Today, it is becoming more and more common for baby boomers to be taking care of their parents. Their parents are living longer because of advances in medicine and technology that have lengthened life expectancy.
At the same time, expenses have made it more likely that their parents don’t have enough financial resources to adequately take care of themselves and/or to afford elderly assistance and help with daily tasks and chores.
Thus, baby boomers have had to step up and take care of their aging parents, even while in some cases they are still raising their own families, including teenage sons and daughters. It is not an easy situation to be in, but the following tips should help to make the situation better for everyone involved.
Elderly parents do not feel as if they should be taken care of by their own children, while those children often have their own children they are still taking care of. So, it’s a balancing act for baby boomers.
One way to help make this situation easier is to prepare for it ahead of time. Sit down with your elderly parent or parents and have a good, heartfelt discussion with him/her/them; this will enable him/her/them to still have some influence on the decision-making while he/she/they are able to, which can help with their own well-being.
Find out their thoughts on this, including what they fear, what they want out of this arrangement, and what they value most. Determine what they struggle with the most in their daily activities and what they will need the most help with. This way, you can determine what you will have to learn to do for them. Be sure to include your feelings as well, as this should be a two-way discussion.
Never feel as if you have to do everything. The activities that your parents feel they can still do, allow them to as much as possible. This way, it will help keep their self-confidence high, which will help them to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can only help everyone in this scenario.
With any changes that need to be made, try to institute small steps over a period of time where possible instead of instituting a gigantic change right away. This will help your parents to more easily adapt to that change and not feel as if they’ve lost something, which will only hurt their self-confidence and well-being.
You should also become familiar with your parent’s finances and ask them to at least give you partial control over them in the event that there comes a time when they can no longer adequately manage their finances.
It’s easier to handle those finances if you are aware of them and have some control over them rather than have to try to react to them if something happens to your parent’s physical and/or mental state.
Taking care of your elderly parents is usually not an easy task, being that they feel as if they are losing control and feel that they should not have to depend on their children. By planning ahead, instituting changes gradually, and becoming aware of your parent’s finances ahead of time, you can make the transition much easier for them and for you.