We all hope that, when the time comes, we’ll be on hand to care for our parents. They’ve always been there for us, and bringing them into our homes is by far a preferable option to an aged facility.
Of course, most of us realize that caring full-time for an aging parent isn’t easy. We understand from the beginning that it involves heavy lifting, difficult decisions, and watching the potential deterioration of someone you love.
What fewer carers anticipate is the devastating impact the carer role can have on parent-to-child relationships. In reality, though, caring is much more than its physical impact. Instead, it can rip relationships apart. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’re going to talk you through what could go wrong and what you need to do to avoid it.
The impact of miscommunication
Miscommunication is a common carer problem. Practically, hearing loss may mean your parent struggles to hear what you’re saying. Communication can also become problematic if you make decisions without talking them through. For the most part, empathy is the best way around this. By making an effort to learn more about communication despite hearing loss, you could reduce hearing-based issues. Equally, talking through every major care decision guarantees you never take a wrong turn. You’d be amazed by how much of a difference these simple steps can make to the care journey moving forward.
It’s also not unusual for resentment to ride high. Your parent is used to having authority in this relationship, after all, and this switch may be hard to take. You may also find that resentment comes about due to this new physical reliance on you. Again, this is a normal aspect of the inter-family caring relationship, but failure to address it can see that resentment grew out of control. Instead, use the communication techniques above to address this issue as it arises, and find a way around that makes everyone involved that bit comfier. It may be that a separate living arrangement provides the independence your parent needs, for instance. Equally, you should always give them the final say on their situation.
A total lack of quality time
Lastly, people who care for their parents often stop spending quality time with them. You’re spending most of the day together, after all. Do you really need to head out for a coffee? The simple answer to this is yes. Your role as carer doesn’t nurture this relationship the way quality time could, not is it healthy to rely on this for your communications. Instead, break things up by taking the time to get out together the way you always have. This can allow you both to step back from your new situation and remember how much you love each other regardless.
Avoiding these pitfalls altogether is rarely easy, and you’ll need to return to them time and again to make this work. Still, knowing that they lie ahead could help you develop the most positive caring relationship possible.