The way our parent’s age and become dependent on their children is truly one of the cruel proofs of life’s cyclical nature. Comparably, just as your parents could not always manage their obligations and be present for every recital, you are probably just as busy with work obligations and daily schedules that appear to suck every minute out of your day. If you need to walk that fine line between business-related duties and attending to your parent’s needs, here’s how to care for an aging parent without taking time off work.
Rely on technology
Technology is a double-edged sword, especially social media. However, in the case of elder-care, it can be a life-saver. If you are juggling your working hours and obligations towards your elderly parents, maintaining regular contact by using social networks may make your time flexible, and you will always be up to date with what your parent is up to.
This is why it is so important to teach all elderly citizens about rudimentary use of modern technology – and make sure that they do not partake in damaging online activities. This will also eliminate their potential boredom, especially if they are tied to bed due to some chronic illness. They can also become quite crafty at maintaining an intricate web of social contacts. As long as they are busy with such matters, there is a reduced chance that their mood will plummet and, with it, their health. Unfortunately, solutions like these may not always work…
Know when to ask for professional assistance
In case your parent is suffering from a debilitating chronic disease, you will simply have to cut yourself some slack and share your responsibilities with at least one professional. This is especially the case if you either have no siblings or if your siblings are in any shape or form unable to help. This debilitating illness can be aggressive cancer that often strikes the elderly, or it can be something more manageable but equally insidious such as arthritis or dementia.
This is the moment when you need to be realistic and seek out the most stellar facilities for contemporary dementia care programs and other cutting edge medical interventions. If your parent is not willing to partake in this – and there’s a great chance that they won’t be – you can strike a deal with them by dividing their time between home and a respected senior establishment. This is usually the best middle-ground solution and it is something that you should always keep on the table as an option.
Don’t let them feel alone
Moving your parent to an elder-care facility at least half the time may also have an added benefit for them – it may improve their mood simply because they will be forced to get out of the house and spend more time among their peers. This is where we arrive at the golden rule of caring for your parents – no matter how much time you can spend with them, at least make sure that they are never truly alone. Unfortunately, many elderly citizens retreat into their dark and dusty households and, should they be left to their devices, they would lose a lot of meaningful contacts.
Of course, there should be an addendum to this statement which states that this is not 100% accurate – highly sociable elderly with a skip in their step do exist, but let’s assume the worst case scenario for the sake of argument. If they refuse to have meaningful conversations with you or other family members, forced and scheduled outings to a facility or a gathering spot where elders meet will probably loosen them up in the best of ways. Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice your working hours.
It may appear to you that you are a slave to your obligations and it can frustrate you to no end that you don’t have the time or, let’s be perfectly frank here, energy to care for an aging parent. However, you should always remember that, at the end of the day, you are the master of your own time and the way your schedule is arranged depends heavily on you. This is a state of mind that will finally help you find solutions.
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