By Lillian Charles*
I cared for my incredible parents in their later years whilst raising our beautiful children.
However, that was quite a few decades ago.
I still think about my late parents every day and our little children have since grown into wonderful adults of whom I am exceptionally proud.
Yet much has changed and the tide has turned. My daughter now has her own gorgeous children and it is my husband and I who need the care.
I can see my darling daughter doing her very best to juggle the responsibilities of caring for her children with the additional needs of my husband and I.
Unfortunately, I can also see the stress sweep across her face and the guilt well up in her eyes. I know she’d never admit to the overwhelm but a mother can tell when her daughter is struggling.
I recognise the look and know that feeling all too well because for many years, I felt it too.
I loved both my parents and my children equally, without question. Yet no matter how much I tried to divide my time evenly, it always felt like someone was ‘missing out’.
I had many sleepless nights and stressful days thinking about how best to do everything for everyone at the same time.
Now I see my daughter falling into the same patterns and I want to stop her before she too is overwhelmed and burnt out.
I want my daughter to learn from my past experiences and not make the same ‘mistakes’ I did.
Of course, they weren’t mistakes, per se. I simply did the very best with what I knew and what was available at the time. We all did back then.
Unfortunately, however, there were few options available and certainly none with the same high standards of Five Good Friends. We’d never heard of ‘Bluezones’ and ageing with dignity just wasn’t discussed.
So what do I want my daughter to know about caring for me?
I want her to know that I can relate to the stress she is under because I too have felt it.
I want her to know that it’s perfectly ok to get outside help with our care. In fact, I’d encourage her to.
I want her to know that there’s nothing admirable about trying to do everything for everyone and burning out in the process.
Finally, I want my daughter to know that getting help doesn’t mean she loves my husband or I any less.
But it’s not just my daughter who needs to take heed of these words. It’s all adult children who are (or will be) caring for their ageing parents.
If Five Good Friends had been available to me back then I most certainly would have contacted them for assistance. I have no doubt that I would have been a better (less stressed) mother to my children and a better (less frantic) parent had I not been in a seemingly constant state of overwhelm.
If you have any questions about Five Good Friends, when you are ready please feel free to contact a Care Advisor on 1300 787 581 or via the chat box in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
*Lillian Charles is an alias