Admit it: dealing with one’s aging parents can sometimes seem like the ultimate test of patience and understanding. Don’t feel guilty for thinking that; it’s true, especially when that parent is afflicted by something such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. It doesn’t mean that you love them any less or that you do not want the best for them, it simply means that you have acknowledged one of those truths that we all feel guilty saying out loud. But now that you’ve admitted this, what can you do to ensure that you won’t lose your mind dealing with aging parents who behave badly?
Step 1: Put yourself first sometimes.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. It is okay to seek out help and to delegate tasks to others, especially if your care-giving is jeopardizing your own family, relationship, or your career.
Step 2: Know your limitations.
Not only can taking care of an aging parent drain you mentally and emotionally, it can also consume your life. If that is too much for you to handle then you need to admit that and find alternative arrangements.
Step 3: Don’t seek out praise.
Don’t expect a parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s to praise you for what you’re doing for them; it likely won’t happen.
Step 4: Recognize that success is in the trying.
You’re not going to win the battle against time, so you have to realize that you have succeeded simply by trying to make your parent’s life better.
Step 5: Take breaks.
It’s okay to call “time out” and make a substitution for a while. You’ve earned it.