It is natural to feel a sense of unease when caregiving a parent with dementia. Role reversal often becomes part of the process, which can be a difficult transition in life to maneuver.
The emotional and physical stress that comes with full-time caregiving is pressure enough without the strain of personal feelings that can seep into the equation when caring for a parent – so please do not saddle yourself with added guilt if you are struggling with it.
Give yourself grace and understand that every caregiver eventually needs help, and the best support for you and your beloved parent will come into being as you make your way through difficult decisions.
Caretaking a Parent with Dementia – Role Reversal
Life roles come at us from many different angles throughout our adulthood. We typically go into deep planning and introspect before diving into major life changes, such as marriage, having children, or career paths. Some life roles, however, come into existence despite our best laid-out plans. Full-time caregiving of a parent with dementia is seldom a role that we foresee or prepare for.
Caregiving of a parent with dementia often starts out as a daily wellness check-in, a phone call, or a visit, but as the condition progresses, so does the need for full-time care. Role reversal can take place as we become the main caretaker. Our parent’s welfare depends on us, and the pressures placed on us rise.
The need for outside support grows as the demands of caregiving multiply – which can prompt a mental struggle in us with feelings of unease. It often looks like this:
“As far back as I can remember, my mother (father) has been there for me. I’ve always known that I could depend upon her for support, even during those times when she lovingly had to be tough with me. I am now in the position of fully taking care of her. Our roles have reversed, and I am surprised by my emotions.
I thought taking care of mom would be easier than this, but I am feeling a mix of anxiety, confusion, and angst. I want the best for my mother. I am saddened that her behavior is changing (she is becoming aggressive). I am concerned, and I am exhausted. I know I must make some tough decisions! I cannot do this alone…I know that. I feel guilty because I am considering moving her to memory care. I just wish she could be my parent again!”
Take Care of Yourself – Caregiver
Remember, the parent that you take care of today may not be able to articulate this, but they would want you to take care of yourself first. And taking care of yourself is not selfish – it is quite the opposite.
The emotional and physical demands of taking care of someone else, especially the caregiving of a parent, can shift your feelings in many directions, leaving exhaustion and feelings of overwhelm, and sometimes guilt, in the wake. If you experience any of this, know that it is normal, but that it can lead to burnout.
Caregiver burnout is a real thing – it is not something imagined by you or any other caregiver. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and worry are symptoms of burnout, as well as physical symptoms that range from headaches to muscle tension, fatigue, and more. Burnout is preventable, and it starts with self-care.
Reaching out for help from others is a form of self-care, and the most caring decision you might make could be moving your loved one to memory care.
Celebrating Parents with Dementia
Family does not disappear at the doors of our memory care facility!
We believe caring is all about the small things – sharing life together: eating, laughing, celebrating, and connecting.
We believe in cultivating the quality of life in memory care through:
- A place to be safe
- A place where all needs are met
- A beautiful place to live
- A place to spend time with family and friends
- A place with fun things to do
- A place to enjoy community
We treasure seeing caregivers celebrate life once again with their parents, and here is a special testimonial in support of that:
“Now that I know my father is safe and is being well cared for, I get to go back to enjoying being his daughter, instead of his caregiver. I love my evening visits that we spend laughing and enjoying being with each other. The decision to move him was hard to make, but the right thing to do. Selecting Sundara Senior Living was the best decision I could have ever made for him.” – Rebecca Martin
Are you ready to celebrate your parent with dementia today?
If you or your parent reside in the North Austin or Round Rock area of Texas, we are here to answer your questions and we want to help you through the journey of memory care.