Recently, a friend asked me to write an article about how to best care for aging parents.
I really didn’t have much personal experience in this area, but I knew many friends who did!
I had to call on some of these “experts” in the subject to assist me. They were gracious enough to do so. Yesterday was Part One. You can read that post HERE.
My second expert is Cynthia Peacock who assisted her father in taking care of her mother during a long battle with cancer. She shares some wonderful advice about how to help take care of aging parents.
30 Timely Tips to Better Care for Your Aging Parents (Part Two):
19. Lean on the Lord.
These are some things to keep in mind during the process:
- The Lord is Faithful.
- The Lord is merciful.
- The Lord is our Daily “bread”, just what we need for that day.
- The Lord delivers Grace in each moment.
- The Lord love us with an ever-lasting love and cares deeply about our very individual needs.
- The Lord never leaves us and walks with us every single step of the way.
20. Take time to read the Bible and pray every day.
21. Take time to exercise every day (it relieves stress and yes, frustration, and gives energy).
22. You need to take time away (alone) from the situation, and don’t feel guilty about it.
He didn’t call you to be a martyr in this. Trust that the Lord will provide for them, while He is also ministering to your weary soul, and heart. You will be a better more cheerful caregiver if you do without allowing bitterness to grow. Your goal is to grow blessings, memories and emit “sunshine” to them, not fields of bitterness and guilt.
23. To keep the situation light, plan a “simple” fun activity for them.
One day in the winter before Valentines day, my daughters and I took construction paper over to my mom’s house and we sat down together and made hearts and snowflakes, she loved it and put them all over her windows and doors..(that little simple “gift” blessed her for months). It is still to this day one of my favorite memories and sweetest pictures I treasure of her and my daughters.
24. “Time spent well” is the key.
Sometimes your emotions can only handle a small amount of time, so on those days, choose to do something like that.
25. Use your gifts to minister to them.
That is the best gift you can give them. For example: If you like to cook, provide meals for them, that they can easily freeze or warm up.
26. Get rest and ask for help from others.
27. Remember… the “aging” process can last for years.
Your first God-ordained responsibility is your spouse and your children. Take the time to nurture those relationships, there will be nothing more devastating then when the time comes for them to pass, and you have not only lost your loved one, but you have “lost” your family/marriage too. Take the time away to nurture regularly those relationships. We are unique in that we still have young ones at home, so this was especially important for me, I would not want to “lose” my children, spiritually/relationally/emotionally or my marriage to my “guilt”.
Know how much time you can give, and try to stick to that, it will help your times of caring for them to be less stressful. It also set boundaries, and they will know a little more when they can expect to have you there. Be honest with them, that you love them and are there for them, but it is important for you to care for the needs of your spouse and family as well, along with other responsibilities you have.
28. Understand that older people can sometimes be very challenging to deal with.
Older people can many times have regrets, be bitter, be negative, hurtful in their words, expect more than you can give…if you have a day you just don’t feel like you have the strength, then wait, give yourself some down time, fill your cup up with the word, prayer, rest, and activities that lift your spirit. They can wait. Some people have a hole in the bottom of their cup and no amount of time and effort you give will ever be enough, do your best, and then let yourself be okay with that.
Try to remember, even though it can seem that they are intentionally directed at you, that they are most likely reacting out of pain and fear both physically and emotionally. It is hard for them to process, much like a child, all that is happening and changing in their world, not to mention having to face the reality of “giving up their freedoms” and “being taken care of by someone else”. They need understanding and grace. Having an understanding of this, putting yourself in their shoes helps—be one who is quick to forgive, and to love in the hard places… They typically do not mean to cause you pain or grief, and even if they are acting out and “wanting more of you than you can give” and trying to control you with guilt, love anyway.
Life lessons of “learning to love in the hard places” will always be a gift from this season that will bless many other areas of your life. It is important also to note, that you will fail, you will have moments of frustration and anger or times you just cannot take the “sadness” and “down-ness” of the situation and you can’t go be with them… That is OKAY, it will happen, don’t live in guilt, take time out and forgive yourself… You will also find you will become very aware of what I now call “His drops of mercy”… Just a little tiny bit that will get you through…and a reminder…He doesn’t expect you to be perfect… It’s OKAY to mess up… He can certainly handle our messes and make them beautiful!
29. Try to learn from what you are experiencing.
Seek the Lord for your purpose in life and take steps daily to build on that. Have a heart and mindset of service. Fill your mind and life with positive words, books, people, etc so that you will be a positive healthy person in your later years.
30. Be honest about how you are really doing – with at least one trusted friend.
This last one is one many will not utter because they feel guilty saying it, but I have found that the ones who will be honest with their words to a trusted friend, they will find relief and freedom. It is okay to say “Sometimes it is a heavy burden to care for them, and there are days I will be glad they are to no longer have to do that.” It is not discounting that you also see the Blessing in being able to love and care for them, it is acknowledging a human truth…and in gives us a deeper understanding of the beauty and freedom that comes with being in heaven.
There are so many factors, layers, and dynamics that come into play. The parent-child relationship is complex and when roles are reversed, the truth is, it is hard on so many levels for all involved and you need support, boundaries, resolve, and knowledge that you don’t walk this path alone. One of the very sweetest parts of my mother coming within the last couple of months before passing was the presence of my Shepherd being made more real to me than I had ever experienced.
I would still love to have my mother here if she was in good health, but I would never trade those last few months of the very very intimate walk with the Shepherd… He never ever leaves our side and its as if you can feel the touch of His robe right next to you.
So, what about you?
Are you dealing with aging parent right now?
What tips and suggestions do you have?
I always enjoy hearing from you!
That’s it for Part Two of this series. Be sure to check out Part One by clicking HERE.
Thank you, Cynthia, for so many practical and helpful ideas! We really appreciate you sharing with us today! I believe many people will benefit from your experiences and your wisdom. You have blessed us!
Cynthia Peacock’s Bio:
Wife of Mark for 31 years, Home-school mother of 4 children (2 grown sons and 2 adopted daughters), mother-in love of 2 daughters, and grand-mama to one Amazing grandson! Cynthia is passionate about the Word of God, teaching, speaking, equipping and inspiring others to live abundantly for Him. Cynthia devotes her time and talents to her home-based business, to schooling her daughters, orphan awareness,writing, and various artistic venues. Cynthia and Mark enjoy spending a lot of time together and with family, along with serving together in work and various ministries.
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