Dealing With Elderly Parents
When your parents age, the roles might reverse and you might have to become their caregiver, at least to some extent. This can be a very challenging and stressful transition that not everyone is prepared for. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to deal with aging parents.
Why Do Elderly Parents Get Mean?
One of the biggest challenges of taking care of an elderly parent is that they seem to get meaner as they age. Age can amplify negative traits for a few reasons; for example, your parent might be afraid of becoming a burden and this fear might make them more likely to snap, they might not be able to do their hobbies because of physical limitations which in turn might make them feel depressed, or be forced to cope with losing friends and become socially withdrawn. Behavioural changes are also a result of various health problems and should be consulted with a doctor. For example, dementia might make an aging parent more likely to lash out
When Elderly Parents Expect Too Much
When your parents retire, they might demand more attention from you than usual. It might be difficult to set boundaries since they’re the people who raised you and devoted a lot of time to taking care of you but you have to remember that you have your life and responsibilities too. If you place your parents’ needs above your own, you might neglect your partner, children and mental health. If your parent expects too much from you, you have to ask yourself what your limits are. For example, are you willing to cook meals for your parent every day or think having a family dinner once a week should be enough? Once you’ve figured that out, start enforcing those boundaries. Be firm; the more you give in, the more your parent will expect of you.
How to Be Patient When Dealing With Elderly Parents
The key to dealing with elderly parents without becoming frustrated is trying to put yourself in their shoes. Most people are afraid of aging for one reason or another; they might fear death or simply worry about not being independent. It’s also a very isolating period of time in which one is forced to deal with loss and often regret. If your parent is acting difficult, it’s a good idea to try to understand why it might be the case. Since one of the most common complaints when dealing with older parents is that they refuse help, finding the cause might help you focus on the solutions instead of engaging in an argument. For example, if your parent refuses to go for a doctor’s appointment they might not be doing it out of spite but because they’re afraid of hearing bad news.
You should also remember to prioritise your health; if you aren’t mentally well yourself you won’t be able to help them because you might develop compassion fatigue, which is mental and physical exhaustion as a result of caring for someone. However, if you find it hard to cope with guilt over not giving them as much attention as they want or worry they might hurt themselves when you’re not around, you’d benefit from speaking to a mental health professional. Contact My Family Psychologist to discuss your options.