Balancing Looking After Elderly Parents with Family Life: A Guide

Looking after an elderly parent is difficult enough without worrying about the effects of doing so on your kids and the rest of your family, with many people finding that they start to perform a balancing act between caring for the different generations of their family. Then, here are some top tips that can help take the pressure off of you and ensure that all of your loved ones get the help and support they need.

Consider Assisted Living Facilities

If you have a busy schedule that includes a career and raising kids, it can be easy to feel guilty about the lack of time that you have available to spend with your parents, especially as they are getting older. However, rather than starting to see your aging parents as a burden, you should consider contacting services that can help give your elderly loved ones the care they need, even when you cannot do so yourself. For instance, if your senior relatives are now unable to stay independent, you should consider finding assisted living Dallas for them, where you can ensure that your loved ones will enjoy the best care and quality of life, and you do not have to worry about them being looked after.

Get Support

Even though you love your parents and want to look after them as much as possible, you should also be aware that trying to juggle both elderly care and raising a family can be tough. If you feel as if you are beginning to struggle and that your mental health is in decline, you should look for support. For instance, you should ask if your family or friends could take on some of the responsibility and create a schedule with them where you can split care. This can prevent you from feeling as if you have been burdened with your elderly parent’s care and can help you take some of the pressure off yourself to always be the perfect child for your parents. If your mental health is at risk, you should also consider finding support for yourself in the form of a counselor or mental health professional who will help you process your feelings and deal with any negative emotions that you are experiencing much more easily.

Take Time Off

However, even when you do have support, you still need to realize that taking time off from your caring responsibilities is vital to your own health and that of your family. Taking time off will not only make sure that you always give your loved one the best care possible without being hindered by stress and tiredness, but it will also ensure that your kids will see more of you when you are needed. You should also make sure that you take regular time off for the sake of it, and not only when you are going on vacation or for a special event. If there is no one else that can care for your relative while you are recuperating, you should consider looking at respite care options. This will ensure that you know that your loved one is safe and well and that you do not have to worry about their health and wellbeing for the duration of your hard-earned break.

Talk to Your Kids

As a kid, it can be difficult to understand why you might be around less than in previous years when your parents were still well, and this can lead to kids becoming upset or worried. Rather than leave them in the dark, you should make sure that you communicate well with your kids and that you try to explain the situation to them in a child-friendly and yet direct manner. You could even consider involving them, such as asking them to make a card for your parents or coming with you to chat with them and keep them company. You should also not feel guilty about booking childcare for your kids though in the form of a babysitter or creche.

Work Care Around Your Life

If you are looking to get the best out of both worlds, it is possible to work the care you need to give your elderly relative around your lifestyle and your kids’ needs. For instance, you could arrange to help out your elderly parent on the way back from taking the kids to school or after you get home from work. You could even take the kids along with you at weekends instead of arranging for babysitters to look after them. In fact, in many cases, interaction with kids can be extremely beneficial to older people. Then, by fitting your elderly parent’s care around your own schedule, you can ensure that you can handle their needs without sacrificing being there for your own family.

Know Your Priorities

However, if you are caring for your ailing parent a lot, at some point, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that sacrifices will have to be made and that you will not always be able to be there for your family. It would be best to learn how to correctly judge your priorities, knowing what you can afford to miss and what you need to be around for. By learning how to do this, you can more easily split yourself between your family’s two generations. However, if you miss any important events for your kids, even if this is as simple as a parent’s evening, you should try to arrange for another family member to go in your stead, such as a partner or sibling.

Looking after elderly parents can be difficult when you have a family, especially if you have young children that might not understand your parent’s condition. However, by working with a partner or another relative, and by ensuring that communication is clear at all times, you will be able to make sure that both sides of your family can remain happy and content.