Coping with aging parents
One of the worst experiences a child can go through is watching their parents get older. While the aging process is sometimes beautiful, it is usually bittersweet. Alzheimer's, dementia, and other health problems often take over your parents and they are not the same bright, witty person that raised you. Coping with aging parents is going to be the hardest thing you will do.
Before your parents get too old, sit down with them and discuss the future. Find out what their plans are so you can honor them to the best of your abilities. Make sure they have a living will in order. Try to talk about all the hard decisions like life support, nursing homes, and burial arrangements. Finding out this information while they are still conscious and aware will make the aging process easier.
Try to get all of your family members together so you can all sit down and talk about some of these big decisions. Your siblings need to hear it from your parents mouths just like you do as it will help them after they pass away. Make sure you can all be there to meet together and make sure this area is free from distractions.
It is important to let everyone know that your parents are in charge of their decisions and you all need to uphold them even if you don't agree with them. Once your parents have spoken, open up the floor to a family discussion. This is the time when you can all ask questions and address some of the concerns you may have. Make sure everyone gets a turn to talk as everyone will have different concerns and they all want to make sure Mom and Dad are taken care of properly.
Allow your parents to address some of their concerns. Remember, they have been in your shoes before and they know what it is like to watch your parents get older and eventually pass away. Listen to the advice and wisdom they can pass along to you as it may help you get through the aging process.
If the conversation gets emotional and a little overwhelming, try to break it up into smaller chunks. One month focus on the will, the next month focus on assisted living, and so on. Having all the arrangements taken care of now will save you a huge headache as your parents reach their older age.
Once your parents are older and they require additional care like assisted living and other things, it is important to let them know how much you care about them. You only have a few years or months left with your parents so you'd better make the most of it while you can. Try to visit them as much as you can while they still have their memory and they know who you are. Once your parents start having dementia and other memory loss problems, it will be an emotional and painful process to visit them. The day will come when they will not remember who you are. This is going to be the hardest day of your life so you need to prepare yourself now.
Once your parents reach this stage, don't feel bad about visiting them less. You need to take care of your emotional health. Your parents will understand, especially if they dealt with this with their own parents. Memory loss problems are difficult to cope with and they can literally ruin you if you let them. Just remember your parents and the good memories you have with them instead of the here and now and the end of their mortality.