Parenting Your Elderly Parents
As I sit at my computer, thinking about writing an article on parenting our parents - a swirl of thoughts go through my mind.
We didn’t take care of our parents as they aged - we lived out of state - caregiving was a foreign topic to me.
Dan’s experience with dementia and COVID, coupled with my lack of expertise, impacted me beyond words.
I don’t want to burden my children with caring for me if I can help it.
But sometimes, we have no choice.
Parents age, children grow up, and at some point, adult children may face the sobering reality that they must care for their aging parents, reversing the roles they’ve always known.
As the Family Care Alliance website says
Growing up, your parents may have offered support, advice, discipline, and care. Whether you needed to know how to fix your bike or were seeking advice on how to diaper your first child, your parents may have been a source of guidance.
As parents age, many family members struggle in an unfamiliar role as parental figures to their elderly parents. Suddenly, the tables have turned, and determining how to accept and settle into this new dynamic can be challenging.
Addressing these issues starts with being well-informed and preparing for what’s involved. We need all the help we can get.
Numerous websites provide additional information.
One website offers 5 tips for Parenting your Parents.
The Family Caregiver Alliance offers a wealth of resources. They note that we, and millions of family caregivers, can take steps to help ease the rigors of “parenting” elderly parents.
The Senior Life Style website article, 40 Resources For Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents, says that adult children who care for their aging parents have plenty of resources available, but the problem is finding them.
The UDS Foundation notes that “caring for elderly parents can be rewarding, it’s also one of the most complex and stressful jobs you’ll ever have. Adult child caregivers frequently experience burnout or, even worse, serious health problems.
Deep emotional dynamics play a role, such as
We are taking on the parent role, and our parents may resent it.
They may not want to be taken care of or told what to do, but it’s necessary.
Our previous relationship with them may impact the caregiving situation.
We are dealing with the loss of the person who raised them.
Family members may refuse to be involved.
In future articles, we will further discuss the emotional toll of caring for a parent, spouse, or partner.
Parenting our parents is not a scenario that we as adult children want to face, but in the end, the aging process can force us to. It’s wise to be prepared as much as possible, just in case.
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If you want to contribute to my work, consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association. This link takes you to their website. The choice is yours.