How to Cope with the Stress of Caring for an Elderly Parent

Taking care of an elderly parent is one of the more stressful tasks that some must face at a later age. Not everyone can afford a caregiver or place their guardian in a senior care facility.

Even if one could offer either choice, some don’t feel comfortable with a stranger caring for their parent or putting their parent in a home—most people are extremely uneasy about this option because it feels more like a death sentence.

Here are some tips to consider when you’re feeling the pressure of caring for your aging guardian(s) on your own.

1. Maintain patience.

This step is key because you will most likely feel your patience wearing thin due to the difficulties you’ll face with your aging parent.

As people grow old, they might begin to express infantile behavior. With that said, it’s important to care for them like you would a baby.

However, don’t coddle them too much, because if they sense they’re being treated like an infant, rather than your equal, they might feel resentment toward you.

2. Remember all the things they’ve done for you.

Before you explode on them for testing your patience, remind yourself that the roles were reversed not that long ago.

Throughout your life, from the minute you were born until the moment you left the nest, your guardian raised you and helped shape you into who you are in the present day.

3. Picture yourself in their position.

If you could fully experience what your elderly parents are going through, you would most likely be just as temperamental, if not worse.

Just imagine feeling so hopeless to the point you can’t be left alone for long periods of time. Aging comes with a loss of privacy and independence—two things everyone desires until the moment they finally acquire it.

4. Adjust their home to fit their needs.

Whether they live with you or have a place of their own, you’ll make your life—and more importantly their life—a lot easier if you plan arrangements around the home to accommodate them.

Since many elderly people have trouble standing or walking for long periods of time, they require a convenient form of access into their shower or bath and if stairs are present in the home, then investing in a stair lift wouldn’t hurt.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for assistance.

Just because you’re the only available option in your family to care for your aging parent, doesn’t mean you must be the only person to aid them.

There is nothing wrong with seeking out a little help from those closest to you, especially for a task as overwhelming as this.

After all, you should always be able to depend on your friends, even under these circumstances.

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Regardless of how difficult things might be, embrace the time you have with your parents before it’s too late. Keeping them company would be more helpful because it’ll help them from going stir-crazy.

Image: iStock

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