Coping with elderly parents living at home Whether it be for health reasons, which are the most common, or any other reason, when it comes to ageing parents living with children, it always begins with the best of intentions and visions of a harmonious living situation. However, that’s simply not always the case.
There’s lots of reason why living with ageing parents can go sour. People are all different and complex after all, and living in perfect peace and quiet is always a tough ask. This is especially true when you bring differences in ages, culture and a shift in family dynamic into the mix.
So let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons people run into problems when living with elderly parents, and our best advice on how to go about solving them.
Manage the Stress That This Enormous Change Will Bring
As big as a change this is for you, just imagine how big a change it is for your parent. Their living situation has been turned completely upside down and inside out, and we’re not just talking about their home.
They are no longer the king or queen of their own castle. They’ve probably sacrificed a great deal of their privacy and accepting that can be very stressful. And when such stressful situations arise, sometimes it’s not dealt with in the best of ways.
Your parents are only human after all, and like all of us, they don’t always deal with stress in the healthiest of ways. Accept that things are tough for them too, and forgive the occasionally snappy tone. Let them know you understand how tough this is for them. After all, the occasional squabble together is better than the alternative of your elderly parents living alone and vulnerable.
Understand That They Might Not Always Seem Grateful
So you’ve opened up your home to your elderly parents, given up a significant amount of your space and made even more drastic changes to your day to day life: all because you love them and want them to have the best life possible. It’s understandable then that you are a bit disappointed and annoyed that they don’t seem to appreciate it all that much.
Well, on top of the stress they’re facing, there’s also this huge change in relationship dynamics to contend with. You’re their child after all and readjusting to these new roles, where they are no longer in charge, is going to be tough for them.
The trick here is to have patience and take to these new roles step by step, rather than laying down the law and trying to rule with authority all at once.
It’s also important to give them as much autonomy over their own lives as possible.
This will help ease the shock of the change.
This doesn’t mean you become a pushover, but it’s important to find the right line of authority.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
When people give up so much of their lives to open up their world and take care of their parents, one of the biggest mistakes they make is immediately starting to neglect their own needs. Not only will this be bad for you but it will be bad for your parents and your relationship with them in the long run too.
People who don’t take care of themselves may soon find that they’re not emotionally fit to take care of others. Therefore, it’s important that you always find time for yourself, whether it’s relaxing with a bubble bath or going out with your friends. In fact, that brings us onto our next point…
Spend Time Away From Each Other
There’s nothing that can drive people away faster than spending too much time together. Even those who love each other very much, have tons in common and enjoy each other’s company can find themselves grating on one another if they’re not allowed ample alone time. This doesn’t just mean inside the house either. Make sure to get out and socialise with others. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, even if it’s just for an hour or two.
Make An Effort To Have Fun Together
Spending time together is one thing, but spending quality time together is another. You can spend the whole day barely speaking and it won’t mean as much as just one hour together spent laughing, talking and really reconnecting with one another.
This is about nurturing your relationship with your parents and not just assuming that simply being around is enough. Find things you both like, and if you can’t find any shared interests, take it in turns to do things the other enjoys. Who knows, you may find yourself with a brand new hobby!
The important thing here is to remember that any relationship, be it parents or partners, requires more than simply being under the same roof as one another.