Even though aging is a normal part of life, watching your parents age can bring up a lot of different feelings for you. People deal with this in different ways and it’s very much a personal experience.
The level of emotion you feel and your ability to cope with it can be exacerbated by a number of different factors. This could be the age and health of your parents, whether you have any caring responsibilities, the number of siblings, or other relatives you have around you.
Here are a few ways to cope when your parents are getting older.
Think About Potential Situations
We never know what’s going to happen in life, and it’s this unknown factor that can cause a lot of anxiety. It can sometimes help to think of a few different scenarios, and what you would do. For example, if your parent’s needed home health care, how is this arranged and funded?
If you needed to take care of them more or arrange power of attorney, how would this happen?
Now, no one is suggesting you sit around dwelling on doomsday scenarios and all the possible terrible things that could happen, but removing some of the fear of the unknown can help you feel less helpless.
Educate Yourself About Health Issues
If your parents are experiencing declining health, then it can help to research their illness so that you know what to expect. Research on the internet or ask their health care provider if you attend medical appointments with them.
Ask Them What Help They Want
As you get older and your relationship with your parents’ changes, you can find that your roles begin to reverse over time. You can find yourself supporting them more and more. But have you asked your parents what kind of support they want from you? After all, they are still adults who can make their own decisions.
Don’t Project Your Issues Onto Them
When we see our parents’ age and experience ill health, it’s natural for it to bring up a lot of complicated emotions about our own aging. It can be scary to think about what will happen to you as you get old. This can cause you to act differently around them, perhaps withdrawing or trying to control their lives.
Don’t Let Fear Of The Future Spoil Your Present
Spending all of your time worrying and fretting is going to stop you from enjoying the time you have with your parents. Try to be mindful of the present and not continually live in the future.
Have A Support System
You don’t have to go through anything alone. It can help to talk about your feelings with someone. It can be a friend or relative. If your parents are coping with a particular health condition or dementia, then there are support groups in place that will provide you with a safe space to talk. Even just saying things out loud can help you to come to terms with what you’re feeling