Your Needs vs. Their Needs, Three Keys to Intentional Caregiving

Have you found  that your “free-time” all too often  coincides with your elderly parent needing  your assistance? It  can be an overwhelming and challenging  season of life when juggling your needs as well as the needs of your aging parents.

Many adult children of elderly or ill parents have discovered a unique perspective to life as they often can no longer rely on their parents for advice and a shoulder to lean on like they used to. Now, the roles have reversed the parent are leaning on their children emotionally, financially and physically. It is during this time that many adult children  put their needs on hold.

Whether your needs have been put on the back-burner out of necessity or choice, it is important to keep goals for yourself and initiate boundary lines with your parents.

The constant phone calls, trips to the doctor, worries over whether mom should move, long distance treks across the country to check on dad can be all encompassing.

TIPS FOR INTENTIONAL CAREGIVING

1. Recognize your relationship with your parent is unique. As an adult child, you must care for your elderly parent in your own unique way. You may get looks from others and your love may be questioned. But no two child-parent relationships are the same.

2. Set healthy boundaries with no excuses. Dealing with your elderly parent’s day-to-day life can easily take up much of your own. Setting healthy boundaries will look different for everyone. However, setting priorities for your day, week, or month and sticking to them may help give you guidelines for when you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to your parent. If you find that you are putting off your own goals because you “need to be available for mom“, you may come to resent your parent.

3. Don’t do it alone.  When deciding whether to care for your aging parent, it is perfectly acceptable to start small. Small changes like hiring a housekeeper, having a home care agency handle the medication management and prescription delivery for your parent can be some small first steps to managing your time and sanity.

By: Jenee Mendillo

Published Date: July 7, 2014

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