Caring for Elderly Parents and Relatives
Caring for elderly parents and relations is something that many of us who
are over 50 have to undertake. We are all living longer now
and, therefore, more people over 50 have living parents and
many of those parents either require care now or will do in
the future. Indeed, many people get similarly involved with
other relations, such as aged aunts, so whilst this Guide
refers to parents, it is equally relevant for dealing with
any elderly person.
Whilst it shouldn't be something that we worry unduly about
before the event, to the possible detriment of our own enjoyment
of later life, neither is it something that we can totally
ignore. Like anything else, a bit of forward planning will make
life much easier if and when the time comes. Also, if we have
thought about it and planned for it in a calm and considered
way, then it won't be so traumatic if and when it happens. This will
actually help us to find better solutions and therefore be
happier with the outcome.
There are a lot of issues to think about and, if you do want
to start planning for your parents' care, the conversations can
be difficult. For example, you may need to talk about wills,
enduring power of attorney, care homes and so on. It may come
across to your elderly parents that you have ulterior motives
for discussing these delicate subjects and, if that's the case,
the conversation will probably be a failure.
There is, of course, an element of role reversal when you
start caring for your elderly parents and that is highly likely
to bring its own tensions. You parents' attitude to you, now
that you are having to care for them, may well change. They
might feel guilty or resentful, or they may feel as if they have
failed and will therefore think that they are inadequate. All
these feelings will make the relationship potentially difficult.
You must understand and accept that, approaching the issues with
patience and understanding. At the same time, some elderly
people do need guiding quite firmly in their own best interests;
you know your parents best and you must deal with their care in
the way you feel will get the best results for them, maintain
their dignity and preserve your relationship with them.
Be prepared, too, for your elderly parent to behave badly
when, for example, you want to go on holiday. Very often they
will feign illness or try other ways of making you feel guilty.
If this happens you must stand firm and show them that you will
not be blackmailed. You need a holiday, especially when looking
after elderly people, so don't be tempted to give in. Neither
should you expect them to be politically correct; if they say
things that you feel are not quite appropriate, it's just not
worth getting into an argument about it.
You can get help on these matters from the My Ageing Parent website. They offer free, impartial
advice about health, home, travel, finance and wills to
help you take control of the situation, plan ahead and reduce
any stress and tension surrounding it. You can send for their
free help guide that will help you through difficult
conversations and enable you to have helpful, constructive
discussions. There is also a very good resource at Mortgage Loan - Seniors , which gives help and guidance for older people if they wish to get a mortgage or want other advice on housing.
are four basic choices when deciding how best to look after
- They can live in their own home
- They can live with you
- They can live in a nursing home
- They can live in sheltered accommodation
It can be difficult to come to decisions about caring
for elderly parents without feeling guilty. However, these
decisions are as hard for your parents as they are for you. They
may feel that they are letting you down in some way, they may
think that they are a burden to you and they may feel guilty
about losing their independence. There will always be an element
of guilt about the decisions that you make, whatever they are;
realising that an element of guilt is a natural emotion when
caring for elderly parents can be the first step to overcoming
So click one of the links in the box and continue with the laterlife
guide to caring for elderly parents.