“Ok, so I'm a parent with teenage children and I have a career. We were doing ok as a family, until two years ago when my parents became less able and needed a bit of help.
Not much help to start and it all fitted in well. We found the time, we were just keeping an eye on them really.
But then they needed more help. Regularly. And I started worrying about them, whether they would have a fall, whether they were still cooking safely, were they really coping, would someone be there to help them if something went wrong?
I found that it began to take up a lot of my time. I felt I was pulled in two directions, one to help them, but also to look after my own family.
I now miss being home for the children. I miss having the time to cook. We eat together less and less. I don’t spend so much time with my partner. I’m not there to problem solve when something goes wrong.
It’s getting harder to look after my parents adequately. And I’m tired!”
This is a typical scenario for those with the increasing problem in society of caring for elderly parents whilst also running a family home. It’s not just the parents you worry about, but the things you’re missing out on doing for and with your family.
The thing that will help you most are the skills of RESOURCEFULNESS and RESILIENCE.
Being Resourceful, means you can think of something to do in a crisis.
Being Resilient, means that you can be firm and stand your ground when you need to.
I always say to people, you need to be like those wobble-dolls - when it gets knocked over, it rights itself again. The way to do that is to be clear in your own mind...
If there’s someone who can help you – welcome them in. If your family can give you Tuesday evening off to go out with friends – accept the offer. Don’t worry if you can’t get to your parents, find someone who can, like neighbours, friends or carers.
It’s all a question of balance - and the time to start is now.
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