that they need help or that they are getting older. It’s often hard to admit you can’t do things you once did.7
6) Be aware that you may feel angry or scared – These feelings may come up and it’s ok. It’s not easy to deal with seeing them change, roles changing, and dealing with the different type of relationship. They may not be able to do the same things as they used to. Sometimes this can be really frustrating.
7) There could be financial stress – Depending if they have done financial planning, insurance, or long-term care, you may want to seek the advice of a professional. There are experts who specialize in helping older people with finances. You also want to make sure it’s not going to be a financial burden on you as they age.
8) Help them Be Social – Include them in social activities. Whether it’s for one of your child’s events or just going to hang out. Tell them you would like for them to come.
9) Be sure they have a plan – This may be their medical directives, estate planning, wills, etc. It’s best to do these earlier rather than later. It may be uncomfortable to talk about but it’s going to save a lot of hassle.
10) You will feel guilty – This usually has to do with two things (how much time you spend and how you treat them). If you live far away this may especially ring true. You might feel guilty for not spending enough time with them. You may also get upset or frustrated with them for some reason and then will feel guilty about that. Just accept that you feel this and let go of what you can’t control.
11) Focus on the present – Try to focus on the moments that you have and enjoy the time you are able to spend with them. Don’t spend your time worrying about what is going to happen. While it’s easier said than done, you want to focus on the present moment.