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Care For Elderly Parents
In many families, there comes a time when adult children find themselves caring for their elderly parents. This can be an exhausting, rewarding task that certainly has its ups and downs. Care of elderly parents requires patience, tolerance and remembering to take care of yourself as well as your family and your parent. That can be a mighty big job and it can be overwhelming at times. It is important to remember that people who care for elderly parents need a good support system - and a respite from time to time. You can't do it all and you won't be perfect, so take some time for yourself now and then. It is also important to remember when caring for elderly parents is to remember that they are human. They still have feelings, desires and needs, even if they are unable to express them well.
When you are caring for your elderly parents, keep in mind that their physical health is important, but their emotional health is just as important. A person who can no longer care for himself or herself can become frustrated and depressed. This frustration and depression can give way to anger and as the caregiver and person closest to them (thus safe) you may become the target for their anger. Don't take it personally. Do not allow yourself to be abused, but let a lot of it roll right off of your back.
You may find that your patience is tested sometimes because your elderly parent may struggle to get the right words out when they speak or move very slowly. Though they may not function like they did when they were young, your elderly parents still have dignity - and feelings. Tread softly and try not to allow your impatience to get in the way of your compassion. Put yourself in their position. They are having difficulties and some patience and love will go a long way in warding off depression. Show them respect and allow them to maintain their dignity as much as possible.
If you do get irritated and frustrated with your elderly parents, take a moment to consider what they are experiencing. This is particularly true if they were forced into retirement or are impaired in some way. In such cases your elderly parents may experience any or all of these:
1. low self esteem
2. no self identity
3. no self worth (jobs give you a feeling that you help society)
6. have some financial burdens
7. no motivation to get up in morning (this is not clinical depression although it that is a very real possibility)
8. poor health (even just aches and pains can drag a person down)
Consider this: You are walking your elderly parents through the final stage of their lives. You may literally wake one morning and they will no longer be with you. Life is temporary and your situation of caring for your elderly parents is temporary. Savor the good times and make the minutes count. When they are gone, there will be a time that you will think back to the final days, weeks, months and remember things that you said, did and even thought. What do you want to remember? Do you want to smile when you think back to this time? Or do you want to feel regret? Remember, you are making the memories that you will recall tomorrow.
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