From Child To Adult To Caregiver
When you are starting out as an adult, you still rely on Mom and Dad to help you out. Whether they bring you the occasional meal or pay the occasional bill, you know you can depend on them in your hour of need. You are never really prepared when they begin to need you. We may complain about our parents never seeing us as adults but, then again, we hardly ever imagine that we will need to care for them.
When my Mom became ill, I was 3000 miles away. When she visited I would make her favorite meals and we would hold hands while we walked. My last visit to her, I laid in bed with her, colored her hair and even bathed her. It was the least I could do. Now with her gone and changes in our lives, we will be moving back to Miami. I foresee making meals for my Dad and watching out for him as he has always watched out for me.
As always, this is all about relationships and how they must evolve. As we get older we need to prepare to transition from child to adult to caregiver. Here are some ideas that will help you through it:
- Manage your time wisely.
When we become caregiver, we tend to overdo it. We tend to forget to care for ourselves. We become tired and frustrated and ultimately, burn out. Take time for yourself. Sleep. Eat properly. Take a walk. You will come back refreshed and clear headed.
- Make sure important medications are clearly labeled.
Use a labeler with large type, color coordinated by frequency – one a day is blue, twice a day is black and so on. Misreading a medicine bottle is very common. We found the Brother P-touch labeler to offer some great options for labeling prescriptions, along with other uses. You can find the label maker for a great price on Amazon here.
- Accept help.
Sometimes we get this feeling that we need to do this alone. There are folks in our communities who do this for a living and are incredible professionals. Accept the help of the community. Ask the doctors for local places who provide respite care for the elderly. Ask social workers in area hospitals for resources like food delivery or nurses aids who can assist with bathing and cleaning.
- Celebrate Life.
This is not a time to be somber and depressed. You can begin to grieve the parent you knew before, now. It’s OK to laugh. It’s OK to joke. Remembering that this is part of life will help you from fighting what is happening.
- Accept the reality.
Our first reaction to our parents getting older and frailer is disbelief. This leads us to denying the truth. When we do that, the only place we go from there is anger. We get angry with our parents, the doctors and our siblings. No, you can’t fix it. The best you can do is to use the time they have left to love them and make them comfortable.
This transition, like any other, can be difficult if we resist. Be patient with your family because they are all going through this as well. Remember that everyone has a different relationship. While you may be losing a Mom or Dad, someone else is losing an aunt or grandfather. Most of all, be kind to yourself. This is a difficult time and the most you can do is your best.
This is a paid post for MingleMedia. As always, all opinions are our own.