Our society is in denial when it comes to aging. We spend millions trying to avoid looking like we have grown older. Sooner or later, however, we have to deal with aging, particularly when it affects our parents. This raises the issue of elder care and guilt.
Most people view life as a simple time line. You are born, your parents raise you, you become an adult and then you raise your own family. Most people do not factor in the subject of caring for their parents. When it becomes a necessity, it can be a huge wake up call from both a financial, emotional and practical point of view.
Many adults find themselves faced with making decisions on behalf of their parents. This often starts with small issues and then eventually blossoms into a wider range of subjects. This role reversal can result in the dredging up of old, painful issues as well as simply being a burden on the person making the decision.
As you become more involved in your parent's life, you will natural emotional reactions. These can range from the simple frustration of having to deal with them to guilt for thinking that way to anger to, well, the full gambit of feelings. How you deal with these issues is critical to getting through the process.
Dealing with parental issues is very mentally taxing. Now is not the time to play the tough guy role. Do what you must, but make sure you take care of yourself as well. Take time out each week for you. If things are rough, join a support group. It can make an absolute world of difference to be able to vent to someone who knows what you are going though. This is particularly true if you have a family member suffering from a form of dementia like Alzheimer's disease.
Guilt is probably the biggest issue that people have trouble with. You have to nip this one in the bud. Growing old is a natural part of life. It happens to everyone. This also means the onset of ailments for many seniors. Again, this is a natural part of the cycle of life. While it may not be easy to go through, it is not your fault. You must live your life as well.
Elder care is become a huge issue as our population ages. Your parents are going to get older. They are going to need help. Don't think for a minute that you will not have to deal with these issues. You will. The key is to understand what is going on, prepare for it and keep as even a keel as you can. Remember to make time for yourself and consider joining a support group so you can vent a bit.
Dwayne Gibson writes for OrangeCountyCarePlacement.com - find an assisted living community in Southern California for seniors in your family.