As the population ages, there are increasing numbers of people who are taking care of elderly parents. The caretakers may be visiting their parents on a regular basis or the aging parents may have moved in with their adult children. Regardless of the exact details of the situation, the role reversal that takes place between aging parents and adult children sets the stage for a great deal of tension, drama and confusion. Many caretakers have acted with the best of intentions only to be baffled when their parent or parents seem to be getting increasingly irritated by the adult child.
Caring for an aging parent is simultaneously very different from and very similar to taking care of a child. The overlap can lead to people treating their parents like children. This is the last thing that aging parents want. Unfortunately for them, they cannot be treated like independent adults anymore either. This makes it very difficult for caretakers to strike the right balance between taking care of aging parents and letting their loved ones retain some independence and pride. The situation will be different for every family, but as some general guidelines, here are six things to avoid when caring for aging parents.