Finding Life Balance When Caring for Elderly Parents
First, take care of yourself and address your fears. Just like the airline flight attendants tell us to "put on our own oxygen masks first before helping a child or an elderly person," look at your own fears. Write them down. Make a list. Talk with your mother and the other members of your family about your fears. Remember that your mother is stuck in a physical body that isn't cooperating. She probably has some fears of her own.
Have a plan, and put it into place before your mother moves in. Most important, involve every member of your family in some pre-move family meetings. Include your mother whenever you can, remembering that this is a big adjustment for her, too. This will help you being to balance your new life.
Open up the discussion about lifestyle habits of each family member with questions like:
- Is there a time when your mother will need to nap and the kids need to be quiet or out of the house?
- Are the kids allowed to have friends over when their grandmother is the only adult at home?
- Are there areas of your mother's room that will be off limits to your kids? Are there some medical activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting and dressing for your mom that will require additional assistance from a professional caregiver outside the home?
- Will your mom require any health care procedures that may be potentially frightening to your children?
When you blend two households (as you are), be sure to consider the lifestyle of each person involved and you're certain to be on your way to finding the life balance you're looking for.