Staying Present While Visiting Your Aging ParentsAs the coronavirus pandemic continues, many of us are feeling fatigued and overwhelmed. There are many decisions to make in light of the changing data. Will schools reopen this fall? Should my children go back to school or should we homeschool? Is it safe yet for my aging parents to go to the grocery store or spend time with their friends? How much longer will I need to bear the load of responsibility for my family and my aging parents?
Adults who are currently in the “sandwich generation,” caring for aging parents while caring for their own children, are feeling the effects of this pandemic unlike any other generation. Many adult children had to step in in order to protect the health of their aging parents when the outbreak first occurred. Months later, fatigue has set in and is beginning to rob many adult children of a wonderful relationship with their parents. Visits have turned into to-do lists as the sandwich generation struggles to balance their many responsibilities.
Many adult children have found that they are no longer present while they visit with their aging parents. Sure, they’re around, but they aren’t truly present. Time is the limiting factor, and there just isn’t enough time to visit and provide assistance. If you’ve noticed that your visits with your aging parents have morphed into checklists, here are a few tips to help bring you back to the present moment.
Before you rush into assisting your parents with their to-do list, sit down with them. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cold glass of iced tea out on their patio, where you won’t be tempted to begin analyzing your plan of attack to accomplish the list. Give yourself permission to slow down and engage in conversation. Even if it’s just the first fifteen minutes of your time or you take a twenty-minute break after the first hour, it’s important to make time and space for the relationship.
Vary the Purpose of Your Visit
Another tip is to vary the purpose of your visits. If you’re fortunate to live nearby and are able to assist weekly or even a couple times a week, arrange for one visit to be focused on tasks and the other visit to be focused on socializing. Sit down with your parents and ask them what items on their list can wait until the next visit. Then, stick to the schedule. Resist the urge to do just one task, because you’ll be tempted to turn the social visit into a task visit.
Block Adequate Time
Consider blocking adequate time to assist your parents in order to help you stay present. Many family caregivers underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete certain care tasks. As a result, they feel rushed or need to leave quickly in order to get home to their own family. Give yourself plenty of time to complete tasks and still have time to engage in conversation. Remove unnecessary distractions so that you can focus on the present moment.
Finally, seek help from a senior home care company, such as Visiting Angels Chesterfield-Richmond. With the help of a caregiver, your parents can receive the assistance they need while you can get back to being the daughter or son again. Your visits can become more meaningful as you no longer have to worry about completing tasks and ensuring that your parents are safe and well. While it’s uncertain how much longer this pandemic will go on, you can be certain about that the care provided by Visiting Angels. We want to partner with you so that you have the support you need to care for your aging parents. Please contact us today so that we can learn more about your situation.