Dealing With Aging Parents
and
Living to Tell the Tale

Rob's experience in dealing with aging parents



When you come to dealing with aging parents it can be difficult, to say the least. As the caregiver who is their grown child, you are accustomed to seeing your mom or dad as they were vibrant younger selves.

The prospect of
caring for aging parents can sometimes be overwhelming at first. It’s hard enough for you and them to accept the sad facts of the new limitations now being placed upon them by their frail bodies and failing memories. Their confused mental state and the frustrations are a stark reminder for both of you how you feel over how much they have changed.

At times, their frustration and feelings of helplessness can turn into anger that is all too often directed at, literally, the hands that feed them: you- their loving caregiver.

No matter how often we’ve heard the expression, “You always hurt the ones you love,” being on the receiving end of an angry rant from an aging parent is never easy to bear. You don’t deserve it, especially when you are spending so much of your time and money and much of your sanity on trying to keep them safe, healthy and happy.

And no matter how old we get, there is always a child within us who craves our parents’ approval. We want to do all we can to obtain it- even when what we’re already doing is more than anyone would expect.

Nobody told us we would have problems with caregiver stress as we are dealing with our aging parents. How can you make it any easier?

One way is to remember what the mother of an acquaintance of mine always used to tell her: “You can’t be a doormat unless you lie down.” They are understandably frustrated and yet they are still your parent. This can be difficult for us to contain and be with.

When the bitterness, whining, complaining and fault-finding drives you to the brink of tears, stop and take a deep breath, and then distance yourself from the source by “detaching with love”.

This approach to dealing with aging parents may take some planning and some emotional practice and skill. We are all very sensitive to our parents when buttons get pushed to get a reaction.

But once you realize that their behavior is beyond your control, and that you only have full control over your own, you are halfway there. Set your limits as to how far they can test you and don’t respond as they expect. Respond as the responsible detached adult who is in charge.

Unfortunately, this behavior can be a feature of the elder care stress that is a part of dealing with aging parents. As they get older, this can be an early sign of reduced mental and emotional function. The capacity for kindness and empathy may be one of the first competences to be lost. This can make it even more difficult to accept in our aging parent.

It is becoming more and more common to take advantage of elderly day care facilities. These centers offer a surprising array of services in dealing with aging parents. They can provide some temporary relief and reassurance for the senior caregiver.

At some point, it may be helpful to make some inquiries into caregiver employment . When you can hire other professionals to help with your aging parents, it can remove some of the pressure you might be feeling.

There are a number of on-line web-sites that you can visit that provide elder care locator services. It is possible to make use of these to get support and respite for yourself.

One of the many heart-warming aspects of care-giving for our aging parents is the funny senior quotes . These can sometimes be astonishing and help make it all worthwhile.


Top of page

Return from Dealing with Aging Parents to the Home Page