When Caring for an Elderly Parent Threatens to Become too Much
As our parents age it can be an increasingly difficult task to provide adequate care,
especially if the parent is suffering from a mind altering medical condition such as
dementia or Alzheimer's disease. If you are an adult child of an elderly parent and are
providing care, you need to be able to recognize how the situation affects you before it
becomes overwhelming. Here are a few tips you can use in this difficult situation.
Tip 1. Adjust your expectations.
An elderly parent suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's is not the same person you
used to know. When the parent lashes out at you, accuses you or acts strangely toward
you, you should not take this as a sign of negative judgment. These moments are merely
symptoms of the disease, and they do not reflect your parent's disapproval or malice
towards you. Though it can be difficult for children to deal with these situations
emotionally, you should distance your reactions by recognizing your parent is under the
control of this debilitating disease.
Tip 2: Take regular breaks.
Though your parent may require constant care and attention, the effect this has on you
and your ability to operate in your own life can be significant. If you find yourself
becoming overwhelmed and unable to provide the level of care your parent needs, you
need to start regularly scheduling breaks and vacation time so you can maintain your
own well-being. You should also be ready to ask others for help whenever you need it.
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