Everybody remembers fondly being a child. Your parents were looking after you. So it can be devastating to realize that the people you used to look up for guidance now need your help. Caring for your elderly parents is an emotional journey. If you are at the beginning of your journey, you may not be ready to embrace the challenges that come with the new situation. Yet, if you want your parents to remain safe and healthy, you need to progress through the emotional steps of caring.
#1. Anger: Why did you have to do this to me?
When you realize that your parents are unable to cope by themselves, you may experience some anger or resentment. You have carefully created a lifestyle that suits your needs and work, but you might have to throw it all away to care for your parents. Frustration and anger are a normal reaction. Nobody likes changing their habits. At this stage, planning how this will affect your lifestyle can help you progress.
#2. Depression: it’s too much
Once the anger has passed, you begin to experience an unpleasant feeling. You feel overwhelmed by the situation. Caring for someone else when you are not used to it is a new and sometimes stressful situation. You are not sure what needs doing, and you don’t know where to start. It all seems too much, and you are wondering if you should give up altogether. Giving up is our response to pessimism and self-doubt. You don’t think you know how to care for your parents. At this stage, acknowledging your fears and talking about it can help you move further.
#3. Bargaining: if I get more organized, it’ll be okay
Caring for your elderly parents is a difficult job that you need to juggle with your day-to-day career and responsibilities. The most important skill set for a carer is to be organized. Therefore, you hope to introduce your carer duties into a packed schedule if you make minor changes such as working from home. If I work from home, I can be directly available without being away from work. But remember that your day has only 24 hours. You will notice your limitations rapidly.
#4. Acceptance: I trust experts
Supporting your aging parents is a time-demanding job that requires medical know-how. Unless you are ready to learn new skills and transform your lifestyle and home to accommodate their needs, it can be a good idea to trust care experts. A lot of specialists offer transitions of care services that can ensure your parents can receive manageable medical health care without affecting your work routine. You can define with experts a program that allows your parents and yourself to maintain as much independence as possible.
#5. Connection: maintaining your relationship
Once you’ve tackled most challenges and found a solution that suits both your parents and yourself, you can enjoy your relationship. Managing care duties can eliminate a lot of stress. So you have more time to build new memories with your elderly relatives.
Not everyone can become a full-time carer for their parents. It is a tough decision as you could expose your family to financial risks by choosing care over career. Yet, the 5 stages of caring help you accept your responsibilities and limitations to find a solution. Listening to your emotions will help you move faster through the steps until you are satisfied that your parents are in safe hands.