By: Michael Riley
Caring for an elderly parent has its challenges no matter who you are. When you are an only child however, the burden can be greater because there are no siblings to fall back on when you need help. If you are struggling with how to best care for your aging parent as an only child, here are a few tips on how to cope.
Be proactive whenever possible
If you know that your parents are declining, you can often take a guess at what they will need in the future. These may include things like hospital stays, rehabilitation centers to help them recover from injuries or strokes, and home care or nursing home facilities.
It is better not to wait until the moment is upon you to research these things. Take the time to research what the best hospital is in your area, the best home care agencies, and the best nursing homes so that when and if you need one you do not have to make a frantic choice.
We understand that it is possible that you may never need one, but being prepared can take a lot of stress off you and your parent(s) should the need arise.
Do not rely on your memory
In today’s busy world, many people are struggling to remember their own schedule. When you are a family caregiver, you have your schedule to remember, plus all the appointments for one or both parents as well.
It is simply impossible for one person to have three schedules swimming around in their head and never forget a single appointment. Even if you are not aware of it, an additional problem is how much stress trying to remember can cause.
You can relieve that stress and improve the likelihood that you will remember all your appointments, by keeping a calendar for everything.
We’re sure you’ll agree with the fact that caregiving is often a 24/7 process that can make you feel guilty about the smallest things, like taking a shower or just stepping outside for a breath of fresh air. Especially as an only child, you need those breaks.
If it is impossible for you to step away for even a moment to catch your breath, consider respite care for your parents. With respite care, a trained medical professional will care for your parents while you step out for a little while.
Even if all you do is read a book, or do a little shopping, that alone time will help you recover mentally from the stress of caregiving. Respite care can happen as often or as little as you need to, in order to help you create some balance in your life.
As an only child, we don’t doubt that you love your parents and want to give them as much comfort as possible in their old age. We hope these tips can help. Always remember that even if you do not have a sibling there to assist you, you’re not alone. Agencies like Homewatch CareGivers are here willing to lend a hand.
For more information on respite care services, please contact us at Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte today. Our Charlotte caregivers are always here to help.