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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

On a list of most persons’ top priorities, making sure that parents are adequately cared for is one point of protocol that many say is one of the highest order. It’s no secret why: With life-expectancies rising in recent decades and a sense that social security may not solve all of our problems when it comes to elder care, many families are taking on the role of caretaker to look out for the parents’ best interests. And it’s important to know the ins and outs of this role before you take them on — so that you can best help your parents, while helping yourself.

Find Balance

Firstly, it’s important to understand that a balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of others is addressed before taking responsibility for parts or a whole of your parent’s life. It’s not for nothing that the instructions on an airplane are direct and to the point when it comes to oxygen masks: place the mask on yourself first, before helping others. The reasoning is simple.

And that’s because many people are not selfish, and are looking out for the needs of others, so that their thoughts often reach out to the needs of others first — but as in an airplane, so in life the consequences of self-denial can be dire. After all, if you are in a position where your needs (like say your oxygen supply) aren’t being met, you simply won’t have the energy to help others.

It’s important to know what your own needs are important — make sure you’re healthy and satisfied in life before you put energy into helping a parent. Both your parent and your mind and body will thank you!

Understand Aging

Understanding old age and its many states of mind is also an important factor in determining how to address parent care taking. Old age can be tough on the brain, and so looking into nursing options, dementia care services, and Medicare services can be of the essence when it comes to making sure your parent is as healthy as possible. Seeking help from organizations who make care of the elderly their life’s work is one way to defray the energy it will take to make sure your parent is well.

So for these reasons it’s important to understand the basics of caring for a parent as they enter their later years. While the process may seem stressful at first, with a bit of understanding and help the ability to make it through and provide stability and emotional support to a parent has never been more reasonable. With the right advice, a bit of research, and a can-do attitude, the thought of parental care doesn’t have to be one that produces anxiety, but rather one that produces feelings of self-assurance and satisfaction in a job well done towards those who need us most.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents looking at needing to care for their own parents.