One of the hardest parts of aging is not that we are getting older, but that those we love are, too. Your parents will naturally age faster than you, and at some point, the roles will become reversed. Where they once took care of you, you will have to step in and become their caregiver to a certain extent.
The problems begin once that caregiver role starts encroaching on your parents’ independence and your quality of life. That’s when the arguments and resentment begin to kick in. You have a person (or two people) who have taken care of themselves their whole life, and taken care of you, and now you are trying to take away their freedom, in their mind.
This is a fine line that needs to be tread carefully, and if you don’t do it right, you may severely impact your relationship. So how do you explain to your parents that you can no longer be their caregiver?
When Caregiving Becomes a Burden, You Need to Let it Go
Letting go of taking care of your parents sounds counter-intuitive. Your parents took care of you, so you should take care of them. Many people feel guilty about resenting this role, but they refuse to let go because of the sense of duty that they have.
What happens if you don’t, though, is that your relationship becomes a negative aspect of both of your lives, and their health can deteriorate quickly because of the toxic environment.
Instead of holding on until the relationship implodes, take control of the situation when you see it beginning to spiral. It’s a careful line to walk, but these tips can help you make the best of a bad situation.
- Prepare what you are going to say ahead. Wording can make all the difference, especially in an emotionally charged situation. Consider what you want to say carefully and avoid making it sound like your parents are a hardship or apologizing for what you are going to do.
Instead, phrase it as a natural progression. You are going to continue to take care of them, but it will be in a different aspect that is beneficial for both you and your parent(s).
They may be concerned about stories that they have heard of abuse in nursing homes. While this happens, there are laws that determine exactly what standards should be followed when someone is taken care of in a nursing home.
If there are any violations, assure your parent(s) that you will follow up with an attorney that specializes in nursing home abuse, like https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/nursing-home-abuse-attorneys/, to take ensure that the abuse stops.
- Don’t leave out your extended family. Even if the decision is not theirs to make, they will still be impacted by it, and their resentment or approval can hinder or help the transition. Be real with them if you need help, and divide and conquer the demands. Together everyone can help, but alone the burden falls unfairly.
Allow your siblings and other family members to be as much or as little of a help as they want to be, but include them in the events unfolding.
- Don’t forget about yourself along the way. This is a stressful time for everyone involved, but it affects you more than anyone if you are the main caregiver. Find a close friend or confidant, a therapist, or someone you can be vulnerable with and admit your insecurities.
Let out your feelings. Keeping them bottled up is unhealthy for you and your parents since the resentment, anger, and sadness you likely feel will manifest in other ways without your awareness.
Begin Your New Phase
When you let go of the burden and take the next step as a caregiver, you and your parents can work on building your foundation in your new relationship. Let go of the fear and anxiety and have the confidence in yourself to take charge of those most important to you.