Have you ever heard the expression “it’s easier to hurt the ones you love”? Unfortunately, this is a cruel truth. Think about it. At what point did you stop taking your parents for granted? Do you still? Anyway, consider that it’s easy to expect more from those who selflessly give you the most. A lot of people never even realize they’re doing it. So what happens when the elderly take their caregivers for granted? Abuse.
So you’re taking care of your parents. Are they acting out? Does it go as far as abuse? Maybe they’re frustrated that they need help from anyone. Perhaps they can no longer drive themselves or they’re forgetting things. Maybe they’re just bored out of their minds and they’re taking it out on you. Whatever the reason, it’s not good.
Mistreatment and abuse will cause the following problems. First, it will negatively affect your health due to heightened stress levels. Second, it will build resentment towards your parents in both you, and if you’re married, your spouse. Third, it will ruin your relationship with your parents and possibly your marriage. Worst of all, they would be horrified if they knew that they were the cause of such pain.
So why do your parents turn on you? Simple, they feel safe to do so. They actually don’t believe you would ever leave them. It’s safe to tell you about every inconvenience, every daily pain and everything you’re doing wrong. The more you try, the safer they feel it is to complain. You’re literally killed for your kindness. How do you reverse the cycle?
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
There will be many moments when your aging parent lashes out as you’re trying to help them. It won’t be pretty. Try to remember who they were before things started going wrong. Consider how you might react if you were losing your faculties. Heck, I get cabin fever after one day with the flu. So I say, don’t take it personally. Try building up a thicker skin. Learn to laugh at the insults…just not to their faces.
STAND UP FOR YOURSELF AND WALK AWAY
OK, you’ve tried everything, but today it’s all just getting to you. Well, you’re only human. You don’t always have to sit there and take it. Sometimes it’s the best thing to calmly stand up for yourself and then walk away. The next day may bring a completely different version of your parent. Again remember that they really don’t mean to hurt you, they just feel safe to do so. If you set a limit, they will more than likely respond.
FIND HELP AND TAKE A BREAK
Let’s not forget that it’s always an option to hire in home care for your parent so that you can get away for the weekend. You don’t need to feel guilty you just need a break. If you’re interested in finding an excellent eldercare professional, check out www.strec.com.
Of course, if your aging loved one suffers from a form of dementia they may not have the capacity to realize how abusive they are. In this case, you may want to seriously look at assisted living as an option.
If you’re looking for additional resources on eldercare and related subjects go to www.tonipatillo.com