I like to think I’m a fairly independent and capable woman. In some areas of my life this is true but when it comes to looking after my ageing parents, I’m less than capable.
To be honest, that absolutely terrifies me.
In many ways, my parents are still caring for me and have been since I acquired multiple disabilities in my early twenties. Subsequently, I’ve been unable to perform simple tasks like driving and paperwork.
Admittedly, things have improved from the months when Mum and Dad had to feed me and help me get dressed, like an adult-sized toddler, until I relearnt how to do it for myself.
I doubt it’s how they imagined spending their retirement!
These days, my fantastic siblings and wonderful husband also help out where they can but the majority of additional care falls on my dear parents.
Mum and Dad are a couple of decades off more substantial assistance but it troubles me greatly to think about their care in the future. As they age, I won’t be able to step in and do all of those relatively simple tasks like grocery shopping or driving them to appointments, for example.
Disability is the thing that will stop me from doing as much as I would like for my parents as they age but there may be something in your life that is going to (or is currently) making caring difficult.
Perhaps you have children, a demanding work schedule or are living a long distance away?
Maybe, like 85% of women over 45, you’re part of the sandwich generation.
Our personal obstacles may be different but the challenges are very similar. How do you care for ageing parents when there are other things preventing you from helping as much as you want to?
How do you stop yourself from feeling guilty or fearful and ensuring their later years are as good as they can be?
Like you, I just want my parents to be happy and safe. It’s up to them exactly how that will look but my siblings and I will do everything we can to ensure it happens.
The one thing giving me peace of mind is knowing that support is available, both now and in the future. I mightn’t be able to help Mum and Dad in all the ways I would like but my anxieties are put at ease knowing that there is another option.
With additional help from Five.Good Friends., Mum and I can do what we do best (other than appointments and paperwork)… Drink coffee, talk and laugh!
It’s incredibly comforting to realise that I can still be the supportive and loving daughter to Mum and Dad as they age, knowing they have Five.Good.Friends. to step in where my siblings and I cannot.
Do you need some help caring for your ageing parents? When you’re ready, call us on 1300 787 581 to speak to one of our Care Advisors..
Lisa Cox is a writer, speaker and consultant based in Brisbane. She’s also a wife, daughter, sister and friend with a considerable addiction to caffeine (a genetic trait inherited from her Mum). You can learn more about Lisa’s personal story here or say hi on Facebook.