Caring for Your Aging Parents

As a parent ages, it can be difficult for their adult children to see the changes and acknowledge the growing needs their parent may have. Parents are often the backbone of the family unit and it can be unexpected to find yourself suddenly caring for them. It’s a role reversal many are not prepared for.

Adult children may find themselves more involved in the day to day needs of their parents. Parents may need help with paperwork, finances, housekeeping, medication checks, or even bathing. Many parents are resistant to the help; this is new for them too! It can be overwhelming, frustrating, emotionally exhausting and scary for everyone involved. So how do you manage it all and ensure your parent gets the care they need, while still maintaining their dignity and your own life and emotional wellbeing?

Keep the lines of communication open. It is important to talk to your partner, if you have one, about how they can best support you, and what your parent’s needs might look like over the coming months and years. If you don’t have a partner, talk to a close friend. Talk to your parent too. What are their expectations? Maintaining their dignity and building trust through this process is important. If you have siblings, include them in the process. Dividing up the workload makes it easier on everyone.

Make sure you have supports for yourself in place. Do you have someone you can talk to? A spouse or a counselor? Self care is important. This is a stressful situation and you want to be sure you have the tools and support to deal with it. Don’t put yourself last on your list of people to care for. Make sure you take time out for yourself.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness and there are many supports available.

carya can help you navigate this situation. We can ensure you have the supports you need as a family. We offer counselling – family and individual – to make sure everyone has a voice. Help accessing in-home supports and community supports can help you manage your parent’s needs is also provided.

Community connection is important. carya hosts events for older adults so they can have a sense of community and independence. Caring for their emotional needs and mental health is as important as meeting their day to day needs.

carya can also work with you, to ensure you have the tools to manage your stress. We can talk about what your needs are. We know that you have other responsibilities and we want to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. We’re here for the entire family.

It’s important to remember that caring for an aging parent is not an easy job and there is no “right” way to do it. Finding what is best for your family’s situation is important! We can help you figure that out