As parents age, it can be a highly stressful situation for their children, both physically and emotionally speaking, as they take on new familial roles and responsibilities. To ease you into this challenging but important transition, here are four ways to help your elderly parents without burning yourself out.
Acknowledge Pending Death
One of the things that make caring for your elderly parents emotionally taxing is the looming realization of death. It’s an emotionally healthy step to acknowledge that your parents are going to die and that mortality is an inescapable part of life. Achieving inner peace regarding this matter will foster a higher degree of appreciation of the time you have with them.
Lend an Ear
Caring for your parents isn’t just about picking up their medication at the pharmacy or helping them get in the tub; it’s also about being a friend that they can have normal interactions with. Listening to what they say is a simple yet powerful gesture of emotional support. Becoming a good listener requires you to have patience and an open mind, especially when they start talking about topics that you do not have any genuine personal interest in.
Be Their Tech Guy/Gal
Today’s generation of elderly parents is perhaps one of the first generations to be encumbered by the rising complexities of technology. From managing their health records online to setting up the new TV remote with a dozen extra buttons and modes, your elderly parents may struggle to keep up with the technology in their lives. Help them overcome this struggle by teaching them the basics or setting it up so that it runs automatically.
While making sure your parents’ needs and desires are well-taken care of as they grow older, it’s also important to start carving out a life for yourself. Make sure you set aside time and energy to work on your own career and relationships. You may end up blaming your parents later in life when you’re unable to achieve your own personal goals.
These tips are only four of the many possible ways you can help your elderly parents. Talk with your parents and involve them as you plan out a daily routine or care plan or when making decisions that could affect their lifestyle.