No one looks forward to seeing their parents grow older. However, it is a natural part of life that, as you become an adult with children of your own, you are no longer reliant upon your parents. In fact, many people end up supporting elderly parents in a reflected version of childhood, which is something I have myself very much experienced in the last few years.
It can be overwhelming, and a lot to get your head around particularly when you have your own kids to think about as well as your elderly parents. As someone who has had first hand experience of this myself, I wanted to share some tips to make it easier for you and your family.
Set appropriate boundaries for your whole family
This one is super important if you want to stay sane! When two sets of people rely on you for support, it can be difficult knowing how to divide your attention and time. Your children need you to prepare them for the world, while your parents may need you to offer support for their health. To appropriately direct your resources, you will need to outline clear boundaries for yourself and properly assess everyone’s specific needs while managing household conflict. This should include what your children need from you, what your parents need from you, what your significant other needs, and what you need.
Plan for the future
Age can affect people in different ways. For example, some people grow older and experience more trouble with their physical health than their mental health. Others suffer from memory loss more than a decline in balance or mobility. When supporting elderly parents with a young family to think of too, you might need to look into transferring certain responsibilities from your parents to you. Estate planning, for instance, may be the best way to protect your parents’ finances and property if their mental acuity has started to decline.
Discuss the possibility of moving into a care home
If you believe that it is no longer safe for your parents to live in their own home, you may be tempted to move them in with you and your family. While many households make this work successfully, it isn’t always the right option. There are lots of factors to consider but sometimes the best decision for the overall wellbeing of your parents is to consider care homes. Places like Signatures care home in Kingston are known for their high level of care. Discuss this possibility with your parents and talk about what criteria you want to find. By choosing somewhere trusted, you can rest assured that your parents are being taken care of by trained experts in the field.
Spend quality time together
No matter where your parents live, quality time is valuable. Your parents only have a finite amount of time in this world. Relationships change throughout a lifetime, and now that you are in the caregiver role, it’s up to you to take the initiative with quality time as a family. Be sure not to take it for granted that they are still around. Health can change in flash – as can life expectancy. Something I have learned the hard way with my own parents.
Create a structured timetable
Whether you visit your parents in their home regularly, have them share your home, or find a care home, it is important to maintain a rough timetable. This will help you to manage your kids’ routines while making time for your parents, especially if they are living independently or within an assisted facility. If you are looking into a care home make sure that it isn’t too far from your own. This will make it infinitely easier for you and your kids to visit your parents, giving your timetable more flexibility.
I’m glad you’ve taken the time to explore these valuable insights on balancing the role of supporting elderly parents while being a parent yourself. Navigating the delicate terrain of caring for both generations can be challenging. As the demands of raising your own children intersect with the responsibilities of providing care for your aging parents, it’s essential to find a harmonious balance that safeguards your well-being and sustains your familial connections.
Recognizing that your attention may be divided between two sets of needs, it’s vital to prioritize self-care and establish boundaries that ensure you’re not overwhelmed by the weight of your responsibilities. By incorporating these strategies, you’re fostering an environment where compassion, understanding, and open communication flourish within both generations.
Ultimately, as you apply these tips to your unique situation, adaptability and patience will prove to be your allies. The ebb and flow of caregiving dynamics will undoubtedly present challenges, but with a solid foundation of understanding, empathy, and practical solutions, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.