Perhaps one of the hardest things we face as we grow up is watching our parents age. They took care of us when we were kids, and now we literally switch places.
When parents depend on our support, we go through a difficult period, especially if we are college students. So, is there a way to manage it all? Surely, and this is being organized! By this, we mean a set of rules that will help you get everything done while reducing stress for both you and your parents.
Not all elderly parents perceive retirement as a period for relaxation and doing what they have been putting off for a long time. Many experience deep disappointment, mood swings, and feelings of worthlessness. They may also feel lonely and be in search of company.
Of course, it is very difficult to be with them at such moments. A common reaction would be to lose your temper and leave. But it’s important to be patient and empathetic. Think about how parents are feeling right now. They gradually lose everything they are used to – health and energy, independence, mobility, and work. Try to understand them and help them by being present and calm.
Get into the habit of planning every day, week, and month. You need to find time you can devote to your parents, so scheduling must become your best friend. Begin with highlighting large key tasks and smaller ones. To make it easier to perceive information, use three colors.
For example, red is for the most urgent matters, green is for what can wait, and blue is for minor issues that can be delegated. Be sure to set deadlines – however, always remember to evaluate your capabilities honestly.
Develop a habit of writing down everything, from handing in an essay to discussing a project with a group, going to the tesco supermarket, and meeting your parents. This way, you reduce the risk of forgetting something.
During the day, we often have free time: whether it’s riding the bus, waiting in line, or just watching the kettle boil. These couple of minutes can be spent with benefits. This is what distinguishes productive students – they see opportunities and know how to use them. For example, finish reading a novel for school while you’re on your way to college. Drinking morning coffee can be combined with making a to-do list for the week. Answer an important email when in line.
This is how you unload your busy schedule and do a lot more.
According to many psychologists, there’s one thing aging parents want to know in the first place. And this is knowing that they are needed. All it takes is a phone call every day. Just find out how they are feeling and what’s new. Set a reminder every day, or get in the habit of calling them every morning.
There will definitely be days when you have to miss classes due to a trip to the doctor with your parents or the need to look after them at home. It is best to be honest about your family situation and your responsibilities. However, don’t ask teachers to accept your passes and look the other way. Offer an alternative option – for instance, write an essay on a missed topic, take a test in advance, or come to a personal consultation if possible.
Delegating responsibilities wisely is a skill that is vital in all areas: not only in work but also in family life. It’s hard to take full responsibility as you’re not a superhero (at least not yet).
So, why not visit your parents on alternating days? It will be more fun for them because they will have guests every day. You can share other responsibilities too, such as buying groceries and medicine and going for a walk with them. Coordination of actions will greatly facilitate your life and please your parents. The same goes for sharing financial expenses.
There is nothing worse than a problem that appears at the most inopportune moment. Such unexpected difficulties cause tremendous stress, which makes it even more difficult to focus on a solution. Therefore, try to anticipate difficulties at the earliest stages.
To do this, carefully inspect the parental home and surroundings – perhaps something needs to be repaired. Steps, floors, and ceilings are the most common places where holes and bumps appear. The same goes for plumbing. Look for the contacts of repair services and share them with your parents so that they can quickly deal with everything if necessary.
Obviously, you need to be well-versed in everything that happens to parents in order to offer them help. The first is surely diseases and their treatment. What drugs are they taking? What will the next stage look like? It would be good advice to accompany them at appointments and ask the doctor questions.
Have you seen “The Intern” movie? It’s a beautiful story showing that age isn’t an obstacle to realizing old dreams and leading an active lifestyle. Yoga in the park or Spanish and cooking classes all help to socialize and uncover hidden talents.
Of course, many parents feel out of touch with the world as they stop driving and quickly get exhausted. But a healthy body makes a healthy spirit, right?
Tell them about new opportunities, whether it’s a new restaurant in your neighborhood, open days at the university, or any interesting community. The brain needs new experiences in order to avoid depression. Do you live in a park home or something similar? Invite them to take a walk around. This greatly improves mood and delays cognitive decline.
Of course, you know a lot about what is better for your parents because you care about their health. But sometimes, you can cross the line, behaving too harshly. But don’t be a boss who gives out commands – this way, you will offend your parents. What if they decide to stop communicating with you? Be their friend, accept them for who they are, and meet them halfway. This is how you build trust.
As we become older, our parents need more and more help. However, we often struggle to support them, not knowing where to start. In this article, we’ve put together some basic guidelines on how to make your parents feel safe and taken care of without harming your academic performance.
No doubt, the main secret is wise planning, the anticipation of problems, and honest dialogue. Be sure to be in touch with doctors, relatives, and teachers. Each of us can solve any problem with the right people on our side.
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