Time passes so quickly. For children, parents are often the constant within the many changes that life brings as time moves along.
But then comes that moment when we realize our parents have aged before our eyes and have become adult children. They have physical limitations they never had before. End-of-life topics might come up more frequently that can cause feelings of grief or discomfort.
Learning how to deal with parents getting older isn’t something anyone enjoys, but it is important. Coming to terms with the fact that human beings grow old and frail isn’t easy, especially when those human beings are our parents.
That said, we owe it to ourselves to attend to these feelings of anxiety linked to our childhood vision of who our parents are. We can simultaneously take steps to prepare ourselves for a new role going forward with aging parents. Learning how to deal with parents getting older in a healthy way helps adult children and their parents in this new season of life.
Get to Know Your Parents All Over Again
A large part of the struggle when it comes to knowing how to deal with parents getting older is reconciling perspectives. We hold tightly to views we have of our parents created in childhood. As our parents become seniors, these images don’t match up with reality.
When you take the time to get to know your parents once again, it can help ease this transition. This phase of life is an ideal time to begin seeing your parents through a lens of individuality that might have been lost through the years.
Asking your parents about their hobbies, passions, interests (and yes, maybe even regrets) will give you a new insight into who they are. Understanding them as people outside of their role as parents can ease anxiety around aging overall.
Contemplate the Human Life Cycle
There’s a grieving process that happens for many people when the realization hits that their parents are going to age no matter what they do. Fighting the facts tends to enhance feelings of anxiety. It can also make moving forward difficult for parents who will need more support from adult children than ever before.
To that end, taking time to evaluate the human life cycle closely can be helpful. It’s not easy, but it’s important. Getting more comfortable with the idea that everyone has to experience birth and death is imperative to accepting the aging process and learning how to deal with parents getting older.
Find Resources for Letting Emotions Out Safely
Even when you’ve come to accept that your parents are aging and changing, there are bound to be moments when anxiety and frustration catch up with you. This makes it very important to have a support system in place for letting emotions out safely when you need to talk about your fears.
That foundation could be close friends that understand what you’re going through. It could also be a professional therapist who specializes in family dynamics. Either way, getting any stress, anxiety, and sorrow off your chest is going to help you deal with your emotions and, ultimately, provide the support your parents will need from you, too.
Savor the Time You Have Together
Yes, life is short and time is fleeting, but that isn’t an excuse not to enjoy it! Spending as much time as possible with aging parents is an excellent way to come to accept the situation and make memories that will last your entire life while you’re at it.
Don’t shy away from planning fun trips or activities, even if these are things you might not have considered when your parents were younger. Creating a bucket list that you can all participate in will help you seize the day and make the absolute most of time together.
Open Up the Conversation About Caregiving Options
Depending on health status and physical limitations, the aging process can look different for everyone. Some seniors prefer to age in place, while others are looking forward to moving into retirement communities.
Either way, understanding what role you’ll play in caring for your aging parents requires open conversation and communication on the topic. Don’t be afraid to bring questions regarding elderly care up with your aging parents. It’s not always an easy topic, but knowing where they stand and what is expected of you makes the process that much smoother.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.