Caring for an aging parent can be very rewarding for an adult child. It not only provides the opportunity for that child to give back to their parent, but it can also deepen the parent-child relationship. However, providing care for an aging parent can also strain the relationship.
Whether you’re new to the role of a family caregiver or not, here are four common mistakes every adult child should avoid when caring for your aging parents.
Avoiding Difficult Conversation Topics
Nobody likes to approach an awkward conversation, especially if it’s with your parents. However, the older your parents age, the more important certain conversation topics become. As the family caregiver, you need to know certain aspects about your parents’ finances, long-term care plans, and end-of-life preferences. Also, as the family caregiver, you’ll need to be the one to initiate the conversation. Sit down with your parents and have a candid discussion about these matters and anything else that may be relevant. Remember to listen first and commit to respecting their wishes to the best of your ability.
Not Setting Boundaries
Another mistake many adult children make when they first step into the role of caregiver is not setting firm boundaries with their aging parents. This can lead to caregiver burnout, especially when the care tasks increase over time. If you’re a new family caregiver, establish boundaries with your aging parents that will ensure you still have time for your own life. If you’ve been a family caregiver for a few years, reevaluate where your boundaries lie. Discuss what help you can continue to provide for your aging parents. Consider hiring a professional home care company to supplement the care you provide.
Making Decisions Alone
If you’ve been a family caregiver for some time, chances are you’ve been guilty of making decisions for your aging parents. Avoid this common mistake by remembering to include your parents in decisions that directly involve their care and lifestyle. Ask them what day works best for them when you schedule appointments. Give them a choice between two times you’re free to run errands with them or help them around their house. Ask for their input while you help them menu plan or prepare meals. Talk to them before you sign them up for home care or make financial decisions, even if it’s in their best interest.
Not Planning for the Future
Finally, a common mistake many adult children make with their aging parents is not planning for the future. When there’s not a tentative plan in place, heightened emotions often drive the decisions during a crisis situation. Take the time now to consider all possible events that could affect your parents’ health and well-being. Consider their current health and family health history. Make a plan for possible health conditions, such as stroke or memory loss. Discuss plans they have regarding their long-term care needs, including where they prefer to age. Tentative plans need not be set in stone. They provide a framework from which you and your siblings can work should an emergency happen.
Senior Living Solutions understands the challenges many adult children face as their parents age. We are here to help you avoid these common mistakes and ease the burden of caregiving. We offer free resources and guidance to families searching for senior living options, such as assisted living, memory care, independent living, or in-home care. Our mission is to relieve the stress and ease the burden of finding the best senior living option for our clients. Because we have personally toured and vetted senior living facilities in the area, we can help you determine what community and/or level of care is best suited to meet your parents’ care needs and lifestyle preferences. Don’t make the mistake of leaving us out of the conversation. Contact us today by calling 501-650-3013 to schedule your appointment today.