Learning to worry a little less about our ageing parents

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We all age. The parents who once seemed so vital and sometimes indestructible in our youth can seem to slowly transform into someone much weaker and more vulnerable when we grow up. If we have kids of our own, the worry that we’re not providing enough for our parents can weigh heavily on the mind. However, there are a few steps we can take to cope with these concerns and even make it that our constant vigilance isn’t always necessary.

Helping their emotional well being, not just physical

The majority of your concerns might be regarding their physical health. Helping them stick to a healthier diet and keeping them physically active can improve their chances of a longer, more vital life. But emotional health also becomes a serious concern as we age. Loneliness, in particular, contributes not only to stress and depression but health issues as serious as heart disease and dementia. There is a growing number of social groups for older people out there, helping them connect, make friends, and socialise over a vast variety of interests. Make time to spend the occasional afternoon or evening with them on a social visit, not just to check up on them, too. Close relationships are entirely essential to a healthier life, both mentally and physically.

Know when you need help

Have you found yourself stepping in to help them with the many little practicalities of life, such as shopping, cooking, helping them commute and such? Coping with a parents’ declining range of independence is important. However, if you have kids, a job, or other aspects of your life that need your full-time attention, be aware of where your limits are. If you could benefit from using home care services, don’t torture yourself over the decision. In fact, it can be a lot better for both you and your parent(s) if their more practical or private physical needs are taken care of by someone else. It means you can focus more on making sure their emotional well being is in good shape.

Take care of yourself, too

If you are caring for them personally or you’re simply finding it difficult to adjust in the physical and mental changes in your parent, then don’t feel like you have to bottle it all in all the time. Treat yourself right. Take a break when you need to. Acknowledge that you’re not failing if you have a day every now and then where the easily justifiable stress hits you. If you continue to just try and keep plugging on, even as stress is frying your brain, you are going to burn out. You might even grow to resent your parent, which clearly isn’t going to help anyone. Keep an eye on your own condition and talk to someone if you feel you need to.

Final word

You won’t be able to stop worrying completely about your parents when they’re getting much older. You can, however, help to guarantee them a happier, healthier life if you make sure you take care of all the needs involved, both yours and theirs.