Challenges of Moving Aging Parents from Their Homes

“ If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”  There is a mountain of truth to that statement!

Many of our lives have been guided by trying to please our parents, moms in particular. This will be a major influence as we make decisions concerning their care as they age. 

 We love our parents and want the best for them.

We want to fix everything, make it all right like they did for us as children. They did not always know the right answers for us, and neither do we for them.

The fact is, aging and health issues cause unhappiness and stress on loved ones. This can play out as anger and resentment toward those closest to them; especially adult children who are simply trying to help.

 Five things to consider when helping aging parents.

#1 Accept the situation as it is, not what you wish it were. Try to look objectively at current conditions and make choices accordingly. Is your loved one still capable of caring for themselves and their home? Can you make some needed adjustments to their home to make it a safe place for them to stay? Could you hire someone to stay nights with them?

#2 Include all of your family in the decision making process. What you decide will ultimately have an affect on your household. Will it mean more time away from home for you? Is it an option to open your home up to care for them? What will that involve? Will your family be supportive?

#3 Carefully consider the cost before moving them into your home. You need not feel guilty because your circumstances prevent you from caring for a loved one in your home. There are many legitimate reasons this option is not always the best for all concerned. You have your own health and your family to consider. You may be talking about a 24/7 change that could last years.

#4 Realize you cannot fill all their voids. Should a move from their home be required, you are not responsible for how your loved one will adjust to new surroundings. It is your responsibility to see to the best of your ability the care is adequate. However, happiness depends upon them.

#5 Find support for yourself and your family. This probably should be number one on the list; support is invaluable. As those who have walked the path before share their experiences, you will save yourself much heartache. You also will realize you are not the only one going through these tough times.

Each time I write an article such as this, I find myself missing Mother all the more. My choices were not always the best; they were the best I knew at the time.  Caring for her those years was difficult, often heart-wrenching, tiring, and foremost, the most rewarding time of my life. I treasured each smile, kiss and hug from Mother during those years. It was a God-given honor to care for her, I praise God for that opportunity.

If you cannot hug your mother (or poppa) this year, find a momma to hug on; hugs never go out of style and all mommas need more than one; and so do we “kids”.

Hugs and blessings,

Please let me hear from you on this one; what have you found helpful? Perhaps you can encourage someone who is struggling with this issue.  Check out my store; learn more about Mom and me in my book, MY MOTHER MY CHILD.

 

How to Handle Feelings of Guilt when Caring for Elderly

Feelings of GuiltWhen caring for elderly, or facing family situations, do you feel guilty?

When caring for the elderly, there are times we feel inadequate to meet mounting needs and a feeling of guilt sets in. If not handled properly, this feeling will gnaw at us until it finds expression—usually in harsh words, anger or silence. Is this feeling normal? What should we do about it?

My elderly mother deserved the best of care and I was determined she would have it. At the time, I had health and energy to care for her physical needs. I had friends who helped on occasion so I could rest. I had the mental ability and experience to handle her financial needs and record keeping.   

We can never fix every problem; we must accept natural changes.

I could not, however, fix her feelings of losing her freedoms, her lack of mobility, or her fears concerning the future. I was not prepared to watch her deteriorate while in my constant care; I felt guilty that I could not do more, and I felt so alone.

Perhaps what I learned on my journey will be helpful in whatever situation you may be facing today.

1 Recognize your feelings are normal. 

The guilt will continue to pile up as long as you are afraid to be honest with others about how things are going for you. We learn to express our love in doing for others; when we feel our “doing” is not enough, we will naturally feel guilty for not having met more needs.

2 Realize you are not the only one with that feeling of guilt.

It helped me greatly to read others’ accounts of how they dealt daily with situations not unlike my own. One of the greatest websites I know to read others’ stories and get perspective is www.CareGivers.com.

3 Keep a journal for a week or two.

Be sure to jot down your feelings and what you were doing at the time you began to feel guilty. You will probably find that you are doing all that you can for your loved one with the time and resources available to you.

4. Deal with problems as they occur.

Are you personally doing all you know how to do? Is there a better solution to what is bothering you? Do you need more help in some area? Do you need to learn how to do some things better? Identify the specific problem, fix it, and move on.

5. Realize you are mere human; not super-woman.

If you do not find any specific area to fix (see question #4), then the underlying cause of your frequent feelings of guilt may simply be lack of rest and sleep. Often those feelings occur when we become overly tired and burnt out. You are only human, not super-woman. Allow yourself time to rest, time to cry, time to get in touch with reality.

6. Forgive yourself.

Not all guilty feelings are superficial; we do make mistakes. I did not always do things the best way for Mother or for the rest of the household. Forgiving ourselves is difficult, but necessary for freedom from guilt.

Above all, spend time with the One who gives us rest and peace and calms our storms.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Hugs,

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