It isn’t easy when folks get old. Parents are the picture of strength and dependability when you’re a child. But as time goes by and you grow up, you realize they won’t always be around — they will get old just like everyone else.
The dilemma gets more complicated when you have to take care of them if they get sick. It’s an issue that it’s difficult to deal with because you need to go to work, take care of your own family, see to your own needs, and more. But that doesn’t mean your time with them, limited as it is, should be without any joy and compassion.
Here are some ways to make sure you give your parents (or grandparents) the care, love, and support they need:
Help Them with Their Benefits
Your parents may have retirement benefits and the like. In some special cases, they may also be eligible for energy worker benefits, if they became ill due to exposure at a radioactive or similar job site during their time working for the government. Help them get their benefits, as they may be too old or too sick to remember or know what to do. Don’t forget that you need all the money you can get to take care of them at this point.
Rotate Duties with the Family
You may have adult family members like siblings, aunts, and uncles who can help. Rotating duties with family members can help lessen the burden for everyone. If you can afford it, get some help from a nurse or a licensed caregiver.
Take Time to Talk
Sometimes, all your loved one needs is a good conversation. Take some time every day or whenever you can to just talk to them. Listen to their stories. Old people have the tendency to repeat their stories over and over, but having someone who listens makes them feel happy and not alone. Take into account, as well, that there may come a time when you have to talk about the subject of their impending demise, so be prepared.
Take Care of Yourself
Don’t let yourself reach a point where you burn out or begin to despise caring for your loved one. Take a break now and then. Make time for your own family, go hiking with friends or do anything that will make you feel recharged.
Taking care of an elderly loved one while they are sick can stir mixed feelings in you. You may start missing those times when your loved one was strong; you may also start thinking about your own mortality or health. But what’s important is to pace yourself and remind yourself of how you used to be with your loved one. Even when the end is near for them, you know the good memories will always stay, so make some more of those.