As our parents age, it can become easy to fall into the trap of seeing them as less capable versions of their younger selves. We may mistakenly accept old age as a time of decline, rather than a new chapter of development and growth. That narrow lens can affect our relationship with our parents; we might even feel like we’re reversing roles, transitioning from child to caregiver.
Helping an aging parent may surface various emotions—some that can be enjoyable and rewarding, and others that can be painful or difficult to manage. When I met with one of my clients, Cynthia*, this is exactly what she wanted to talk with me about: how to deal with the myriad of emotions she is experiencing as her mother ages.
Misconceptions about what a retirement residence really is and what life looks like living in one still exist. Some people may assume retirement communities are just for seniors who require care support, while others may assume that choosing to live in one may result in a loss of independence and freedom.
Discovering that you and your siblings have very different perspectives about your parents’ situation may be one of the most surprising—and challenging—aspects of providing support or care for them as they age. In my experience, it is quite rare for all family members to see things in the same way, and this can often lead […]
Many older adults who decide to remain in the family home may find their world getting smaller as the years go by. I frequently talk with older adults about the potential for the home they have thought of as their “palace” to turn into a place that becomes less and less accessible they age. A health challenge or mobility issues can make it harder to get out and enjoy the things they love to do. Difficulty driving may also make it harder to get out and socialize. And, of course, our Canadian winters can add to these challenges!
Eight million Canadians provide care to aging parents, spouses, other family members or friends. While caregiving can be rewarding, family caregivers are at increased risk for mental and physical health problems. By taking care of your own physical needs, staying connected with family and friends, using stress reduction techniques, getting help from others and taking advantage of respite care, you can positively benefit not only your own health, but that of your loved one.
Earlier this year, we sat down with a panel of five adult children who had recently helped to move their aging parent into a retirement community. We wanted their thoughts on everything from what prompted their conversation about senior living with their parent to how they felt on move-in day. Our hope is to provide valuable insight to others in the process of helping an aging loved one navigate the next phase of their life, and to remind you that you’re not alone.
The holidays are almost here, and you’re looking forward to visiting mom and dad for a few days, anticipating much loved family traditions and spending some quality time together.
However, an extended visit may also allow you to experience your parent’s everyday routine with fresh eyes, giving you a window into the challenges they may be facing, but perhaps haven’t felt comfortable talking about.
Retirement is an exciting new chapter in your parent’s life, full of opportunities to explore their passions, form new relationships and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. The last thing you want to have happen, though, is for an unforeseen financial crisis to jeopardize their retirement.
Supporting an aging parent when you live far away can feel like a challenge. You want to be there for your parents, but not being in the same province or even country can make it seem like you are disconnected. However, there are many ways that you can still provide support to your parent if they desire your help, even if you live miles away.