Read about the ups and downs of caring for an elderly parent, and how you can get some help coping with this demanding responsibility.
One in five people aged between 50 and 64 care for an elderly family member and a third of the 6 and a half million ‘off the record’ carers are aged over 65.
All of those carers will have plenty in common, including the many ups and downs that come with caring for an elderly parent. It is so important to recognise both the ups and the downs. Understanding what is challenging in a situation affords us the information we need to seek the right support and help, and also protect our own physical and mental health by avoiding burnout. Understanding what is rewarding about caring for an elderly parent reminds us why we do it, and can help to keep you going when times are tough.
The ‘Downs’ Of Caring For An Elderly Parent
Everybody has a different experience, but common downsides to caring for an elderly parent are:
- Respecting their right to choose, whilst knowing what is best for their care. This can often be a major issue with parents with dementia, or even with minor memory issues.
- Dealing with reverse roles, feeling that you are now in the parental role. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and grief over the ‘parent’ figure you have lost.
- Having children yourself who are very worried for your wellbeing. They may also miss their own parent, who has limited time due to their caregiving role.
- Struggling with the mental and physical demands day to day without any respite or help. This can lead to exhaustion, which ultimately leads to the caregiver struggling to care for themselves or their relative.
- Dealing with a parent who may be critical and defensive. So not only are you providing care, which is hard enough, but you are being constantly criticised and challenged on how you provide that care.
The ‘Ups’ Of Caring For An Elderly Parent
Caring for an elderly parent can be tough, but there are so many rewarding aspects to it that it always feels worth it. Here are some of the common ‘ups’ many carers share when it comes to caring for an elderly parent:
- The Live-in Care Hub No Place Like Home Report tells us that a massive 98% of people would rather not go into a care home if they were unable to care for themselves. By providing them with care, you enable them to stay at home.
- You get to ‘give back’ much of the care and love given to you throughout your life
- You enable your parent to feel dignified and respected in later life
- You have peace of mind that your parent is cared for properly
- Your parent saves a lot of money that would otherwise be used to pay for professional care
- Your relationship with your parent changes, but sometimes for the better. You may get to know them much more than you did before.
- You know you are giving your parent the best possible life in their later years.
Seek Help, Regardless
Whether you feel more ups than downs, or vice versa, it is so important that you seek help and support. Having support and coping strategies in place means you prevent burning out, and ultimately protect yourself and your elderly parent from additional stress and anxiety.
Speak to your GP, speak to your friends and family, and look into getting some additional help with home care if you are struggling to cope. The Live-in Care Hub has plenty of information about homecare services if you do think a little extra help would be beneficial.
You and your parent can have a fulfilling and happy life with the right help and support in place.