The aging parent seems to appear slowly. Kind of like out of a mist. One day they are healthy, capable people, and the next they are among the needy. And, you could, like me, become the primary care giver. Here the parent/child relationship gets overturned. And, suddenly 24 hours a day does not seem enough.
I was 66 when my parents entered into the world of needing extra care. I had a wife (46 years) and extended family and a business. Plus I had developed some things I like to do. Suddenly it was “time out”! There just wasn’t enough physical, emotional capacity for all of this new stuff. Let alone there only being 24 hours in a day. Changes in my lifestyle had to be made. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sever completely, nor did I want to the relationships and fun I had built into my life. Yet, like you I loved my parents and wanted to be front-line in their experience of aging and declining health.
So, the attempt to balance my life in a stress-less manner began. Now, let me tell you it did not work at first. All of the old priorities could not just be let go, so the need for some kind of formal priority list was needed if I was to balance my life as a husband, parent, grandparent, etc, etc. I as an aging parent my self needed to balance my needs and the needs of my aging parents.
The proverbial list arose. Not a with list but a list that was practical and doable. Your really need to do this with a guiltless attitude to be able to balance your life as a caregiver and all of the other stuff of life. Sanity will vanish in the cloud of powerlessness, stress and the overwhelming feeling of guilt. My list started with the top 10 priorities in my life then. Some things will have to be put on hold, but 10 should grab the most important things in your life. One tenth of the list needs to be for you as a caregiver. You cannot give care unless you yourself take the time to care for yourself.
The list for balancing your life as a caregiver will need some editing. But, be careful that you don’t edit out the basic top 10 priorities in your life. The list is not cut in stone and should be flexible, but be very careful. It is better I believe to name your top 10 and stick with it.
Friends it is Christmas time. I wish you the best that God has to give. Just ask. Maybe this experience dealing with our aging parents will show us steps we need to take to prepare for our future. Steps to help our children go through this experience stress-less as possible. It is not easy losing a loving parent. So, hurt when you need to. Cry, when you need to. But, life will go on. Keep a balanced life intact for you and your loved ones. in home care toronto