Love & Loss: Looking After Your Parents In Old Age

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Loss. It is a massive weight in every respect, and whether you’re going through a period of loss because someone you love has passed on or you are currently working through helping a relative or a parent into a care home due to age-related cognitive decline, it’s difficult! We all have experienced our fair share of pain in this life, and we can struggle through difficult periods and maintain the stiff upper lip approach, or we can find ways to tackle our stress head-on.

The first thing to think about is the reality of the situation. An inability to face the issue means denial and avoidance. If you have a parent who you are unable to look after anymore, and you think that the time has come for them to help them make the transition to a home, you are potentially racked with guilt, which is normal. But you need to realize that it’s about your needs too, granted, they aren’t the priority, but if you’re struggling to cope, then you may have a negative impact on the one you love.

Depending on how your loved one is, you may have a tough time deciding on what type of care to give them. You may find that you are better off putting them in a care home because there will be someone to look after their needs 24/7 and in giving them up to a care home is very difficult to accept, but it is part of the reality of the situation. But you can have a massive input in their care, and you need to research every care home in your vicinity, so you are happy too. Places like Porthaven care homes have comprehensive care packages and depending on your funds, you can make the most of a location that helps to nurture your loved one, and the right care home will be able to advise you on what the best course of action depends on your circumstances.

This, of course, is all dependent on how you can cope. If you would rather have them live with you and you are determined to make it work, you need to be aware of the strain it will place upon you. If you have never been in the position of a carer before, you have to prepare yourself for the different directions you will be pulled in, emotionally as well as financially. Looking at carers and people who have children that need additional assistance, it’s difficult to draw the line between caring for them and just looking after their welfare, because they are two different things. Emotions can cloud judgement, but as it’s someone you love, you feel that you can power through, which leaves you open to fatigue. Learn to define boundaries, and make sure you have time for yourself.

The big emotional gut-punch can be if they are living with you and you lose them suddenly, and while this was going to come sooner or later, you may feel horrible for thinking that they are at peace now, but it is true. Looking after someone you love is at times difficult, psychologically demanding, but also amazing in equal respect, and as long as you are ready for the challenges, you can do it.

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