One of the most emotionally complex and difficult things a person can experience is taking care of an elderly parent or sick parent. At some point we have all dealt with or will deal with this. They say that all of life is a cycle. When you are posed with the responsibility of caring for an elderly or ill parent things change.
Here are 8 steps that I found very useful in caring for a parent. They will help you remain sane.
1. Accept that things have changed. When a parent starts in any way depending upon their child, a world has turned upside down. Be prepared for the change. It can feel weird but they need you.
2. Take it slowly. Taking care of an elderly parent is generally a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t rush it. You and they both are in uncharted territory. While caring for my mother I found that practicing one step at a time helped me get through.
3. Expect nothing emotionally.At the end phase of their life, your parent might open up to you emotionally and spiritually; they might express for you the love that, for whatever reason, they haven’t before. Use this time to hold on to great moments. After all, that is what you have in the end.
4. Expect their anger. When you start taking care of your parent, they lose the one thing they’ve always had in relationship to you: authority. That’s not going to be easy for them to give up. Expect them, in one way or another, to lash out about that loss.