Let Them Eat Cake! 12 Things you can do to improve your Relationship with Aging Parents while Caregiving…
Caregiving for our elderly parents can be one of the most anxiety inducing, stressful times of our lives. It can also be a time of all consuming sadness and another unwanted lesson in letting go. It will also be a time when we struggle with our siblings and extended families as well as with our own emotions.
There are a few simple things we can do to lessen the stress and make the experience a more rewarding one for both of you.
At what other time in your life will you be so close with someone who literally has one foot in Heaven (hopefully,) or wherever you believe, they are headed.
Right now your hours may be extremely long but the days are quickly growing shorter and shorter. Choose your battles with your parent and your siblings wisely. Ask these questions before battling:
- What will it matter at the end?
- How will it affect his/her quality of life?
- Is there a compromise that can be made here?
1] First and foremost you must let go of your need to control them and/ or the situation. They are not children and should never be treated like babies.
2] Do not try to change them, it is a waste of time and causes massive amounts of frustration for both of you. Instead, change you and the way you react.
3] Breath and count to ten. Repeat often.
4] Listen to them more and talk at them less. When they are gone you will wish you had.
5] Never get angry with them, ever. This may be their last day here, let them live it the way they want.
6] Forgive them for everything, not for them but for you.
7] Be kind to them and everyone involved in their care including, yourself.
8] Let them eat and drink whatever they want when they want. If they are diabetic and want to eat sweets find a compromise. If they refuse to drink water offer iced tea.
9] If they want to stay up all night watching infomercials let them. If they want to sleep all day let them.
10] If they no longer want to take their pills throw the pills away. Do they really need those vitamins? If they need to take something for pain or blood pressure try to compromise with them. Crush any vital meds and put them in applesauce, pudding or ice cream.
11] Never, ever argue with them. It will just frustrate and make you both angry. What is the point of that? Give in and you will both be happier.
12] If they don’t want to go out do not force them. They may be fearful of falling or of being a burden. Let them stay home but be sure to bring them a plate and plenty of photo’s. You may not believe they are doing their best and that is okay but chances are they are trying.
During a parent’s illness is the worst time to air family grievances. Discuss your parent’s wishes while they can still express them. Elect someone to be in charge that will support your parent’s wishes and support whoever that person is. If that person is you accept help when it is offered and if no one offers to help ask someone.
While caregiving for a parent is without a doubt a sad situation it can also be one of the most meaningful things you will ever do.