Now that you are already a grownup, one of the things that you do not expect to happen is finding out that your senior parents are getting a divorce. “Divorce is one of the most stressful events anyone can ever experience,” according to Michelle Farris, a marriage and family therapist. It may be a complete shock on your part to learn that after thirty, forty or even fifty years of marriage, they still decide to go on separate ways. Once they have decided to get a divorce, you are left with no choice but to deal with the current situation. We understand that what you are feeling and going through right now is difficult. Do not fret because we are going to list down some of the practical ways on how to handle this life-altering occurrence.
Always remember that when it comes to taking good care of old parents, it will involve a significant amount of money. According to Brad Klontz Psy.D., CFP, “Problems with money are incredibly common, and are often responses to stressful life events.” This is the primary reason why adult children are highly encouraged to start saving while they are still young. They must have the right amount of money, not only to answer for their own needs in the future but also to care for an aging mother or father. Whether you like it or not, financial matters are some of the things that you can never avoid.
There are many things that you need to take into consideration when it comes to caring for your elderly parents. First of all, it is significant for you to understand the fact that as your mom or dad grows up, the more sensitive they become. Because of this, you have to be careful in dealing with them. They might get offended easily by anything you say or do. Second, the manner of caring for them may be quite challenging, which is why it is necessary for you to be more patient and understanding.
According to Carol Bradley Bursack, “The responsibility of providing care for an aging or ill loved one is a challenge in its own right.”
Below is a list of some tips that you can follow in taking good care of your elderly parents:
Many issues will usually surface once your parent starts to grow older. One of the concerns that you need to take into consideration is the existence of financial problems that your elderly parent has. According to Brad Klontz Psy.D., CFP, “Problems with money are incredibly common, and are often responses to stressful life events.” No matter how much you try to ignore this situation, you will always be part of his life. Because of this, it is essential that you exert some effort in helping him deal with financial issues. Below are some of the top things that you could do:
“Not every older adult is delightful, and being the child of a difficult parent can be lonely, heartbreaking, exhausting and demoralizing,”Paul Chafetz, a Dallas psychologist says. As a child, it is your responsibility to care for your parents when they start to grow old. Take note that they have spent most of their years in raising you and in providing all your wants and needs. Now that they are no longer in their younger years, you already must care for them. To help you make better arrangements about this matter, the best thing to do is to ask yourself these questions:
Taking care of elderly parents must be one of your top priorities in life. As an adult offspring, it is your responsibility to ensure that your senior parents are in good health all the time. According to Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP, “Scientific research shows that eating healthy can drastically change your mood and improve your way of life.” Take note that they are not getting any younger. You must exert some effort in making sure that they avoid a specific set of good. As early as now, it is significant to emphasize that the secret to a long life is choosing to follow a healthy lifestyle. Below are some of the food restrictions for senior parents:
Caffeine has become famous all over the world. Many people have made it a part of their daily intake. While coffee may offer some benefits to its consumers, it is also established that too much of this kind of beverage can cause serious health problems. Always remember that seniors have a lower tolerance for the adverse effects of coffee. Because of this, it is necessary to remind your senior parents to drink coffee in moderation.
One of the most common sicknesses suffered by elderly individuals is diabetes. This illness is something that you need to take seriously. When any of your parents have diabetes, it is possible that they would encounter complications in their medical condition. As such, your primary goal is to keep them away from sugar. In preparing for their food, be sure to lessen or eliminate the use of sugar to taste.
Fatty foods can lead to increasing the risks to the health of your senior parents. In fact, these can cause problems for the functions of its circulatory system. Keep in mind that high concentrations of cholesterol in the blood can also lead to atherosclerosis. Another possible scenario is the development of heart disease, which could eventually end in a heart attack.
If your senior parents are fond of drinking carbonated drinks, then find ways to make them stop consuming it. Tell them that soft drinks are bad for their health. These beverages are high in sugar, which can trigger problems that could lead to diabetes. Aside from this, it can also result in stroke especially when the body could not handle too many unhealthy elements or components inside it. Matthew Smith, Ph.D. shares that, “Water continues to be a healer, perhaps one we should consider more carefully.”
As much as possible, it is necessary to add some fresh vegetables and fruits in the diet of your parents. Do not let their consumer processed or canned foods. As you probably know by now, these contain preservatives that can be unhealthy for your senior parents. As an alternative, go for natural foods that are rich in fiber. If they are staying in your place, be sure to keep the processed foods in storage areas that are not readily accessible for them. When you do this, you would be able to help them decrease their cravings for such foods.
Watching the diet and lifestyle of your old mom and dad is essential for their well being. Do not take them for granted by helping them avoid the restricted foods. Be there to support them every step of the way. This is the point of their lives when they could use some assistance from you. “Knowing the multidimensional aspects of wellness can help to improve your health,” shares Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC.
