Tips for Dealing with Aging Parents

By Yaquelin Castillo

As our parents get older, they are more likely to need our assistance. It is normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed when this happens as we are now switching from depending on our parents to them depending on us. However, there are some things we can do to facilitate the process.

Understand your emotions

People often find themselves in denial as we might not be ready to accept that our parents’ health has declined. This idea makes it somewhat difficult to fully help our parents as we do not acknowledge them as having any issues. We might also feel frustrated or helpless once we acknowledge the problem.

Verbalize your emotions

It is important to verbalize our emotions and avoid projecting our feelings onto our parents.

Self-care

I was once told that whenever you are on an airplane, the pilot will talk about oxygen masks and to put yours on prior to helping your neighbor. This is important as lack of self-care can add to caregiver burnout.

Stepping back

While it might be our first instinct to jump in and take over to help our parents, aging takes some adjustment. It is important to let our parents take the lead. I understand that this can be tricky based on the level of care needed. However, after assessing the case, allowing parents to retain some independence can help them adjust smoothly.

Reach out for professional help

It is okay to ask for help. I’ve worked providing case management services to geriatric population for years and seeking services can be overwhelming at times. You can contact your local senior center, DFTA or 311 for information on agencies assisting geriatric population based on the zip-code.

Conclusion

Aging is part of life and we can help our parents to age in place. Loss of independence can be difficult to many but there are things that we can do to help them transition. While there are other things to consider, the above tips can provide you with some guidance on where you start. Being a caregiver can have us feeling lost at times as we might feel we have no training for this. Starting therapy is a great way to receive caregiver support and in turn, reduce caregiver burnout. It would be a great pleasure to support you alongside your journey. You can do this and you do not have to do it alone!