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As a filial child, you will want to help your parents as much as possible. But the chances are, that you yourself are in a phase of heightened responsibility in your own life. Your children are probably in their teens and need extra guidance, you need to work hard to save for your own retirement, your kids' educational needs and also your parents' health needs, and at the same time you feel emotionally stretched.

The temptation to ignore your parents is probably a great one. However, doing so is likely to make it harder to connect as a family and will, in the long run, increase the degree of stress and unhappiness for you and your parents.

There are of course, several things which you can do to make life better both for yourself, and also for your elderly parents. Here are some steps which you can take.

Understand the Issues of Aging

Learn about the issues they are facing; what to expect and how to help your parents adapt and accommodate to the changes which they are experiencing. Be sensitive to the fact that your parents are in an entirely different life stage – one you have never experienced. Don't assume you know what it is about. Keep in mind that their responses and opinions come from a different perspective.

Listen and Be a Confidant

Realise your older family members' need for having someone to confide in, for reassurance and care, to receive affection and respect and to discuss problems does not change as they grow older. Be available and offer words of support.

Ask your parents to share their current experience as an older person. Listen. You will likely learn a lot that may help you with your own ageing, help you understand what they are going through and how to support them.

Examine Your Expectations

Examine your expectations of your parents now that they are retired. Do you expect them to take care of your children when you work? Have you talked to them about this? What do they expect to do now that they have retired? Are there differences between what you expect and what they expect?

Be Kind, Patient and Respectful

Just because you may be more capable today or believe you know better, it doesn't mean that you have the right to belittle or treat your parents with less consideration and respect. Be sensitive to who they are as people and continue to respect them and treat them with care and patience.

Don't tell them what to do and accept them for who they are. If eventually, they disagree with your views, accept that this is their right as adults and individuals too and take responsibility for the choices you make for yourself.

Ref. O17