If your parent is dealing with an illness or injury, this can really affect their value of life, as well as yours. They may not be able to do things that they once could, and this can become very disabling. The simple things might start to be very difficult, like walking up and down the stairs, cleaning the house, going shopping, or even bathing themselves.
This will be a frustrating time for them, because they will be used to doing things for themselves and not having to rely on anyone. And then all of a sudden they can’t and they need to ask for help – which they most likely won’t want to do – no matter how hard it gets. This is where you need to step in. But parents don’t ever want to feel like they’re now the child, so the way you go about it is very important.
You want to make sure that you aren’t taking their pride away, because that may be the only thing they have left.
Ask them what they want.
Now, this varies depending on how ill they actually are. If you know that they are no longer able to make sensible decisions, then this won’t apply. But if their mind is still functioning as it should, then make sure you ask them what they want. Just because they’re a little vulnerable now doesn’t mean that they’re stupid. They’re still adults who deserve respect, so even if you think you know what is best – include them in what’s going on. If you think that they need proper personal care from a medical health professional, then let them know. Tell them that you’re looking for help, and ask them what they think about bringing someone into the situation. They may not be happy about it to begin with, but it’s down to you to make them realise that it’s what they need.
Don’t forget about yourself.
It’s very important that while all of this is going on, you don’t forget about yourself. It’s totally normal to be putting your parents first because they are the ones that are having issues, and during all of this, you may forget about your own health. But don’t make this mistake. It’s so easy to get run down and overwhelmed, and you may end up making yourself ill. So take a break. You need to know that there are support groups out there for you too, so you don’t always need to be the strong one that is always keeping their composure. We all have our down times, and that’s okay. So if you find yourself getting close to the edge, tell someone that you aren’t managing and need to take a step back, be it a few hours or a few days.
Know that things will get easier and work themselves out. As hard as it may all feel right now, it won’t be like that forever. So take a deep breath, and tell your parents how much you love them.