When we get older one thing is for sure – our parents will get old, too. Are you ready for that time? The time when it’s no longer your parent who’s going to look after your welfare, but the other way around? How do you view this? Does it worry you as a burden, or would you like to prepare early on being the filial child? “If older caregivers have health problems themselves and become mentally or emotionally stressed, they’re at a higher risk of dying,” said Richard Schulz, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.
Sacrifice Is A Natural Thing For Parents
Some parents tend to give everything they can for their children’s welfare and security. Parents sacrifice a lot of themselves by working hard and setting goals that they try to meet in whatever way they can, even if it means less rest and less time for themselves. They set aside what they want to do in life just to provide the needs and wants of their children. Their happiness often depends on how well they can support and raise their children to be better than them in every way. Being a parent is a tough challenge that comes within our lifetime.
The responsibilities and duties of my own parents come beyond themselves because they have more than one life to take care of. They always think of how to sustain the everyday challenges and ways to fight back as life pushes them through the corner of hardships. My parents sacrificed a lot for us just to see us reaching our dreams and wants in life, and they expect nothing much in return. Making both ends meet is my parents’ exceptional talent.
Pay Back Time Or Giving Back?
Time will come when my parents would no longer be able to work as much as they used to. Even doing their activities of daily living will one day be impossible for them to perform. As my parents continue to grow old, they can depend on no one else but us, their children. It is our turn to tend and care for them, not the way they cared and looked after us because we can never equal that. But the closest we can do for them is to support them, especially on how they wish to be in their days of retirement. Older parents might do better to try to understand and address the child’s concerns. According to Karen FingermanPhD, “We found in our research that when the middle-aged adult is worried about the aging parent, the parent is both annoyed by that and feels more loved.” It may be difficult for us to give them their old age needs because of many things running down on our own plate, but proper parent care and planning have a variety of ways for our parents to feel loved and at the same time cared for by us.
If we think of their old age as payback time, it will just burden us. But if we think of it as an act of gratitude for what our parents have done for us, it becomes easier as we think of it as the time to give back. After all, we will not be who we are if not for them.
Planning Ahead Of Time Makes Things Easier
Planning care for our parents early on is the least we can do for the sacrifices they’ve done for us. It can help lessen the hassle of knowing that we have outgrown our parents in making a living. By the time our parents can no longer strive for life, planned parent care is indeed the greatest gift we can give them.
Planned parent care compromises insights into things that our parent wants to have, in the sense that they will feel content and happy in their current state. Planning early on for the retirement of our parents is something manageable while we still don’t have much responsibility. We do the planning with them. Ask away the stuff they want or need when they reach a certain age, the age where they feel that they can no longer do the usual things they used to do in the past years.
Looking after our parents’ welfare especially when they are old is one of the best ways to communicate to them how grateful we are for all that they have done for us.
When we come to that age wherein we are the ones who are giving the care our parents need, they can view this as very fulfilling, especially seeing us become successful enough to provide them with their needs such as medication.
Sadly, the last thing to think about is when our parents step up to graduate life. But before that day comes, it would be nice that they feel our filial love through our care in their old age. “When your days as a caregiver have ended, you’ll want to look back and know you did the best you could for your parent,”Alexis Abramson, Ph.D. says. “You’ll want to know you made the most of the last days, months and years with your loved one — surviving the bad times but always remembering to seek out and cherish the good. Just as important, you will want to have a life to return to, filled with people you love, activities that interest you, and the good health to enjoy them.”
Growing up is part of life, and it is something that you cannot avoid. It means that being an adult is indispensable as well as caring for an old parent. Whether you like it or not, everyone expects you to be there for your senior parents when they grow old. You cannot escape this responsibility. It is only right that you make an effort to help them enjoy a good life after retirement. According to Carol Bradley Bursack, “Regardless of who moves in with whom, the decision to cohabitate with aging parents is a serious one that affects all relationships within a family, careers, finances, and the physical and mental health of everyone involved.”
If there is one thing that you need to know about seniors, it is the fact that most of them are already impatient and grouchy. Just remember that this change in attitude is not all about you. Keep in mind that the way they act or react to anything you say and do is affected by several factors. Because of all these, it is highly recommended that you exert more understanding when it comes to dealing with a senior parent. You need to put up with her new kind of attitude. “Empathize with your parents,” says Christina Steinorth, MFT, a psychotherapist.
Now that you are already an adult, you probably spend most of your time doing work at the office or running your own business. Sometimes, you will feel that the twenty-four hours you get a day are no longer enough for all the things you want to do. Because of this, there is a high tendency that you will miss spending time with your aging parents. While this is only typical of an adult, it is not an excuse for doing it regularly.