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Caring for an aging parent

Author: Shelby Warden
Published: Aug 30 2012

The transition from independence to relying on someone else for assistance is difficult for anyone, and it can be especially tough when it brings a major change to the parent-child dynamic. No matter how old we become, the relationship between us and our parents is always somewhat reminiscent of childhood, and it can be hard for both parties involved when the traditional roles are flipped.

What to Expect

If you make the decision to begin caring for your elderly parent, then you need to be prepared for several different variables. It is common for someone to feel depressed and angry when they are no longer able to remain completely independent. Your parent is likely to lash out at you on occasion, and this might make you feel like they do not appreciate your help. The truth, however, is that they are simply feeling the strain of having to rely on someone else, and it can make them feel particularly awkward to receive that help from someone who they still see in their mind as their baby.

Aside from the emotional aspects of caring for an aging parent, you will also need to be prepared for the reality of dealing with less than pleasant situations. For example, some elderly people have a hard time with personal hygiene. Although it may be very awkward to bathe your parent or help them in the bathroom, try to keep in mind that they did the same thing for you countless times when you were young.

Caring for yourself is Equally Important

Caring for anyone can be stressful, and if you let too much stress build up, then it might cause permanent damage to the relationship between you and your parent. Allow yourself to take breaks when you need them, and provide yourself with a guilt free environment while you are doing so. It is completely okay to occasionally have another family member or a trained caregiver take over for a day, and you will need to do this sometimes to continue to be an effective caregiver on a day-to-day basis.

Assisted Living Communities

Deciding to move your parent into an assisted living community can be a heartbreaking decision, but there are some situations that require it. For example, if your parent's health declines to the point where they require regular medical attention, then you will most likely be unable to properly care for them.

There are several different types of assisted living communities, so you need to narrow your options down. Look for a community that is well-equipped to handle any of your parent's special medical needs. In addition to this, our advisor from a senior living Alpharetta GA community recommends that you carefully consider your parent's need to socialize. Make sure that the community you choose has social programs in place that fit your parent's interests. Finally, once you have found a community that you both like, be sure to schedule a tour so that both of you can walk around and check out the community firsthand before making any decisions.

An Important Reminder

Whether you become your elderly parent's long-term care provider or you help them find the right assisted living community, remember that the process is scary and frustrating for both of you. Be patient with them, forgive them for any outbursts of anger and take this opportunity to get to know each other better.

Shelby Warden is an aging researcher and a contributing writer for Dogwood Forest, a unique senior living Alpharetta GA community that is dedicated to helping seniors. Their assisted living environments and services have been created based on clinically proven studies that produce positive outcomes in the health and lives of seniors. If you are looking for a caring home for your parent, contact them to request a brochure, schedule a tour, or ask for additional information.

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