The thought of our own parents aging is a hard pill to swallow. How is it that the roles of the parent and child can switch completely? There might be confusion and sadness associated with these changes, but there is a way to understand what's happening and come to accept that aging is a natural part of life.
As parents get older the children soon start to act as the caregiver. Whether it's a ride to the doctors or coming over to do housework - you'll find yourself taking care of things that you would have done with your parent as a child. It's difficult to watch their independence and health get stripped away over time. Caring for them is an emotional rollercoaster and it requires a definite sense of humor to lighten the mood. If you're at a dead end in knowing how to manage everything you can learn specific skills that help you accept the new relationship. Although you will be faced with difficulty and feel as if you're at wits end, it's important to cherish the little things and come to appreciate the time that you have left with someone who brought you into this world.
Challenges Faced with Aging Parents
When you're dealing with frustration it's possible that you feel incapable of handling it all due to other responsibilities: a job, kids, bills and a marriage to care for. The personal sacrifices that you make could be causing some bitterness and ill will toward the family. When you begin to take care of aging parents it might feel like you're stressing beyond your own limits. This type of realization can create fear, anger and concern. You might become uncertain and if something worse happens with their health, your emotions might spiral out of control. In the moment that you realize you have to begin helping someone due to aging, your world can change completely. On top of all that you'll also have obligations toward your job, children and marriage. The cycle of life continues just like everything else and you should try your best to refrain from negative energy. With the emotions that accompany this how do remain positive? There are principles that you can use to help ease this change.
Effects of Aging Parents on Other Relationships
How this endeavor affects you may be similar to the way that it is affecting other members of the family. Anger, resentment, worry and guilt tend to occur within siblings as well. If you are experiencing this in extreme amounts it can even affect your marriage. When you feel anger you should identify with it and find a healthier way to express it instead of taking it out on your parents or people around you. Resentment may stem from families in which one sibling tends to help the parents a lot more than the other. Resentment may be the product of unmet expectations toward the whole family and this can change your relationship with them at the same time. If you worry often this is natural – but, when it becomes obsessive it can take you away from living a balanced life outside of caring for their needs. You may suffer from guilt because you want to take care of yourself at the same time. There's nothing wrong with doing the best that you can in caring for your parents and caring for your own needs in the same breath. When your patience starts to run low and you are feeling out of control, step back and try to be supportive.
How Therapy can Help
Therapy aims toward clarifying the mix of emotions that you're feeling and assists you in learning how to balance your life while also acting as a care giver. By first clearing up the anger and sadness that you may have toward this relationship you'll feel more open toward accepting it. You aren't selfish for wanting more time to yourself and you cannot feel guilt toward not wanting to care for them at times. Counseling is going to relieve you of this tension and negative energy by finding the root cause of your feelings and then teach you what strategies you can use when taking care of your parents starts to feel difficult. When you are caring for your elderly parents you should take it slow being that you are both in some uncharted territory. Counseling can show you how to let go of expectations and let this process happen naturally. Therapy will also teach you the importance in taking care of yourself which is the only way you'll be able to take care of anyone else. Once you have learned how to manage these responsibilities you'll begin to cherish the time that you have left with your parents and love them even when they can no longer provide you with the stability that you need.
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