Love 5 min read

Role-Reversal: What To Know When You Become Your Parent's Parent

It's your turn to take care of them.

If we’re lucky, we’ll become adults during a time when our parents are alive as well.

Then, if we are so fortunate, we will have the opportunity to know them as people instead of simply as our guardians.

As beneficial as that will be for helping the generations understand each other, the feeling may not last when you find yourself being a parent to your own parent.

When your parents reach a time when they can no longer care for themselves, they will depend on you to manage everything from their finances to their daily schedules.

They are going to need you. Will you be there?(Photo: They are going to need you. Will you be there?)

It may not always be easy at first, but if you keep a few important factors in mind, it can be easier than it seems to be a caretaker to your parent.

1. They are still your parent.

Even as you find yourself in the role of caretaker, it is crucial for you to remember that the people you are now responsible for are still your parents and worthy of respect.

The respect for your parents shouldn’t lessen with their age. There is a wealth of knowledge that we can gain from our parents and having them closer to you is the perfect opportunity to engage them and continue to learn from them.

 There is so much more they can teach you. (Photo: There is so much more they can teach you. )

Unfortunately, society doesn’t always view the elderly with the same value and respect they deserve.

Often times when the elderly enter into assisted living, their autonomy can be mostly lost due to needed to rely on others so heavily for basic actions and needs.

It has been found that even many healthcare providers hold negative stereotypes of the elderly. Often providers assume their elderly patients are helpless and feeble. That biased mentality diminishes the respect they should be showing those in their care.

Though they may not be as capable or able bodied as they once were, it does not mean they are any less worthy of your respect.

2. They are finding this as difficult as you are.

As trying as this time might be for you, it is just as difficult (if not more so) for your parents.

Just imagine being in their shoes: they have left their homes and are now having to depend on their child. They may be suffering from limited mobility, memory, or cognitive functions and might have issues with depression and anxiety for those reasons.

There’s a reason some elderly folks suffer relocation trauma when switching residencies, but better understanding of your parent’s hardships can help ease some of their troubles.

Be as patient with them in this transition as they have been with you during all the trying times in your life.

3. They never want to feel like a burden.

As blunt as this truth is, your parents probably didn’t expect to reach an age that would require them to need extra care. The truth surrounding our older generation is that people are living much longer than ever before thanks to advances in medical science.

With this increased lifespan, they are also experiencing self-perceived burden, or a diminished sense of self because of the guilt they feel from thinking they have become burdens.

Consider how they must feel. (Photo: Consider how they must feel. )

In order to combat this, it is important to maintain a sense of meaning in the lives of the elderly. Keep them involved in church, community, family, and friends to help eliminates the perception of worthlessness.

Making sure you show them the same respects you did before they entered your home will also help. Continue to consult them and your life and theirs. Make sure they feel that their opinion is still important to you.

Your parents are still important to you so make sure they still feel that importance.

 Show them the respect they deserve.(Photo: Show them the respect they deserve.)

The years towards the end of your parents lives are supposed to be their golden ones and they are an ideal time to truly know your parents.

They took care of you at the beginning of your life so it is only fitting that you take good care of them towards the end of theirs.

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