One of the most emotionally complex and difficult efforts a person can undertake is being the caregiver of an elderly parent. This “caring” is not like the “caring” that you do as a parent of a child. Nor is it the “caring” that is done by healthcare professionals. It is not the “caring” we do of and as friends. This is a specific, distinctive effort that changes us fundamentally.
Over the course of the last decade, I have cared for my mother and father under the same roof. Let’s just begin by saying the effort is something that can be overwhelming, empowering, frustrating, and gratifying. But each new experience – good or bad, happy or sad, gratifying or frustrating – in the caregiving provides both opportunity and need for each person in the relationship. Those experiences can easily weigh upon you and drain you of everything you have as a person, as an adult, and as the child. The experience can also enlighten you and broaden your frame of reference in how your family, peers, and professionals work or dissemble among each other.
The Care of You
As important and beneficial you are in the daily operations of your parents’ lives at this time, it is critical for you to also take care of you. That is, take care of your self – spiritually, mentally, socially, and physically. This care is not about being selfish; it is about self-care. To be blunt, you are no good to anyone dead. But being dead does not refer to you physically, exclusively. It refers to the four most vital components of ourselves: a healthy spirituality, a strong mind, a vitality in our social skills, and our strength physically. It is through these four critical aspects of our lives that we can give, support and aid through care of our parents. But how do we do this?
Though my experience, I recommend evaluating your self and the four components listed above in the following the manner.
the following actions in how to remain human while caring for an elderly parent.
In addition to these aspect of ourselves, there are two other elements that make up the work and effort that we undertake. The first speak to what we should be being aware of each day that we give care. These are 20 Opportunities and Needs for every care-giver.
Secondly, as much as we may enjoy the song “Taking Care of Business”, our focus needs to be on Taking Care of Business of our family.
So let’s remain human while caring for an Elderly Parent.