One of our greatest fears about growing old is not death, but becoming dependent on someone else for our care. As our parents and grandparents advance to the age of needing help, they look to their children for assistance. What do you do?
Your children are gone, the nest is empty, and you finally have time for yourself. You are about to retire and enjoy the “Golden Years.” A little travel and a lot of relaxation with your spouse. Then one of your parents falls ill and you are elected to care for her. So much for the Golden Years. They become a little tarnished.
You take on a new job. You are now known as a “caregiver”; one who provides assistance to someone who cannot care for himself---usually an aging parent.
A good caregiver provides help where it’s needed but encourages the parent to stay as independent and self-sufficient as possible.
Sometimes a parent may want to stay in her own home and hire a part-time caregiver to do the little things she can no longer do for herself. If she can afford the help, great. This type of care will give her the feeling of independence and keep her content.
Others will want to sell everything and move in with you. If this should happen, you should make plans for the future, because it will change drastically. At this point the whole family should get together with the parents and plan their needs. It is important to include the parents in all your plans. They need to be a part of planning their own future. This includes discussing the possibility of living in an assisted-living facility or even a nursing home and when the time would be right to place them there. They are much more content in a facility when it is their decision to go there. It makes it easier on the whole family. Your parents will feel they are still in control. You wouldn’t like to lose control of your life either. Iin a small part, you will lose control of it. For now the needs of your aging parents will dictate your daily routine.
They will be changes, but nothing you can’t handle if you keep a positive attitude about the whole situation. A good attitude will help you maintain a constructive outlook in the days to come.
On the bright side, many happy hours can be spent with your parent, reliving memories of childhood and uncovering family history to preserve for new generations to come. You will probably discover events that you have not heard about before. Parents love to talk about “the good old days.” This is a perfect time to start a family history of special events in the lives of your parents and grandparents.
When the time comes for your parent to leave this world, you will treasure the time you have spent together. Precious moments--mother and child--good friends! These memories are something that you wouldn’t have if your parent lived out their life in a home other than yours There is a warm feeling that comes with knowing that you have done the right thing when Mom Moves in.