If you’re in the position where you are having to face the daunting reality of looking after your ageing parents, it’s understandable that you might feel like you have the weight of the whole world on your shoulders; not only do you have to manage your own work/life balance, in addition to taking care of your family, you now face increasing pressure to take care of your parent or parents.
Indeed, taking care of elderly parents can be a real struggle; Not only must you find a solution that tends to their medical, physiological, and practical needs but also their social and emotional needs, as well. One would imagine, at this juncture, that all you want to do is take care of your loved ones in their old age, but there’s a limit to how you can protect them from the inevitable pitfalls of ageing. No matter how hard you try, you’re unlikely to be able to take care of the full gamut of your parents needs – but there is an area, that is often overlooked that you can play a vital role in.
This area is that of tending to their emotional and social needs. One of the core problems elderly people face is loneliness – this sense of loneliness can be much more debilitating than any of their physical ailments and it’s totally avoidable. Again, you’re unlikely to be in the position to be a full-time companion, and it’s important that you don’t give yourself a hard time for this… as there are ways of caring for their social needs without you needing to be at their beckon call. This article explores two options that you have available to lighten the load; companionship and daycare:
It might feel like a strange notion to have to pay someone to offer companionship, but given the level of patience and the complexity of your own emotional experience in looking after an elderly patient; an external companion can provide great relief for both you and your parent. You should check out services like the senior companion program that use senior companions to provide genuine companionship from a place of authentic like-mindedness, people who are truly able to relate with their companion as a peer; rather than a disinterested person intending to make ‘easy’ income.
The important thing when searching for a companion, therefore, is a genuine connection that leads to natural rapport. There are plenty of elderly people that wouldn’t fancy the idea of having a companion, in this way, out of pride or perhaps fear that they don’t want the awkwardness of having to interact with someone they don’t really know or trust; therefore it’s of critical importance you find someone that can relate on their level – and the natural choice would be a similarly aged peer.
There are many daycare options available, where people get to interact with their peers, however something to be mindful of is that just because someone is elderly doesn’t mean that they want to be put on a coach and force fed bingo sessions. It’s important you find a daycare center that is aligned with your parent(s) interests and natural character.
In summary, you really want to find something suitable for your parents that naturally aligns with their character. Most people value developing a deep and meaningful friendship with a person rather than several superficial acquaintances; but both options lend themselves to this. The most important thing to remember is that it’s your parent who should be deciding how they spend their time and one of the greatest gifts you can offer is your patience, understanding, and flexibility in meeting their needs rather than your own.
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