Taking care of older relatives can be challenging at any time, and when you have children to parent and nurture as well, it can all feel a bit too much. The pressure put on you by others and by yourself can be testing and can push you to limits you never even knew existed before. So, the key question you have to ask yourself is – Can you parent in a positive and nurturing manner while looking after older relatives? Or, do you have to make large compromises’ and sacrifices in order to achieve a balance?
Putting Your Children’s Needs and Wants First Every time
Above everything else, your children, their needs, and their wants should come ahead and above anything else that you do. When you put your children’s needs first, you establish what they need in their life and what they can do without. Emotionally it can be hard sharing your time and splitting your time and energy between your children and your older relatives that need you now more than ever, but, realistically if you do not put your children’s wants and needs at the top of your list, you will notice problems and issues further down the line.
Nurturing Your Children at All Times
As well as putting your children first, you need to ensure that you nurture them at every given opportunity, especially if they are young. When children are raised in a nurturing environment, they realize that there is plenty of love, time, and patience to go around, they adopt a more selfless attitude and approach, and they see why you need to look after an older relative, which is obviously good for you, especially if you have no alternative options. Nurturing is not just about giving them what they need now; it is about planning ahead and thinking about what they will need in the future. A supported and nurtured child will be able to deal with you splitting your time and sharing your attention better than a child who lacks that supportive and nurtured background.
Listening to What Your Children are Telling You
Quite often, actions speak louder than words, and it is because of this that you should really listen to what your children are saying and what they are telling you. Verbal and non-verbal communication is essential in forming and building a strong relationship. Without a strong relationship, you will not be able to focus your attention and time on looking after your older relatives, so ensure that you have a strong bond and relationship with your children, and always make sure you listen to what they are saying.
Being There for Both Your Children and Your Older Relatives – Keeping a Balance
Juggling two different sets of requirements and needs can be challenging even for a professional healthcare assistant, but if you can establish and maintain a balance that is healthy and equal, then there should be no reason why you could not fulfill both the emotional and physical needs of both the younger and the older generation. Of course, finding a balance may be difficult, but with persistence, time, and patience, you will get there.
Focusing on the Positive Moments and Embracing Them
When you are looking after older and younger generations, it can feel very draining, both emotionally, mentally, and physically. There is so much going on all the time that you may find it difficult to maintain a positive attitude and approach. When you are struggling or you are finding things tough, it is essential that you focus on and embrace the positivity around you. Remembering positive moments and memories that were shared between you, your children, and your older relatives will get you through the more challenging times that may lie ahead.
Caregiving and looking after your children and older relatives can really take its toll on you, your health, and your well-being. Seeking respite at Brandywine Living for your older relatives is a positive step to take as it gives you a much-needed rest. It gives your older relatives a chance to experience something new and interact with people they might not have got the chance to interact with before. When it comes to finding appropriate respite or finding a center, you need to look at somewhere that focuses on high quality, somewhere like Brandywine Living at Haddonfield, which focuses on community, individuals, and good care. If you do not go for the right center, or if you do not find somewhere that genuinely cares, you will not get the respite or peace of mind that you need.
Focusing on Too Many Areas or Tasks at Once
Trying to do too much all at once is not going to end well. So, when juggling the care of older relatives alongside your own children, don’t be afraid to utilize those around you. Other family members, friends, even work colleagues can help in their own way; whether it's offering to babysit, batch cooking, or just doing your grocery shopping, there are people who care, and they are just a call away.
Reaching Out to Others for Help, Support, and Guidance
Actually, making the call or deciding to reach out to others for help and assistance can be difficult, but the benefits you and your children get from having a strong support and guidance network around you will speak for themselves. You will be able to do what you want, you will be able to maintain a normal life, and you won’t have to feel so alone when you have a strong group of people around you.
Looking Forwards to the Future
At some point, you may need to start looking at other options for your older relatives. This may be due to their ill health, or it may be because you need to focus solely on your immediate family within your home, including your children. Whatever the reason change will happen, it is just a matter of when. Never run yourself or others into the ground just to keep things going the way they are at the moment, and never be afraid to ask yourself - Can I sustain what I am doing, and do I need to look at longer-term solutions? Asking yourself questions and getting answers will help you establish the best and the right way forward for you and your family.