Making Time in Your Life for You

Spend Time with Yourself

Spend Time with Yourself

Putting your life on hold because of a sick or elderly relative is commonplace in the new era of high life expectancy. Many people are postponing holidays, weddings, having babies or pets to make time to care for elderly family members. There is a strong desire in most of these people to help, especially as the relatives are often parents or in-laws.

In the short term, that is a noble and beneficial act. If your parent goes on to live for another 40 years, however, will you have missed your window of opportunity for all the things you wanted to do? Imagine waiting 20 years to have a baby, only to find yourself out of time… and then to hear that your parent would have been happy to go into a home and relieve you of your duties?

To prevent guilt and resentment, everyone needs to be very honest about their wants and needs. know the stress many caregivers experience, but they also understand how to reduce the risk of your burning out. To prevent stress, depression or anxiety, you can enrol in a support group, start a journal, go to counseling, hire part-time help, or enlist the help of an elderly care service.

Having a nurse around will ease your mind and assure you that your parent isn’t lonely or in need of attention. A lot of the stress caused by acting as a sole caregiver is that you can’t be around every moment of the day, as much as you would like to be.

If you’re worried about the caregiver not providing the same kind of stimulation or companionship, you’re perfectly within your rights to give them a course in what makes your parent tick and how to best appeal to their sense of humor and lifestyle.

Sit your parent down and honestly and openly explain the situation. Outline the things you’d like to do with your time, and why they are so important to you.

Just because you’re out there living life, doesn’t mean you must never see your parent again. Keep them up to date with the developments in your life and ask them for their advice. Dish about the dates you’ve been on or the places you took the kids on the weekend. Teach them to use a smartphone and keep in contact via messenger, call them several times a week or write letters. If they’re feeling up to it, invite them out.

They’ll enjoy hearing about your adventures and be pleased that you seek their input. As Dr Bernard Shulman puts it in his book, ‘asking your parents’ advice is the greatest compliment’ you can give, because it shows you still value their opinion and don’t dismiss them due to their age.

Even though you may be spending a considerable amount of time away from them, do schedule a visit whenever you can. Even if it’s just once a month, the effort won’t go unnoticed.

Remember that your parent wants nothing more than to see you happy. If both parties love each other unconditionally, it should be possible to reach a compromise that will keep you both happy in the long-run.

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