“Parents”, the word by itself brings about a number of emotions. We may fight with them all the time and may not agree with their decisions, but when someone else says something about them, we can get furious, possessive & extremely defensive. That is “our love” for them that speaks volumes. Some of us are blessed to have both our parents by our side during our growing up years. While we are growing up and trying to understand how things function around us, we know that we can always rely on our parents. We will make mistakes, but our parents tell us, “its ok”, we are there for you. That, itself gives us a sense of peace and comfort.
Most of us consider our parents as our “role models”. If you suddenly see them not functioning the way they used to, it can create a lot of discomfort within us.
It is important to understand, as humans, we need to feel occupied and useful. What we do, that brings in a sense of accomplishment. When we are young, everything seems perfect. We have a job, financially secure, children to look after & energy to socialize.
What happens when we retire, children have become independent & we do not have the energy that we did once, to move around and socialize. We need to understand that we are not going to live forever. Death is a certain.
How can we as children foresee what will happen to our parents in their old age, just as how parents foresee our future and guide us through with their experiences. Don’t we as children feel the need to do our bit for them?
The first thing that we can do for our parents is to make sure they feel useful in their old age. They need to have a purpose. They need to have a meaningful life. Letting them stay with us, can do a great deal of help to them, psychologically. They feel wanted in the house, they feel that as grandparents, they need to guide their grand children too. This gives them a sense of purpose to live. They feel a sense of pride to see their children do so well for themselves. Getting them involved in our decisions, or going to them for ideas, subtly helps them feel useful.
Helping them be Independent
Second, if our parents are living independently, but are now contemplating to move into a retirement house, because they cannot manage a few things at home, as they are getting old. It is a good idea to think of ways of how you can equip them to stay in their own comfort zone. May be take a place closer to theirs, which will help us to take care of their needs, or we could arrange for some extra help to make sure they are comfortable. ‘Nothing like being in our space.’ Especially when they must have attached so many emotions to their house. Also, being in their own house, helps them be more active, where they are able to do small things by themselves, and not depend on anybody. This will keep them physically and mentally fit. It also makes them not get obligated to us, this again gives them a sense of independence.
Dealing with death of spouse
Third, old age is unreliable, we never know what can happen when. For our parents to deal with the death of their spouse can be very difficult. They spend so many years together, sharing every single moment of their life and now suddenly to lose them can be very devastating. This is the time that our parent will require us and our support. Be there. Keep talking to them. They need to speak to someone. Nothing better than their own child.
Help them channelize their emotions
Fourth, like we cannot avoid old age, we cannot also avoid, going through mixed emotions at this point. Their will be times, when our parents will not be in the best of moods. They may snap or get angry for things which are very small. Stay calm. Only they know what they are feeling. That is why, it becomes important for us to keep in mind the first step, that is helping them to feel useful. You will indirectly will be helping them to channelize their emotions constructively.
Fifth, it is also a useful idea to involve our parents in social activities. Getting them into different clubs where they can spend their time doing different activities that they are interested in, which they never got the time to be involved in before. Seeing themselves develop their hobbies will give them a sense of accomplishment. It is important to structure their time, this will help in keeping them physically and psychologically healthy.
Old age can be overwhelming to experience and to observe someone close to you lose control. There is help for people who are getting old and for people who are taking care of their parents.
Reach out. Call us at +1 647 939 1730. You do not want to miss anything that can help you and your parents. You can speak to experts. Get in touch with a Counsellor or Psychologists now!