It can help you be a better caregiver while also releasing you of a lot of burden.
Caring for an ageing or sick parent at home can be a wonderful act of love — but it can also be a big sacrifice. Along with the new responsibility comes added stress to your life that's probably already taxing. Not to mention, it significantly changes the relationship between the two of you. If you're a caregiver for a parent, or thinking about what next step is best, this is one of the most important things to remember about this life phase. It can help you be a better caregiver while also releasing you of a lot of the burden that comes with the role.
TV and podcast host Maria Menounos is currently taking care of her mother, who has brain cancer. She learned this lesson from a guest on her series "Better Together."
Remember, the experience is not about you.
"Her name is Judy and she said, 'Remember, it's their journey.' So as kids, we are like, 'Mom, dad, you got to do this. You got to do that. Why are you doing this?' We're spending so much of our time fighting with them or upset with them because they're not listening. … And [Judy's] like, "Maria, it's their journey." I think that was one of the biggest things. It releases you of a lot and it releases them and it actually creates for a better experience through this tough time with that person," Maria said.
This can help during challenging times with your parent, as Maria mentioned. But sometimes you may need more to keep focus. AARP has some advice.
Here are three other things to keep in mind when your parent resists help and you're struggling as a caregiver.
Be Patient: Stay calm and keep your emotions in check when your parent disagrees with you. They too need time to adjust to their new lifestyle and relationship with you. Listen to their concerns, and make sure they know you're there to help them.
Remind Them You're on Their Side: It can be easy to respond with emotion in tense situations. But you want to let your parent know you're trying to do what's best for them. Instead of issuing demands, ask questions about what they want and try working through situations together.
Don't Expect Your Parent to Be the Same: Remember that this is a new — perhaps, final — stage in their life. Let go of the unrealistic expectation that they will remain the same kind of person with your care. This can help keep conflict at bay, and you can focus on making this a meaningful experience for them and you. Remember to show them they are loved and accepted at any life stage.