“The best way that I can express my gratitude to my parents is by showing how much I care for them, expressing how much I love them, and showing them how they influenced me as a son to be successful in all that I’m going to do in the future.” – INNO MARTIN, stage actor
Our parents welcomed us into the world, educated us, and took care of us growing up. They spent most of their lives teaching us important lessons and helping us thrive in this crazy world. But what happens to our parents when we become adults ourselves? Do we take care of our aging parents like they took care of us? These are common fears and concerns of our parents, but we can fix this and relieve some of these fears or worries by following some of these simple tips.
Who is a Caregiver?
Being a caregiver isn’t limited to a certain age and can be anyone from children to nieces and nephews to close friends. Caregivers offer company, transportation, medical care and other services that might be needed. It takes a lot of time and patience to be a caregiver.
What Does it Mean to Take Care of Aging Parents?
According to Caregiveraction.org, an average of 20 hours a week is spent on caring for loved ones, and about 13% of those family caregivers give more than 40 hours a week. Taking care of aging parents is a full time job and takes dedication and proper preparation. There are many caretaker resources and support groups out there to help you put together an action plan that is sure to help reduce the workload, while still providing the services needed for your parents.
How to be an Effective Caregiver
Here are some tips on how to be an effective caregiver for your aging parents:
- Acknowledge the role reversal. We are now taking care of our parents, and our parents are needing our care. It is our turn to keep our parents safe. Just remember to have compassion and put boundaries in place to help you both stay safe and healthy.
- Figure out what kind of caregiver you are going to be. Talk to your parents and create a game plan. Find out if they need full time help, medical help or if they just need a friend or companion. Depending on their needs, they might need to be taken to doctors appointments or would appreciate an extra hand in doing chores. Or, they might just need someone to talk to.
- Ask for help. During this time, there will be many changes and both you and your parents will have to adjust to new schedules and processes. If you need help there are countless support groups available to offer caregiver guidance, support, and frequently answered questions. It’s essential to keep your health in check, and minimize your stress levels, so make sure you know where to turn if you feel overwhelmed.
- Make a checklist. With all the things to remember when taking care of aging parents, it might be helpful to make a checklist of everything needed on a daily or weekly basis. This list can contain items about finances, due dates for bills, insurance policies, who to contact if an emergency arises, legal information, a list of medications, and doctor contact information. Keeping a list will help mom and dad feel at ease because they have something they can follow and it will keep you organized.
Taking care of aging parents can be challenging for both parties, but with some organization, support, and lots of dedication, you can learn to embrace this situation and enjoy time together.