By : Kate Flannery
Taking care of the aging parent is a task as important as taking care of your baby. For most people, it’s something you know is coming, and you secretly fear. But as uncomfortable as it may be for both parties involved, it is one of the most beautiful chapters of a person’s life, a final seal of approval. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend their days surrounded by memories and a loving family.
Looking after an elderly person is no walk in the park, however.
This stressful calling requires a serious investment of time and money, and you should be prepared before the time comes. Love alone cannot suffice when real life problems knock on the good old, but worn and fragile door.
Those considering quitting their jobs to help an aging parent are doing a noble thing, though it might be a bit foolish. Medical supplies and services are quite expensive, even more so for somebody without a steady income. You might end up without helpful benefits, and do more harm than good in the long run. It’s good planning to set up some sort of caregiving budget, and plan your finances ahead.
It requires knowledge
If you have the time, book a first aid course, and even better, book it with your parents when they are still capable of helping you out. At one moment, you will both be living in fear of injuries, and it will mean a lot if you are both prepared. But, if the needs of your parents are extensive and demanding, it’s best to seek professional help.
Taking care an elderly parent involves activities like dressing, feeding, and bathing. Don’t think you can make do with just buying groceries and driving your parent around. It’s a challenge that calls for some time management skills, and you may have to bid farewell to your spare time or a favorite hobby. Sometimes, taking care of an elderly parent can even turn into something like a full-time job, so give that some serious thought, and decide whether you can manage the situation as it is, or should you have your parent move in with you, or perhaps, find a trustworthy and nice home for the elderly nearby.
It’s more common than you think
The aging dynamics in the developed world are leaving their mark on many families. The age structure is shifting, as more and more live beyond their 70s. Numerous adult children now find themselves in a position to take care of their parents. Siblings should decide who is more suitable for the task, taking finances, geography and personalities into account.
It’s up to them as well
Before making a final decision, have an open conversation with your parent. They might be old but they know what they want. Make an effort to understand both their needs and wants. Yes, you might get uncomfortable, but the quality of their life and happiness is at stake.
A family affair
The role reversal doesn’t come easy for parents and their children. You first need to understand what the costs of keeping the elderly parent at home are. Another thing to consider is what some lifestyle changes you will have to make are. Finally, it’s not like you are the master of your parent’s life and free to make a decision on your own. Open the line of communication with your family and respect everybody’s wishes and best intentions.