​There comes a time in life when we grow as adults, and our parents, who were always there for us, need us to be there for them. For many adult children, this is a difficult transition to make.

Finding that our parents are no longer the people we thought they were, adjusting to the reversal in our roles and even understanding that physical and mental changes may result in personality changes in our parents is often something which we want to deny and avoid dealing with.

However, in order to continue to be able to relate to each other as a family, we need to meet these challenges directly and find ways to understand and help our parents as they age.

What Issues are Your Parents Likely to Experience?

As your parents age, they will struggle with many issues. Understanding them is a first step to helping your parents' transition too.

A Sense of Loss

One of the biggest things which elderly people tend to experience, is a sense of loss. These losses are multiple and appear in many areas of their lives. Some of the most common of these are:

  • Loss of financial independence after retirement
  • Death of friends and relatives and increasing social isolation
  • Loss of mobility and capability through poorer health
  • Loss of importance and position within the family
  • Loss of meaning and purpose in life

Values and Expectations

Elderly people also struggle because sometimes their values and expectations of how they will spend their old age may not match what society or their children expect of them. Many elderly parents expect to be respected, viewed as an important advisor within the family, continue to be valued, have independence and freedom to do as they wish, and be cared for attentively.

Time, finances, or even their children's desires may mean that there is a mismatch between their expectations and their daily lives and routines. This can lead to significant unhappiness, misunderstanding and stress within the family.

Read on for tips to make life better for you and your ageing parents.

Ref. O17