caring for elderly parents

How to Find Balance While Caring for Elderly Parents

Your parents spent years taking care of you when you’re a kid, and now that you’re an adult it’s time to return the favor.

Caring for elderly parents has become more common for the average baby boomer. Many are happy to care for their parents, but still find it difficult at times.

A study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP found that 46% percent of people surveyed reported having a high level of emotional stress.

Caring for elderly parents can be difficult when you have your own family and career to worry about.  It can be difficult at times, but there are things you can do to make it easier.

Prioritize

Caring for elderly parents involves a lot of work.  It can be easy to feel like you’re drowning in to-dos.

Don’t feel like you have to do every little thing this second.  Schedule your day by prioritizing certain tasks to ensure that the most important things are done.

You want to make sure that they’re taking their medicine on time, but serving dinner at the exact same time every night doesn’t need to be a high priority.

You should also take advantage of the various scheduling and calendar apps on your phone.  Set alarms to ensure that you don’t fall behind on important tasks.

Talk to your employer

Some people are reluctant to talk to their employers about their new caregiving situation.  If you don’t explain your situation to your boss, you could be missing out on some helpful benefits.

Many employers have special Employee Assistant Programs (EAP) that can help when times are tough.  You could be entitled to a more flexible schedule, PTO, or other resources.

You should also do a little research on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The FMLA was designed to help employees in times of need.

Get their input

Your other family members and your parent’s doctors should have a say in your parents care, but in many cases, one key person can be left out of the decision-making process.

The parents themselves.

Your parent may need care, but they’re still adults.  Too many caregivers fall into the trap of infantilizing the people they’re caring for.

You may find that your parent is more capable than you’d think if you just listen to them.

Get the whole family involved with caring for elderly parents

You may be your parent’s primary caregiver, but that doesn’t mean you should be their only one.

Some children of elderly parents feel like they have to handle all of the work themselves.  That attitude will ensure that you’ll get stressed and overwhelmed.

Everyone in the house can help care for grandma and grandpa.  Teens with driver’s licenses can take your parents to the doctor.

Little ones that may be too young to do traditional caregiving tasks can help by keeping grandma and grandpa company.  It’s easy for the elderly to feel isolated when they’re in care, even if they’re being cared for by family.

Bring in extra help

Despite your best efforts you’re going to be busy at times.  Sometimes the best help for your elderly parents can come from outside the home.

Home care aids can be just what you need.  They can do something as simple as cook meals and do laundry, or help dispense medicine or aid in bathing.

Care for yourself

People who care for their parents can neglect their own needs.  This isn’t just bad for the caregiver, it’s bad for the people they’re caring for.

Caring for a parent can be stressful.  Don’t be afraid to talk to someone, whether that’s a friend or a personal consultant.

So many people have been where you are now, and hearing about their experiences can be helpful.  If you’ve cared for an elderly parent, tell us what help you in our comments section.

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